by Elizabeth McMillan, MS, CNS, LDN
Toxins are unfortunately all around us. From the air we breath to the chemicals we ingest—and there is no way to avoid them unless living in a glass bubble. Per a 2009 study in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology, the average home may contain as many as 400 chemicals and many of these have not had their effects on the body tested. Often a sign that one’s life needs to be “detoxed” are feelings of overwhelmed. Other signs that the body needs to detox include inability to lose weight, hormonal imbalances, constipation, headaches, skin problems, fatigue and depression.
Environmental toxins come from pesticides, herbicides, exhaust, factory waste, molds, pharmaceuticals and chemicals in food, the air, and water. In our homes, we also have several areas of toxins. The air in our homes can become polluted from carpets, furniture and building materials. Non-organic fabrics often have several chemicals involved in their synthesis and leach out over time. Chemical cleaning products and personal care products like lotions, makeup and perfumes also contain a lot of excess chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed through your skin or inhaled, causing a disruption in the body.
There are some simple ways to detox the air that we breathe inside of our homes. There are many air purifying plants that are easy to keep in the house that can remove harmful compounds from the air via a process called phytomediation. They absorb toxic gasses through their roots and leaves, leaving the air purified. Some air-purifying plants include aloe English ivy, rubber plant, lady palm, bamboo palm, peace lily, spider plants, snake plants, dwarf date palm and moth orchid. The added benefit is that most of these plants are easy to maintain and these vibrant greens will help you feel fresh and rejuvenated.
Another idea is to switch from plastic to glass storage containers. When plastic containers are heated in the microwave, they leach off several chemicals into our food. It is better to switch to glass storage containers. Clearing off countertops and floors of excess junk or un-opened mail has shown to relax the mind and promote drive and enhance energy.
Some other ways to help detoxify indoors include:
- Use non-toxic household cleaners
- Replace synthetically coated cookware with safe cookware
- Do not use chemical weed killers on the lawn and landscape
- Open the windows to air out any toxins kept in airtight rooms
- Declutter personal spaces by donating or selling what you no longer need
- Schedule a spring and fall house cleaning and de-cluttering calendar
Adding some of these detoxification strategies will help to clear your body, mind and spirit.
Finally, toxins affect the biochemical processes of the body and they also bring about negative thoughts and beliefs, which can poison your mental health, cause unhappiness and excess stress. A toxic mind may be cluttered with negativity and anger that leads to angry words, annoyances, guilt and stress. This is something that not only affects you but all the people around you.
Mental and emotional toxicity has, likewise, been linked to many diseases. There is an interesting theory called German New Medicine that provides insight between the connection psyche and disease. It is important to detox the mind by taking responsibility of your mental and emotional health, finding ways to reduce and eliminate bad emotions and thoughts and by adapting a holistic approach to stress. Clearing toxins or excess clutter from the mind, body and home can be an empowering experience.
Elizabeth McMillan, MS, CNS, LDN is an integrative nutritionist at Rose Wellness specializing on digestive health, hormone balance, sugar control and inflammation.