Hi! It’s Dr. Connie here.
Last week I talked about the potential toxins we are exposed to everyday.
We discussed the importance of being “aware” of the toxins in our lives. It’s a problem that has become infused into our daily lives that we live completely oblivious to, but the issue is that they do cause cumulative damage.
I’ve been talking to many of you who have an autoimmune condition, or symptoms that you want to keep under control, and I know that many of you live your lives without being “aware” that you are sometimes taking an active role in toxifying your body.
Now it’s impossible to live toxic free unless we subject ourselves to living in a bubble.
So today, I want to discuss what you can do to minimize the toxic burden that may be perpetuating the symptoms that you are struggling with, such as:
- Foggy brain
- Nerve pain
- General pain in muscles and joints
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
I believe that when we gain weight, it’s not just an increase in fat cells. Rather, underlying inflammation bloats you up and causes those pounds on the scale to creep up on you.
You know what I’m talking about. Your daily intake of calories in the way of food has not really changed, yet your scale paints a different picture.
You have pitting edema near your ankles and swollen eyes (those under eye bags that we try so hard to conceal).
When you have inflammation, toxins can’t be released from our tissues. It’s sort of the dirty oil in a car that fails to get cleaned, unless you clean out the filter and change the oil.
When toxins accumulate, they do a lot more damage than we realize.
Some of us end up with a disease, but most of us live everyday with some symptoms we sweep under the rug hoping they’ll resolve on their own.
The problem is that they don’t resolve and many of you end up in my office in search of a way to “feel” better.
So lets talk about where these potential toxins lurk in our lives.
We talked a lot about the air, food, and toxic relationships, the elusive “stressors” in our lives.
So I figure it’s good to start by fixing something we do everyday! Eating.
Food is a universal language. It allows us to experience comfort, love, pure joy, and shared times with those we love. When feelings are involved, it’s not logical. We make choices based on the way we feel.
On that note, I want to call some of you out.
Most of us “know” what we “should” eat. The problem isn’t the knowledge, but it’s the feelings that drive our behavior.
So remember how last week I said it all starts with “awareness”?
The way toxins have contaminated our food supply is another topic all together, but today, I’d like to talk about what we can do everyday to minimize our risks.
Because, we all eat everyday, eating is a great place to start.
Even though the information age has us constantly bombarded on our electronic devices, there are some laws of nature that we can’t break.
The Laws of Nature
When I was seriously sick with Lupus, prior to the official diagnosis, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor told me to respect nature and eat according to my “constitution”.
He said that since I was more Yang than Yin, I needed good sources of protein, specifically red meat, to supply my energy and achieve balance to fight off my disease.
I needed to eat what’s in season. It was summer when I visited him and he said that summer is very “Yang” and expansive.
It’s when fruits like watermelon and melons are in season, and the vegetables are very green from getting chlorophyll from the sun.
He told me it would make sense to eat those vegetables and fruits in season. Since then, I’ve come across various research that validates this simple and logical concept.
Eat Real Foods
If mother nature didn’t have a role in creating the food that you’re consuming, then simply don’t eat it.
When going to the supermarket, shop mostly on the periphery of the store. This is where the meats and vegetables are.
The middle aisles typically contain “processed” man-made foods. These foods often have food labels with ingredients that were chemically engineered.
If you can’t pronounce these ingredients, they don’t belong in your gut.
Eat fruits and vegetables that have a wide array of “colors”. These concepts are again so logical, yet we tend to toxify our bodies daily with things we all “know” to be toxic to us.
Avoid Toxic Foods
Toxic foods include:
- GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
- Petrochemical residues from farming practices
- Foods with heavy metal contamination
- Mercury from industrial waste in fish
- Lead in drinking water– be sure to drink filtered water!
