Living a Less Toxic life by Faith Canter
We all know deep down that a lot of what we do, use and surround ourselves with these days is pretty toxic, not just to ourselves but to the environment as well. But are you aware of the extent of this toxicity, how it affects our health, wellbeing, mental state of mind and how easy it is to make changes that could have drastic and positive effects?
In this article I’m going to talk you though all of these and prove to you it can be an easy and cheap transition to better health and a better environment, for you, your family and the planet as a whole.
Let’s start with cosmetics and skin care products; you can see from the image below, a variety of commonly used toxic ingredients and what they could potentially do to you:
Did you know that we absorb up to 60% of what we put onto our skin (60% of the above)? When I found this out some years ago it was the catalyst to a lot of my research and subsequent change from ‘normal’ cosmetics and skin care products to a more natural, organic and healthy versions. The only problem for me was that these items can work out pretty expensive.
I can in fact see why some people might be inclined to ignore the health warnings about the chemicals found in normal cosmetics and skin care when they see the price of the alternatives. However, if I was to tell you that to make your own version of most cosmetics and skin care products was considerably cheaper than buying not only the natural alternatives but also your normal chemical based products would this change your mind? Well it is and it’s also rewarding, satisfying and an investment in your future health.
For instance, I have estimated that my home made perfume (which I also use as a room spray) costs me around 10p a bottle! Yes you read that right – 10p! You simply find a small spray bottle (wash well if you’re recycling one), fill it all the way to the top (leaving about 2cm gap), then add a selection of essential oils (of your choice), totally around 15 drops for a 100ml bottle add more for a bigger bottle and then add a couple of drops of white wine vinegar or any white spirit (to stop it from going off) put the top on and shake. Just make sure to shake well before each use and there you have it. You can make as many bottles with as many scents as you like for next to no cost.
Household cleaning products are pretty much the same as the above, the only difference with these is that they don’t always come into contact with your skin, but remains of these are often found on your plates and other cooking items, in your bath, on your clothes and of course when you are using them you are inhaling the vapour from them, so it is still very possible to ingest these toxic chemicals and for them to have an effect on your health (affecting you skin, hair, mood, respiratory system, hormones, energy levels and mental clarity amongst other things) not to mention that washing all those chemicals down the drain each day has a very detrimental effect on the environment.
Here’s some more information about the dangers of some of our most common household chemicals: http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/six-household-chemicals-avoid
Again it’s really simple and easy to make alternatives to these toxic products and you can find many thousands of recipes online to help you do this, but I thought I’d share my favourite, easiest and cheapest one with you (costing somewhere between 20 to 30p a bottle):
Source an empty and fairly large spray bottle (wash well if you’re recycling), fill 1/3 of the bottle with white wine vinegar and 2/3 with water, leaving a 2cm gap at the top of the bottle, fill this with a mixture of about 30 drops of essential oils (citrus oils, tea-tree and lavender are all great choices as they will help to mask the vinegar smell and are also good antibacterials and antifungals), then squeeze the juice of a lemon into the remaining space and shake well.
Make sure to shake well before each use and there you have an all-purpose cleaner. This cleaner can be used on just about anything in the home (avoid using on non-treated woods and rubber seals around baths and sinks though), so no need for tons of different bottles under the sink either.
Another toxic group to consider are those on and in our food. Yes you’ve guessed it, the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, waxes, genetically modified ingredients, bulking agents, sugars, sweeteners and E-numbers we ingest every single day of our lives.
These are perhaps the most worrying of all the toxins as we are led to believe by the food industry that the food we are putting on our plates is healthy, or at the very least not full of toxins that are slowly poisoning us. Many of the toxic ingredients in and on our food can cause health issues like headaches, IBS, depression, skin complaints, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, mood swings, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, food sensitivities and a reduction in absorption of the healthy nutrients from our food.
