Toxic load (sometimes also referred to as "body burden") is a huge stressor to the immune system, as well as all of your other bodily systems, and even your mental state. Learning to minimize your toxic load can greatly improve your health, and can be achieved through a number of simple steps, with fewer changes to your current lifestyle than you might think.
1. Water: Our well water, which is cleaner than city water (it's low in arsenic and manganese) but has high levels of salt from the water softener, is passed through a REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER FILTER which removes everything including chlorine, fluoride (Fluoride has FINALLY been classified as a neurotoxin!), pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. We use this water for drinking, cooking, watering the plants, and filling the humidifier. Because RO also removes the minerals, for drinking and watering the plants I add minerals back in. (The New England aquifer is high in arsenic and uranium, and studies show that exposure to arsenic in drinking water causes a higher risk of cancers of the bladder, kidney, lung, skin, colon and liver.)
2. Biodynamic, organic or wild: Most of our food (produce, eggs, meat and dairy) is produced biodynamically by the CSA farms we belong to, and from Internet sources. The rest is either organic or wild*, and all flesh is either wild or pasture raised. *Be careful with the 'wild' designation: some things like 'wild rice' are cultivated, some 'wild game' is farmed, and some 'wild' products grow close to highways and other toxic sites. Honey would be an example where location is important. Non-GMO is not good enough - non-GMO products are full of chemicals!
A Note on GMO: GMO products are laced with the chemicals they're designed to resist. Please avoid them. Many of them also contain allergens where you wouldn't expect them. For instance, if they insert a wheat gene snippet into a tomato, celiacs will no longer be able to safely eat those tomatoes.
A Note on Dairy: Goat's milk is the healthiest, followed by sheep's. If your only option is cow dairy look for A2/A2 breeds such as Jersey, Guernsey, Normande, and water buffalo. Failing that, limit your dairy to ghee, butter and cream because the A1 protein does not exist in the fat.
Our farm's milk is raw, and I use it to make our yogurt and cream cheese. We never use low-fat dairy and limit our use of pasteurized and homogenized products which are all harmful.
3. Produce: If I must buy produce in a grocery, or eat it in a restaurant, I use EWG's Guide to Produce to determine what I can buy/eat conventional. In a restaurant I will only eat the Clean Fifteen. If you can't afford to buy all your produce organic then, at a minimum, you should buy the Dirty Dozen organic. Washing produce helps, but washing will not remove the chemicals INSIDE. Studies have shown that consuming more organic produce results in a positive effect on pesticide levels in the body in a matter of DAYS! (This does not mean you should put it off, because those pesticides are harming you! Remember, 'cide' mean 'kill'.)
4. Oils and fats: We use no refined oils or products that contain them. Refined oils are rancid oils that have been "refined" (de-odorized) to remove color and odor molecules so you cannot smell the rancidity. Rancid oils are one of the main causes of dangerous inflammation! For mayonnaise I use Eden Foods Organic Unrefined Safflower Oil. EVOO can be used for mayo/aioli but it should be made by hand as the blades of a processor can damage the oil and make it bitter. The fats we do use are butter, ghee, lard, tallow, EVCO, EVOO, and cold-pressed seed oils like flax, nigella, pumpkin, and hemp. Do not be afraid to eat fat - your body NEEDS fat.
5. Use only these fats for cooking: The only fats we use for cooking are EVCO (extra virgin COCONUT oil), ghee, lard, and tallow. Some people think it's OK to heat EVOO but I disagree . If I want the olive flavor I add it once the heat is off. Some people think it's OK to cook with avocado or macadamia nut oil but I haven't found unrefined versions so I don't use them at all. Unrefined sesame oil which has a smoke point of 350F can be used for medium-low heat cooking.
|COOKTOP TEMPERATURE CHART (Source: Smart Kitchen)|
6. Salt: We use only Himalayan Pink Salt. There is a huge debate raging on whether Celtic Sea Salt is better, or Himalayan Pink Salt is better. The Celtic Sea Salt advocates claim that the sea where it is harvested has not been contaminated by all the pollutants humans have dumped into the oceans but I've looked at the maps of how the ocean currents circulate and I don't believe it. Both Himalayan Pink Salt, and Real Salt from Utah were formed before pollution existed. I suspect that Real Salt is harvested by cleaner machinery, given that it's in the USA, but it tastes gritty - like I'm chewing sand - and I can't use it. Common table salt is full of toxic contaminants. (Not all pink salt is healthy. Murray River salt comes from the contaminated Murray-Darling Basin. Peruvian pink salt might be OK - I need to research it further.)
7. Avoid packaged goods: We buy very few packaged goods and the few that we do buy have only one or two ingredients - i.e. flour, pasta, rice, beans, cacao powder, and honey - are all without salt, preservatives and other chemicals. I prefer to buy things without salt, like these rice crackers, since most companies don't use healthy salt. Eden Foods is one of the few companies I trust, but I don't buy their canned tomatoes as the cans still have BPA in the lining. If you must buy canned tomatoes, buy them in glass. I make most of what we eat 'from scratch', including all condiments.
