Written by Rachel, Contributing Writer
With my husband being a doctor, I have learned and am constantly learning new information about things in our everyday life that are dangerous to our health and are making our bodies toxic.
Although you might not know it, there are environmental, household, food and life factors that play a role in how toxic you are. From the moment of conception to your current age, you have been around "stuff" that has gotten into your body (and even your mind) and could possibly causing you to suffer from health problems. Sometimes it's easy to make statements like "A little won't hurt me!" or "Everything's going to kill us some how so what's the big deal?" However, God gave us wisdom to make the right decisions for our family.
"I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live." Deuteronomy 30:19
I am almost certain God planned for us to choose to live a healthy life! In the modern age of convenience, it's true, we simply can not avoid everything, however, there are steps we can take to help our children and family lessen our toxicity in our bodies and live a healthier life.
If you take one step at a time you won't get overwhelmed! As you read about these toxins to remove from your life, I encourage you to think about some baby-steps that you may want to take and to dig deeper and research to find out the "why" for yourself. When you find the why for choices you and your family make, you can help teach others.
1. Household Cleaners
Everyday cleaners found on the shelves of grocery stores are full of petrochemicals that are hazardous to our health. When you clean with them, they get into the air and are sucked into the air vents which keep releasing the toxic fumes out.
Take a spray cleaner for your kitchen counters for example, every time you clean, not only do the chemicals get released into the air but also leave a residue on the table (even though you wiped it up) where food is prepared and then eaten.
- Alternatives: Seventh Generation or Dr. Bronner's products are great. You can even make your own multi-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, air freshening, and many other types of cleaners, especially ones using a small handful of simple, frugal ingredients.
Do you really know what you are drinking or cooking with when you use tap water?
Tap water has been treated with Chlorine, Fluoride and over 300+ other chemicals so it's no surprise that this water can cause an assortment of health problems including: bone disease, thyroid function, reproductive function, and immune system function and the chemicals are hormone disruptor's according to the EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency also discloses that Lead in tap drinking water is linked to learning disorders in children and hypertension in adults.
- Alternatives: Buy reverse osmosis water at your local grocery or health food store. You can also install a reverse osmosis filter in your house. These can range in price from less than $1,000 to over $10,000. Baby-steps to take are to buy a shower and kitchen sink filter... start there!
Believe it or not, thousands of people each year suffer from mold toxicity annually in the United States. Most importantly, the majority of these people don't even know that they are sick from mold. They often suffer from alternating bouts of fatigue, asthma, allergies, itchy eyes, skin irritation and headaches. The symptoms do not always come up simultaneously so one might think "I haven't been to lucky with health this year" when the truth is....they have MOLD in their home or even school.
- Alternatives: No alternatives to mold here. A few ways to clean mold are to use apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil. The best way is to just throw out whatever has mold, and if it's in the wall; you'll have to knock it down and re-build.
Pesticides are spayed to remove or kill lurking pests, so it is obvious they are toxic and can have harmful reactions in our bodies. There are a number of effects pesticides can have on your body including: reproductive disruptions, they are carcinogenic which means they are cancer causing, and the are immuno suppressive, among other problems.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has listed the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables that can be bought either conventional or organic. To print out a copy of the list, click here. This list is a great way to start removing these toxins. Pesticides are also sprayed by your city or county to control mosquitoes so be aware of the days (or nights) that they will spraying.
- Alternatives: Always take your shoes off when you come into your home so you don't spread poison to your carpet and floors. Try your best to buy organic. If you are on a smaller budget, at least make sure you buy the Clean 15, that's what we do! (And whatever you buy, wash it well!)
There is a huge attack on food makers to increase quality in our world today. Great stores like Whole Foods, Earth Fare and other larger companies are becoming more common because the demand for quality chemical free food is on the rise.
We often tend to skip over ingredients because it sounds healthy but a lot of the time, that is all it is: a healthy word or sound. Just because it says blueberry muffins, doesn't even mean it has blueberries. Look for: hydrogenated oils, words with numbers like Polysorbate 8O, MSG, aspartame, sucralose, hydrolyzed yeast extract and Red 40.
- Alternatives: Read labels. That doesn't mean check the salt and fat content. What are the ingredients? Always shop in the horseshoe: Try to avoid going down middle aisles at the grocery, that is where the pre-packaged junk resides. Eat vegetables and fruits as much as you can. Also, be aware of hormones and antibiotics in your meats.
After years of dominating our cabinets, we have come to realize that storing in plastics can truly cause health problems including hormonal changes in male children and diabetes. Simply do not buy plastics with number 3, 6 or 7. Numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are better.
I'm sure you've heard of BPA or bis-phenol-A.The EWG states "Trace BPA exposure has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, early puberty, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy." So we need to be mindful and cautious about using plastics, especially since everything comes packages in plastic.
- Alternatives: Glass. Glass storage containers are making a comeback. Minimalization is key here. We have come too far that we can not avoid plastic. You can minimize exposure by spending $50 on glass containers at a Walmart. NEVER put plastic in the microwave! The bad chemicals are release when heated and go directly into the food you eat. Stainless steel containers for water instead of plastic water bottles is also a good change.
People love non-stick pots and pans, they're easy to cook with, especially clean, but cookware like Aluminum pans and Teflon contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA.) which can lead to infertility, cause cancer and other health issues. PFOA is a dangerous chemical that releases toxins once heated so you want to avoid non-stick cookware!
8. Air Fresheners and Candles
Have you ever wondered what exactly makes the smelly candle smell? I love the smell of candles, especially the Yankee candles at Cracker Barrel restaurants. The problem with these is that gingerbread lemon candle or the holiday spice isn't really ginger, lemon and cinnamon but are dangerous benzene chemicals that have serious side effect, including death.
Think about this, most of the people you know either use a car air freshener, febreze, smelly soaps, shampoos and other fragrant items that actually contain harmful chemicals. How many people do you know with headaches, sinus problems or digestive issues? What if they removed the benzenes from their life? Just sayin'.
Fragrance is listed by ewg.org's skin deep website as to cause skin infections, respiratory problems and reproductive issues.
- Alternatives: Essential oils and soy-based candles are becoming more popular because of the demand for chemical-free daily use products. I happened to find an inexpensive candle at Target last week! (and I didn't get a headache when I burned the candle!)
9. Skincare Products
Most of your soaps, shampoos and toothpastes and even make up contain sodium laurel sulfates (SLS). It is a surfactant which means it is used to break down and clean slippery grease havens like pavement and car parts. Yes, the same harsh chemical used in industrial cleaning is being used in your mouth, armpits and hair. No wonder you get so fresh and clean!
All joking aside, you need to be aware of what you are putting on your skin, it's living organ that soaks up everything you put on it.
- Alternatives: Nowadays, the market is bursting with tons of new products that are safer than your average choices. There are brands like Jason's, Avalon Organics and other brands that are developing products that don't contain toxic chemicals. If you are really brave, you could make your own shampoo, toothpaste or other skincare products. To check the toxicity of skincare products in your household, use this database.
These are just some of the toxins found in our everyday lives. My husband and I also avoid other toxins such as amalgam fillings, vaccines and medications that can be toxic in our bodies. Although, at times medical emergencies happen and we are thankful for care.
We believe that our bodies have a unique ability to heal themselves and believe that is how God intended us to be. If we take the right steps to have a peaceful mind and relationship with Christ, to eat a balanced diet, to maintain a healthy nervous system which effects your immune system, to exercise weekly, and to remove these toxins, we will be on the right track in living an abundant life!
Choose Life, a Healthy Life!
"I came that they might have life, and that they might have life more abundantly" John 10:10