Thursday, November 14, 2013

Detox Your Life: 3 Easy Steps

For years, one of my favorite things to say as a yoga teacher was, "In this deep twist, we are ringing out the belly organs and releasing toxins from the body." It sounded awesome at the time. Who doesn't want to "release toxins"?! It took me a few years, but I finally started looking into these pesky little demons and asked myself,  "What the heck are TOXINS, anyway?!?!"  Really, like, scientifically, what are they and why do we need to release them?

Official answer"A toxin is a chemical or poison that is known to have harmful effects on the body. Toxins can come from food or water, from chemicals used to grow or prepare food, and even from the air that we breathe. Our bodies process those toxins through organs like the liver and kidneys and eliminate them in the form of sweat, urine, and feces."

A-ha! Now that we have established they are bad and poisonous and to be avoided at all times, here are my TOP 3 ways to start detoxifying your life:

1) Educate Yo-self: Pick your poison and learn about it. The 3 most toxic and most pervasive chemicals to stay away from are: Parabens, Phthalates and Sulfates. These are literally in almost every beauty and cleaning product on the market, except those specifically listed as otherwise. Let me break it down for ya, one culprit at a time....

PARABENS:  According to the Breast Cancer Action website, parabens are: chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. These harmful chemicals are listed on our product labels as: methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben.

PHTHALATES: These are a typical ingredient in most household cleaning products. According to Environment California, there are many horrible side-effects of Phthalates, mostly to the hormones and reproductive organs, including: early puberty in girls, early delivery, sperm damage in men, testicular cancer, etc. This report from 2010 finds that Phthalates are also linked to obesity. 

SULFATES: Accrording to Dr. Mercola, the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, containing 126 different chemicals
The most common being Sulfates, which are found in almost all soap, body/face wash, shampoo, mouth wash, toothpaste and labeled as: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Research studies on SLS have shown links to: irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, and biochemical or cellular changes, possible mutations and cancer.

These harmful chemicals enter our bodies through our pores, which is why it's so important to be mindful of what we put in our hair, on our faces, on our skin and what we can potentially breathe in and absorb through our hands and feet in our homes. So, what now? Make a change!

2) Detox Your Skin: Toss out all your old chemical-ridden beauty products and go shopping -yay! Who doesn't love shopping?! The EWG website has a SKIN DEEP database of over 79,000 products, where you can enter what you're looking for (shampoo, face wash, nail polish, mascara, etc.) and they'll give you a list of options, ranked in order from least to most toxic. Some of my favorite low-toxicity brands are: Alba, Desert Essence, Kiss My Face.

The article 8 Deadly Chemicles in Your Beauty Products was one of the first things that really opened my eyes and made me think about changing my ways. I highly recommend reading this and sharing with your girlfriends!

3) Detox Your Home: Again, out with the old and in with the new! Growing up, I was taught never to waste anything, so throwing out half-filled Windex and Tilex bottles was super hard for me to do, but with all this new found knowledge, I felt empowered to make a change, ASAP. 

There are 2 awesome companies that will make this process very easy for you. The Honest Company, founded by beautiful organic mama Jessica Alba, extensively tests and hand-picks every product before they put their "honest stamp" on it. My other favorite is Better Life, founded by 2 Dads who desperately wanted safe, chemical-free products to clean their home with. I just ordered the Shark Kit, which costs only $25 and includes 4 of their best-selling everyday household cleaning products. I'm so excited for it to arrive and officially transition my home into a much less chemically-saturated haven. 

I hope you'll consider joining me in detoxing your life, too!  

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