In my naturopathic studies, my primary focus was environmental medicine. Growing up along the Gulf Coast, amidst the 300 mile stretch of refineries, I actually had no idea these chemicals were affecting my health. I remember my first class in environmental medicine, Dr. Walter Crinnion, showed the documentary, TRADE SECRETS. If you haven't seen it, it is well worth the watch. This Bill Moyer's documentary completely changed my life, redirected my passion and gave me a new perspective on health.
Time after time, I have clients ask me, "Where would I be exposed to toxins?". The truth is, if you are eating, breathing, or drinking, you are being exposed to toxins. Thankfully, there are many initiatives to clean up our planet, but there is a long way to go. These chemicals can have a very long half-life in the body, because most of them are what we call persistent poisons, meaning that our bodily cannot easily break them down and excrete them. The toxins cause havoc on our systems by depleting nutrient stores, causing tissue oxidation, and can signal genetic changes.
Fatigue is the most common symptom of toxicity but these toxins are also proven to cause neurological, immune, and endocrine disorders/diseases. Therefore, if you have any of these health issues cleansing is something to consider. Whether you are in a state of chronic disease, or you just want to be as healthy as you can, living cleaner is a must do.
The good news is that every bit helps and there are a few simple changes we can make that will tremendously help cleanse our bodies and keep them healthy!
STEP 1: AVOIDANCE
FOOD: We have to be diligent about avoiding harmful chemicals! This means buy organic foods as much as possible. Read food labels and avoid chemical additives and preservatives. Many times these are just acronyms, like BHT. BHT, commonly found in breakfast cereals, is TOLUENE! Do not eat it and please do not feed it to your children.
WATER: Filter your water. There are a slew of chemicals in our municipal water systems. A whole home filter is preferable as we also absorb many chemicals through bathing. If you cannot afford a whole home filter, a sink filter will do. Do not drink out of plastic water bottles. These are very soft plastic and with any temperature changes, they are proven to leech chemicals in the water that particularly cause inflammation to the cardiovascular system and the endocrine system (hormones ladies!).
AIR: It is a good idea to keep the air in our home as clean as possible! If you have a new home or a recently remodeled home, or have new furniture, an air purification system is highly recommended. The most important room in the home is the bedroom! So keep your sanctuary free of pollutants. Read more about this in Dr. Rea's book Success in the Clean Bedroom.
SKIN: Our skin is like a sponge. If you can't eat it then use caution applying it to your skin! If you need more information, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), has a database that allows you to enter your product and search for information regarding its safety.
STEP 2: SUPPLEMENTATION
Eating well is vitally important but supplementing with nutrients that provide extra support for our detox pathways is also important. The nutrients most commonly depleted by toxins are MAGNESIUM, B vitamins, Zinc, and antioxidants like selenium and vitamin C.
Green tea is one of my favorite additions to any protocol. You can drink it or take it in capsule form, and it is also available in caffeine free forms. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant that provides mitochondrial support (the part of the cell most affected by toxins).
Psyllium, or another binding fiber, will help bind and excrete toxins. When we are able to bind toxins in the bowel, we prevent them from being recirculated into our blood stream.
DHA is also important to help protect the brain from any oxidative damage caused by free floating toxins.
STEP 3: CLEANSE
You are only as healthy as your internal environment. If you are loaded down with toxins, then there is a shift that happens and our health starts to decline. Cleansing is important to reduce/minimize the toxic load.
There are many good options for cleansing. You can do a 3-7 day juice cleanse, use a packaged detox or visit a practitioner that can assist you with deeper cleansing which we refer to a depuration. A good cleanse provides nutrient supplementation, fiber formula, and liver/gallbladder/kidney herbals. In addition, you can use hydrotherapies, colon hydrotherapy, and saunas.