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The great toxicity overhaul – one room at a time.

toxic hazard imageToxicity is widely spoken and written about. Yet so many of us are (or have been) totally ignorant to our daily toxic exposure. I thought I would keep it simple today and share with you my initial (and I guess quite drastic) process of detoxification in an effort to help guide those followers looking to clean their lives (and their livers) and commence a detoxification process themselves.

By detoxification I don’t mean a 7 day juice fast or a hard core, restrictive diet. I mean a process that involves making life-long changes to your habits that will help maintain and restore your health forever. So let’s be clear on this. Detoxification IS an essential component of life-long health. Unfortunately every single one of us is being poisoned in some way, shape or form every day. The good news however is that we can dramatically reduce the impact of these toxins by becoming aware of where they are coming from and changing simple habits.

A little background about my exposure for those of you who may not be aware. Upon my CFS diagnosis I had undergone a multitude of tests to try and ascertain the cause of my illness. There were no viruses to speak of that were typically associated with CFS. Most certainly I had a highly compromised imune system which lead to persistent viral infections but we needed to get to the root of my immune system and why it was so weak. The final option was to have a highly detailed analysis of my bloods completed which then generated a 148 page report (on the back of a biochemist’s program in the States) detailing everything that was out of whack in my system and included toxicity readings literally off the richter scale. The worst offenders were mercury, lead, pesticides and petrochemicals. Whilst this was terribly frightening at the least we had answers.  The big question was  how my body accumulated this level of toxicity? I have not lived in highly industrial areas nor near farms that spray chemicals. I grew up in Tasmania renowned for it’s clean air and water. Whilst I have lived in big cities all of my adult life it’s hard to fathom how I could present with such readings. My understanding is that many years ago my body started losing it’s ability to detoxify – so I simply became a vestibule for toxins I guess.

Consequently the detoxification process for me WAS radical. I had no choice but to do what I was told and purify my life (in every way – I even moved temporarily to Tasmania!). It required much discipline but with little complaint (because I chose good health and desperately wanted it back). Below is a list of steps I took to remove toxicity from my life as far as humanely possible. I simply tackled one room at  a time in my home:

1. Bathroom – don’t underestimate the chemicals in your bathroom! Toothpastes, dental floss, body creams (my life long adoration of dark blue Nivea is now long gone), synthetic tooth brushes, soaps, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, hair products, nail polish, nail polish removers, fake tan, face masks, make up (including mascara, lipstick, foundation, eye shadow). The list goes on. ALL of it went. And all of it was replaced with chemical free, natural products. That was a gradual process but such a satisfying one.

2.Under the kitchen sink – DANGER ZONE! Far out I had some nasties under there. I had a bottle of metho for goodness sake! Bench top sprays, oven cleaners, washing up liquid, window cleaner, bleach (?!). It was a chemical party down there. GONE. All of these products have been replaced with 100% natural products and a fair bit of elbow grease 😉 I must say it is just so satisfying buying locally made 100% natural cleaning products. That alone makes my heart sing.

3. Kitchen cupboards – see you never plastic microwave dishes, teflon coated pans, plastic storage containers (well to the extent I would never put warm food in them, for the moment I will freeze cold food in them), plastic cups, plastic anything. And glad wrap on the food in the microwave? I shudder at the thought!

3. Pantry cupboard – this I found an eye opener. I was told to go to my cupboard and look at the ingredients list of everything I was eating. I was taken off all sugar so anything with sugar went straight to the bin, as with gluten. In fact anything processed when straight out (I was and still am on a whole foods only diet, a diet that would better support my digestive and immune systems for a start) – dry biscuits (including rice cakes), gluten free pastas, condiments, sauces, vinegars, oils, relishes (noooo!!!!), jams, processed nut butters. Simply start looking at the ingredients on the back of your supermarket purchases. Lists as long as your arm of ingredients – emulsifiers, stabilisers, preservers, numbers you will take forever to get your head around. Then there’s the fridge! Icecream, mustards, more sauces, cheese (of the very processed variety). I could go on for hours!  There are chemicals lurking everywhere.

4. Fruit and vegetables – well that was a just no brainer. Unless it was organic it wasn’t allowed into my digestive tract. These days it’s organic all the way. I appreciate for some this can be a very costly exercise but when you buy organic you tend to value your food more and as such you eat less, you savour the flavour. I also justify my expense in this area by my negligent spending in any other area of  my life. One thing I would say is that at the least get hold of a Top 10 list of foods to buy organic. I will find one and post one soon. Spinach and red capsicum? They must be organic.

6. Water – now if I’d been in a better position financially (i.e. was still earning money and knew when my illness would abate) I would have invested in a top of the range water filter. Whilst in Tassie I drank spring water, an expensive habit but a worthwhile one. Right now I do my best with what I have. All the water I drink is boiled a couple of times and runs through a filter. As my income picks up again I will be investing in a more substantial system.

5. Laundry cupboard – oh my goodness! But how was I going to get my towels soft?! Out went the fabric softeners, the washing powder, the bleaches, the whitening agents, Sards, all of it. You think we are not ingesting this stuff? My word we are. It is leaching through our skin into our blood streams. Everything is now washed in natural substances. If I could be honest, I don’t think my white sheets are as white as they could be. But in the scheme of things, that is quite insignificant.

