It has been predicted global obesity will reach over 50% by 2030, this is a shocking burden none of us will be able to afford. I am used to seeing people who feel less than perfect, that is usually why they knock on my door, for advice on different foods and lifestyle choices but more recently I am seeing the total burden that living in our toxic environment has on our bodies and our long term health outcomes. The picture is not pretty yet there are some simple things we can do to turn this tide. Our body requires nutrient rich fuel or it won’t go, pretty simple right? If you use crappy fuel in your motor, you will get crappy performance, the same logic applies in our body and brain.
These days we live in a toxic environment. We are very lucky if we are able to live in an area where the air and the water do not contain many pollutants. Even luckier if we can afford to take action against toxins entering our homes, our food and our bloodstream. The average newborn today already has 287 different chemicals in their body (WHO).
Toxins create inflammation and chronic disease in the body. Our livers, struggling to cope with the body burden of toxins, use our plentiful fat storage to keep toxins out of the blood, so we end up putting on weight. Without a nutrient and fibre rich diet we can’t effectively use our elimination pathways, compounding our toxic build-up. This takes its toll on the human body. But without us getting too depressed and overwhelmed by such information, it is important we know there is much we CAN do to help ourselves. It all depends on how much we WILL do.
Molecular toxicology looks at how low level exposure from toxins not normally considered a problem eg. bisphenol A (BpA), think plastic! modifies cellular function and creates inflammation, insulin resistance even cancer. Even small levels can create these problems rather than a high toxic level that can lead to acute poisoning. We need to focus on this consistent, low dosing rather than worrying about the big toxic events that are not so avoidable. Constant low levels of toxins can poison our cells leading to a lowered energy level and a lowered ability to manage blood sugar levels effectively leading to fat storage, obesity and diabetes. So the environment can contribute to chronic disease even in the absence of acute toxicity.
Epigenetics is the relatively new study of looking at how gene expression is altered by various means including nutrients, stress and environmental toxins. This becomes important when we realise there is so much we can do to change our long term health outcomes and to create a different genetic future for ourselves and our children.
How to lower your overall toxic body burden:
We surround ourselves with so many chemicals in the home. Consider all the cleaning products you use – washing powders, air fresheners, insect repellents, fragrances, products for the car, products for the garden. A fabulous resource to help us in our quest for reducing our chemical load is the Environmental Working Group www.EWG.org that has listed most of the chemicals we come across in our daily life and has rated them in terms of their toxicity and carcinogenicity. Consider how you could eliminate many of the products you currently use, switching from current brands to safer, less toxic ones perhaps, or eliminating them altogether.
Particularly avoid phthalates and solvents. Phthalates can be found in plastics, especially plastic wrapped around food – avoid buying food packaged in this way and never nuke (sorry, microwave!) food with plastic covering, the plastic will end up in your food and your tissues.
Each day we leave our home having washed, scrubbed and wearing up to 126 different chemicals, most of them endocrine disruptors, this means interfering with our thyroid, the master gland that looks after our metabolism and energy. Interference here can lead to massive weight gain and chronic disease. Interrupting our hormones can be disastrous for young women and men, especially for their natural fertility not to mention long term vitality. Remember the effects of these toxins may not be noticed immediately, it can take years to build up in the body until the toxic burden becomes too big to handle and a disease state ensues. Particularly avoid parabens, they are endocrine disruptors.
Again, check the EWG site, www.skindeep.org for the low down on all cosmetics and self-care products. Many lipstick contains lead, most women will consume up to 1kg of lipstick in their lifetime. Lead reduces our intelligence and creates mental health issues – dementia, depression. Reduce the load for the body and stop using so many products, check and buy cleaner products, decide you don’t need so many personal care products. Products that list “fragrance”, can be a cover for up to 200 chemicals, none having been tested for human safety, avoid these products. Same goes for packaged foods when you see the word “flavour”.
