Monday, December 14, 2015

Reducing your toxin exposure could help you lose weight and stay healthy

view from top of Mt. Willey, NH
Day 67 of the #NakedTruth challenge. I went on my first winter camping/hiking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this weekend.  The conditions could not have been better for a mid-December weekend in the mountains.  It reminded me of how little I need, and how good being outdoors makes me feel.

Being in nature exposes an innate sense of wonder, pride, joy, strength, appreciation, and peace.  We reconnect with the earth, its life force, to become one with our environment. The place from which we came.

This week I watched a relevant discussion between Dr. Pedram Shojam and Tom Malterre on, called, "How to Avoid the Deadly Chemicals All Around Us." (Watch it free here) This super informative video discusses how the air we breath, what we put on our skin, and what we involuntarily ingest is significantly contributing to obesity and the onslaught of modern day diseases; diseases that only started appearing at the turn of the century, a time when chemicals and pollution started being produced on a mass scale. As Dr. Shojam says, "Just because something doesn't kill you, doesn't mean it's not harming you."

Here are some mind-blowing facts discussed in the video:
  • There are 74 billion lbs of chemicals that exist, 745 million were introduced in 2012 alone.
  • Over 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
  • Bisphenol A, or BPA was created in a lab in 1891. By 1930 BPA was primarily used as a synthetic estrogen to fatten up livestock.
  • These synthetic estrogens, or xenoestrogens are so potent, that they are actually stronger than the natural estrogen our bodies produce.  
  • Studies show that hundreds of chemicals are being found in cord blood of unborn babies. 
  • The average westerner generates 4.4 lbs of garbage daily.
  • Plastic NEVER biodegrades.

That's terrible, but how is all this affecting me?

Do you experience fatigue? Have a hard time remembering things? Watery eyes? Difficulty breathing? Migraines? Eczema? Can't get an erection? These are all signs of toxin exposure. I've experienced most of these, and yeah, it sucks.  Especially since ingesting, breathing, and smothering our bodies with these toxins seems nearly impossible to avoid. 

Founder of Whole Life Nutrition and Tedx Speaker Tom Malterre, explains how eczema and asthma are associated with a loss of tolerance of our immune system. When the immune system is constantly attacking these toxins, our bodies can't function properly.  Do you find that you can't tolerate certain fragrances anymore? Do you break out in a rash easily and don't know the cause? Or have you developed an allergy that is progressively getting worse?

These prolific chemicals are contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes and cancer.  Young women can't get pregnant and babies are being born with allergies. Our bodies, which are under a constant state of attack, over-react to foreign substances in our environment leading to damaging effects on our physiology and neurology.

But wait, there is hope! We can mitigate toxin exposure and overtime, restore our bodies to homeostasis.  
photography by the talented Mike Plassmann

So what can I do to reduce my toxin exposure?

Here are some ways I try to reduce my exposure:
  • Go for a hike in nature or walk in a park.
  • Eat foods your great grandparents would recognize. Think fresh foods, seasonal and local when possible, and definitely organic.  This alone reduces your BPA exposure by 66% (Malterre, 2015).
  • Eat and drink from glass, ceramic or stainless steel glassware and dishes.  Same goes for storing leftovers.  I love using ball jars for fruit or herb infused water and tea. You can also reuse glass jars for storing leftovers.
  • Bring your own to-go cup for coffee or tea.
  • Ask for no straw when you order a drink
  • Take epsom salt/magnesium flake baths.  Magnesium helps detox the body.
  • Sweat! Working out is a great way to detox.
  • Blue-green algae and wheatgrass are super detoxifying. You can easily add them to a juice or smoothie.
  • Sulfer-rich vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts bind to toxins in the body to rev-up detoxing.  Incorporating more of these foods into your diet will help you shed excess weight and improve your memory.
  • Be a conscious consumer.  Look at the label next time you go shopping, think about all the factors that brought that product into your hands.  Was it made locally or internationally? Is it a socially responsible company? Are you buying new or second hand? It's not about right or wrong, but rather just to become more aware.
  • If it smells like cancer (chemicals) it's probably harmful.  Think paints, ink, exhaust, fragrances, soaps, candles, car fresheners, detergents, fabrics, lotions, cleaning supplies, nail polish, makeup. 
  • It's hard to hear, but your beauty routine could be making you sick.  Try making your own lotions infused with essential oils or buy them from your favorite local herbalist.  At the bottom, I've included a list of some of my favorite natural products and where you can buy them.
  • You can bring your own canvas tote bags to the grocery store, or any store for that matter.  I always keep extras in my car. 
  • Avoid canned goods, most of them are lined with BPA or other phthalates.
  • Bring your own produce bags, canvas bags, or jars to the bulk section of the grocery store to save money and reduce waste.  Some stores even offer bulk teas and spices!
  • Replace paper towels and napkins with old cloths or rags. (check second-hand stores too!)

Katie's Favorite Health and Beauty Products  I worked with Emma this summer and her products are just incredible Based out of Northern California my favorite apothecary based out of Boulder, CO for tons of non-toxic beauty and home care recipes tests thousands of products for chemicals and then rates them for more ways to reduce consumption

photography by Mike Plassmann