One of the first things I learned when I started out on this path of lower toxin living is that our bodies have three main ways we are exposed to a variety of toxins. When I initially heard this it seemed like this was just a simple way of thinking about toxins by grouping them together. But I now know that this idea helps to not only group toxins together for simplification, but also will help when learning how to detox your body and your home.
Toxins come in all shapes and sizes and we’re exposed to them constantly over and over again throughout our day. Some toxins like pesticides or mold can be in the food we eat and also in our homes. When our bodies come in contact with the same toxin in multiple ways, it can bombard our system so that it doesn’t function at peak performance.
I think learning how to detox your body is important, but also learning how to detox your home and your space is important on the same level. Without fixing what’s wrong in the environment, any detox you do for your body will only last so long. If you put a healthy body back into an environment that has overwhelming toxins in it, the body will return to it’s burdened state and you’ll have to learn how to detox your body again and again.
BUT, if you detox your body and your space together, you’ll return a detoxed body, free from many toxins and chemicals to a clean space that has very few toxins. This will ensure that your body can NATURALLY detox itself without having to force a detoxification due to an overworked body.
How to detox your body may depend on what toxins you have issues with. Some of us have naturally low toxin environments but could stand to clean up our diet and food. Others of us may have toxins pretty much out of our food and kitchen, but need some major work in the personal care department.
Wherever you may need to learn how to detox your body, believe me you’ll have results that stick when you detox your home and habits as well.
TOXINS IN YOU
Toxins we ingest have a direct route to the bloodstream where they are then allowed to travel to our organs. But before toxins hit our bloodstream, they also get a chance to affect our gastrointestinal system as well as our gut microbiome.
I think one of the BIGGEST ways that we expose ourselves to toxins is through the toxins we ingest. The good news is that we usually have the most control over this part of our lives as well. By paying attention to the food we eat, which are the toxins we ingest, we could eliminate a number of toxins from our lives right off the bat.
Pesticides, artificial ingredients, arsenic and bisphenol toxins are some of the biggest toxins found in foods. Stick to whole, natural foods or foods with very few ingredients in them. Second, opt for organic produce and avoid canned products.
Other ways we ingest toxins is by the pots and pans that we use to cook with. Teflon and non-stick pans often contain a toxic coating that can leach into the food we cook within that pot or pan. This is why I love stainless steel, 100% pure ceramic pots and pans and cast iron. (This post can help you navigate pots and pans that are toxin free)
And finally, let’s not forget to mention dust. As gross as it seems, we ingest dust everyday. From surface dust to dust in the air, it eventually ends up inside our body if it’s floating around in the air. Dust contains a number of toxic chemicals and pollutants such as plastic particles, pesticides, mold, pollen and formaldehyde.
If you have kids, they ingest even more toxic house dust than adults due to their hand-mouth habits and the fact that they spend a lot more time on the floor than adults do.
This is why it’s vitally important to create good hand washing habits especially before mealtime to ensure toxins from dust are washed down the drain before touching food.
TOXINS ON YOU
Toxins that sit on our skin, our biggest organ, are absorbed to enter our bloodstream. Our skin pores not only absorb substances on our skin, but also absorb toxins that sit directly on our skin from clothing and bedding. Our skin works round the clock to “breathe” in the toxins that are nearest to it.
Our personal care products and beauty and bath products play a HUGE role in the toxins that sit on your and on your skin. I found this was a really easy spot to clean up my toxin exposure sources and go low toxin relatively quickly. I wasn’t necessarily tied down to any of my beauty products, and so swapping them out became a fun game. Go for clean beauty products from a trusted source or find EWG verified products.
Let’s not forget to mention, though, that our clothing sits on top of our skin. Materials that are synthetic in nature often contain microplastics that then sit on top of our skin, bringing with it PVC toxins, phthalates and possibly bisphenol toxins. Even natural materials like cotton, however, can contain pesticides and toxic dyes that introduce our bodies to toxins.
Clothing that sits close to the skin for long periods of time is the most important to buy organic, in my opinion. Pajamas and undergarments are great places to start.
THe same is true for bedding and upholstery that sits on our skin. The same toxins that could potentially be in clothing can also have direct contact with our skin as well as sleep. In addition, our bedding and upholstery can contain flame retardants and formaldehyde, which are both carcinogenic in nature.
Try to find Certified Organic bedding, but if you can’t swing that option in your home, then go for Okeo-Tex Standard Certified for a still safer option. This post can help you navigate bedding at home.
