It is football season, so as I watch the players on the field blocking and tackling I cannot help but think about how that should be our attitude toward our toxic world. We need to block our exposure to as many toxins as possible and then tackle those that have already gained entrance to our body.
Fortunately, our body does have natural detoxification pathways which, when supported nutritionally and with supplements, are designed to detoxify routinely. In fact, every time you exhale, every time you sweat or use the bathroom or blow your nose, you are witnessing your body busy at the work with waste elimination. Yeah, I know, cleaning is never a pretty topic! Some chemicals have a very short half-life and are out of the body within 24 hours, while others hang around in your body for several decades!
So what are specifics? Where should you start? Well, let’s get the game started, kick off with some ways to Block, and then some ways to Tackle!
Block – Avoiding Toxins
Buy Organic – A USDA certification ensures that produce or any ingredient has been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.¹ While it would be optimal to eat organic 100% of the time, this may not be realistic for most or affordable for many, but any effort you can make to increase organic choices and avoid the most toxic (e.g., an apple) is a good step toward blocking incoming toxins and supporting the body’s natural detoxification process. A good resource is www.ewg.org to determine, for example, which fruits and vegetables are most commonly genetically modified and heavily covered in pesticides and which are not so you can make wise choices.
Avoid Plastics – avoid foods and beverages packaged in plastic, especially if you plan to heat them in the package. This especially applies to drinks, including water packaged in plastic as well as plastic storage and lunch type containers used to reheat food. Most plastics made in America are made from natural gas²and are a source of many chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, substances which when taken into our body alter normal hormonal function. Every time these plastics are heated, whether in a hot car or in a microwave, they release more of the toxic chemicals. Better options include glass, ceramic dishware with lead-free glaze, stainless steel, cast iron, and food-grade silicone, all of which do not leach chemicals into your food. ³
Choose Body and Household products carefully –from toothpaste to deodorant, and household cleaners to laundry detergent, make every effort to choose clean products free of parabens, phthalates, perchloroethylene (PERC), triclosan, quarternary ammonium compounds (Quats), 2-Butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, triclocarban, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl palmitate, aerosol sprays, SPF above 50, Oxybenzone, added insect repellant, permanent hair dyes, formaldehyde, formalin toluene, dibutyl phthalate, petroleum distillates, fragrance, BHA, boric acid, sodium borate, PEG’s, polyethylene compounds, diethyl phthalate, coal tar, hydroquinone, lead, and toluene⁴,⁵. For a more complete list, see www.ewg.orgor shop in a health food store, or online with a reputable health oriented site. Our staff would be happy to offer name brands, stores, and website suggestions.
Filter Water – unfortunately, every year a surprising number of contaminants are found in our water supply. Many bottled and alkalized waters are tap water. There can be toxic chemical disinfection byproducts from the chlorine in water, as well as many pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals found in the water supply. It is very important to choose a quality filtering system for the water you drink and if possible for the entire household for cleaning and bathing. Two good sources for information to consider when choosing filters can be found at www.mercola.com, or www.greenamerica.org.
Tackle – Helping Your Body Detoxify
Eat Real Whole Food, especially your Vegetables! -While the fats and proteins we eat help to create our cellular structure and build and repair the human body, carbohydrates, namely our plant foods are purposed to clean and detoxify the human body. Green vegetables (wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, chlorella, chard, arugula etc.), green teas, herbs, seaweed, fruits in general, lemons, oranges and limes, garlic, broccoli sprouts, mung beans, seeds, nuts and omega 3 oils from hemp, avocado, and olive oil all serve as natural detoxifiers, helping to provide antioxidants and water as well as stimulating production of enzymatic activity in the digestive tract. We are designed and wired for plant and animal food, not chemically laden, preserved and processed food product.
A Note on Two Specific Foods from Dr. McManus:
SALMON: It’s very important to distinguish the different species of salmon because Pacific (Alaskan) salmon is acceptable, whereas Atlantic (farmed) salmon is ONE OF THE MOST TOXIC FOODS YOU CAN EAT! Atlantic salmon is hearty and, therefore, easily farmed. Pacific salmon, however, is a different genus with 3 different species known as king salmon (aka Chinook), silver salmon (aka coho), and red salmon (aka sock-eye). The great majority of salmon at markets and restaurants is farmed Atlantic salmon. This is HIGHLY toxic due to the salmon being fed pesticide-laden grains. Don’t be fooled by fancy names. “Scottish Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Scotland. “Norwegian Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway.
BUTTER: Butter is ubiquitous in the diet, so I felt that this is another food to be addressed. Toxins are stored in fat cells. Butter is cow fat extracted from the cows’ milk. When you eat butter, you are eating a heavy load of toxins (e.g. pesticides sprayed on the grains they are fed). The only butter that’s fit for human consumption, in my opinion, is butter, preferably organic, that’s made from grass fed cattle. You can find this at most grocery stores. A decent brand is KerryGold. Other available brands in this area (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s) or online include Organic Valley Pastured Butter, Kalona Super Natural Organic Butter, Anchor Pure New Zealand Butter, or Purity Farms Organic Ghee.
Promote and Support your Detoxification Pathways- using exercise, massage, and infra-red sauna, as well as proper hydration serves to promote sweating, elimination and mucus formation. It is important that whatever detoxification efforts are made, it is best to start with cleaning up the diet, water, living environment and avoiding toxins. When you are ill is not the best time to try a detoxification program.
For more assistance with choosing cleansing foods, juicing, and detoxification programs, call or office to schedule an appointment to design a clean diet and program that is right for you. Also see our Supplement of the Month (PaleoCleanse) for some specific detoxification programs designed to meet your needs.