What Toxin Free Living Is And How To Get Started
Toxin free living is becoming a more popular subject. And no wonder. As we become more educated about all the potential toxins that exist in our everyday lives we want to do something about it.
I mean, who would really say that they want to live a toxin-filled life?
The word ‘toxin’ can and does refer to many different things. It could mean chemicals in our food, synthetic ingredients, and any number of other definitions.
Which brings me to my point. What is toxin free living? Maybe you’ve heard that term being used but aren’t really sure what it would look like in your life. Or maybe you don’t know where all the toxins are hiding or how to get rid of them.
Toxin free living covers several different categories and parts of our lifestyles. I’ll go over the main categories in this post, but I want to start off by saying that you’ll never get to a 100% toxin free life.
No, I’m not being negative. I’m just letting you know that it doesn’t work that way. There are too many toxins in existence to eliminate all of them, even if you decided to live in a bubble. (And if your bubble was made of plastic, you would be surrounded by toxins without even trying.)
My own goal for my lifestyle is to eliminate as many toxins as I can without making myself crazy or going completely overboard. (Halfway overboard is just fine.)
Feel free to read through the categories below and my practical tips for getting started at the end and decide for yourself where to start. Take some small steps, make some small changes, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, less toxin-filled life.
Toxins In Our Food
One of the biggest places toxins tend to hang out is in our food. You’ve most likely heard a lot about this topic already.
In conventional farming, the food we eat gets sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to human health. The animals that provide the meat we eat also feed on food sprayed with chemicals.
Genetically modified plants entered our food system without a lot of consumers knowing about it. How GMOs affect humans is yet to be determined. (How does it feel to be a guinea pig?)
One of the main problems I have with GMOs is that some of them allow more pesticides to be sprayed on our food. ‘Roundup Ready’ crops (including corn, soy, and cotton) are genetically modified so that they are resistant to Roundup (a weed-killer).
This allows more Roundup to be sprayed on the crops. There are now many lawsuits against Monsanto (maker of Roundup) claiming that the use of Roundup caused cancer. One man was just awarded $80 million in damages after being diagnosed with cancer in 2015. (1)
It’s pretty clear that keeping toxins out of our food will keep us healthier. More than that, the environment and wildlife also suffer from toxic pesticides. Bees, in particular, have been suffering. (2)
Less toxic food is better for us all!
(Practical tips for eating clean are at the end of this post.)
Pin This Post For Later
Toxins In Our Homes
Besides the food we eat, toxin free living also involves cleaning up our home environments and household products.
Cleaning products are likely some of the most toxin-filled products in your house. This is ironic and sad because we usually clean our homes with the intention of getting rid of toxins, dust, mold, etc.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report about how common household cleaners can induce asthma in children and adults, contain cancer-causing ingredients, and cause everything from chemical burns to allergies. (3)
Even products like dish-washing liquid and laundry soap may not be safe as more research is being done on the harmful effects of common ingredients found in these products.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the potential for mold and allergens to be present in the air. And, of course, there could be heavy metals and other unpleasant toxins in the water we drink.
Is all this reason to panic or go searching for a non-toxic bubble? It is a serious problem, but there’s no need to get overwhelmed. Like I said, there’s no such thing as a perfect environment, and there are simple changes you can make.
(Check out the end of this post for tips to clean up your home and household supplies.)
Toxins In Personal Care Products
So far I’ve covered the food we put into our bodies and the environment we live in. Another important category in toxin free living is what we put on our bodies.
It’s easy to recognize that toxins present in what we eat can have a big impact on our health. But what we put on our skin is just as important. The skin is actually our largest organ (4), and what we put on it gets absorbed into our bodies to a large degree.
Unfortunately, there are many toxins hiding in our personal care products. Lotion, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, makeup- these all could potentially carry synthetic ingredients, harmful chemicals, and other toxins. (5) Even the fluoride found in toothpaste is now up for debate about whether it’s helpful or harmful.
How is this possible? Well, unfortunately the personal care sector is highly unregulated. The FDA does not have a process in place for pre-approving most products and their ingredients.
Think about how many products you put on your skin everyday. For most of us, that’s a long list. Given that some of the toxins we may be putting on our skin regularly can cause cancer, this is one area of life to make toxin-free!
(See the end of this post for tips for cleaning up your personal care and beauty routines.)
