What fills your barrel? This is a question that we have been asked to answer in my Holistic Nutrition Program. “Barrel” can be thought of as our body, and “filling” can be defined as what toxins we are exposed to and what we consume every day. Can you believe that in the last 50 years, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been created globally? And the use of these chemicals has exploded. This has resulted in toxins that can be found almost everywhere in our environment today (www.toxicnation.ca)
This is something I have been reflecting on lately as I settle back into life here in Toronto and the North American consumer lifestyle. When my husband and I were travelling last year, we packed very little, consumed less and became hyper aware of the new environments we encountered throughout the year, both good and bad.
What amazes me is how this time away has made me look hard at the things that I interact with daily as I reintroduce them back into my life. Regularly checking labeling on everything from food, to cleaning products, to even how I filter my water and air in my home. I have noticed that almost ALL products and foods contain numerous chemicals and toxins that may or may not be obvious in the ingredient listing- oftentimes it is hidden.
What is in your Barrel?
Do yourself a favor- document all the toxins and chemicals you are exposed to daily. You can bucket the list under the following categories:
- Cleaners and cosmetics – chemicals
- Health /Physical– infection, diseases, stress, psychological
- Habits – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs
- Indoor/Outdoor pollution – exhausts, smog, dust, mold, gas, stove
- What you eat/Food allergies – intolerance, sensitivities, processed foods, sugar intake
- Where you work/live– toxins, pollution, exhaust, country, suburbs
When our barrel is FULL or overflowing in most cases, we become sick and our immune system becomes compromised. It can only handle so much! Limiting your exposure can go a long way to reducing the overall toxicity in your body, while also allowing your body’s natural defenses to be more effective in eradicating those same toxins.
So, what can we do?
First off, we need to start small, and focus on things that resonate most with us. Scan the different areas of your life where you can begin to make changes immediately. These include:
- REDUCE/REMOVE your overall consumption levels
- ORGANIC/LOCAL Purchasing more organic and local foods
- HOMEMADE make homemade cleaning products with natural ingredients such as Lemon, Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide mixes with water
- SWAPPING your cosmetics to Organic based lines
- FILTRATION Purchasing a water filtration system for your home
- HABITS – change toxic habits !
Strengthen Our Bodies
Since toxins are unavoidable, there are ways that you can strengthen your body and build your tolerance. These include:
- following a healthy diet, including eating more antioxidants and superfoods
- include prebiotics and probiotics from foods or supplementation
- Avoid mucous forming foods as toxins get stuck in there
- exercise and sweat
- empty/remove toxins as much as possible
I have found that most of my intentional toxic load is from my cosmetics and cleaning products. I have always been quite healthy with my diet, but my previous career in the beauty industry exposed me to a significant amount of chemicals, so this is an area I am striving to improve on and reevaluate.
We think changes like these are a lot of work and time consuming, and to be honest initially they might be. But long term you adapt and make it a habit …which makes it easier. At the end of the day our health is our own, so lets gain back some of the control we have lost to mass consumerism and strive to get one step closer to reducing our toxic load and creating space in our barrel for a healthier body and life.
It can be quite liberating!
Until Next Time,