All living things are constantly detoxing. Living means we engage in chemical changes all day every day and those changes create waste, all of which can be toxic if not properly removed. Imagine what your house would smell like if you just never took out the trash! Our genius bodies come fully equipped with systems designed to keep things filtered, fresh, and clean. However, our genius minds are also constantly creating new chemicals and subsequently, new toxins, at a rate that overwhelms the built-in sanitation systems. These days, we need to help our bodies out, with periodic detoxification.
On a daily basis, detox can be aided by simply drinking plenty of clean, filtered water, and by moving enough to get the lymphatic system pumping and some sweat happening. Avoiding toxic products is always wise – when you opt for minimally processed, organically grown, nutrient dense foods you’re not only helping supply your body with the tools it needs for strength and regrowth, you’re making the normal process of detoxification easier.
Everyone gets a bit bogged down in our modern environment, though, and that’s why a at least a couple times a year it helps to put on all the brakes, and focus on detox. There are many ways to help your body with it’s deep cleaning, but all include avoiding as much toxic material as possible while adding more of the types of foods that scrub things out for us. Here’s what to avoid:
- Conventionally grown foods on the Dirty Dozen list
- Added sugars
- Sodium nitrate: Added to processed meats to stop bacterial growth. Linked to cancer in humans. (Worst Offender)
- Sulfites: Used to keep prepared foods fresh. Can cause breathing difficulties in those sensitive to the ingredient.
- Azodicarbonamide: Used in bagels and buns. Can cause asthma.
- Potassium bromate: Added to breads to increase volume. Linked to cancer in humans.
- Propyl gallate: Added to fat-containing products. Linked to cancer in humans
- BHA/BHT: A fat preservative, used in foods to extend shelf life. Linked to cancerous tumor growth.
- Propylene glycol: Better known as antifreeze. Thickens dairy products and salad dressing. Deemed ‘generally’ safe by FDA.
- Butane: Put in chicken nuggets to keep them tasting fresh. A known carcinogen.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Flavor enhancer that can cause headaches. Linked in animal studies to nerve damage, heart problems and seizures.
- Disodium inosinate: In snack foods. Contains MSG.
- Disodium guanylate: Also used in snack foods, and contains MSG.
- Enriched flour: Used in many snack foods. A refined starch that is made from toxic ingredients.
- Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH): Geneticially-engineered version of natural growth hormone in cows. Boosts milk production in cows. Contains high levels of IGF-1, which is thought cause various types of cancer.
- Refined vegetable oil: Includes soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. High in omega-6 fats, which are thought to cause heart disease and cancer.
- Sodium benzoate: Used as a preservative in salad dressing and carbonated beverages. A known carcinogen and may cause damage our DNA.
- Brominated vegetable oil: Keeps flavor oils in soft drinks suspended. Bromate is a poison and can cause organ damage and birth defects. Not required to be listed on food labels.
- Propyl gallate: Found in meats, popcorn, soup mixes and frozen dinners. Shown to cause cancer in rats. Banned in some countries. Deemed safe by FDA.
- Polysorbate 60: A thickener that is used in baked goods. Can cause cancer in laboratory animals.
- Camauba wax: Used in chewing gums and to glaze certain foods. Can cause cancer and tumors.
- Magnesium sulphate: Used in tofu, and can cause cancer in laboratory animals.
- Chlorine dioxide: Used in bleaching flour. Can cause tumors and hyperactivity in children.
- Paraben: Used to stop mold and yeast forming in foods. Can disrupt hormones in the body, and could be linked to breast cancer.
- Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose: Used as a thickener in salad dressings. Could cause cancer in high quantities.
- Aluminum: A preservative in some packaged foods that can cause cancer.
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial colors
Safest bet? Choose foods that don’t require an ingredients list because they’re fresh and organically and/or locally grown!