Many know how critical a healthy diet is. Food can have a significant impact on our health — both positively and negatively!
I know this to be the case personally as my diet has drastically changed [for the better] over the years. I used to think that I only ate food to satisfy my hunger, or give me energy. I knew that caffeine and sweets gave me energy for a period of time. I knew that snacking on a bag of chips satisfied my hunger. I also knew that fruits and vegetables were good for me as they provide vitamins and nutrients. However, I didn’t realize the extent to which the processed “junk” food I was eating was causing me such harm.
A Changed Diet, A Healthier “Me”
Fortunately, like many of you, I learned that I needed to make some major changes to my diet in order to save my health. I learned about the various chemicals which are in many processed foods and realized that I didn’t want those chemicals in my body. I also learned about the chemicals which are sprayed on food crops. Then I learned about GMOs, after years of unknowingly consuming them. Gone are the days of drinking a diet pop and eating M&Ms to give me a pick-me-up at 2:00PM. Gone are the days of munching on a bag of chips to satisfy my hunger. Gone are the days of making dinner by heating up a can of food. Today, I eat a diet of real, organic whole foods and limit processed foods as much as possible. And I have become healthier because of it!
Chemicals — They’re in More than just our Food!
So I may be preaching to the choir when I talk about chemicals in food. Many people correctly understand toxins within the context of the food we eat — GMOs, MSG, artificial colors, preservatives, High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and more — but you may be surprised to learn that an exorbitant amount of toxins are dangerously lurking in our own homes.
In the kitchen alone, for example, we use plastics, cookware, soaps and detergents that leach chemicals. In the bathroom we use toxic air fresheners, candles, cleaning products, cosmetics, shampoos and more. In our living rooms we are exposed to toxic furniture on a daily basis. What we sleep on each night — our mattresses — likely emit harmful chemicals. In the laundry room we use detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softeners — all of which may be very harmful. And this just names a few of the items that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Everything we put into our body is important! Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way. My toxic bucket overflowed from the amount of toxins I was putting into it — both from the food I was eating to the daily consumption of chemicals from products within the home. Who knew that products which were marketed to do things such as make my skin glow and keep my wavy hair under control, were also exposing me to harmful chemicals which were adding up in my body? Toxins, whether in our food, or in the products that we use on a regular basis are just that — toxic!
Toxins Going Directly into Our Blood Stream
Our skin is our largest organ and it’s permeable — meaning that it absorbs what is put on it. Our skin absorbs approximately 60% of what we apply on it. Once absorbed, it enters our blood stream and is distributed throughout our body. In addition, “ingredients that we absorb through our skin can result in body concentrations 10 times higher than oral doses. They do not pass through our GI tract, so they are not first filtered by our liver.”
Some of those chemical ingredients can become particularly dangerous because they are not properly tested and they can bioaccumulate in our bodies as we are continually exposed. As the toxins accumulate in our body, our organs can become stressed resulting in a host of health issues.
Stop to Consider What You Are Putting in Your Body
Have you ever stopped to consider how other items you ingest can also impact your health? One of my pet peeves is going down the aisle of a health food store and walking by someone who is wearing perfume, or some toxic laundry product, such as detergent, fabric softener, or dryer sheets. They have good intentions of trying to be healthy when it comes to their diet. However, they could be even more healthy if they removed and replaced the personal care and laundry products they are exposing themselves to on a regular basis with something less toxic.
There Is Hope!
Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can limit your exposure to harmful toxic ingredients. In a recent study, the Environmental Working Group tested 100 girls between the ages of 14 – 18. The girls stopped using their regular personal care products for 3 days. Instead, they only used products free of the suspected endocrine disruptors. After three days, their urine tests showed a decrease in their levels of the following endocrine disruptors: parabens, triclosan and phthalates.
So the next time you’re shopping for food, also take into consideration the other toxic products you many have throughout the house. They may be just as — if not more — detrimental as the food you’re eating.