A Survival Guide to Today’s Toxic World
There are approximately 100,000 chemicals registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, and according to Sustainable Table, over 5 billion tons of pesticides are used worldwide every year. Here in Canada we have over 50,000 hectares of agricultural land and if we take into consideration the amount of chemicals used in modern agriculture today such as pesticides, rodenticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, it’s easy to see how easily and how often we are exposed and overloaded with toxicity.
Every day, our bodies are constantly bombarded by foreign chemicals through the air we breathe, food and drink we consume, products we put on our body, and surfaces we touch. We are all living in an industrialized world where we are constantly exposed to and overloaded with potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis. So what can we do that will truly make a difference? What is the first step to take in reducing toxicity? Limit our toxicity exposure, of course! Okay, I know, this sounds impossible since I just went on about how we are constantly exposed to 100,000 potentially harmful chemicals, but really we do have control over our exposure, and you know what? It really does make a massive difference on our health. Even reducing 50 chemicals (which is easy to do), will have a drastic affect on your health. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but we have the ability to choose what is right for us at any given moment to better our lives. Let’s make some sustainable choices for ourselves in this industrialized world and create better environments within and around ourselves.
It’s important to know that most of these chemicals have not even been tested for its effect on human and environmental health. Recent research has now found that non-carcinogenic chemicals when combined become carcinogenic in our bodies. But before we panic about the unknown, let’s focus on what we DO know, what we CAN change. With new technologies every day, government agendas, and economic pursuit, it doesn’t look like we will be getting rid of these chemicals any time soon, but it’s crucial to remember our rights and the power we hold to bring forth change. So now, it looks like the future and our health is in our own hands after all! The sooner we realize we are responsible for our own health, the sooner we will be able to live healthier lives. So let’s learn some facts, empower ourselves, and make better choices.
Every time we reach for food it is an opportunity to nourish our body! So let’s do it wisely. This is the power of food, the power of choice; this is the power of you! And the best part is that we all have this choice (as well as the right). Dr. Heather Morgan says “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it”. This is absolutely true considering that a lot of these chemicals are found in the food and drink we consume, but remember that toxicity overload does not happen overnight, it has an accumulative affect in our body which can overwhelm our eliminatory organs over a period of time. So how do we help our body fight disease? I’m glad you asked...last month we discussed an amazing organ that is the king of all organs, it performs 600 functions every second and is one of the main eliminatory organs in our body. Yup, you guessed it, your liver! We looked at what foods support it and what foods don’t. Now, knowing what you know, it is extremely beneficial to refer back to that list and incorporate them in to your diet while you are working on lessening your toxicity load.
One of the main ways to help your body get rid of these accumulated toxins and drain out the bugs that cause disease is to support your liver and lymphatic system: Eat liver supporting foods, drink lots of filtered water or herbal tea, move your body even if it’s just for 15 minutes/day, try to go outside for a few minutes and practice mind-full breathing (be aware of your breath), laugh a little, write down your thoughts, surround yourself with things you love, most importantly learn to manage the way you process stress, and stop doing what you hate. Got it? Good! There are many ways to lessen your toxicity load, you could replace chemical cleaners in your house with natural ones, buy organic produce, use natural products on your body... whatever it may be, go slow and celebrate each step! Food is one of the most powerful ways we can change our health, try buying the produce on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list organic, just by doing this, you’re reducing a significant amount of toxins from accumulating in your body. Remember, don’t rush it, this is a lifestyle change and a sustainable way to lessen the toxicity load on your body. Print this list out and take it shopping with you, buy as many dirty fruits/veggies as you can organic, and feel good about buying the ones on the Clean Fifteen list. Remember, small steps are worth celebrating!
The Environmental Working Group is an amazing non-profit organization that should be your go-to resource. They are dedicated to protecting human and environmental health and they have up-to-date scientific data on almost anything. Every year they compile a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest level of pesticides called Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (see below). In 2015 “conventional” apples (which are apples that are grown with chemicals) is number one on the dirty list with approximately 58 different carcinogenic chemicals found on the fruit after washing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put that into my body. Imagine just buying 3 fruits organic from the dirty list, look how easy it is to cut out over 100 chemicals from going into your body over time. This is one way to empower yourself in living healthier in 2016! Know what you’re eating. Buying organic is the best way to ensure you are decreasing your exposure to large amounts of toxic chemicals. Another hot topic is genetically engineered foods. This is a huge topic that deserves its own article but unfortunately, no matter how you look at it, data proves that GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) have higher levels of chemicals and are actually one of the biggest contributors to polluting our waters, soils, lands, as well as our bodies. Today, we have no law in place that requires GMO’s to be labelled, so to ensure you’re not eating genetically engineered foods, always buy organic or, even better, know the farmer who is growing your food. It doesn’t have to be certified organic if the farmer uses traditional methods without large amounts of chemicals. The idea is to know what you are putting into your body, you have control over this.
But let’s get something straight, it can be hard to change the way you eat and shop. It took me years to get into the habit of buying health-smart. Your number one goal is to decrease your toxicity load, because toxicity equals dis-ease. If you set that goal for yourself, every choice you make will bare that in mind and you WILL see changes. But don’t try to do this all at once (unless you know that you’re totally ready to make big changes). Remember, every day you have a choice. Empower yourself by knowing the facts and most importantly knowing your body. It’s not about depriving or eating less, or eating fancy food. Food is your weapon, use it wisely and use it kindly. Your body is unique, it is your beautiful temple, and it deserves to be nourished.
EWG’s Dirty Dozen
Sweet Bell Pepper
Snap Peas (imported)
EWG’s Clean Fifteen
Sweet Corn (may be genetically modified)
Sweet Peas (frozen)
Papayas (may be genetically modified)