In the last blog we discussed the importance of detoxification and how we could support our bodies to “detoxify” from the chemicals that we are exposed to. It is literally impossible for anyone on our planet to avoid toxins because our ocean and wind currents carry toxins to the farthest reaches of our world. The level of toxic cbemicals in the native peoples of the pristine arctic circle, for example, are so extreme that their future fertility is threatened. They dine on sea life that has consumed toxins carried to the arctic from the United States and other countries. We are exposed to plenty of toxins in our own environment and the most important steps we can take are to enhance our own health and well-being so that our bodies can deal with their “toxic load.”
There are also some simple common sense steps that we can all take to limit our (and the earth’s!) toxic load. Here are some tips that will help you avoid the most toxic of every day chemicals:
Get rid of Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene, non-stick) pans.
Avoid plastic bottles made of polycarbonate (#7, which contains BPA).
Do not eat or drink items heated in plastic.
Use metal, ceramic, or glass containers, especially for hot and acidic foods.
Substitute nontoxic alternatives for chemical pesticides for home and garden.
Select “green cleaners” rather than toxic cleaning agents.
Don’t forget that the skin also takes in toxins and purchase bath and beauty products that are free of:
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Triclosan (antimicrobial soaps)
Use www.cosmeticsdatabase.com, www.safecosmetics.org to get more information on safe products.
Avoid PVC (vinyl) products.
Choose “green” paints, finishes, structural materials and insulation for any remodeling projects.
Choose fish that are not carrying high levels of mercury and are not endangered (www.seafoodwatch.org). If the whole fish fits on your plate, mercury is likely not a problem.
Eat organic meat, milk, and egg products. This is even more important than eating organic produce, as the animals concentrate the fat-soluble toxins of all the grains that they eat into their flesh and only release them into their milk or eggs, making milk, meat and eggs potentially the highest source of pesticides in the diet. It is also important to avoid bovine growth hormone (banned in Europe), which is given to cows to increase milk production. Its effects on humans are unclear, but concerning.
Eat primarily organic produce (www.foodnews.org). This list helps you choose the foods that are MOST important to buy organic since they have the highest concentration of pesticides. Remember to talk to your farmer’s market vendors, as many local farmers may not be certified organic, but still may not use spray pesticides on their produce.
Highest Pesticide Content (listed worst to best)
Lowest in Pesticides (listed best to worst)
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
And, as I always like to say to my patients, take baby steps! Adding one item at a time is a fine way to start. And don’t obsess! It’s bad for you health!