Food Freedom Friday Edition 181 - Reducing Toxins

In today’s world, your body faces many challenges on a daily basis. Your body has detoxification and antioxidant systems in place to eliminate toxins and protect your cells from damage. Your cells know how to clean themselves and remove some effects from daily use and exposure. However, your body needs your support to ensure these processes are efficient and effective. Your body can only take so much abuse before its own cleansing and detoxification pathways become overwhelmed, stressed and function sub optimally.

You are constantly being bombarded with toxins: some that mimic your hormones, which can lead to hormone-related diseases, some that impact cognitive function, which can lead to memory loss and some that cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which can curse you with fatigue, excess belly fat, wrinkles, pain, and so much more!

Furthermore, some of these toxins are fat-soluble. This means they accumulate in your body fat and may be released when you lose weight. This is one of the reasons rapid weight loss can be problematic. You must first prepare your body to efficiently handle these toxins.

Chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies, and sleep deprivation are also commonplace. Each of these pose challenges to your body in many ways. You cannot keep overloading your body with toxins and expect your liver to perform optimally forever. This would be akin to sleeping 3 hours a night and expecting to be bursting with energy each and every day.

Some toxins are the result of normal biological processes. Along with performing daily tasks, cells they generate free radicals. They create waste. They also begin to wear out various cellular components.

If you want to look and feel your best, supporting your detoxification pathways is essential, but not in the way you might think. I rarely (if ever) recommend fasting for weeks, juice cleanses, or harsh colon cleanses. While these may help eliminate toxins and “reset” some of your systems, they are simply not practical, produce very short-term results and are inefficient. Their restrictive nature makes them hard to follow and finish. The benefits are only temporary. Once the “cleanse” is over, things go back to the way they were.

There are many simple practices that provide your body the help it needs on a daily basis to support detoxification, prevent cellular damage and clean up cellular debris. These include hydrating well, getting adequate sleep, moving your body, sweating once in a while and managing your stress levels This in turn will ensure you slim down, age gracefully and live a long, healthy life. To begin, look at reducing your toxic exposure.

Toxins are everywhere. You can find them in the air you breathe, the water you drink, the soil plants grow in, the food you eat, the house cleaners, personal care, skin care, and cosmetics you use to name a few. It is impossible to avoid them completely. Living in fear of toxins is not viable, reducing your exposure to them whenever possible will have a positive impact on your health. Reducing toxic exposure will lower your body’s burden and keep your detoxification systems running smoothly. A few simple steps that can make a big difference.

1.     Invest In A Quality Water Filter.

Filter the water you drink as well as the water you shower or bathe in. Although regulations exist to make sure water is safe to drink, toxins still slip through the cracks. Water is such an important part of your daily life (or at least it should be) and chronic low-dose exposure can be harmful. Some toxins get stuck in fat while others can get lodged in your brain.

Once these toxins reach a certain concentration in your body, you begin to notice symptoms. These symptoms are often age dependant. Prenatal exposure can affect growth and development. Exposure in your adult years may increase your risk for disease or accelerate brain aging and memory loss.

Some of the toxins found regularly in a ‘safe’ water supply include:

·       Lead

·       Copper

·       Aluminium

·       Arsenic

·       Cadmium

·       Pesticides

·       Disinfectants (i.e., chlorine, chloramine, bromine)

·       Acrylamide

·       Bisphenol A (BPA)

Many studies suggest these substances are toxic to the brain. Infertility, cancer, and heart disease have also been associated with water contaminants.

To add to this problem, one chemical might not pose a risk on its own but effects of a combination of these chemicals is not known. Play it safe – it is well worth it!  

2.     Invest In An Air Filter.

Airborne toxins can be an environmental trigger for many conditions that can affect your lungs, skin, brain, heart, eyes, and even your mood.

Rather than remaining indoors (a health hazard in itself), take simple measures, like investing in an air filter, to reduce your exposure instead.

3.     Eat A Diet Rich In Whole Foods

Choose real foods from nature as close to their whole form as possible as opposed to processed and packaged foods because your body is not designed to eat crap. Period.

Processed, man-made, manufactured junk foods have little to no nutritional value. Eating them in excess leads to nutrient deficiencies. Without certain nutrients, your detoxification pathways are depleted and cannot function optimally.

