0009 - Detox your life
We can no longer ignore the fact that we live in a toxic world. Humans release more than 250 billion tons of chemical substances every year, which is harming life everywhere on the planet. We are all exposed to these substances, most of which have never been screened for human health safety.
The World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 1 in 4 of total deaths is due to diseases caused by air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures and other unhealthy environmental factors.
Industrial toxins are found everywhere: in our air, our water, our food, our cosmetics and cleaning products, our furniture, our cars, our clothes, in credit card receipts, magazines, in our dental fillings, our blood and in mothers' milk. They have been detected at the top of Mount Everest, in the oceans and on the most remote islands.
Newborns begin life with 70% of the toxic chemicals tested by the Environmental Working Group in 2005, including 180 chemicals known to cause cancer. And adults have on average 700 known toxins in their body.
Medical science is increasingly linking obesity, cancers, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, brain and neuro-degenerative disorders (autism, ADHD, depression, dementia...), as well as gut issues, allergies, fatigue, skin issues, mood issues, migraines, infertility and chronic pain to the growing volume of toxic substances we are exposed to daily.
But there are actions that YOU can take today to protect yourself and your families.
Purify your water
In many countries, tap water has added fluoride to "prevent tooth decay". But fluoride is not essential for our teeth (we need calcium, a healthy diet and good oral hygiene) and it can be toxic to the nervous system and can contribute to autoimmune thyroid disease.
Some of the other most common toxic substances in our water include chlorine, bromine, aluminium, arsenic, nitrate and nitrite, microbes and even micro-plastics. Not feeling so thirsty anymore!
The best you can do is to install a reverse osmosis system in your kitchen to clean your water from the chemicals, heavy metals, parasites and bacteria. Reverse osmosis is better than a carbon system to get rid of heavy metals and to remove fluoride.
If you cannot install reverse osmosis, buy good mineral water in glass bottles and use clean filtered water to rinse your food and to cook. Note that the Brita system that uses activated charcoal will help with some bacteria but will not remove the chemicals and heavy metals.
Be mindful of steaming water and open the windows to avoid chlorine vapor.
If you like to relax in a hot bath, you can reduce the chlorine contents by adding a few tablespoons of baking soda and apple cider vinegar (and a few drops of essential oils for their beautiful aroma and additional relaxation benefits).
Freshen your air
Open your windows as often as possible to get rid of toxins and pollution.
If you live in a polluted area, consider installing air filters, at least in the rooms where you spend most of your time (bedroom, home office).
Buy plants: they are natural air purifiers. 1 plant per 100 ft2 / 10 m2 is optimal and your interior will look great.
Clean your food
Pesticides containing glyphosate (the active ingredient of RoundUp), BT toxins and other harmful compounds are sprayed on most crops around the world and have numerous toxic effects: they can destroy our gut bacteria, damage our brain and connective tissues, cause inflammation, respiratory diseases and could also be linked to reduced IQ, Parkinson's, infertility, autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and behavioural issues.
Hormones, antibiotics and other harmful substances (arsenic in chickens) are given to conventionally farmed animals to make them grow faster and fatter.
The best thing you can do to avoid these toxins is to buy organic vegetables, grass-fed / pasture-raised organic meat (and eggs) and wild-caught fish.
Always wash and scrub your fruits and vegetables, even if they are organic. If you want to remove even more pesticides, you can soak them in salted water or baking soda (1% dilution) for a few minutes.
Some fruits and vegetables have more pesticide residues than others. You can refer to the "dirty dozen" and the "clean 15" lists published by the Environmental Working Group ("EWG"). It is even more important to buy organic, clean, peal, blanch or boil the fruits and vegetables of the dirty dozen.
The dirty dozen can be found here: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
The clean 15 can be found here: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, sweet peas, onions, papayas, eggplants, asparagus, kiwis, cabbages, cauliflower, cantaloupes / rock melon, broccoli, mushrooms and honeydew melons.
Avoid processed foods that contain preservatives, dies and other man-made chemicals.
