• leighmcswan

Lessening Your Toxic Load: Part 1

Do you consider the end of summer/early fall to be like a second New Year? In some ways it feels like it- we begin settling back into our routines. We don’t get caught up in perfection, but go through each day with intention.


Be intentional to reduce the amount of toxins you allow into your home and your body. There are over 80,000 toxic chemicals in our environment that did not exist 100 years ago. Every switch you make, makes a difference!


Remember, it’s impossible to be toxin-free. But it is possible to greatly reduce your exposure with a few things worth focusing time and energy on. Let’s look at some ways to lessen the toxic load as we ease into the tail end of summer and start making plans for getting back to work, routines and school.


Drink Filtered Water


Invest in a whole home system if that’s possible for you. The whole home systems filter all water in the house, including the shower. If a whole home system isn’t an option, buy some reusable jugs and fill them up with reverse osmosis water or UV light filtered water. You can do this at many grocery stores or water depot’s for under $5 with a 19 litre jug. Some companies even offer a delivery service where they take your empty jugs and swap them out for freshly filled ones. Alternatively, you can utilize another great resource, findaspring.com to find a free fresh water spring in your area.


Skip Plastic Food Storage


Plastic leeches materials into your food so avoid cling wraps or plastic containers. Instead, up-cycle glass that you could use to store food in, like old pickle, jam or sauerkraut jars. Use old tea towels, beeswax wraps or parchment paper in lieu of plastic wraps to wrap or transport food in. Beeswax wraps a great for young children because they’re easy to open and don’t require as much dexterity as something like a plastic wrap.


Store dry good and pantry items in glass containers. I have some from Williams Sonoma that I keep out on my counter to house things like oats, rice, pasta and tea bags because they look beautiful as decor. There are many options available but keep it simple and opt for basics, like mason jars, to get you started.


For an on-the-go lightweight option, use 18-8 stainless steel containers whenever possible. There are many options available for kids and adults, for both hot and cold meals.


I use PlanetBox lunchboxes for the boys for cold foods. These have withstood the test of time! My oldest got his when he was 3 (he’s 11 now) and my youngest got his when he was 4 (now 9). They’re dishwasher safe too! The only PlanetBox product I’ve had to replace is the lunch bag for each of them- I’m a really big fan of these. The investment is worth it in the long run.


Now that the boys are in forest school, in the fall and winter (ok, and Spring) months, they’re outside a lot (about 80% of the school day is spent outdoors) so having warm lunches is important to keep them toasty and comfortable. I use 2 things depending on what I’m sending them with. For liquids like soup or stews, I’ll use a stainless steel thermal container. For rice or pasta based lunches I’ll use a stainless steel Indian tiffin. The tiffins aren’t leakproof but they’re great for non liquids and they stack so you can pack quite a bit of food in one small container.


You can see my full list of safe food storage options plus other recommendations from this post here.


For water bottles, my 2 favourites are the Yeti and Hydroflask. They both hold the temperature of your liquids well, they’re stainless steel (minus the caps) and in my experience, very kid-resistant! They will get dented if dropped, but like the PlanetBox lunchbox, I think quality pieces for school make the most financial sense- just be sure to label them so they don’t go missing.


Detox Daily


When I was in nutrition school we heard this phrase, often: “if you’re not detoxing, you’re re-toxing.” This means that unless we’re actively moving toxins out of our body and lessening the toxic load, we’ll contribute to the toxic load build-up which leads to disease in the long run.


Some easy ways to detox daily are the include these tips listed in this post, but also to use a provoking agent that neutralizes toxins within the body, and breaks them down into safe particles for the body to eliminate. Many people will argue that our organs of elimination do this for us, and while that’s true to some degree, if the toxins are embedded within fat cells (like heavy metals) they don’t get removed unless provoked. The more fat you have on your body, the more toxins your body is holding onto. We have organs of elimination that need support too. Your liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymph and bowels need to be in good health in order to function properly and aid in normal detoxification. These organs are overworked because we’re in a heavily polluted modern world with products that aren’t always safe for us.


Increase the following foods to help your detox organs promote the body’s natural defence mechanisms:

  • cabbage, broccoli

  • lemon

  • bitter herbs & veggies (dandelion, endive, radicchio)

  • cilantro

  • parsley

  • alfalfa (ensure it’s non-GMO)

  • cranberry

  • radish

  • turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion

  • sea veggies

  • root veggies- sweet potatoes, beets, turnip

  • apples, berries

  • aloe


You can also use a daily internal spray for gentle heavy metal detoxification. This is the one I’ve been using 1-3 times a day for the last few months: Touchstone Essentials Zeolite.


I like this one because it’s tasteless, easy to administer to the kids and animals plus it hasn’t given me crazy detox symptoms which allows me to live day to day life easily while still moving toxins out of my body.


Another great daily detox process is dry skin brushing.


Dry skin brushing is an Ayurvedic practice that encourages circulation throughout the body and helps with lymphatic drainage. The lymph system plays a role in the body’s immune system. Stimulating it’s movement, manually, helps to move and remove waste in the body, as the lymph vessels are just below the skins surface.


Buy Local Clothing


Fast fashion was a phenomena introduced to us by Les Wexner, a billionaire businessman who founded L Brands, a global retail empire (which includes labels like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works). He was the mastermind behind the modern day mass clothing consumerism we know think of as ‘normal’. We became accustomed to buying tons of clothing for 4 seasons at really low prices. We were conditioned to do a lot of shopping, very frequently. If you haven’t watched the docuseries Angels & Demons, it’s a good one! This movement has led us to where we are today with approximately 15.1 million tons of waste was created from textiles in 2013 alone. The numbers have continued to grow. The textile industry produces a large mass of waste every year. The fashion industry has created and perpetuates wasteful practices such as using low-quality materials, poor environmental practices, and unethical production. This has become known as fast fashion. Switching to sustainable fashion can help our environment, the working conditions of the producers, and our future.


Our clothing should last longer. We don’t need as much as we have. Our obsession to ‘new’ is contributing to more than we need. Shop local, invest in pieces that can be passed down from kid-to-kid and go to secondhand stores or connect with a friend to do a clothing swap.


I don’t think we need to obsess over doing this all the time (I’m never advocating for an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach here), but a few sustainably made local pieces like jackets, rompers and knits can greatly reduce your need to go to WalMart and purchase the same thing a few times per season, per child.


Leave a comment and share your favourite local clothing makers and stores.


Part 2 will come out next week!


In vibrant health,


Leigh

ox