Processed foods are packed with refined grains and sugars, trans fats, and rancid “vegetable” oils as well as artificial flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. This is literally a toxic soup! These toxins cause weight gain, inflammation, dull skin, and ill health.

It’s also worth mentioning that refined grains and sugars promote high blood sugar and elevated insulin levels which, when chronic, are both toxic to your body. They cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Leave the junk food on the grocery store shelf. Stick with pasture-raised meats, poultry and eggs, wild-caught fish, naturally occurring fats, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits. These whole foods are packed with antioxidants which are necessary to prevent cellular damage caused by external and internal toxins.

4.     Limit Pesticide And Herbicide Exposure

Opt for organic foods whenever possible. The harm that can develop from pesticides is dependent on both your level of exposure as well as your current health status. Pesticides can be metabolized and excreted by the body. They can also be stored as or accumulate in fat. Pesticides and herbicides have also been associated with health issues related to your skin, gastrointestinal tract, hormones, reproduction, brain, and respiratory system along with being linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

If your budget is a concern, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen - a list of produce that contains the highest concentration of pesticides. Strawberries, spinach, and kale made the top of the list this year. At bare minimum, sticking to organic varieties of these 12 fruits and vegetables can help.

The EWG also publishes the Clean Fifteen. These foods contain low levels of pesticides and are safest to buy conventionally if necessary. This year’s list includes avocados, sweet corn, and pineapples.

5.     Use Safer Products.

A big problem with skin care and cleaning products is that the exact formula and all the ingredients are not required to be listed on the label. Manufacturers often include “fragrance” in their products. A nice smelling product is appreciated but these “formulas” are often considered proprietary. Only a very select group of scientists know exactly what’s in that “fragrance.”

Many fragrances contain phthalates. These nasty chemicals mess with your hormones! They can then hinder reproduction as well as growth and development. Studies have even linked them to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Avoid perfumes and products with fragrance. This includes air fresheners. Instead, consider diffusing essential oils to freshen the air in your home.

For additional help, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to find safer skin care products and cosmetics as well as their Guide to Healthy Cleaners for the safest cleaning products.

For more information on better personal care products for you and your family, send me a message and let’s chat.

6.     Avoid Storing And Heating Your Food In Plastic. 

Plastic is made from petroleum combined with other chemicals. It is estimated estimated that over 900 chemicals are associated with the making of plastic with 63 of them among some of the most hazardous when it comes to human health.

Bisphenol A (a.k.a. BPA) is a common plastic chemical that you may have heard of (and yes, some plastic products are now made without it). However, there is a myriad of other chemicals to be concerned with including PBT, BHT, BHA, BPS and BPF. Some plastic additives are even made with heavy metals, including mercury and lead.

These chemicals have been shown to leach into food, beverages, and skin care products creating a fast track path into your body.

The safest alternatives are glass, stainless steel, and silicone. This includes buying pantry staples in glass or in bulk with your own bags whenever possible.

7.     Avoid Using Non-Stick And Aluminium Cookware.

Teflon and other similar non-stick coatings are made with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that release toxic fumes when heated. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that a particular PFC, known as PFOA, was likely a human carcinogen. As a result, PFOA was replaced with other chemicals. However, the replacements are suspected to have similar effects.

In addition, at certain temperatures and especially when cooking acidic foods, aluminium has been shown to transfer from cookware to food. Whilst the science is this area is still emerging, elevated levels of aluminium in the brain have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

8.     Limit Your Use Of Alcohol.

This is a no brainer. Alcohol is toxic to your liver - a key player in detoxification. To add fuel to the fire, once you have imbibed in a few too many alcoholic beverages, you are more likely to expose yourself to other toxins.

Stick with a glass of wine or one cocktail here and there and always combine some protein and fat with your alcohol consumption.

Special Mention

The use of too many over the counter (OTC) medications can also be toxic. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are well-known for causing digestive upset and even damaging the lining of your intestines.

In today’s world, you must protect your body from toxins and give your body support to keep it clean and happy.

Although a three-day juice cleanse or fiber overload may sound appealing, gthid is not going to provide any support for your body long term. Reducing toxic exposure and incorporating a few regular health-promoting habits will ensure your detoxification pathways can work for you as they should, leaving you feeling amazing and looking great too.

Michal Ofer