Toxins In Health Products & Supplements
This one is a pretty frustrating category. The realization that vitamins, minerals, and other supplements we take for our health could actually contain toxins is so annoying. Unfortunately, it’s a real possibility.
So what could be hiding in the supplements you’re taking?
There’s always the chance that vitamins and supplements could be contaminated with toxins like aluminum, lead, or arsenic, especially if they are manufactured outside the U.S.
Something else I’m usually on the lookout for is where the ingredients inside the supplement I’m taking come from. For example, did you know that much of the Vitamin C that is sold in America comes from GMO corn? I know I was surprised to learn that.
It’s much better to have ingredients that come from a clean food source. I prefer plant-based ingredients when possible.
Cheap vitamins and minerals also usually contain inorganic ingredients that our bodies don’t absorb very well. Here’s an article that describes all of this in more detail and lists the 10 worst toxins found in supplements.
(Don’t stress out too much! Just keep scrolling for toxin free living tips.)
Practical Toxin Free Living Tips
Now that I’ve gone over what toxin free living is all about, here are some ways to start making changes in your life.
- Eat more organic food. I know buying organic is more expensive, but it really is better for our health. Not only is organic food not sprayed with all the toxic pesticides, it’s also GMO-free. If cost is an issue, here are some ways to fit more organic produce into the budget (complete with a list of the dirty dozen fruits & veggies to avoid).
- Buy local or grow your own food. Buying locally doesn’t guarantee that toxic chemicals aren’t being sprayed on your food, but it’s easier to find out when you can actually talk to the farmer. Or better yet, start your own chemical-free garden. Here are some ways to take part in a cleaner food system.
- Use the EWG’s guide to healthy cleaning. The EWG ranks 2000 household cleaning products according to safety and toxic ingredients. You can use the guide to look up your current products or just skip straight to their top picks for green cleaners. Look at the cleaning guide here. They also have a Healthy Living Home Guide that helps you clean up your home environment.
- Switch out synthetic fragrances and ingredients for natural alternatives. My favorite way of getting rid of many toxins in the home environment is using essential oils. I use my diffuser for natural fragrance (and aromatherapy). Some oils like Lemon and other citrus oils have natural cleaning and disinfecting properties. Others (Oregano, Peppermint, Cedarwood) are natural air purifiers and deodorizers. Read this post for more ideas about using essential oils for natural living.
- Use apps to screen personal care products. I know that I get really tired of label reading. Thankfully, there’s now an app for that. There are a few apps you can use when shopping for products in the store. You just pull up the app, scan the product, and look at the rating it gives. The two I’ve discovered are: EWG’s Healthy Living App and the Think Dirty App.
- Check out the cosmetics database. If you want to get an idea of which products have the fewest toxins before even going shopping, the EWG has something called the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. You can search by product or brand, or you can choose your new products from the EWG Verified list.
- Try out essential oils for skincare. I use essential oils for almost everything, but all-natural skincare is one of my favorite ways to use them. Different essential oils have natural cleansing, moisturizing, toning, and blemish-reducing properties. Check out the 11 best essential oils for skin and how to use them.
- Pay attention to what ingredients are in your supplements. I know label reading gets old but it is important to know what’s in a supplement and where it comes from. Is the supplement from a whole food source or an inorganic source? Does it come from the U.S. or another country? What kinds of fillers or preservatives does it have? Keep in mind that a cheaper supplement is not always better for your body.
- Add more plant food to your diet. The best source of vitamins and minerals is real food. Plants contain many of the nutrients we need and in a form that our bodies can digest and absorb. Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is a way to get vitamins and minerals and skip the supplements altogether.
- Consider herbs and other natural remedies. Often, our bodies do need extra help and support. Herbs can be a wonderful, all-natural way to improve our health. If you aren’t familiar with herbal remedies, here are some posts about the best herbs to support digestion and 4 herbs to boost your immune system.
Get Started On Toxin Free Living
Now that you know more about toxin free living and how to get started, I suggest making small and consistent changes. Pick one area of your life to start with and make improvements there.
It can feel overwhelming at first, but remember that the intention is not to be perfect! Our bodies actually have systems to process and get rid of toxins. We just need to reduce the toxin-load to a manageable amount.
If you have any questions or tips of your own, just put them in the comments below.