Detoxification is a common topic in functional medicine and for good reason. Every day we are bombarded with toxins by way of our daily routines – from eating, to cleaning, to breathing, to merely existing in this world. While we can’t avoid them completely, there are some basic steps we can take to help our bodies be less inundated by toxins.. Adopt these three principles – Eat, Purify, and Simplify – to support daily detoxing from many unwanted pollutants and chemicals that we commonly (and unknowingly) come into contact with.
Eat (to detox): We are what we eat! But many of the foods we love are grown with pesticides, which can be harmful to our health, especially our microbiome. Minimizing or eliminating these chemicals may feel daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
First step: Choose organic where you can, so you are eating more foods that have been grown without the use of toxic pesticides. Check the Environmental Working Group’s 2022 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to find out what fruits and vegetables are best bought organic, and which ones are ok to buy even if conventionally grown.
Next step: Choose some foods to grow on your own, in organic soil, and in raised garden beds or planters. This will help you avoid foods grown in contaminated ground soil (yes, even your own yard may have chemicals due to previously used fertilizers, or run-off from the home itself with contaminants like lead paint). BONUS: You’ll enjoy more time outdoors taking in fresh air…your body will thank you!
And one more step: Add more cruciferous vegetables to your diet – like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, bok choy, and kale. These fiber and sulfur rich foods help move toxins out of your body.
Purify (your air and water): The air we breathe and the water we drink are essential for our health, and yet can be sources of unwanted pollutants to our bodies. But both can be purified to minimize and eliminate harmful toxins. Berkey water filters and Intellipure air purifiers are two great options for your home, and their websites are loaded with important information on what’s hiding in your air and water, and how to make both healthier.
Simplify (your self-care products): Have you ever noticed the long list of ingredients on many of your self-care products? Why are there so many? It’s a head-scratcher for sure! According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), products like lotions, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, etc. often contain chemicals that were introduced many decades ago but have since been linked to things like cancer, asthma, and birth defects. The same goes for home cleaning products. But don’t fret! You can easily replace them all with simpler (and often less expensive!) options that are absent of these harmful ingredients. Think coconut oil instead of commercial lotion, or vinegar and baking soda instead of regular house cleaning products. Or choose products on the “EWG Verified” list which have been confirmed as meeting strict health standards.