You’ve made huge changes to your routine to live healthier and feel better. And so far, it’s working! Your energy levels are up, you show up to work ready and able to give it your all, and you’re happier and more present with your family and friends.
Thanks to the hard work you’ve done so far, your body is healing. Ready to take healthy living to the next level? It’s time to talk about toxin exposure in everyday life.
It turns out that there are invisible saboteurs contributing to your overall healthy living efforts. They might even be contributing to the stubborn weight you can’t seem to lose. Research shows that dozens of hidden toxins lurk in our everyday routines. They spoil our efforts at every turn, whether we’re rinsing off after a workout, cooking up a favorite recipe, or even gulping down our 8 glasses of water a day.
But we don’t have to let them. Here’s an overview of where you can find the everyday toxins sabotaging your healthy lifestyle.
In your refrigerator
The best way to start eating healthy is to load up your fridge with foods found on the outside aisles at your local grocery store. But sometimes, that’s not enough to keep toxins out of your shopping cart. Keep away from:
- Non-organic produce. Many fruits and vegetables routinely test high for 40-plus different kinds of pesticides. Purchasing certified organic produce is the only way to ensure you’re not eating chemicals. If you can’t afford to go all-in on the organic goodies, use the dirty dozen and clean 15 lists from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to guide your grocery shopping.
- Carrageenan. This common addition to dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt as well as milk substitutes, including almond, rice, soy, and coconut milk, causes inflammation.
- Produce bags and plastic packaging. Most of these don’t identify their BPA content, so recycle them once you get home. If possible, store your food in glass containers to prevent BPA leeching. Opt for refillable glass bottles for filtered water on the go.
- The usual suspects: sodium nitrite in processed meats, mercury in fish
In the pantry
Shopping for shelf-stable items? You can do it without opening your cupboard up to toxins. Avoid items with:
- Butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole (or BHA and BHT). These two preserve fats and oils in crackers, cereals, butter, and beer. They also cause stomach cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters.
- MSG. You’ll find this chemical lurking in take-out food and processed favorites. It’s an additive that enhances flavor, which tends to make us eat more than we should. It can also cause inflammation and bloating.
- Interesterified fat. Small studies have discovered that this new trans-fat alternative in canned soups, frozen dinners, and cookies raises your cholesterol.
- The ones in the news: partially and fully hydrogenated oils, cans lined with bisphenol-A (or BPA), and artificial food coloring
While you’re cooking dinner
Even a truckload of veggies won’t be able to counterbalance the cooking methods you always thought were safe. It’s time to reconsider:
- Using Teflon or nonstick pans. When you turn up the heat, they release noxious gases that studies have linked to heart disease.
- Reheating plastic containers. Putting them in the dishwasher or the microwave can cause the plastic to break down and release chemicals, including BPA, into your food.
- Cranking up your grill. Grilling and smoking food can create polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are linked to cancerous cell formations.
In your drinking glass
You don’t have to be knocking back shots or milkshakes for your beverage-of-choice to be bad for you. Look out for:
- Aspartame. We opt for diet beverages to avoid the calories of real sugar, but artificial sweeteners are often derived from neurotoxins and pesticides.
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH. This growth hormone linked to breast cancer is often given to dairy cows. Avoid it by picking cartons that say “no rBGH”—or sticking with alternative milks.
- Unfiltered tap water. Even if your local tap water meets state and federal standards, it’s still not 100-percent clean. To be certain the water you use 24/7 is free from heavy metals, chemicals, and minerals, put a filter on your faucet.
In the cleansers that keep your house tidy
For run-of-the-mill messes—think: kitchen counter spills and laundry—there’s no need to bring toxic fumes, irritants, and potential carcinogens into your home. Look out for:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. These popular detergent ingredients can accumulate in the body and damage your eyes, irritate your skin, and make it harder to breath.
- Triclosan. It’s an anti-bacterial that’s also classified as a pesticide, and it might cause cancer. Why take the risk?
- Phthalates. Fragranced products from soaps to toilet paper use phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system. They also tend to irritate nasal passage ways and can cause migraines. Opt for unscented products, instead.
- The heavy-hitters: sodium hydroxide (or lye), ammonia, and chlorine, which are toxic to inhale
In your favorite body products
It’s possible to find products you love that are good for your body, too. Avoid items with:
- Fluoride. Did you know there are more than 20,000 calls placed annually to Poison Control about toothpaste poisoning? You don’t need it to keep your teeth healthy. Opt for fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash to avoid any accidents.
- DEA, or diethanolamine. Found in foaming hand soaps, hair care products, and shaving gels; DEA has been shown to disrupt hormone production and create cancer-causing nitrates just through skin contact.
- Retinol. Skincare gurus will praise retinoids until the end of time, but the truth is that while they can help boost your skin elasticity, they become carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight. If you must use them, at least avoid them during the day.
- The chemicals you’ve heard about: polyethylene (or microbeads) and parabens
Overwhelmed by removing toxins from your life?
Here’s a few places where you can get started:
Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to their members at wholesale prices, and to sponsor free memberships for low-income American families. Yo
u can pick up organic staples and safe household cleaning products there.
100% PURE® goes beyond their name and ingredients. It is a commitment to produce the purest products, and to promote clean, healthier living. You’ll never have to choose between safe ingredients and healthy skin or gorgeous results.
And if you want to take it a step further—breathe in, breathe out, and then, give me a call. We can work through all the difficult stuff—including ridding your home of hidden toxins—together.
I work with my clients to help them bring healthy living practices into their daily routine. Whether they’re battling chronic illnesses, combatting stubborn symptoms, or are eager to lose weight, I work with them one-on-one to create personalized lifestyle recommendations that help them live their best lives.
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