6.Hair dye – I was blonde for most of my adult life and almost up until my diagnosis. Every 8 weeks I had my hair bleached and every 8 weeks my poor brain suffered as a result. I am now consequently brunette and have found a wonderful organic colourist in Melbourne here (greys you have not won yet!).

Anyway, I think you now get the drift. Detoxification is a process and one that can be done gradually and without waste. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Simply finish what you have and replace it with a natural, toxic free product. When your nut butter runs out consider making your own (there’s a recipe here!), when your softener runs out start appreciating the scratchy feel of towels again (it only lasts for one or two dries). Just start making subtle changes to your daily habits. As per 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, “your bodies are temples…”

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. holistichealingandcfs #

    Best advice! So vital to chuck out these poisons. I had my hair highlighted a few months ago thinking il be fine after all these years of no toxins. No.. It made me crook! I have found an ‘organic’ish brand I may try but it’s not perfect.

    January 17, 2013
    • Oh dear..isn’t that interesting. The thing is, it’ll never be fine. It is always harmful. It’s frightening how our vanity gets in the way of our health isn’t it?! (and don’t worry, I have been a victim of this too!)

      January 17, 2013
  2. Teniel #

    You boil all your water twice then filter it.

    What filter do you use for that seen as you do not have a proper filter system? Curious because I am in the same boat.

    January 17, 2013
    • Yep, I am positive it must be making at least a little difference! And the filter is simply one of those jugs with filters you replace every few months. Which is why I boil the water.. You do what you can with what you have hey. If I could I would put a filter through the house so that even my shower water was filtered. One day.

      January 17, 2013
  3. holistichealingandcfs #

    I know, for a moment I was putting my desire to be blonder before healing and nurturing my body. Very silly. Vanity. It will be lemon juice in the sun next time. The best highlighter I have found is this, but its still far from perfect.

    January 17, 2013
    • My organic hairdresser uses a corn based lightening solution – don’t know how it works but it does!

      January 17, 2013
      • holistichealingandcfs #

        Wow really. I am still not letting go of this. Do you know the brand? I go to an organic hairdresser for cuts sometimes but their dyes are definitely not organic, but simply ammonia free. They might be able to use it.

        January 17, 2013
      • Here we go, from the website: CHI IONIC AMMONIA & PPD FREE COLOUR RANGE.

        January 17, 2013
      • Based on an alkaline extract from corn apparently.

        January 17, 2013
  4. Rachaelallanah #

    Wow! I buy natural where possible and don’t use moisturisers or the like, I simply use jojoba oil but never thought of all the other toxins I’m allowing into my system like Shampoo! How could I be so silly!
    Thank you for opening my eyes to all of this. Can u tell me some brands or websites of products you use?

    January 18, 2013
    • Hi Rachael, thanks for your feedback – I’m really glad to hear it’s inspired you to be mindful! I was in the same position a few years back don’t you worry. I am going to write follow up posts about this. As I said in my post, it’s a huge topic – I could have gone on forever! I will include a post about products that I have used and like too. What country are you in out of interest?

      January 18, 2013
      • Rachaelallanah #

        Hi Amy, Im in Australia 🙂

        January 18, 2013
  5. Davina #

    Youre the best Amy! Thanks for posting this 🙂


    January 18, 2013
    • Hi Davina and thank you! It’s just a start, soooo much to talk about and couldn’t write a book on it on my blog! So I’ll keep posting about it here and there and hopefully it will help inspire and motivate others to make subtle changes hey. Have a lovely weekend x

      January 18, 2013
  6. Hannah #

    Hi Amy, curious as to what natural cleaning products you use in the kitchen and bathroom? I hate using all those cleaning products! Some bathroom cleaning products are so strong they make you dizzy! Sure sign you are breathing in something shocking!

    January 19, 2013
    • Hi there – I’m going to do a post on those shortly. You certainly are breathing in something shocking, there’s no doubt about that! There are so many great products around. I just keep trying different ones to suss out which ones feel right for me. I’ll probably post on it this week or next.

      January 19, 2013
  7. Renaee #

    I too was a dark blue Nivea morning and night user, until about 12 months ago when I realised that I was making a huge effort to eat organically, but was rubbing a whole heap of chemicals that I couldn’t even pronounce into my body twice a day. These days I use Coconut Oil.

    January 19, 2013
    • I know! When you actually sit down and think about the chemicals you are exposed to in your environment it’s quite frightening. They are everywhere! I too am a daily CO moisturiser. I love it.

      January 19, 2013
  8. Do you think you could do a post on the good products you do use, or recommend? I wouls love to know what products are safe. Thanks for a great blog 🙂

    January 21, 2013
  9. Hi Amy,
    Just wondering who organised your blood testing for the toxin levels? I have an auto immune disorder and have been struggling with it for a few years now. My mother also suffered horribly from cfs when I was a child..
    Thank you for sharing your insight into just how many chemicals we use. As a hairdresser and makeup artsit I have been trying to stop personal use of all chemicals over the last 8 months but after reading your post still have a way to go.

    February 11, 2013
  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog
    like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    June 2, 2013
    • Melissa, I’m sorry but my services don’t extend to tech support! There is plenty of research on the web available to help you make a decision that is right for you. I researched all of this on my own, jumped on line, looked at blogs and investigated costs. Good luck!

      June 3, 2013

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