The food we eat is a primary point for toxins to enter the body. That also means there’s a lot you CAN do to set yourself on a path to wellness.
Did you know that tests showed a single sample of conventional strawberries had 13 different pesticide residues? These residues don’t wash off and are linked to lower birth weights, higher rates of autism, and neurological effects. The “Dirty Dozen” are the 12 worst in pesticide residues.
Buy these fruits and veggies ORGANIC when possible.
Sure, the Nutritional Facts panel is nice, but many common packaged foods hide their flaws in the “Ingredients” section including toxic artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Artificial colors (Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1) are hidden in a surprising number of foods including chips, pickles and pizzas. These dyes are allowed by the FDA but have been linked to hyperactivity.
Choose natural foods with clean ingredients to be free of these toxics.
Most canned foods are still lined with a resin that contains the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA. Alternatives including BPS may also be estrogenic.
Better options include glass jars, frozen fruits & veg, and soups in Tetra Paks.
Many forms of food packaging come complete with phthalates, a chemical that makes plastic flexible. Unfortunately, phthalates can leach into food and these toxic chemicals are linked to elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks.
Never microwave foods in plastic and always store foods in glass or ceramic.
Ever heard of “Teflon Flu?” That’s what can happen when non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes at high cooking temperatures.
Safer cookware options include stainless steel, cast iron and ceramic.
Thanks to years of pesticide use and the ability of rice to absorb arsenic as it grows, some varieties of rice can be high in this toxic heavy metal. Basmati rice grown in California tends to be lower in arsenic, as are many other nutritious grains.
Alternative healthy grains include quinoa, buckwheat, millet and barley.
Are you using regular canola oil? Time to stop. This genetically-engineered crop is sprayed with pesticides and then the oil is extracted using hexane, a toxic solvent. Choose organic (no solvents) and expeller-pressed oils.
These oils retain more of the plant's nutritional value and are toxic-free.
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have a bad rap for good reason, however many "natural sweeteners" are also a problem. High fructose corn syrup is a particular concern since it is genetically engineered to withstand high levels of the toxic herbicide glyphosate. Look for stevia as a natural, no calorie sweetener.
Buy stevia processed via water extraction for a toxic-free sweet taste.
Love a tuna sandwich or sushi? These large fish have high mercury levels, which builds up in the body and is a potent neurotoxin. Children should eat tuna no more than once a month, and then choose "light" varieties, sourced with smaller skipjack tuna, which has lower mercury levels.
Healthy low-mercury choices include wild sockeye, pink salmon and sardines.
Small changes to how you hydrate can make a big difference in how you feel. Take these steps to revitalize your energy throughout the day.
Check your city water report. Arsenic, lead, pharmaceutical drugs, and many other toxins can be found in municipal or well water.
Drink pure, filtered water for the best way to hydrate.
Avoid plastic bottles since almost all types can leach chemicals into water, especially if warmed in the sun or left in a warm car. When using water bottles, opt for refillable stainless steel.
Serve any beverage in glass for the safest source.
Most forms of "fruit juice" are little more than sugared water, with a sprinkling of synthetic vitamins. Testing by the USDA showed many apple and grape juices sold contained up to 6 different pesticide residues!
Green juices, made from organic fruits and veggies, are best for health.
Aside from the 10 teaspoons of sugar found in most single serving cans, you'll find synthetic caffeine (made in China) and other chemicals, creating a toxic brew that can even deplete minerals from your body. Diet sodas are bad for your waistline too, since artificial sweeteners can alter gut bacteria to create blood sugar spikes.
Try your own homemade juice, sweetened with fresh fruit.
Our lungs act as air filters for the body. Since we can’t easily clean these toxin trappers it’s best to take preventive steps with the air around you.
Sitting in traffic doesn't just raise stress levels. It exposes you to tiny particulate matter (PM 2.5) from car exhaust. These toxins are small enough to enter the bloodstream, triggering an inflammatory response. This in turn raises your long-term risk of heart attack and stroke.
Stuck in traffic? Switch from air conditioning to air recirculating.
The dangers of smoking are obvious, but second-hand smoke poses big risks too. The toxic heavy metal cadmium is found in tobacco and is released on the exhale of cigarette smoke. Since cadmium accumulates in the kidneys and liver it reduces your body's ability to detoxify.
Avoid all types of smoke to avoid inhaling heavy metals.
About 50% of a "silver" or amalgam filling is toxic mercury, and the FDA acknowledges these fillings release mercury vapor, which is then inhaled. Today, the World Health Organization has urged the phase out of amalgams in dentistry.
Never choose a silver filling, and visit a holistic dentist if one is being removed.
Approximately 47% of the US population lives where air pollution reaches unsafe levels. It's not just unsightly, air pollution has real health risks. Immediate effects include breathing problems and higher rates of asthma.
Avoid areas with high vehicle traffic; diesel-run vehicles pollute the most.
Indoor air quality can actually be much worse than outdoor. That’s because many of the creature comforts we rely on are loaded with chemicals. Follow these guidelines for a healthier home.
Gas cooking is much preferred by chefs and home cooks alike. However, if not vented, natural gas releases toxic fumes into the air in your kitchen. These fumes include the carcinogen formaldehyde.
Make sure your gas stove is fully vented with a range hood when cooking.
Adding a fresh coat of paint is a great way to redecorate, however that "new paint smell" is actually full of volatile organic compounds.
Always pick VOC-free paints for a healthy new look for your home.
Many plastic curtain liners are filled with toxic PVCs, which release volatile organic compounds that are easily inhaled as you shower.
To reduce risks, always use a fabric or PVC-free shower curtain liner.
Do you have vinyl flooring? Recent tests show 58% of all vinyl samples have high levels of toxic phthalates, which can get into air and dust. Meanwhile carpets can emit toxic flame retardants and solvents, including benzene.
Healthier options include ceramic tiles, hardwood flooring and bamboo.
There's a reason we all show some level of toxic flame retardants in our blood, they are everywhere. They're added to foam cushions in chairs, sofas and mattresses. These chemicals are linked to infertility, neurological issues and higher cancer risk.
Many retailers are now banning these toxins, always ask before you buy.
One of the main pathways for lead-filled dust, pesticide residue and other toxins in your home is on your shoes. Leave them by the door for clean floors.
Switch to indoor shoes to help keep toxic hitchhikers out.
Was your home built before 1978? It likely still has lead paint in it. Get your house tested. Even homes built up to 1986 may have lead pipes and fixtures.
Wipe with a wet cloth to mop up toxic dust and avoid inhaling lead particles.
Harsh chemical cleaners can irritate eyes, skin and breathing. With eco-friendly cleaners you can now mop, wash and scrub with non-toxic cleaners.
Brands like Seventh Generation and Ecover work well without harsh chemicals.
There can be dozens of ingredients in just one cream. Natural, toxic-free options are now readily available so you can pamper your skin without paying a toxic price.
Your skin is your body's largest organ and absorbs upwards of 60% of whatever you apply. Choose carefully. Many ingredients are toxic and linked to health problems.
Check the EWG Skin Deep database to see if your products are safe (check here).
Most perfumes contain a potent mix of chemicals to create their signature scents. Worse, they're not required to list toxic phthalates or parabens on the label.
Always apply perfume to clothes, or choose a scent made from essential oils.
While there’s no way to completely avoid toxics, with these simple steps you
CAN reduce toxic exposure from what you eat, drink and breathe every day.