I get asked a lot what toxic free living means. Well, it literally means what it says, living life minus all the junk. There is no way to live 100% toxic/chemical free but there is so much you can control in your own household. Chemicals are not strictly regulated so why not start by taking control of regulating your own household! The average household alone contains an average of 62 toxic chemicals that includes things like food, beauty products, cleaners, soaps, sprays, etc.
Having my son really opened my eyes to how many chemicals I used and consumed on a regular basis. He has a lot of allergies and has frequent eczema flare ups that can be irritated by toxic ingredients such as pesticides in foods, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, tricolsan, QUATS, choline, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, the list goes on. But then I realized it doesn’t just irritate his eczema it actually causes eczema and long term health effects that affect us all. And if I do not want to expose him to these things why would I want to be exposed to them as well?! The long term effects of these toxins can include asthma, cancer, allergies, infertility, hormonal issues, birth defects and more. That is insane! And to think we can prevent so much of this.
I then, educated myself on what was toxic, what wasn’t and how I could switch out my products that I, out of habit, buy and use. A bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. This was a gradual process and now that I have switched I wouldn’t even think of buying the old stuff again! To make the process less overwhelming start with one thing, research and then take action.
Food was the first thing I educated myself on. I have always been aware of what I eat but I took a harder look at food once I realized my son had multiple allergies and I was still breastfeeding. I wanted to make sure I was eating at my best for him.
With foods, you have to worry about the cancer causing pesticides that are used on the crops before you consume them. You might have recently heard about the lawsuit against Monsanto’s Roundup. This has brought the consequences of adding pesticides to food to the forefront. Monsanto and three other companies were found negligent in its handling of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a group of 209 highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Glyphosate being one of them. The glyphosate in Roundup has been linked to infertility and Cancer. Research done in France, out of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, has come out stating that eating organic foods reduce your risk for developing cancer by 25 percent! That is tremendous!
Eating a high intake of organic foods lowers your risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by 73 percent and Postmenopausal breast cancer by 21 percent. Eating organic assures you that the food was not produced using Chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, or GMO’s. Organic food has been tested and contains a higher amount of antioxidants and lower levels of cadmium, a harmful heavy metal.
So yes, organic is more expensive, but statistics prove that it is in fact much healthier in the long run. If you prefer to only buy certain organic foods, definitely switch out the “dirty dozen” foods that are specifically loaded with pesticides. Also, try to buy local and ask about the approach they take with their crops. And no matter if it’s organic or not, wash your fruits and veggies with a nontoxic fruit/veggie wash. I use and trust Young Living’s Thieves Fruit and Veggie wash. It contains no chemicals and uses essential oils to clean your produce.
Dirty Dozen List
- Sweet Bell Peppers
There is also a clean 15 list which consists of produce that is the least likely to be contaminated by pesticides.
Clean 15 List
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
Be proactive, do your homework and decide what is best for your family, even just starting with looking up Glyphosate and seeing which foods tested with the highest levels, it will blow your mind! 75% of the food at the grocery store contains Genetically Modified Organisms which usually contain Glyphosate and the levels keep rising due to the rise of pesticide resistant crops. The levels of pesticides used on crops has doubled since 2001 so things have gotten much worse from when we were raised. A lot of the foods are cereals and breakfast foods our kids are eating! General Mills brand foods, Cheerios, Quaker Oat oatmeal, just to name a few. If anything, we need to change what we consume for our children and their long term health.
Another thing to beware of, a label stating Natural, does not mean Certified Organic, there are extremely loose labeling laws in place so just because it states it is natural, it does not mean it is healthier than something without the word Natural. It could contain one ingredient that is “natural”. Look for the Certified Organic label, words such as, No Antibiotics, grass-fed, USDA Process Verified, Wild-caught, ASC certified, American Humane Certified, Pasture raised. These labels assure reliable claims. Words with misleading claims include, animal welfare review, cage free, free-range, natural, no nitrates added, Omega 3 fortified.
If you are looking for some resourceful websites to get your information from try EWG.org (Environmental Working Group) or even Dr.Axe.com is a well-rounded website with trustworthy information. The FDA.gov and EPA.gov are good places to research what is regulated and what is not.
There is so much more information than this summarized blog about chemicals in food, but I hope it has sparked interest in doing your own research to provide the best options for your family.