There’s absolutely no possible way to avoid toxins. They’re in the food we eat (especially if you’re a fan of the Western diet), the water we drink, and even the air we breathe (especially if you live and/or work in an urban area).
Add those to the toxins we flood our systems with any time that we’re stressed out, and it’s no wonder that we get sick! While you might not be able to completely avoid them no matter what you do, there are ways that you can minimize the amount of toxins you allow into your system.
- ? Avoid Processed Foods: Emphasize whole, organic foods. If you must eat packaged food, choose those with fewer and recognizable ingredients.
- ? Reconsider Water Sources: Stay away from tap and bottled water. Use glass water bottles and opt for natural spring water or a good filtration system.
- ? Natural Cleaning: Replace chemical cleaners with natural alternatives. A mix of vinegar and dish soap can serve as a versatile cleaning solution.
- ? Minimize Chemical-laden Cosmetics: Get rid of makeup and personal care items that are full of chemicals. Coconut oil and mineral makeup are better alternatives.
- ? Embrace Healthy Salts: While refined salts are harmful, unrefined, natural pink or sea salts can be beneficial for various health reasons.
Here are nine different things that you can work into your routine that will help you try and avoid all of the colds and cases of flu that this winter season will surely bring.
Avoid Processed Foods Whenever You Can
I know that I harp on the importance of eating a diet as rich in whole, organic foods as much as possible – You’ve heard it before, which is why I’m going to get it out of the way first. Common sense tells us that what goes in must eventually (at least try to) make its way out, and the fewer toxins your body has to try and deal with, the better.
If you absolutely must eat packaged food (sometimes there really is no time to make anything else or you have a super picky child), try and make sure that there are less than five ingredients in that food and that you can actually pronounce each one of them (and that you actually know what they are). If you can’t eat organic, try and at least stay away from the dirty dozen.
While we’re on the subject of organic – When I say you should try to eat organic as much as possible, I mean that you should be growing your own produce and/or becoming friends with a local farmer. A lot of the certified organic produce that you’re able to buy at the grocery store is actually loaded with chemical laced fertilizers, pesticides, and other synthetic substances.
The same goes for meat – Buy as local and grass-fed whenever possible.
Stay Away From Tap And Bottled Water
Especially if you live in a city – if you’re in the country and you get your water from a well, you might be able to get away with drinking your tap water as long as you get it tested regularly to ensure that you’re always getting good quality. The quality of tap water decreases daily, becoming more and more contaminated with harmful substances such as prescription pills (from people flushing them down the toilet) – This is why you should take any of your unused prescription meds to your pharmacist; they’ll dispose of them properly and other waste materials. Additionally, tap water is treated with things like chlorine and fluoride, which can be detrimental to your overall health.
Don’t think reaching for a bottle of water over your tap water will be any better for you, though. Some reports suggest that bottled water isn’t all that different from tap water anyway, and some others say that the plastic bottles themselves leak chemicals into the water. This rings especially true for any bottle exposed to direct sunlight for any prolonged period since heat increases the release of chemicals in all plastics. That’s why you should also avoid reheating any food in the microwave in a plastic container.
So what’s the solution? A glass water bottle (or mason jar, since apparently, that’s a thing now) with pure, natural spring water and/or a great filtration system. Bonus points if you add fruit for extra vitamins.
Use Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
There isn’t a thing out there that needs to be cleaned with chemicals. (Seriously. When I was a cleaner, I figured out how to naturally replace muriatic acid and still get tile grout off a floor. Elbow grease, people – It’ll get you further than you think). Here’s a recipe I use for everyday cleaning. It gets rid of soap scum, makes metal super shiny, and smells pretty good:
You’ll need two 4L vinegar bottles (one empty and one full), some Dawn dish soap (Any scent will do, but I find that the blue one smells the best), and a couple of empty spray bottles (keep a couple around when you’re dumping out your chemical cleaners).
Pour half of the vinegar into the empty bottle, add enough dish soap to make it a nice light color of blue (I eyeball it, but it’s probably somewhere around ¼ cup per bottle – About half the bottle of Dawn per 2L), and pour the solution into spray bottles. That’s it! Use the solution full strength for more heavy-duty jobs, or dilute it in water and use it to clean your floors and/or windows. I’ll post some more natural cleaning solutions later, but this will replace 98% of what you’re using to clean your house now. Are you worried about an overpowering vinegar smell? Don’t be – It dissipates quickly.