8. Aluminum: Aluminum binds with glyphosate (Round-up) and prevents your body from eliminating it. We don't let aluminum foil touch our food, and we don't use products containing aluminum, like baking powder and table salt. This means we don't use products containing baking powder or table salt, like self-rising flour, which in turn means we don't buy baked goods or multi-ingredient packaged goods, which usually contain both. Aluminum-free baking powder tastes better and creates better baked goods. Sourdough bread does not contain baking powder (or yeast, another avoid). The cookies sold in our CSA farm store are made with aluminum-free baking powder. Yes, I asked the baker, and you can ask your bakery, too. If more people ask, more bakeries will switch.
9. Storage: We store everything in glass (GlassLock, Fido, Weck, and LeParfait are best, canning jars (Ball, etc...) will do in a pinch). When I use a container that doesn't have a glass lid I put a sheet of Foil-backed Parchment between the food and the lid (parchment side down, touching the food). If something has no fat in it, like vegetables, I will occasionally store them in BPA-free and BPS-free plastic bags for a short period.
10. Cookware: We cook on titanium, stainless, enameled, or cast iron. We NEVER use non-stick cookware, EVER, no matter how it's marketed. Press here for a more detailed explanation.
11. Tableware: Our everyday dishes, serving ware, and bakeware are lead and cadmium free. Undecorated high-fired porcelain and clear glass are what we use. Apilco is white high-fired porcelain made in France. It's expensive, but the set I bought over 30 years ago still looks new, and only one piece has chipped. Pillivuyt is another similar brand. There are many impersonators, all made in China, that are NOT safe. Do your research. Soda-lime and borosilicate glass are safe. Press here for a more detailed explanation.
12. Personal and home care products: What you put ON your body is as important as what you put in it. Anything you breathe in or that touches your skin goes right into your bloodstream, bypassing your digestive system's toxin removal process. Whatever touches mucous membranes is mainlined in. The sources below describe the ingredients you need to avoid, and many of them sell products without those ingredients.
- I use GimmeTheGoodStuff to source safe household and personal care products
- I use Eco-me Suzy lemon dish soap, which I get through FrontierCoOp
- I use ECOS laundry products, which I get through FrontierCoOp
- I use Lafes deodorant stick
- I use I Read Labels For You to source safe household and beauty products
- For instance - artificial Christmas trees contain LEAD!
- Health Ranger Store sells tested household and personal care products
- Mercola also sells healthy household and personal care products
- I do not buy toilet tissue made with recycled paper - it's loaded with BPA from discarded cash register receipts (it's best not to touch those with your bare hands, either). I buy Who Gives A Crap which is made from bamboo. Who Gives A Crap is an amazing company! They're currently working to eliminate ALL plastic from all of their products. They even use paper shipping tape! I get our facial tissue and paper towels from them, too.
- feminine hygiene products (especially tampons) must be organic or you are mainlining gyphosate
- I buy all my personal care products from Mercola
- this article from Weston A Price Foundation lists alternatives
- use EWG's Skin Deep database to determine whether your cosmetics are dangerous
13. Air: Several years ago we moved to the country, where the air is cleaner (we hope), there is no noise pollution, very little traffic, and the night sky is dark and full of stars. I realize that most people can't change where they live, but you can limit your exposure to toxic air:
- Don't drive in heavy traffic with the top down or the windows open
- Don't eat in an outdoor cafe on a busy street (choose a side street with little traffic)
- If you live on a busy street, keep the windows closed and get an air filter
- If you have a gas cooktop, make sure it's vented
- If you move to the country, stay away from current or prior conventionally farmed land - it's highly toxic and the soil, air and water in that area will be polluted!
- If you can, avoid living near an airport, or under a frequently used flight path. The government sprays the atmosphere with aluminum to prevent air disasters.
14. Sleep: Our bedroom has very few electrical devices (clock, phone & bed lamps) and we sleep on a Grounding Sheet to mitigate their effect. Our pillows are organic buckwheat hulls, which naturally conform to the shape of your head, neck and spine to maximize comfort and support. The room is very dark, which is best for sleeping, and has no mirrors which are bad feng shui. We sleep really well in this room!
We are far from perfect....listed below are the things we're working on:
- We eat too much sugar
- I use too much glycation in cooking (browning food, which creates carcinogens)
- We don't get enough exercise
- We don't get enough exposure to sunlight (too many bugs in this area)
- I don't know everything that's bad for us - I'm sure I've missed something!
Here is an excerpt from an interesting article
listing foods which people who work in that industry won't eat:
1. The Endocrinologist Won't Eat: Canned Tomatoes
2. The Farmer Won't Eat: Corn-Fed Beef
3. The Toxicologist Won't Eat: Microwave Popcorn
4. The Farm Director Won't Eat: Non-organic Potatoes
4. The Farm Director Won't Eat: Non-organic Potatoes
5. The Fisheries Expert Won't Eat: Farmed Salmon
6. The Cancer Researcher Won't Drink: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones
7. The Organic-Foods Expert Won't Eat: Conventional Apples