Spring cleaning is just around the corner! Or as some would say, spring cleansing. Oh my word. My nightmare is this: patients who have the motivation and brains to get moving on a healthy path and way of eating, but are completely misdirected into the dangerous realm of explosive herbal preparations (imagery? Yuck.), colon cleanses, and liver detoxes. There are indeed gentle ways of helping the liver using select foods and herbal supplements to support the liver do what it's already more than capable of doing. The alternative may end you up in the hospital in life-threatening conditions. The fact of the matter is, our bodies can't detoxify themselves completely. For example, even when we are demanded to release fat-stored toxins by actually burning through our fat stores, the effects of the freely circulating toxins may wreak havoc on the body, and some molecules cannot be eliminated as quickly as they are released. Also, even if you are conscious of all the points mentioned below, you'll probably still have toxins circulating through or stored by your body.
So. Let's take a harm-reduction strategy.
I promote disease prevention through foods all the time, but I thought I'd address some lesser known toxins that we encounter every day. The most commonly found toxins that affect us are bisphenol-A (BPA), heavy metals, PCBs, and pesticides. Here are my top five ways to remove potential carcinogens, hormone disruptors, disrupted hormones, and chemical or hormonal potentiation of chronic disease.
Use less plastic.
Do not, do not, do not, use plain water bottles. BPA-free plastic containers and BPA-free water bottles should be number one on your shopping list if you don't already possess or use them. Consider the tons of plastic waste, wraps, and bottles from the foods and beverages cleaned out by customers at just one grocery store in a year, let alone the entire globe! Some plastics containing the recyclable label 3 and 7 contain BPA. Canned foods are also sometimes lined with BPA-containing resin, so try cooking fresh or from scratch.
While we're at it, go bagless and receipt-less at the grocery store. Credit card receipts contain bisphenol-A - which is numerous in other products - but this is one item you might touch daily. If you must work with receipts, try to use gloves.
If you must use plastic containers, avoid putting them in the dishwasher or heating them in the microwave. The plastic may break down over time and leach into foods. Click here for beautiful, biodegradable beeswax cling wrap, or here for trendy ocean blue BPA-free glass food storage containers, or here for reusable sandwich and snack bags.
Search your beauty products.
This one's not just for the ladies. Listen here to a snippet about the latest on aluminum-containing antiperspirants. You can then further review the things that you apply daily and weekly to your skin or rinse in your mouth. Look beyond the claims touting products as "natural" and "organic", and screen the labels for any POSSIBLE hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic chemicals, such as those listed here, to help not only yourself, but the wildlife of planet Earth. Watch out also for hair dyes - every time you have your hair lightened or bleached, you're infusing your scalp with a hefty dose of ammonia. Best to have a low-maintenance 'do if anything! (I fail tremendously here with my hair-dye habits, but I'll work on it!)
Eliminate body negativity.
Stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) are certainly linked to a depressed function of the immune system, which then leads your body to be less able to fend off illness and chronic health issues. One significant source of stress in a lot of people I meet and work with is their struggle with body image.
Your journey to health is not going to last you until next week, next month, or likely even next year. It's going to last your entire life, and therefore there isn't a reason in the world that we should give ourselves permission to sit comfortably in a state of body negativity. Take every day as an opportunity to bless yourself and others with that irresistible kind of joy that radiates from people who accept and love who they are. Stop trying to "punish" yourself with a workout after eating treat foods. Instead, reward your heart, lungs, and brain for working so hard all day for you with cardiovascular care in the form of exercise. Then, fuel appropriately so that your muscles and blood vessels have all the tools they need to rebuild, maintain, and strengthen your body.
Having trouble with setting goals on your own? Send me a personal message here detailing what you are experiencing and I'll see how I can help. If your stress response runs deeper than just food and body image, perhaps seek out a counsellor or psychiatrist or psychologist in your area to assist you in dealing with the stresses in your life.
Spend time in nature every day.
With spring budding up from the ground and through the trees, what an excellent opportunity to start a healthy habit of making it outside every day. Time spent in nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve brain health, and reduce risk of all-cause mortality (dying early from the most common diseases). It also takes you away from pollution and indoor lighting, exposes your skin to some rays to allow it to synthesize vitamin D, and syncs up your circadian rhythms to help you sleep better as you experience some proper daylight. Whichever time of day you can be most consistent, set yourself up for a stroll by trees or through a ravine. Leave the earbuds at home - and strike up a conversation with the birds (or your neighbour!).
Choose real food first!
One final way to cleanse your life is to use beautiful high nutrient foods and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. I've deciphered all of that for you in my 7-DAY NUTRIENT-RICH RESET ! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive email updates at the bottom of this page so that you can be one of the first to download it for yourself!
And a final note on food: does choosing organic produce matter? See for yourself with this video.