Get Rid Of Your Makeup
And other personal care items, at least those loaded with chemicals (which I’m sure you’ll find after reading the ingredients labels is pretty much everything in your bathroom). Most shampoos, conditioners, hand soaps, makeup, makeup removers, creams, toothpaste, and other care products are absolutely chalked full of all kinds of things known to be bad for you. Think about it – You’re putting it on, and it’s immediately absorbed by your skin, giving it a first-class ticket to poisoning your body with all kinds of toxins.
Coconut oil can replace many things (I replaced almost everything in my bathroom with it, from toothpaste to night cream) under your cabinet and in the shower. As for your makeup, you can opt to DIY or look for mineral makeup when you’re cruising the makeup aisle next time you’re out.
Eat More Salt
Contrary to what many people in the media (and a few health “gurus”) might like you to believe, a low-salt diet isn’t ideal for you, especially if you need some help detoxing. Don’t get me wrong – Refined salt is indeed a horrible chemical wasteland that should be avoided at all costs. But unrefined, natural pink or sea salt is great for you.
Salt can help with headaches, fatigue, thyroid disorders, cholesterol and blood pressure disorders, and much more. In addition to that, it can also help boost your immune system (which is especially great when you consider that cold and flu season is beginning to creep up on us fast). Suppose you want to learn more about the benefits of natural unrefined salts (and just how toxic refined table salts actually are). In that case, I strongly suggest reading this book by Tanya Clarke, M.D. (an incredible holistic doctor).
Get Rid Of Those Vices
Regardless of whether you’re a smoker, drinker, or recreational drug user – Whatever your vice is, I assure you it’s not helping your body in any way. There are a ton of resources available both locally and online to you that can help you get the things you need to quit; use them. You’ll be amazed by how great you feel after whatever your addiction is no longer has a hold on you.
I know it seems hard, and I’m not for one second going to tell you that it’s not going to be (I’ve been there myself and would be more than willing to talk to anyone who needs an extra push), but I do promise that you won’t regret it.
Take Another Look At Your Medicine Cabinet
Over the counter or a prescription that your doctor signed – Many medications are horrible for your body (and some only help you mask the symptoms until your body takes care of whatever you need). That doesn’t mean throwing out everything as soon as you’re done reading this article. Yes, your ailment can often be cured or at least lessened by a healthy diet, natural remedies, and some exercise, but that doesn’t mean that the transition shouldn’t be monitored.
While a lot of doctors are willing to work with you when you’re pursuing a more natural way, some won’t. At the very least, you could have your doctor take a second look at the list of medications you’re taking (both prescribed and over the counter) to see if there’s anything that could be eliminated or substituted. You could also consider getting a second opinion from a holistic practitioner. Another alternative is to head to your pharmacist – He or she will be able to educate you on the medications, or it could possibly suggest precisely what changes you should be discussing with your doctor the next time you have an appointment.
Stop Eating More Than You Need To
This is a big problem, especially in North America where people seem to have an entirely different perspective than the rest of the world of what a portion size really is. Even when the foods are healthy, overeating can cause a buildup of toxins because our bodies are only designed to need so much food at one time. Eat more than you need to and that food becomes toxic waste in your digestive tract, distributing itself throughout your bloodstream and body. Generally in addition to a toxic gut, this results in excess weight gain.
The easiest way to avoid overeating is to eat whole foods and enjoy them when you’re eating – Savour the taste and texture of it, discuss how you feel about it with everyone else at the table and get their opinions on it as well. Our bodies are designed to let us know when they’re full – When yours does, listen to it: More than your belly rolls will thank you.
Avoid Stress Whenever Possible
Okay, so I realize this one might seem a little easier said than done, which is exactly why I used the words whenever possible. Stress causes our bodies to overproduce cortisol (which is awesome in small doses but not so great when it’s pumping through our systems all the time), which can eventually become toxic to our systems. Here are a few things you can do to lighten your overall stress load though:
- Establishing proper sleeping habits (at least six hours a night)
- Dry Skin Brushing
- Running and other forms of regular exercise
- Being active
- Avoiding unnecessary confrontation (is that argument with your boss or sister really worth it? Chances are if you take five minutes to calm down and think about it, you’ll probably find that the answer is no).
- A hot detox bath with Epsom salts, baking soda, and lavender.
Now that you’re loaded with all of the information you need to keep your body as clean as is possible in the world we’re currently living in, go forth and prosper in great, detoxed health!