I know we’ve all heard so much about diet, organic food, GMO’s and such and how to detox our diet and heal from the inside out. I’m all about a healthy diet and continue to stay informed on the latest research. There is no denying that fresh, organic, whole foods are best; whether that be paleo based (with non factory farmed meat), vegetarian based or vegan based. We all have different blood types, ancestry and DNA that determines what foods we thrive on and we all have to do our own research, trial and error to figure out what is best for us as individuals.
However, we can eat all the healthy food we want; if we don’t clean out the toxins we are putting ON our body, near our body and breathing, what good is the right diet? Sometimes detoxing and healing DOES happen from the outside in. Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your entire body? More importantly, what you put on it, and what you breathe go directly into the bloodstream without the benefit of filtration from digestion. The whole notion of “for external use only” is such an alarming contradiction and should be seriously considered. In other words, if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t go ON (or near) your body, because it will end up IN your body.
From a spiritual perspective, to awaken the wild wisdom that is our truth and unleash our inner Shaman’s dream into our every day life, we have to go back to nature. Nature holds the key to our wellness, not only from an emotional and mental metaphor, but also in physical form. Our wise inner shaman cannot thrive in a toxin-laden environment. In order to flourish we must be willing to take even the tiniest of steps towards clearing out what holds us back. For now, our food, water, and the air we breathe are being threatened. But we can make a difference; we still own our personal power.
What is of additional concern is body burden. We all have different levels of sensitivity, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Many children are being born today with their poor little bodies already so chemically sensitive. Then there are those of us that grew up on Lysol, bleach and Windex and all kinds of things we consider toxic today, and we are fine. But at some point, those toxins build up. It may or may not build up to a point of disease for you, but it may have already impacted your children before you were even aware it could. And the truth is, just because you are healthy now, does not ensure you will always be. If we continue with the onslaught of chemicals everywhere, it will take its toll. In fact, much of the suffering that happens from illness or health issues is connected to body burden – the build up of chemical toxicity in the body. One example is the suffering some women experience at menopause. This need not be a time of discomfort if our endocrine system is well supported. But the very chemicals I propose everyone begin to take notice of and weed out of their environment are the very perpetrators known as “endocrine disruptors.”
Hormone imbalance is a huge issue with many Western women today. The problem is, many of us are uninformed on how the hormonal system in our bodies works. And unfortunately, our doctors are not always straightforward with the info. We are all familiar with the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and such. And there seems to be a huge focus on only getting these into balance. But the whole body is connected and designed to work congruently and in fact, there are other, more influential hormones that regulate those sex hormones that we need to be equally, if not more considerate of. It is the entire endocrine system as a whole that requires harmony for us to be healthy and feel good and produce all the right levels of hormones. Therefore, endocrine disruptors are no joke and something we need to recognize and remove from our environment.
Our lives have become so incredibly busy that whatever is quick, easy and familiar is what is often most desired. And this is where the danger lies, because most of the time, whatever is quick, easy and familiar is also toxic and harmful. I get it. We are all busy. But the decisions we make now about our health and the health of our family directly affect the health of our future. If we want a lifetime free of disease and health issues we have to get our priorities straight. But I have good news! The changes I propose are not only easy and non time consuming, but usually less expensive than what is quick, easy and familiar.
Now, I don’t want to overwhelm you. If this is all new, I know how overwhelming it can be. So we are going to take it slow and easy – baby steps. Therefore, I’m dividing this article into two. This is part one and part II will be out next Wednesday. That way you have some time to digest it all and maybe begin to incorporate some of the changes into your life. Hey, it’s only five! So here is the first five of my list of the top ten easy changes you can make to detox your environment. And the best news of all…none of it requires colonics (yikes!) or going on some master cleanse and denying yourself the joy of eating. If you’re into those things, that’s cool, but I prefer a more nurturing approach to healing. And, you might save a few bucks in the process!
1. Deodorant – Oh how toxic this little social norm is! Aluminum, which is linked to breast cancer, is one of the main concerns with deodorant, but there is so much more. It is a toxic cocktail full of endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and carcinogens (parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, among others). Now, the purpose of this article is not so much to describe WHY these chemicals are so toxic. Much of this info is widely known and can be easily researched. I will provide some resources and links in part II of this article, which will be out next Wednesday. My goal is to provide you with alternatives.
There are many “natural” deodorants on the market today. You have to read labels though; some aren’t as natural as they tout. Frankly, I’ve tried many and wasn’t impressed. For a while I used plain baking soda. I just dusted it under my arms with a makeup brush. It worked well but then I began noticing a red rash. It didn’t hurt, but wasn’t very attractive. But that was just me. Many swear by baking soda. Then I tried cornstarch. Well, it helped to keep me dry, but did nothing for odor. There are a slew of recipes on the internet to make your own deodorant, but it involves melting down products. Maybe at some point I’ll dive further into that, but I have found an easier solution.
Somewhere I read about using plain old rubbing alcohol. Eesh, I shave my pits every day and that sounded painful. But, I tried it. I use a spray bottle full of alcohol and essential oils in place of Lysol, so I sprayed a little on my hand first then wiped it under my arm. There was maybe a slight sting at first, very slight. Then when it dries I dab a little cornstarch. Dang if it doesn’t work!
