We live in a toxic world, this fact is unquestionable, our daily exposure to toxins, carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and harmful chemicals is phenomenal in comparison to a decade ago. It is estimated that before you are even born, it is possible that you could have been exposed to up to 350 different man-made toxins via the placenta.
WHAT ARE TOXINS?
There are two separate categories of Toxins, Endogenous, which are internal and Environmental, which are external. Environmental toxins come from foods we eat, liquids we drink, cosmetics we use on our skin, household cleaners, smoking, drugs, heavy metals and pollution. Endogenous toxins are internal and are produced inside the body; these include chemicals created by the bacteria within the digestive tract, undigested foods, metabolic processes, hormones and toxic thoughts and emotions.
Though we are now living longer than ever, we are certainly not healthier than ever. Health concerns are on the rise, these include: Diabetes, Hypertension, Allergies, Asthma, Heart Disease, Hormonal disorders, Obesity, Cancer, Infertility, and Auto Immune diseases. Its almost as if these diseases have been accepted as lifestyle or age related and are inevitable but there is nothing normal about disease.
Most people are aware that ‘we are what we eat’, literally, as our body can only regenerate and rebuild itself on a cellular level with the quality of fuel that it is provided but it goes much further than just the food and liquid we devour, it’s the products we use on our skin, the pharmaceutical drugs we ingest, the products we use for cleaning the house and the environmental toxins we breath in.
Though chemicals are tested for safety, it is impossible to test every potential combination, for example, an individual shampoo might be approved as ‘safe’ but what happens when you mix the chemicals in the shampoo with the chemicals in your shower gel, or toothpaste or body lotion or shaving cream?
To cover every chemical or toxin I would need to write a book, so the objective of this article is to address the top ten toxins that we encounter on a regular basis.
10 Toxins to look out for:
Genetically Modified (GM) Foods: Always check labels to spot GM foods and ingredients. Genetically modified crops are altered so they can grow larger and quicker, be perfect in shape, size and colour and be herbicide resistant. This means farmers can spray large quantities of herbicides and insecticides onto the crops to kill the weeds and insects without damaging the crop. These herbicides have been linked to allergies, respiratory problems, chronic diseases and neurological problems. The best way to avoid GM foods is to choose organic or home grown produce and avoid pre-packaged vegetables brought in large supermarket chains.
Sugar Free food and drinks: Often contain Aspartame which breaks down into carcinogenic formaldehyde which is actually a neurotoxin that can damage the brain. Safer sweeteners would include: Honey, Stevia, Algave or Xylitol. Soft drinks often also contain caffeine that can significantly weaken the immune system and leach nutrients from the body.
Non Organic Meat: If you are a meat eater, then you are also eating what the animal has previously ingested prior to being slaughtered. Industrialised meat production has resulted in animals no longer eating natural foods compatible to their species, commercial animal feeds can include genetically modified corn and soya bean meal, rendered meats, bone and slaughter house offcuts, growth enhancers, antibiotics and anti-microbial drugs. If you’re a meat eater, try to find grass fed organic meat.
Prepackaged Salad: Often pre-washed in Chlorine solution that is up to 20 times more concentrated than a swimming pool, it has been linked to liver damage, neurological problems and heart damage. Fresh organic vegetables rinsed in water with a few drops of grapeseed extract would be a much better alternative.
Toothpaste: Avoid Fluoride toothpaste, it has been shown to breakdown skin collagen, muscles, bones, lungs, ligaments, tendons and other areas, use a herbal based toothpaste instead.
Deodorant: Often contains a range of solvents, preservatives, moisturisers, synthetic perfumes and parabens. Paraben’s are Oestrogen mimics and can actually stimulate the growth of breast tumors, especially when applied directly into the tissues under the armpits. Try a natural antiperspirant or a natural mineral rock crystal.
Face creams: Facial skin is much thinner than any other area and can absorb toxins at a much faster rate. Face creams can contain carcinogens, solvents, oestrogenic preservatives, nitrosamines and many other toxic substances that can actually cause a gradual aging and deterioration of the skin. Natural vegetable oils derived from avocado, coconut, olive, cucumber or almond can be great for the skin and leave you with a radiant complexion.
Make Up: Often worn for many hours throughout the day, make-up can contain mineral oils, preservatives, parabens, mutagens, carcinogens, plasticisers, surfactants and heavy metals. These chemicals can have an adverse effect on hormone balance, damage collagen and skin cells, speed up the aging process and can lead to chronic disease and toxicity. Always check the ingredients on the labels when buying products, choose products with less colour, avoid scented or perfumed products and look for organic ingredients. The best thing you can do for your skin is to drink plenty of purified water.
All purpose Cleaners: often contains a combination of solvents, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants and synthetic detergents that can be corrosive and abrasive to the lungs and digestive tract. Household chemicals are largely to blame for allergies and respiratory problems, a safer alternative would be to use the old fashioned blend of white vinegar, hot water and sodium carbonate mixed in a spray bottle.
Pet Food: We all love our animals and often splash out on expensive brands of pet food but unfortunately commercial pet foods contain grain wastes, meat byproducts from slaughterhouses such as pus, tumors, intestines, rejected scraps, substandard proteins, rancid fats, salt, sugar, preservatives and humectants. Animals can digest uncooked foods and we respond well to a balanced diet of fresh cut meats, fish and vegetables.
To avoid all toxins would be impossible and cause a lot of stress but we can take small steps daily to reduce our exposure in key areas. Drinking plenty of water to flush the body of toxins and regular cleansing and detoxification programs can be extremely beneficial at removing accumulated toxins from the major organs, blood, Lymph and intestinal tract.
To learn more about the everyday toxins that we are exposed to, I recommend reading What’s in this stuff? Written by Pat Thomas and for more information related to detoxification, please visit www.amitywellness.com