Avoid conventionally-raised chickens and rice (brown rice especially) that contain arsenic.
Avoid larger fish that contain more mercury, such as shark (often used in fish and chips!), swordfish, large tunas, large mackerels, tile-fish, marlins...
Use your own ceramic or stainless steel cup when buying take-away coffee as the steaming liquid will leach chemicals from the lid into your coffee.
Swap your cosmetics and cleaning products
Replace cosmetics and cleaning products by organic versions, without parabens, SLS, DEA, fragrance / parfum and all the other harmful chemicals.
You can check the toxicity of cosmetics and household products, ingredients or food on the Environmental Working Group website, here and here. There are now also many useful apps for your phone such as www.thinkdirtyapp.com/ or Yuka - Scan de produits in France.
So, the next time you buy toothpaste, shampoo, cream, deodorant, perfume, sunscreen, cleaning products... buy an organic chemical-free version.
If you don't know what to buy, you can refer to EWG No. 1 or A-rated products or to the products recommended in one of the apps. Do your own search, there are more and more small local companies that proudly sell non-toxic cosmetics. They deserve to be supported.
Don’t keep cleaning products inside your home as they off-gas even if when not opened. Keep them in the garage or in a cupboard outside if you can.
Try making your own cosmetics and cleaning products with essential oils. It is easy, fun and you will love the natural aromas of the oils. My favourite sites for recipes are naturallivingfamily.com/, wellnessmama.com/ and draxe.com/.
Keep plastic out of the kitchen!
Use glass or metal (stainless steel) bottles and containers rather than plastic. Anything stored in plastic is an issue as it leaks even when it is not heated.
Use stainless steel, glass, non-coated ceramic or titanium cookware. Non-stick Teflon, enamel coating and glaze coating leaks petro-chemical or heavy metals in the food.
NEVER use ANY plastic in the microwave. NEVER!
When using a gas stove, put the fan on and open the window to disperse nitrogen dioxide and other toxic fumes.
What about clothes, linen, furniture and toys?
Buy organic cotton to avoid pesticides.
Try buying clothes that do not use flame retardants (especially for kids).
Look for non-toxic furniture and mattresses.
Replace carpets by timber floors, natural wool carpets or rugs.
Avoid plastic toys for kids, even those that are BPA-free, as there are many other forms of toxic plastics. Look for organic or wooden toys instead.
Leave your shoes at the door as they can bring in pesticides and toxins.
Protect yourself from Electro-Magnetic Fields ("EMF")
Put your phone on airplane mode at night and a few feet / 1m away from your head.
NEVER put your phone close to your head and use the speaker or a wired headset when calling.
Turn-off the Wi-Fi at night (use a timer) and place the router away from the rooms where you spend most of your time. The garage or a guest room are better options.
Protect sleeping areas. Keep devices away from bedrooms at night. Do not allow your kids to keep their phone under the pillow or anywhere close to their body!!
Place baby-monitors as far away as possible from your baby. Using sound-only monitors will also greatly reduce EMF.
Use a shielded case for mobile phones and tablets.
Do not put your laptop directly on your lap.
Hardwire your computer, keyboard, mouse and other devices when possible.
More tips to reduce your toxic load
Do regular saunas to sweat out the toxins.
Spend as much time as possible barefoot walking on the grass or the ground outside. Take your shoes off at home if you live on the ground floor and have conductive flooring. This is called grounding and helps eliminate dirty electricity. Direct contact with the surface of the earth allows electrons to penetrate into the body, which neutralises oxidative stress (free radicals) and decreases the excess voltage created by EMF.
Consume foods that will help you detox, such as coriander, parsley, Mediterranean herbs, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts...), curcumin, garlic, onions, berries, eggplants, spices (clove, cinnamon, allspice...), milk thistle, peppermint, green tea and coffee, dandelion, ginger...
Whilst it is impossible to completely avoid environmental toxins, we should all make a real effort to limit our exposure to the toxins we CAN control. Better safe than sorry!