Another source of toxins on you can be found in the laundry products you use. Most laundry products become embedded into the fibers of the fabric you’re washing. Have you ever gotten second hand clothes that you just can’t seem to get the fabric softener smell out of? It’s because softeners and detergents stay on the clothing and fabrics we wash. Opt for EWG certified, or I trust Dropps for toxin free laundry products (plus use my code HHOTB25 for your first order)
TOXINS AROUND YOU
And then there are the toxins around you. Obviously this blog and my services hit these areas the hardest. The toxins around us can be inhaled into our lungs, which leads to our bloodstream, affecting all areas of our body, and potentially damaging or irritating our airways and lungs on the way.
Toxins around us are often unnoticed because there is no way to detect them without a monitor or air test. Many of us are so used to the off-gassing that is constantly surrounding our bodies that we no longer notice subtle signs that it may be affecting our body until it’s too late and we begin experiencing body burden.
Toxins around us can be in the form of VOCs, which are volatile organic compounds that off-gas constantly. This can range from paint to flooring to furniture and cleaning products we use around our home. Often the newer the product, the more VOCs are off-gassed into the air. If you can find products that are zero VOC, especially when it comes to paint and stain and varnish, that is the best option.
Environmental toxins can also be in hazardous materials like lead paint, asbestos tiles and asbestos insulation. In general it’s best not to disturb these materials and have them completely enclosed if possible. The second best option is to have them removed by a licensed professional with special OSHA certifications to properly remove hazardous toxins.
Microplastics, dust allergens, pesticides and toxic house dust are other particle toxins that can make their home in the corners of our homes. The dust from these toxins can get pushed around by our natural air flow in the home and can get pushed up into the air we breathe. By keeping our house as free from dust as possible, you can reduce a large source of toxin exposure without spending a dime.
HOW TO DETOX YOUR BODY
While I’m no medical expert, I do know a little bit about giving our bodies a break from toxins and I’ve learned a little bit about how to detox your body throughout my healthy house journey.
Essentially I think it boils down to removing a plethora of toxins, which could potentially be affecting your system and overloading it. Unfortunately, for a lot of us I think that includes A LOT of diet changes that we may not be willing to make.
Many food sources have become burdening to our bodies like dairy, gluten, sugar and other foods we ingest every day.
But to start, you could ease into cutting out artificial and processed foods. Once you’ve mastered that you could cut out most refined sugar as well as produce that could contain pesticides or hormones.
If you want to take your food journey farther, I recommend the following sources for a WEALTH of information:
- Dr. Mark Hyman (Author of SO many books that cover how to change your food habits and has a great podcast)
- Medical Medium (SO much information is packed into his books that cover different ways to heal your body)
The next step when you decide how to detox your body is to clean up your products and your fabrics. Again, do this one step at a time and cut out one thing with a break before you cut out the next thing. To start you could get rid of all synthetic fragrances, next you could switch out shampoo and soap, followed by makeup.
The trick here is to make a plan and then follow through just one step at a time.
HOW TO DETOX YOUR HOME
And then there’s your home. Detoxing your home can often be done through a series of inexpensive swaps or habit changes. Here’s the mini version of what I work through with my clients as we detox their home spaces.
- Test for Mold – this will help uncover if one of the most dangerous toxins is in your home. This can be the source of a variety of health problems from autoimmune disorders to general feeling of being unwell.
- (optional) Test for Environmental Toxins – Knowing if VOCs are off the charts or if there are toxic lead particles in your dust and air can be life changing when it comes to identifying what the sources are and removing them.
- Get Rid of House Dust – Remove dust with a wet dusting cloth, a wet mop and HEPA filter vacuum on a regular basis.
- Regularly Change Air Filters – Furnace filters, whole house air filters, and air purifier filters all need to be changed on a regular basis to ensure they are actually removing dust.
- Open Windows – Even in the winter, I rotate through the house and open windows to allow fresh air inside and toxic air to be exchanged with outdoor air. It’s a great way to get fresh air in and dilute the toxic air inside.
- Mechanically Ventilate – Use your house fans, ceiling fans and HVAC fans to push air out and around your home. Mechanical ventilation can speed up the air exchange process and dilute toxic air inside.
- EWG Verified Cleaning Products – Opt for EWG verified cleaning products to ensure that the cleaners you spray in your home aren’t going to be introducing unnecessary toxins to your space
- Stop Using All Synthetic Fragrances: Air fresheners, candles, plug ins and wax melts that use synthetic fragrance should be completely avoided. Opt for essential oils or a certified organic air freshener.
Whatever way you begin to detox your body and your home, know that any step counts as a positive step in the right direction. I’m so thankful to be here to help you through this journey as we change the narrative around our homes and products.