There has been study after study completed into the effects of long term consumptions of these items, but one of the worst things I feel is the effects of eating junk food whilst pregnant and breast feeding or giving children junk foods whilst small and their brains are still developing. This is because there is growing evidence that this could be leading to an increase in learning difficulties, ADHD, mood swings, early puberty and hormonal issues in children. Here’s just one of the many articles out there giving more information on this subject: http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/08/22/in-young-kids-junk-food-linked-to-mental-illness/58744.html
And here are a few more links to some other articles relating to the effects of the toxins in our food:
Genetically Modified Food Risks: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks/articles-about-risks-by-jeffrey-smith/Doctors-Warn-Avoid-Genetically-Modified-Food-May-2009
Learning difficulties and toxic overload link? http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/8388.html
Possible cancer and fertility issues from household and pharmaceutical toxins: http://www.eea.europa.eu/media/newsreleases/increase-in-cancers-and-fertility
It is fairly easy to reduce the amount of these toxins in the food we eat and it doesn’t have to be expensive. First, try to buy non GM, organic food where possible. Organic food can sometimes be expensive, so remember that pesticides used in farming usually affect and stay on the skin of vegetables and foods. If you have to make a choice between organic and non-organic produce, try to make your non-organic foods, things which you would not eat the skins of. Plant a herb garden or veggie box on your windowsill. Wash all fruit and veg well and consider using a weak vinegar solution to do this with.
Stop eating processed foods, fizzy drinks, microwaving foods, storing food in plastic containers and drink plenty of water to flush any toxins through your system. Make friends with a local organic farmer and buy direct from them. I recently found a small organic farm near me where the organic fruit and vegetables they sell are cheaper than the non-organic fruits and vegetables from the supermarket.
Buy local where possible, this way it’s less likely that the food has been shipped half way around the world to be waxed or packaged before landing in your shopping basket – this reduces the likelihood of additional preservatives being added to your foods and also means the foods might be fresher, so they’ll hopefully hold more essential nutrients. Always buy non-waxed, non-dyed and non-modified foods where possible, as these are almost always modified with something toxic.
The last toxic item I want to address is what’s going on inside our heads. Everyday whether we want to or not we have toxic thoughts about ourselves, our lives and the people around us. However, these normal daily thoughts affect our general health and well-being without you even realising it. Most of us have heard the term ‘positive thinking’, some of you may have even tried to give it a go or perhaps you just don’t realise how fundamental our thoughts are to our lives in general.
Well I’m here to tell you that there is a whole mass of research now showing proof of chemical and physical reactions within the body to toxic thoughts going on in our minds. If you read the work of Bruce Lipton (http://www.brucelipton.com/), or David Hamilton (http://drdavidhamilton.com/ ) (among many others) then you will be able to understand the science behind our thoughts. Constantly thinking something negative about ourselves only reinforces this not just within our mind but it has chemical and physical reactions within the body and can even increase things like weight gain, hair loss and pain. So to this end is seems fair that we should try to do something about our toxic minds before they do something to us!
There are some really simple tools at your disposal to help you more easily deal with your toxic thoughts:
- Daily meditation. Even if you can only manage a 5 minute meditation this will help, as it brings you into the now and quietens that busy brain.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This is a tool that will stay with you for your whole life once you’ve learnt it and can release you and your body from reactions to daily things as well as underlying traumas and issues that may be playing on your mind and stopping you from living in the now.
- Bach Flower Remedies. These completely natural products help support your emotions and allow you to work through many troubles and negative personality traits.
- Good sleep. Making sure you get a good quality and restful sleep. This revives the body and mind and encourages the production of our own natural antidepressants.
- Being grateful. Rather than focusing on the negative in your life try to list everything you are grateful for instead. List them in a book or on your computer. Try listing 30 things a day that you are grateful for and see how you’re feeling about your life after a week of doing this; I bet there’s a big change.
There are many other ways to turn your toxic mind into a happy and healthy mind, but these are my top 5, so I hope you find them as helpful as I have.
So you can see from this article that everyday all around, and inside of us, there are many toxic factors affecting our lives. But to think we are helpless to do anything about these, either for ourselves or for the environment as a whole is just not the case.
It is a lot simpler than you imagine. By making some of these small changes you could have such a huge impact of your health and well-being and that of this beautiful Planet. So why not give some of these suggestions a go and see how you get on, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how much you get from it, go on. I dare you!
For more information from me about living a less toxic life please visit the below: