Toxins are all around us. In the air, in our food, in most products we use on and around our bodies, and pretty much everywhere else. We have created hundreds-of-thousands of synthetic chemicals in short period of time, and many of these are toxins. We have not yet evolved to cope with this chemical burden. We must do our best to avoid them when we can, and improve our elimination of them when exposed.
When we are healthy, these toxins are naturally more easily eliminated from our body (although they do slowly accumulate). When we are sick, highly stressed or otherwise compromised the body is unable to eliminate these chemicals, and we sustain damage at a cellular level.
Though it seems obvious, taking care of ourselves means taking care of our environment, and by taking care of ourselves we incidentally reduce our burden on the environment. We buy products that won’t pollute our waters and landfills, we eat locally and reduce the fossil fuel cost of food, we spend more time in nature and connect more deeply with our ecosystem.
Living a low toxicity life is essential for all those wishing to live a truly healthy life.
Steps we take towards cleaning up:
- Awareness: we choose to make informed decisions about what we are putting on and in our bodies. We read labels, we ask vendors, and we look things up!
- Avoidance: the next step is to put in the effort to find a better alternative to products containing toxins.
- Elimination: we also need to purge our home of toxin containing items.
- Acceptance: we do our best, but it will be impossible to completely live without toxins, so once we’ve cleaned up as best as we can, we accept that chemicals are around us, and we’ll incorporate regular detoxification practices to reduce the toxic burden on our organs.
Most homes have poorer air quality than most factories. This is because of three reasons:
1: dust (which can contain toxic chemicals)
2: the large amount of synthetic materials we have in our houses which give off tiny amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s or toxic gas) and,
3: poor ventilation in getting dust and VOC’s out of the house.
- Open your windows LOTS. At home, in the car, and at work. Indoor environments have way more airborne pollutants than outdoor air. This is usually from byproducts of “stuff” we bring into them, as well as from building materials.
- Look into an IQ air filter for the bedroom (the dustiest place in the house). Most airborne chemicals are actually floating around attached to dust particles. Eliminate the dust particles and you significantly reduce your exposure.
- Wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly.
- Vacuum instead of sweep, and make sure your vacuum has a Hepa filter.
- Get your air ducts cleaned, and install pleated electrostatic air filters.
- Eliminate plastic food containers from your life, including water bottles and plastic wrap, and teflon too
- Choose glass or stainless steel and cast iron instead
- Reverse osmosis filter at home. Cost = $250
- Microwaves reduce nutrient intake, heat up in the toaster oven or stovetop instead – DEFINITELY NEVER MICROWAVE IN PLASTIC!!!
- Eliminate vinyl (a carcinogen and associated with birth defects) from your home as much as possible. Opt for cloth instead of vinyl shower curtain.
- Get any carpet out of your home. A natural fiber rug that can be hung outside to air out periodically is fine.
- Carpets are either synthetic, or have been treated to make them more hard wearing and so give off large amounts of VOC’s (this also applies to their underlay or rubber backing).
- Get indoor plants – these are good at taking the toxic chemicals out of your air and replacing them with oxygen.
Furniture is actually quite toxic. They are coated in fire retardants and are often made of chemical product that off-gas toxins. We can’t replace all of our furniture, but new items can be purchased from shops that have stopped application of fire retardants.
- Buy furniture that is made out of natural materials if you can. Plastic gives off a high rate of VOC’s and should be avoided if possible. Wood, wool and leather are good.
- Mattress options:
- For your towels, curtains, sheets, etc., use natural fibres. This is worth it, particularly with your bedding and pillows as you spend so much of your time wrapped up in it.
Get rid of your toxic cleaning products. All of them. There are many homemade options or store bought earth-friendly ones too. Cleaning products are not required to list the ingredients in Canada, so even if it’s says bio/eco/ or whatever, we still have no idea what’s in there, and what harm it can do to us over time.
- “Elbow grease” (muscle power)
- Baking soda – great for absorbing smells and is good in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Vinegar – good for polishing glass, tiles, metal, mirrors, ceramic surfaces and floors. It is also a good if you have burned on cooking stains on your stainless steel cookware, soak them with vinegar for several hours, then scrub.
- Lemon juice mixed with table or sea salt makes a good abrasive scrub for chopping boards and other rugged surfaces.
- Eucalyptus Oil – removes stains and grease, is a mild antiseptic and an insect repellent
- Cleaners made from citrus fruits (Orange and Lemon). These work really well for stubborn stains.
- Borax (use this sparingly) – is a mildly abrasive cleaner, a water softener and an insect repellent.
- Raw sea salt – a great bleach and stain remover.
- There are a large number of microfibre cloths available now that clean very well without harsh chemicals. They are especially good for cleaning bathrooms, timber floors and dusting (which is very helpful for asthmatics and those with a dust allergy).
- Avoid bleach at all costs, it is very neuro-toxic.
- Dust more often, using a micro fibre cloth. Keep two or three cloths discretely stored around the house so you can whisk dust away before it accumulates. It is easier to dust one room while you’re there than to tackle a whole house once or twice a week.
- A real bonus in cleaning your home in this way is that you will spend a lot less on cleaning products.
- No chemical air freshners! Use aromatic essential oils instead.
Instead of looking for a healthier version of a personal care product, consider not using it at all anymore. You don’t need makeup, perfumes or anything else to shine yourself up. Nourish from the inside out. You’re clean and beautiful just as you are ☺
- Get rid of anything that you don’t feel good about after looking it up on the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database.
- Opt for buffed nails instead of polish.
- Opt for coconut oil instead of moisturizers with two paragraphs of ingredients. Even the ones that imply healthy usually aren’t.
- No chemical hair removal.
- Only use natural deodorant. Showering with a strong tea tree soap will help kill the bacteria that cause stinky pits, thereby allowing a natural deodorant to do the trick.
- Use natural toothpaste, and make sure you have wax coated dental floss (the fancier kinds can be coated with teflon).
- Instead of mouthwash, do coconut oil pulling with a drop of antibacterial clove oil. Not only does it kill bacteria and freshen your breath, but it also nourishes your gums and can reverse receeding gums.
- Coconut oil pulling: 1 tbsp + 1 drop clove oil for 10-20 mins daily (spit out, don’t swallow), following thorough brushing (3 mins) and flossing
GARDENING – Be careful not to expose yourself to toxic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in the garden.
WORK – Do what you can to protect yourself from obvious chemicals in the workplace, and get fresh air as much as possible.
CAR – Open the windows LOTS! Car interiors have some of the highest levels of inhaled chemicals.
Research about EM frequency radiation is scarce, but better to be safe than sorry later on. There’s no harm in adopting some electromagnetic hygiene practices around the house —
- Put all electronics (especially wifi router) on timer/power bar that you can turn off when not in use
- Use headphones when talking on cellphone
- If you use your phone as an alarm, turn it on airplane mode at night
Small steps really add up. It might be hard to drastically overhaul your routines all at once, so instead pop some of these toxin hygiene practices into your calendar a month apart. There’s no rush to get started, but the sooner you’re living a toxin-reduced lifestyle, the longer the compounding benefit! And don’t forget do see your Naturopathic Doctor about your semi-annual cleansing program to clear your detox pathways, in order to better remove toxins that have already accumulated, and those that are unavoidable.