By Jackie Dobrinska
It isn’t a pleasant scenario: you want to feel vibrant and on fire, but instead feel sluggish, drowsy and mildly depressed. The doctors can’t find anything “wrong” with you, but you know that something is not quite “right.”
Welcome to the subtle symptoms of toxin overload. “Environmental toxins poison every cell in your body, so the symptoms can be almost anything,” says James Biddle, M.D. of Asheville Integrative Medicine.
While “better living through chemistry” may have made modern life easier, it has also made it more toxic. Like the fish loaded with noxious mercury, or the eagle’s egg softened by DDT, the daily diet of emulsifiers, pesticides, processed food and plastics is literally making us sick.
Americans drink, eat and absorb hundreds of chemicals each year. Of the 87,000 chemicals in existence, 3,000 are applied directly to our food as pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. Another 10,000 are used as emulsifiers, solvents and preservatives in processed foods. Many others are ingested from plastic bottles and linings in canned foods, cosmetics and cleaning products, flame and stain retardant clothing, carpeting and even fried starchy foods.
“We find over 200 chemicals showing up in American’s blood and urine, as well as the cord blood of infants,” reports Cynthia Libert, M.D. of Great Smokies Medical Center. “Toxins impact cancer risks, disrupt female and male hormones and increase the tendency to develop more chronic diseases, including diabetes.”
Biddle adds that “since many mimic estrogens, they also play a role in everything from PMS to uterine fibroids to breast cancer.”
Indeed, the magnitude of the issue can be overwhelming. “I just learn as much as I can, do what I can to minimize exposure, keep healthy to naturally detoxify and say the serenity prayer,” Libert says. “You can also advocate politically to reduce toxins in our environment, and clinically there are a slew of things we do to help.”
How to start?
Pay Attention to What You Put in the Body
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables. If cost is a concern, avoid the “dirty dozen” (peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes). • Avoid commercially raised beef, poultry, pork and eggs.
- Avoid larger fish that may contain more mercury.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Drink spring or distilled water.
- Use glass containers. Avoid storing anything in plastic. Do not reheat anything in plastic.
- Use natural cosmetics and natural oils instead of lotions.
- Use natural cleaning products.
- Buy naturally made furniture, bedding and household items to avoid toxic off-gases.
- Stop using tampons and feminine products that are bleached.
Both Biddle and Libert also emphasize proper elimination and bowel health, as well as cellular level detox. As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “the powers that heal lie within you.” Just as a finger heals after a cut, remove the toxins and the body can begin to repair.
Jackie Dobrinska is a wellness coach in Asheville. Reach her at asimplevibrantlife.com. This article contains general information about medical conditions and complementary treatment, and is not to be considered expert advice. Always consult your primary health provider before making changes.