The great toxicity overhaul - one room at a time.
By Amy Crawford
Toxicity is widely spoken and written about. Yet so many of us are (or have been) totally ignorant to our daily toxic exposure. I thought I would keep it simple today and share with you my initial (and I guess quite drastic) process of detoxification in an effort to help guide those followers looking to clean their lives (and their livers) and commence a detoxification process themselves.
By detoxification I don't mean a seven day juice fast or a hard core, restrictive diet. I mean a process that involves making life-long changes to your habits that will help maintain and restore your health forever. So let's be clear on this. Detoxification IS an essential component of life-long health. Unfortunately every single one of us is being poisoned in some way, shape or form every day. The good news however is that we can dramatically reduce the impact of these toxins by becoming aware of where they are coming from and changing simple habits.
A little background about my exposure for those of you who may not be aware. Upon my CFS diagnosis I had undergone a multitude of tests to try and ascertain the cause of my illness. There were no viruses to speak of that were typically associated with CFS. Most certainly I had a highly compromised imune system which lead to persistent viral infections but we needed to get to the root of my immune system and why it was so weak. The final option was to have a highly detailed analysis of my bloods completed which then generated a 148 page report (on the back of a biochemist's program in the States) detailing everything that was out of whack in my system and included toxicity readings literally off the richter scale. The worst offenders were mercury, lead, pesticides and petrochemicals. Whilst this was terribly frightening at the least we had answers. The big question was how my body accumulated this level of toxicity? I have not lived in highly industrial areas nor near farms that spray chemicals. I grew up in Tasmania renowned for it's clean air and water. Whilst I have lived in big cities all of my adult life it's hard to fathom how I could present with such readings. My understanding is that many years ago my body started losing it's ability to detoxify - so I simply became a vestibule for toxins I guess.
Consequently the detoxification process for me WAS radical. I had no choice but to do what I was told and purify my life (in every way - I even moved temporarily to Tasmania!). It required much discipline but with little complaint (because I chose good health and desperately wanted it back). Below is a list of steps I took to remove toxicity from my life as far as humanely possible. I simply tackled one room at a time in my home:
Don't underestimate the chemicals in your bathroom! Toothpastes, dental floss, body creams (my life long adoration of dark blue Nivea is now long gone), synthetic tooth brushes, soaps, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, hair products, nail polish, nail polish removers, fake tan, face masks, make up (including mascara, lipstick, foundation, eye shadow). The list goes on. ALL of it went. And all of it was replaced with chemical free, natural products. That was a gradual process but such a satisfying one.
Under the Kitchen Sink.
DANGER ZONE! Far out I had some nasties under there. I had a bottle of metho for goodness sake! Bench top sprays, oven cleaners, washing up liquid, window cleaner, bleach (?!). It was a chemical party down there. GONE. All of these products have been replaced with 100% natural products and a fair bit of elbow grease ;-) I must say it is just so satisfying buying locally made 100% natural cleaning products. That alone makes my heart sing.
Never use plastic microwave dishes, teflon coated pans, plastic storage containers (well to the extent I would never put warm food in them, for the moment I will freeze cold food in them), plastic cups, plastic anything. And glad wrap on the food in the microwave? I shudder at the thought!
This I found an eye opener. I was told to go to my cupboard and look at the ingredients list of everything I was eating. I was taken off all sugar so anything with sugar went straight to the bin, as with gluten. In fact anything processed when straight out (I was and still am on a whole foods only diet, a diet that would better support my digestive and immune systems for a start) - dry biscuits (including rice cakes), gluten free pastas, condiments, sauces, vinegars, oils, relishes (noooo!!!!), jams, processed nut butters. Simply start looking at the ingredients on the back of your supermarket purchases. Lists as long as your arm of ingredients - emulsifiers, stabilisers, preservers, numbers you will take forever to get your head around. Then there's the fridge! Icecream, mustards, more sauces, cheese (of the very processed variety). I could go on for hours! There are chemicals lurking everywhere.
Fruit and Vegetables.
Unless it was organic it wasn't allowed into my digestive tract. These days it's organic all the way. I appreciate for some this can be a very costly exercise but when you buy organic you tend to value your food more and as such you eat less, you savour the flavour. I also justify my expense in this area by my negligent spending in any other area of my life. One thing I would say is that at the least get hold of a Top 10 list of foods to buy organic. I will find one and post one soon. Spinach and red capsicum? They must be organic.
If I'd been in a better position financially (i.e. was still earning money and knew when my illness would abate) I would have invested in a top of the range water filter. Whilst in Tassie I drank spring water, an expensive habit but a worthwhile one. Right now I do my best with what I have. All the water I drink is boiled a couple of times and runs through a filter. As my income picks up again I will be investing in a more substantial system.
Oh my goodness! But how was I going to get my towels soft?! Out went the fabric softeners, the washing powder, the bleaches, the whitening agents, Sards, all of it. You think we are not ingesting this stuff? My word we are. It is leaching through our skin into our blood streams. Everything is now washed in natural substances. If I could be honest, I don't think my white sheets are as white as they could be. But in the scheme of things, that is quite insignificant.
I was blonde for most of my adult life and almost up until my diagnosis. Every 8 weeks I had my hair bleached and every 8 weeks my poor brain suffered as a result. I am now consequently brunette and have found a wonderful organic colourist in Melbourne here (greys you have not won yet!).
Anyway, I think you now get the drift. Detoxification is a process and one that can be done gradually and without waste. Don't let it overwhelm you. Simply finish what you have and replace it with a natural, toxic free product. When your nut butter runs out consider making your own (there's a recipe here!), when your softener runs out start appreciating the scratchy feel of towels again (it only lasts for one or two dries). Just start making subtle changes to your daily habits. As per 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, "your bodies are temples..."