What is non-toxic living? Well, we have reached an age of abundant chemicals which are well-marketed into the minds of people as being more effective and making life easier and better in so many ways. From easy oven cleaning to waterproof mascara – life is so much better with these innovative products.
However, at the same time, we are being barraged with toxic chemicals in our food and produce, our water, the air we breathe, our soaps and shampoos, perfumes and cosmetics, sun screens, dental hygiene and other personal care products, detergents and cleaning products, air fresheners and more. The average American is exposed to literally hundreds of these chemicals every day, many of them are toxic in varying degrees.
What is a Toxin?
A toxin is something capable of causing disease or damaging tissue when it enters the body. What’s deceiving about toxins is that initial exposure to a majority of these toxins will have no visible effect. Meanwhile, the residual build-up of toxins in the body over months or years is an entirely different story.
Longer term exposure to toxins wears down the body’s ability to deal with toxins, particularly the liver, coupled with damage caused to the lining of the gut, which gradually weakens the immune system. Researchers now believe that a leaky gut is one of the major predisposing factors for conditions like obesity, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases.
As well, many of these toxins are hormone disruptors. Possibly you wonder why thyroid problems have become so widespread. Your endocrine system is made up of glands that produce multiple hormones that regulate cells and organs, including your metabolism, quality of sleep, your mood, tissue function and even body growth.
What’s meant by Non-toxic Living?
Now I don’t want to sound like a lunatic or even a fanatic about it – as I’m not. We will stick to facts, with no hype or hyperbole, to provide greater knowledge and understanding of the what, where and how of the problem, along with easy and inexpensive solutions for non-toxic living. These “solutions” that I refer to will result in a greatly reduced toxic load on your body.
There are simple and inexpensive ways to successfully avoid a large percentage of these toxins without going overboard on any of this. This is really what I am talking about when I refer to “Non-toxic Living.” The idea is to take a practical approach. Get the straight information on what is happening around you. Gradually phase over to healthier, non-toxic replacements. You don’t have to raid your entire house and throw out everything immediately. You can if you want. But you can also simply start replacing products gradually and over a period of some months transform to non-toxic living. When your toxic glass cleaner is out, instead of buying another bottle, simply wash out the bottle you were using, fill it with water and some white vinegar and you’ve got a non-toxic glass cleaner that cost you almost nothing and works just as well.
I have broken the subject of non-toxic living down into many parts and these are covered in multiple pages on this website and even more in the book. I recommend tackling one topic at a time.
My hope is to help prevent cancer causing toxins and endocrine disrupters from damaging lives or reducing the quality of life for many people. My hope is also that more people can feel better, have more energy and live healthier, happier and longer lives.
Where do these Toxins come from?
When you start doing research into the ingredients of so many common products, your hair may stand straight up — and it won’t be from styling gel. Most of the time, when you read these long, complicated chemical substances, no one has any clue what they are. And if you aren’t eating or drinking it, it might not seem to matter much. However you would be surprised how much of something can get into your body through your skin and/or by breathing it in.
For example, some window cleaners contain nerve-damaging butyl cellosolve. Windex contains ammonium hydroxide, a known respiratory irritant that can damage your skin and eyesight, hexoxyethanol, which can damage your organs, while the fragrance can lead to allergies, skin irritation and nervous system problems. When you use these products, you inhale a significant amount (you know that distinct Windex smell), in addition to what might be absorbed through your skin.
Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazards they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects that contribute to serious health issues, such as cancer or hormone disruption.
Lipstick and nail polish that contain lead, mascara which usually contain heavy metals and carbon black are neurotoxins that can cause brain damage and even cancer.
There are many other potential toxins in your environment, including pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, lawn and garden products, insect repellants and sprays. Mold growing in the walls of your home or where you work can also be quite hazardous to your health.
There are toxins in many of the foods we eat. Processed and fast foods are some of the worst. Pesticides and herbicides used in growing produce make their way into fruit, vegetables, coffee, wine, tea, meats, fish and fowl — and then into our bodies.
More and more water quality issues are coming to light. Flint, Michigan made big news not that long ago, but the Environmental Working Group has found widespread problems in varying degrees across the U.S. in water quality.
Air quality is another topic. Whether it is outdoor air pollution or indoor toxins resulting in poor air quality, it can take its toll on your health over time. Air is often taken for granted and resultant issues from poor air quality can take months or years to develop.
Learning about Toxic Load
I know when we look at a subject such as non-toxic living we’re walking a sort of tightrope here, hoping to make more people aware of the fact that there may be dangerous toxins lurking in many common products we use and in the environment, while also not trying to sound like a lunatic that sees martians on every corner.
Knowledge is power. So knowing what these toxins are is better than being blissfully ignorant of them, as I was for a very long time. That is, until I got very sick and HAD to find answers. What’s even more encouraging about this, is that it is SO EASY to shift over to nontoxic products and detoxify yourself and your environment.
Any one exposure, or even a few, to these toxins are usually no big deal. However when they are all added up, you are looking at hundreds of exposures per person per day and that definitely is a big deal. Day after day, week after week, year after year, these have increasingly dangerous effects on our body. One doesn’t have to stretch the imagination too far to consider the connection between physical conditions such as hypothyroidism, obesity, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune diseases and other hormonal issues hitting practically epidemic levels and the broad use of so many toxic chemicals.
Many such toxins can be disguised in healthy looking wrappers. Don’t believe all of the marketing tricks and gimmicks as many are very misleading. Beware of unregulated “green” claims on labels. Terms such as “natural” and “eco-friendly” should not be equated with safety unless they’re backed up with specific ingredient information. “Non-toxic” has no official definition, so unless a third party has verified this claim, it should not be taken seriously. And don’t believe “organic” ingredients in cleaning and other chemical products are any safer than other substances. Although “organic” in the grocery store refers to foods grown without synthetic pesticides, in chemistry it refers to chemicals that are carbon-based, including some compounds that release harmful fumes and may cause brain damage or cancer.
In researching these topics, I can’t tell you how many times I had my mind blown on things I discovered. You don’t have to believe everything I write here. If you read something in this book and think to yourself, “this woman is full of s#*@!”, then you should take that topic that sent you over the edge and Google it. Read up on it from other reputable sources.
I say reputable as there are also many advocacy groups that have been formed by various corporation that put out false information on their behalf. Cigarette companies formed advocacy groups that put out “scientific research” papers (for which they were highly paid to write) stating that smoking was not damaging to your health. Since then, hundreds, maybe thousands, of advocacy groups have been formed. The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) states that it, “provides leadership in scientific and technical support to sustain and grow the global dairy industry,” and is paid by Dairy Companies to promote how healthy dairy is (and I’m not saying dairy isn’t healthy, but many dairy practices can include feeding cows tons of antibiotics, steroids and a very unhealthy diet for a cow, which are then transferred into dairy products sold to consumers). So when researching further, make sure your sources are independent and unbiased.
While I am not advocating being a fanatic about all of this, I do want you to see that there are serious health risks involved in not addressing the problem. I am attempting to provide you with REAL SOLUTIONS. Solutions that are inexpensive and easy to access. Since most of these toxin-containing products are things you will buy fairly often, it is easy to gradually phase over to non-toxic living.
Another thing I would like to mention is an incredible resource for those looking to embark upon non-toxic living, and that I encourage everyone to access. It’s an organization called the Environmental Working Group, with a website at www.EWG.org. Here you will find a wealth of information along with incredible resources to search products and to find alternatives that are non-toxic. When you have some time, you should fully explore the information in this website.