TIME TO COME CLEAN
PESTICIDES, PLASTICS AND PROCESSED FOODS — ARE HIDDEN NASTIES IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT PUTTING YOUR WELLBEING AT RISK?
Imagine yourself working 24/7, 365 days of the year, year in, year out without a break. How would you feel? Tired? Stressed? Burnt out? Well, let’s spare a thought for our overworked body system and the unconscious processes we take for granted. Since the industrial revolution some 250 years ago, our body has been forced to deal with the changing environment. Pesticides, medications, plastics, chemically-laden skincare products, processed foods, air and water pollution — the list goes on. Everything we breathe, drink, eat and absorb needs to be dealt with at some point through the endocrine system. This internal communication system is a complex network of glands and organs. It uses hormones to control and co-ordinate your body’s metabolism, energy levels, reproduction, growth and development, as well as its response to injury, stress and mood.
Disrupting normal endocrine function can have serious repercussions for health, so even if you feel like you are working out and consistently eating well, attention also needs to be turned to the environment you are living in. Here are some tips to lighten the load.:
Clear out all wrappings and containers in your pantry that contain the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A). Pollutants leach into and contaminate foods stored in cans and plastic. Opt for glass containers and choose fresh foods wherever possible.
Bin everything that contains a fragrance —air fresheners, oven cleaners, furniture polish, detergent, cosmetics, hair spray, nail polish, paint, glue. Fragrances are fumes that filter into our lungs and skin and are toxic to our system. Orange oil makes a great air freshener and there are lines of fragrance-free alternatives for most other products.
Switch to natural products for cleaning and personal items. Chemicals in washing materials and rinses cling to garments and then penetrate your pores. Choose natural fibres over synthetic, especially for sheets and blankets. Electric blankets give off invisible vapours from heated wires coated in plastic that will ultimately enter your body.
Ditch Teflon-coated cookwear and choose stainless steel and cast iron. Teflon and aluminium emit waste-laden fumes that leach into foods. If you microwave, use glassware instead of plastic.
OPT FOR ORGANIC
Choose organic produce where possible, but if not, ensure pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are reduced by properly rinsing. Xenoestrogens, which mimic estrogen and disrupt hormones in the body, are rampant in meat and dairy products because the animals are fed diets that are high in estrogenic drugs to fatten them. Livestock feed is also laden with chemical sprays that accumulate in animal tissue and promote hormone disruption in the person consuming them. Grass-fed meats, organic milk, butter and free-range organic eggs are well worth the extra money.
DETOX YOUR DIET
Help the body to detoxify free radicals, used-up hormones and derivatives of mimic hormones by increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leafy vegetables). Include protein with helpful amino acids. Fat cells are storage sites for excess estrogen and chemicals, so weight loss is helpful. Reducing the toxins you’re exposed to each day allows your body to focus on its job without the excess load.