Consider a water filter for your house. If you rent, then at least get a bench top filter system, easy to install and relatively inexpensive. Most filters will remove impurities, heavy metals, microbes, chlorine, some filters will remove fluorine. Removing chlorine is important for your thyroid health, remember iodine, an essential mineral for good thyroid function is a halogen and will be competitive with chlorine and fluorine and bromine in baked goods including bread. So, at the very least, get a water filter for your drinking water and install a chlorine filter shower head. Chlorine is a number one irritant for your skin and scalp. It can create dry, brittle hair and a dry, itchy scalp.
Air filters are not often considered but depending on where you live, they can be vital. The air in our homes can be more toxic than the air outside when you consider the chemical load from fire retardant chemicals in couches, carpets, rugs, clothing, bedding, the load of these chemicals is very serious on our body and can lead to different gene expression, triggering autoimmune conditions, cancer, chronic illnesses. Choose natural fibres.
Do you have mercury fillings in your mouth? These fillings release mercury vapour every time you brush your teeth or grind your teeth. Mercury is a heavy metal and is toxic in the body, can lead to dementia, parkinsons, alzheimers, cancer and other chronic illness. Consider removing mercury fillings with the care of a holistic dentist who understands how to remove them safely using rubber dams and oxygen etc..so you do not inhale or ingest the mercury, it can take years to remove from your body tissues.
Insecticides cause ovarian dysfunction and kidney dysfunction and obesity, which spans for three generations, so your great grandchildren will have increased concentrations of these toxins because the insecticide keeps switching on the genes for these dysfunctions. Consider your food, is it organic? Are you eating for your health or for your children and grandchildren ?
There are so many chemicals in our food supply today it is outrageous and even more so when we realise there are over 80,000 new approved chemicals in use by industry every year and none of them, not a single one, zip, nil, zilch, has been tested for human safety.
So, we need to take care of ourselves. Buy organic food as much as you can. If that is not possible for you, then at the very least, ensure you know the dirty dozen and the clean 15! The dirty dozen is a list of 12 foods to eat organically if you are to avoid the toxic load. The clean 15 is a list of foods that can be eaten with relative assurance of a low toxicity rating whether organic or not. Check online at the David Suzuki Foundation for these food lists.
Palm oil is a damaged fat, used widely in processed foods. It will carry PLS which is a virulent gram-negative bacteria which can trigger severe disease, trauma and early death. These bacteria are transported through the gut into the blood and our brain via this damaged fat. Avoid all sources of palm oil. It is usually identified on processed packaging under the pseudonym vegetable oil.
Recent experiments have shown wheat bread, oats and potatoes actually turn on 62 genes that increase inflammation in the body whilst wholegrain rye will turn on 71 genes that actively decrease inflammation in the body. Switch to rye bread or no bread!
GMO foods need to be eliminated from our shopping list completely. They contain the Bt toxin that creates intestinal permeability in humans (leaky gut) leading to increased inflammation and auto-immunity in the body. Toxins in food and our environment can actually change the way your genes express themselves giving rise to disease; graves, hashimotos, diabetes, cancer, chronic fatigue, MS, obesity, CVD, heart disease, stroke.
One of the most powerful things you can do to protect yourself from the accumulation of toxins in your body is to include the following foods in your diet, supporting the body and your detox processes, leading to longevity and vitality:
cruciferous veggies; broccoli, kale, cabbage, especially red cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts. Green powders, dark green leafy veg, berries, especially blue berries, spirulina, chlorella, algae, onions, mushrooms, seaweeds, mineral rock salt, dandelion tea, beetroot, herbs like milk thistle, spices like turmeric.
Blueberries contain poly phenols that reduce colon cancer risk by a whopping 57% ! They turn on the genes that reduce inflammation and cancer cell propogation. Eat organic or spray free blue berries !
We all know thoughts can be negative or positive, have a read of Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief” if this is a new concept for you. Positive thoughts are uplifting and de-stressing. Negative thoughts can create low mood, depression, sickness and toxicity in the body. So think good thoughts people ! Yoga and meditation can help to improve the quality of your thinking and slow down your mind chatter.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Homemade Cleaners by Dionna Ford
I have written this post with our good health in mind, yours, mine and all the children yet to come! Please share with those around you who may find it of interest. Wishing you rude with health,