Toxin. Nowadays, they’re everywhere. They’re in the food we eat, the water we drink, the products we use, and yes… the air we breathe.
Even if you live an uber-clean lifestyle, growing organic veggies and collecting spring water, you can’t avoid toxins entirely.
Just to paint a picture, there are over 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the US alone.
Toxin exposure is linked to several chronic illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases.
But before we get too doomsday, here’s the good news. You’re not powerless. There are loads of lifestyle habits that can reduce toxin exposure and lighten your toxic load.
So read on to get the inside scoop on how to free your body of toxins, so you can have the energy and vitality to live a healthy, vibrant life.
But first, I want to share a theory that’ll help you understand this toxin business.
According to functional medicine, your body is like a bucket. Yes, you read that right – a bucket. Hear me out…
Picture a bucket. Now imagine it’s filled with water. Each time you’re exposed to a toxin, the water level rises.
But thankfully, this isn’t any ordinary bucket. This bucket is equipped with a handy drain at the bottom to keep the water from overflowing. This drain represents your detox organs – releasing toxins through your sweat, urine, stool, mucus, and breath.
Even so, your bucket can only handle so much.
In a perfect world, your detox organs would eliminate all the harmful toxins thrown your way. And your body would work like a well-oiled machine 24/7.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Modern life bombards us with toxins on all sides – from food, chemicals, heavy metals, infections, and even stress.
And when your body can’t keep up with its toxin load, your bucket overflows. This is when chronic disease sets in.
You might assume you’re born with an empty bucket, but that’s not always the case. According to research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), newborns have around 200 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood. That’s right – we even pick them up in the womb!
The size of your toxin bucket will depend on your genes. If you have a genetic blip that impairs detox (like the MTHFR mutation) your bucket will be smaller. And if you hit the gene lottery, your bucket will be bigger.
Your genes also affect how well your body can prevent your bucket from overflowing. But genes aren’t the only thing that can cause your bucket to spill over. Lifestyle plays a huge part too.
Lots of things! Here are some of the culprits that can fill up your bucket:
You knew this one was coming, right? Environmental toxins are everywhere. In fact, according to the EWG, the average woman puts 168 chemicals on her skin on any given day. And that’s just on your skin…
Some of the biggest offenders include pesticides, phthalates, parabens, PCBs, VOCs, EMFs, and heavy metals.
Processed food is filled with harmful food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame. Plus, conventional produce is grown or harvested with toxic chemicals like glyphosate. Tap water is treated with chlorine and sometimes fluoride which can interfere with effective hormone activity such as thyroid hormone.
But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. You need certain nutrients detox well, like vitamin C and E, B vitamins, magnesium, and glutathione. If you’re running low on these nutrients due to poor diet or problems with absorption, your detox will be impaired.
Chronic infections drain your energy, overwhelm your detox pathways, and weaken your immune system. Infections may come from bacterial or yeast overgrowth, parasites, Lyme disease, or the Epstein-Barr virus to name a few. The toxic waste products from these organisms are what burden the body. These infections also create inflammation in the gut which often interfere with nutrient absorption in the intestines. A double whammy!
Whether to food, pollen, animal dander, or medications, allergies create inflammation in the body. The more inflammation you have, the harder your detox organs have to work.
Trauma, whether emotional or physical, keeps your body in fight or flight mode. And living in emergency mode is NOT good for detox! Trauma comes at us in many ways, whether from abuse, accidents, injuries, divorce, losing a job, or losing a loved one.
While not everyone identifies with trauma, we all face stress. And in the last few years, that stress has skyrocketed. Chronic stress creates inflammation and dysregulates your nervous system and co-activates immune dysfunction.
Notice a theme in the list above? They’re all stressors. They all make the body work overtime. And yes, they all fill up your bucket.
When too many toxins are coming in and not enough are going out, that’s when the mystery symptoms set in.
Here are some warning signs that your toxin bucket needs attention:
If you’re struggling with several of the symptoms above, there’s a good chance your toxin bucket is full. And there are two different ways to reduce your toxic burden:
So next up, let’s cover how to lighten your toxic load.
For optimal health, you want to keep the toxins moving out of your body (i.e. keep the drain open). But you also want to prevent them from getting in your bucket in the first place!
So here are some lifestyle habits that help reduce toxin exposure and support your detox pathways:
Eat as many organic, whole foods as possible. This helps you avoid the harmful food additives in processed food and pesticides in conventional produce. Conventional meat is also teeming with hormones and antibiotics. So choose wild fish, 100% grass-fed meat, and pasture-raised organic poultry.
If eating all organic isn’t in your budget, just do your best. Consider using EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. They rank which foods have the most and least pesticides, so you know when to go organic and when conventional will do.
Swap out the toxic personal care and cleaning products for natural ones. Not sure how to find safer options? Check out the EWG website. It has a database with over 89,000 products. Choose products that have the ‘EWG verified’ seal of approval.
For cleaners, consider making your own DIY versions with baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils. This video shows you how.
Drinking filtered water and using an air purifier are other simple ways to lighten your toxic load. House plants are also amazing for cleaning indoor air, so consider adding a few to each room.
Also, toss any plastic food containers and water bottles and choose glass instead. Plastics leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals into your food and water. And for the love of all that’s holy, never heat up your food in plastic.
Pathogens like parasites, bacteria, viruses, and yeast all release toxins that are harmful to your health. Addressing these infections frees up energy for detox, so your toxin bucket doesn’t overflow.
When treating chronic infections, always get the support of a healthcare professional. If you go in guns blazing and kill too much too fast, you could do more harm than good. If you need support with this, you can set up a discovery call here.
Several detox practices can help unclog your drain and keep the toxins moving, including:
A little goes a long way, so don’t feel the need to do them all. Just experiment and find which ones you enjoy.
Our bodies are designed to move. When they don’t, our toxin buckets get clogged. Exercise increases circulation and helps lighten your toxic load via your lymph and skin. But it also relieves stress and boosts your mood.
Aim for around 20-30 minutes each day. If you can do more, great! If that’s too much, you know your body best. Do what you can. Experiment and find some activities you love. That way, you’ll stay motivated to stick with it.
You can’t avoid stress entirely. But you can create simple daily practices to prevent stress from getting out of hand.
Here are some stress-busting activities to consider adding into the mix:
While you sleep, your body is hard at work, especially your brain! Research shows that the glymphatic system, which removes waste from your brain, is ten times more active while you sleep.
Sleep is also when your body repairs cells, organs, and muscles and processes memories. So quality sleep is key to your physical and mental health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep to keep your toxin bucket draining well.
Certain nutrients can help your toxin bucket stay in tip-top shape. Here are a few of them:
Our bodies are designed to heal. They want to heal. But first, we must remove the roadblocks to good health. Reducing our toxic load allows our bodies to tap into their innate healing potential.
I hope the tips we’ve covered help you start to empty your toxin bucket, so you can enjoy the robust health and well-being you deserve. If you could use some support in navigating your detox journey, we’re here to help!
We offer functional lab testing that measures detoxification markers and nutritional deficiencies. That way, you get a customized detox plan that’s effective and gentle on your body.
Click here to set up your complimentary discovery call. We’ll chat about your health concerns and create a detox protocol that’s tailor-made just for you.