Spring Cleanses are in the air, have you noticed? Maybe you are cleaning out your closets and basements, or maybe even doing a little internal spring cleaning and ditching the sugar, processed foods or what have you. I love cleaning out and creating a fresh start just as much as the next gal. But, if all I’m doing is creating another mess in a different corner or room of the house, then what difference does it make?
The same goes with your body.
- Are you downing green smoothies but not choosing organic greens?
- Are you diligently prepping food and then reheating it in the microwave in plastic containers?
- Are you sweating out your toxins in hot yoga only to come home and slather yourself with parabens and phthalates all over again?
I know talking about organics and clean products gets dirty looks. It’s expensive, it’s overwhelming, it’s paranoid, it’s over the top, etc.
But, if you are truly trying to reduce pain, lose weight, increase energy, sleep better, then we have to address the toxins in our environment too. Yes, the liver detoxes, however it can only detox so fast. And if we are overloading our liver with chemicals and toxins in our home, it doesn’t matter how many green smoothies you drink; you just aren’t going to catch up. You have to remove the toxins from your environment so they don’t have a chance to bio-accumulate in your body in the first place.
Here are three places to focus on:
- Organic Greens.
The EWG just released its latest version of the dirty dozen and spinach made a flying leap up the list from #8 to #2. Between 7 and 16 pesticides were detected on the samples collected, one of which, permethrin, is a neurotoxin. More fungicides were found on the spinach than had been in previous years as well. You may think other greens are safe because they haven’t been listed on the dirty dozen, but that is actually because they haven’t been tested. My recommendation: choose organic greens whenever possible, and even better, grow your own!
Plastics are in a constant state of shedding or sloughing off. There are four ways that increase the shedding: heat, abrasion, acidity and oil. Think about a plastic container that had tomato sauce in it at one point. It turned orange, right? This isn’t just stained, that tomato sauce is now IN the plastic and the plastic went right into the tomato sauce. The combination of heat, acidity and oil created a mesh of sauce and plastic. Lovely, right? Many of those chemicals that migrate from the plastic to your food are endocrine disruptors. Even if the plastic is BPA free, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have endocrine disruptors. More often than not, the company just swapped chemicals from the same family to create essentially the same plastic. Pyrex glass containers are getting easier and easier to come by and make a great trade for all that tupperware. This is a once and done project and the investment is so worth it.
Women use about 12 personal care products a day, men average 6 per day and teens average 17! The FDA does not require cosmetic ingredients be assessed for safety before heading to the market, nor can they issue a product recall. Personal care products are among the least-regulated consumer products on the market. In fact, it is completely legal to include ingredients in our personal care products that are linked to cancer and are known endocrine disruptors. As long as the ingredients don’t cause an immediate, acute reaction, they are deemed ‘safe’. Crazy, right?
What is the product you use the most of? Face wash? Shampoo? Moisturizer? Whatever that one is, once you run out, replace it with a cleaner version. This doesn’t have to be a complete overnight overhaul, but gradually move through your bathroom and swap out products as you are ready. I am partial to Beautycounter and its mission, but there are many great brands on the market today.
When preparing for a spring cleanse, the most important piece is to look around your home and see what chemicals you are exposing yourself to each day. You certainly don’t want to retox while attempting to detox. Are there more areas than my above list of three items to consider? Absolutely, but start with what you are comfortable with and work your way through your home. And be aware, you will never be able to avoid EVERYTHING. Focus on the areas you can control and let the rest go. Every step you take to clean up your home environment has a big impact on your long-term health.
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