- Arsenic in water, rice, and chicken
- Advanced glycation end products (AGE) from food preparation
- Typically occurs when food is overcooked
- Polyaromatic hydrocarbons from charbroiled meats
How to Minimize Exposure to Contaminants and Pesticides from Foods
- Don’t over-consume foods that have concentrated amounts of pesticides (animal fat, meat, eggs, cheese, milk)
- Buy organic produce
- Peel off skin or remove outer layer of leaves of certain veggies and fruits, like lettuce and apples with lots of wax
- Remove surface pesticide residues, waxes, fungicides, and fertilizers by soaking the food in a mild solution of additive free soap (pure Castille soap is a biodegradable cleanser)
- Use a scrub brush to physically remove residues and waxes
Sometimes we are reluctant to go organic, but as a mom raising two boys and a Lupus patient, I am fully convinced by the research that it’s the best thing you can do.
Some studies have reviewed the urinary metabolites of pesticides and found that organic diets significantly lowered children’s dietary exposure to pesticides. (2)
Eat Locally Grown Foods
If you are living in Georgia, there are Georgia pollens and honey, fruits and vegetables that our local farmers harvest and grow. These are what we should eat.
We should avoid eating fruits, vegetables, and meats that traveled over seas to get to us, as it’s just not the way mother nature intended.
Support your local farmers by joining a CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture). If you want to find out more, click here.
Avoid Plastic Containers
Plastics are everywhere in our kitchen, from water bottles, food storage, to saran wraps.
Plastic leaches toxins into our foods, and research has proven these toxins to be carcinogenic.
Reduce BPA and phthalates in your body by limiting the amount of packaged foods in your diet.
Research shows that an organic, fresh food (no cans or plastic) diet dropped BPA levels by 66% and phthalate metabolites by 53-56% within 3 days. (3)
Drinking from cans has acute effects on blood pressure.
A study examined 60 participants and provided the same beverage in 2 glass bottles, 2 cans, or 1 can and 1 glass bottle at a time. They measured the BPA concentration, blood pressure and heart rate 2 hours after consumption.
They found that urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by >1600%, compared with consuming glass bottled beverages. (4)
It’s not enough just eating healthy foods, but our state of mind when we’re eating those foods can make them more or less toxic.
Nourishment includes how we value the “experience” of eating.
For example, there was a randomized trial investigating the role of intention and belief on mood while drinking tea. Subjects were randomly assigned to drink tea that had been intentionally treated by Buddhist monks or regular tea.
They found that those who drank treated tea showed a greater improvement in mood than those who drank untreated tea.
The results also proved that there was a significant improvement in mood in those who believed that they were drinking treated tea vs those who didn’t believe their tea was treated. (1)
Let’s review all that we learned today.
For proper detoxification, “awareness” is key in understanding where the hidden toxins may be lurking in your life.
We discussed the importance of respecting mother nature, which includes:
- Eating seasonal foods
- Eating real foods
- Avoiding toxins in our foods
- Eating locally grown foods
- Avoiding plastic containers
- Having gratitude when eating
I know this was a lot of information, so next week, we will discuss the specifics of nutrient rich foods and how to incorporate them in your diet.
This will allow you to safely detox so that you remove the toxic metabolites from your body and ultimately reduce inflammation to look and feel your very best.
Please make sure to tune in next week.
As always, thanks so much for joining me today and I would love to hear from you. Please comment, like, and share this content, and I’ll see you next week.
1. Shiah YJ, Radin D. Metaphysics of the tea ceremony: a randomized trial investigating the roles of intention and belief on mood while drinking tea. TExplore (NY). 2013 Nov-Dec;9(6):355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2013.08.005.
2. Lu C, Toepel K, Irish R, Fenske RA, Barr DB, Bravo R. Organic diets significantly lower children’s dietary exposure to organophosphorus pesticides. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Feb;114(2):260-3.
3. Rudel RA, Gray JM, Engel CL, Rawsthorne TW, Dodson RE, Ackerman JM, Rizzo J, Nudelman JL, Brody JG. Food packaging and bisphenol A and bis(2-ethyhexyl) phthalate exposure: findings from a
dietary intervention. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul;119(7):914-20. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1003170. Epub 2011 Mar 30.
4. Bae S, Hong YC. Exposure to bisphenol A from drinking canned beverages increases blood pressure: randomized crossover trial. Hypertension. 2015 Feb;65(2):313-9. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.