Health is a factor of many things: our genetics, our environment, and our lifestyle choices. While genetics are hard to change, we can alter their expression with a healthy lifestyle and a clean environment. But when you delve into lifestyle and environment, it is often so overwhelming and scary that you might not know where to start or what really matters.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of cancers are caused by toxins in our air, water, and food. Exposure to environmental toxins do not need to be in excessive, one-time doses, but can affect people even when there is only chronic, low dose exposure. Toxins accumulate in the body over a long period of time, interact with each other, and have unexpected effects. They can disrupt hormones, are toxic to the nervous system, the immune system, and to each and every cell in the body.
Regardless of these horrible and scary repercussions of normal, every day toxin exposure, you can avoid many toxins by picking a few things to reduce your toxin exposure. Little things can make a big difference. Don’t drive yourself crazy! Here are a few ways to minimize your exposure.
Organochlorines are chemicals that are used as a solvent in dry cleaning, to make PVCs (plastics), and are used in pesticides sprayed on our foods for consumption. National policies to ban organochlorines have helped to reduce breast cancer rates in Israel. You can minimize your exposure by reducing your use of plastic and using ceramic, glass, stainless steel, stone, wood, and metal instead. Minimize pesticide exposure by avoiding spraying your lawn with pesticides. Take your shoes off when you enter your house so that you don’t track pesticides from the lawn, streets and dirt into your home. Highly sprayed conventionally grown foods such as apples, celery, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, lettuce, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, snow peas, spinach, and strawberries, should be bought organic. Pesticides and other chemicals are stored in fat cells, so buying organic meats, dairy, nuts, seeds, and oils is important.
Indoor air contaminants (household cleaners, air fresheners, off-gas from carpets, furniture, paints, etc) have chemical fumes that are indeed toxins and can contribute to cancers and other health problems. Protect indoor air quality by regularly opening the windows in your home, placing houseplants in every room to filter the air, and use green cleaning products such as vinegar, water and baking soda.
Cosmetics (hair dyes, lipsticks, perfumes, etc) often have parabens, mercury, lead, phthalates, “fragrances” and other additives that make them toxic to wear. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found ingredients certified by the US government as “known or probable carcinogens” in one of every 120 cosmetic products on the market, including shampoos, lotions, make up foundations, and lip balm. Get rid of your toxic cosmetics such as nail polish, hair dye (conventional dark dyes present the greatest risk), hair relaxer, skin lighteners and anything with “fragrance”. If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin. You absorb it all the same. Look for safe alternatives on the EWG’s website www.safecosmetics.com.
There are other ways, besides avoidance, the help you lessen your toxic burden. A yearly detoxification cleanse can ensure that you are eliminating as many of these toxic chemicals as possible. The best kind of detox is one that supports each of the elimination organs (liver, kidneys, lymph, lungs, and bowels) and is best done supervised by a qualified medical practitioner. My Cleanse and Detox Program will help teach you how to avoid toxin exposure, improve your lifestyle to promote your detoxification pathways, aid your organs of elimination, and better your overall health and well being.
Following these simple guidelines can help you feel better, age better, and prevent diseases that we know are caused by exposure to environmental toxins. Again, don’t make yourself crazy. Little changes make big differences and can lead to a healthier life.