Many of us have a little extra time on our hands right now, and it is spring – a great time to spring clean, or detox! Detoxing doesn't have to be something you do just a few times a year. There are many small things you can do every day to decrease your toxic load, as well as make your home a healthier place.
Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere and they cause cumulative damage. Every source of exposure adds up and can harm various aspects of our health. Toxins are believed to play a role in virtually all diseases. But, our bodies do have a tremendous amount of healing capacity – so it is critical that we learn how best to avoid toxins, how to strengthen our detoxification systems, and how to support the body’s release of toxins and repair any toxin-related damage.
If you are looking for a excellent resource about toxins and want a structured and effective detox program to jump-start your body to better health, then read Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s book, The Toxin Solution. This will give you a better understanding of how toxins harm the body and what you can do about it.
Here are some ways to reduce your toxin load and support healthy detox on an ongoing basis:
1. Clean food and water. Reduce your consumption of toxin-contaminated foods. Unfortunately, many foods are contaminated during their growing and processing. This is why it's important to eat organically grown food, if at all possible. A great way to do this is to join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) group in your area. You can also refer to The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, a helpful resource that lists which fruits and vegetables are most important to buy organically grown. Eating as clean as possible also means choosing organic dairy products, eggs from free-range chickens, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, etc. And it means avoiding additives and synthetic preservatives commonly found in packaged food items. In addition, drinking and bathing in filtered water, using a whole-house carbon block filter if you can, is an essential part of your health.
2. Food storage, pots and pans. Choose your cooking techniques and food storage carefully. When it comes to cookware and cooking techniques, it is highly recommended to avoid aluminum, Teflon (nonstick), and silicone pots and pans. Instead, opt for stainless steel, cast iron, glass and copper cookware. The healthiest cooking techniques include steaming, stir-frying, baking and stewing your foods. Grilling, barbecuing, and charbroiling foods (especially meat) can produce harmful carcinogens. It is best to avoid foods that are packaged in plastic or waxed liners due to the endocrine disrupting chemicals found in the packaging. And, when storing your own food at home, get rid of all of the plastic containers and use glass instead.
3. Stuff on your skin. Clean up your health and beauty products, as well as your cleaning supplies. The chemicals in lotions, face creams, soaps, antiperspirants, cosmetics and shampoos, get absorbed into the body within minutes of their application. These body care products are filled with a myriad of harmful chemicals. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database is a fantastic resource for you to discover the cleanest/safest products. Like personal care products, household cleaners are also full of harmful ingredients, such as chlorinated phenols (toilet bowl cleaners and disinfectants), diethylene glycol (window cleaners), nonylphenol ethoxylate (laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners), and petroleum solvents (floor cleaners). There are a lot of excellent and affordable natural cleaners available, and many are also easy to make, with safe recipes for you to create at home.
4. Breathe clean air in your home. Taking measures to reduce your indoor air pollution is key. Common harmful culprits include tobacco smoke, mold, smoke from wood fireplaces, and fumes from furnishings and paint, building materials, bedding and carpets. Installing a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter in your home and changing the filter regularly is recommended. Another great way to detox the air in your house is to fill it with air purifying plants. English Ivy, spider plants, aloe vera plants and snake plants are just a few that are easy to take care of and that help get rid of germs, dust and airborne toxins.
5. Healthy habits. Regularly eat dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family) to help promote liver detoxification. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet or taking a fiber supplement such as psyllium, helps to absorb toxins being excreted by your liver. In addition, consider getting massages, and sweating from vigorous exercise or from a sauna as much as possible.
Photo from here, with thanks.