Now, I need to be straight up honest here, it only works for the day. And, if you’re a stinky gal or guy, you might need to reapply during the day. No big deal though. Anyone can carry a little spray bottle full of alcohol around and reapply. By the next morning, especially after my run, it’s bum status here. And I have to wash my workout clothes more often for sure. But it is all worth it to avoid chemicals.
Also, if you sweat a lot, it doesn’t keep you from sweating completely. It just kills the stinky germs. Sweating is good though and why the heck are we plugging up the glands that detox our body?
- Toothpaste – Another chemical laden hygiene product. The most dangerous of all, fluoride. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists fluoride among about 100 chemicals for which there is “substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” It is in our water and other products, so avoiding toothpaste as one way at least that helps reduce exposure. There are natural, fluoride free toothpastes on the market. Sometimes I use Tom’s when I get lazy. But I also make my own by warming up a little coconut oil so it’s liquid (just run it under warm water with the cap on) and then in a little jar I mix the coconut oil with baking soda and peppermint essential oil. I also rinse with hydrogen peroxide before each brushing for whiteness. You might need to play with the portions of each until you get a consistency you like. I like it real gritty, with lots of peppermint. The combination doesn’t need to be refrigerated or anything, just keep it where you would keep your toothpaste. It lasts weeks. If making your own products is totally new to you, the texture and taste might take a little getting used to. We are so conditioned by commercial products. But your body will thank you with a long life of good health.
- Air Freshener – We live in a culture obsessed with smelling good. While no one likes bad odors, fake, chemical laden smells are actually toxic! A 2007 study by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) found a variety of harmful chemicals in air fresheners including formaldehyde and phthalates, which are connected to developmental and reproductive problems. A fantastic alternative is essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Pick your favorite ones. I like lemon and eucalyptus. Depending on the size of your spray bottle and how much water you use, you can simply pour several drops of your favorite essential oil into the bottle filled with warm water, which helps activate the oils, then spray! You don’t need to warm up the water each time you spray. So ditch that Fabreeze and Lysol!
- Household Cleaners – If toothpaste, deodorant, and air fresheners are full of chemicals, imagine the level of toxins in what you are using to clean with! Seriously, just look at the warnings. If you have to call poison control from exposure to your household cleaner how can it be safe? Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns while others are associated with chronic or long term effects such as cancer. I have always been sensitive to chemicals, especially in cleaners and switched to plain white vinegar many years ago after getting sick every time I cleaned. Did you know that white vinegar is a natural antibacterial? Studies have shown that vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold and 80 percent of germs (viruses) according to the Heinz Company. In fact, you can clean your entire home with three natural ingredients – Vinegar, Peroxide and Baking Soda! You can mix them or use them separately. Peroxide and Baking Soda are great in the laundry for whitening. They clean tile grout, toilets, even carpets, and so much more. Between these three super powers I was able to get red wine out of white carpet. And let me assure you, the vinegar smell does not linger. After a few minutes the smell of vinegar dissipates. If it is really bothersome, you can always dilute the vinegar in water and add some essential oils for scent.
- Fabric Softener – Here we go again with our obsession with things smelling good…artificially! Fabric Softener is a major endocrine disruptor and contains a wealth of other dangerous chemicals that are linked to upper respiratory problems and even cancer. Ditch it and all the health problems that go along with it and switch to white vinegar! Yes, vinegar to the rescue again. Put it in the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine and it will wonderfully soften your clothes as well as ad some extra cleaning power. I also pour it directly into the wash. And again, no, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar. It dissipates. If you want to add scent to your clothes, dab a little essential oil on a wash cloth and toss it in the dryer.
Do you know how much I pay for vinegar? I get a gallon jug with each shopping trip for about two bucks. That gallon of vinegar cleans my house (great on windows by the way), my laundry, disinfects and I even use it as a weed killer. Now compare that to the cost of all the products consumers buy for all the jobs I give to vinegar. Quite the savings, not just economically but on my health and the healthy of my family and pets.
One last word on endocrine disruptors, also known as xenohormones…they destroy your reproductive system! Your reproductive system is not just for making babies; it affects your overall health. A slew of female reproductive disorders including difficult periods, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, PCOS and infertility have all been linked to endocrine disrupting xenohormones. There is study after study from a variety of reputable sources linking the toxic chemicals in the above mentioned items to endocrine disruptors that are wreaking havoc on the endocrine system from the Pituitary gland to the Adrenals and Thyroid. Don’t take my word for it, one little Google search will reveal a wealth of information.
Change doesn’t happen over night. The first step is awareness. Then, make small moves towards detoxing your environment. Connect with other people who are on the same path and support each other. You know the old saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I interpret that to mean that when we are on a quest for spiritual awareness and creating a pathway of wisdom that creates harmony in our lives, we can’t ignore the body. The cleaner our bodies (from toxins), the more enjoyable our lives are and the more capable we are of living our purpose.
Stay tuned next week for the next five items that can be easily switched along with some valuable resources to help you stay in the know. For now, let it sink in and ponder