If you're focused on good health and well-being it's easy to get caught up in following trends and diets. Often these attempts aren't as successful as we want and sometimes we actually end up in a worse position than when we started and it's all topped off with guilt and a sense of failure.
It's not as simple as calories in and calories out. Let's think about this for a minute - do we really believe we could eat 1000 calories of broccoli and 1000 calories of cake and expect to look and feel the same? Of course not, the type of food you eat, what chemicals are ingested along with it and your hormone response to the food, all play a major role in the outcome. This is even more important in today's environment where we're constantly battling high stress levels, pollution, excessive chemical and toxin exposure and lack of sleep. These environmental conditions can play havoc on the mind and the body and cause a whole host of negative symptoms. Two of these are excessive body fat and fatigue.
Think about body fat, fatigue and headaches as symptoms, one of the first things that pop into my minds is toxins. Reducing exposure to toxins is one of the quickest ways to improve general health and well-being, and more specifically we notice:
• Improved energy levels
• Improved sleep patterns
• Reduction of body fat especially around the thighs and bottom
• Reduction of stress levels
Companies such as Living Nature, ecostore and Snowberry are not just there for the environment, they're actually already a little ahead of us and are aware that not only can chemicals and toxins have a huge impact on the environment, they have a massive impact on our health and well being.
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Look around at our modern day environment - it's actually pretty easy to see that we are all probably suffering from some level of exposure to toxins. As a test think about the first 30 minutes of your average day and see how exposed you might be:
TOXIN 1: Wake-up in the morning and rinse your mouth with mouthwash.
Often full of chemical based ingredients
TOXIN 2: Jump in the shower and use body wash and face wash
Beauty and hygiene products are some of the biggest contributors to toxin load
TOXIN 3: Grab the shampoo and conditioner and wash your hair
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) while plant based prove that just because it's natural doesn't mean it's good for you. Check to see if they are in your products, they are often used by green brands because they are natural. Cocamide DEA and parabens are known hormone disruptors that mimic oestrogen. Used in a raft of products and its cumulative impact can lead to man boobs and early periods in women. Triclosan is commonly used in hand-wash and toothpaste as an antibacterial agent, it's a known skin irritant and has been deemed hazardous overseas.
TOXIN 4 and 5: After drying yourself with a towel washed in laundry powder or liquid, add some body lotion
Chemicals from detergent can be transferred from clothing and other items to the skin. Enzymes and optical brighteners are known skin irritants.
TOXIN 6: Pop on some deodorant
Many deodorants contain aluminum.
TOXIN 7: Head into the kitchen and grab a glass of water from the tap
Unless filtered, who knows what's lurking in your water
TOXIN 8: Coffee
Coffee is a highly sprayed crop so best to buy organic where you can
We haven't even made it through the first 30 minutes of the day and already we are potentially loaded with chemicals and toxins. What's even scarier is we haven't even got into car fumes or other obvious pollutants.
Before you start stressing by making some small, lifestyle changes you really can make a huge difference and you don't have to be perfect about it. By just choosing a couple of things you can start to reduce the toxic and stress load occurring on your body and make some great positive changes.
Some Easy Changes you can choose to make
1. Know your labels. Deciphering what's actually in our beauty and hygiene products is a great place to start with toxin reduction. Even when products are called "natural" or "gentle", it doesn't always mean they are healthy for you. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) suggest the following three steps:
a. Start at the end of each word and avoid products containing ingredients with the following preservatives:
• Words ending in "paraben"
• Cocamide DEA or MEA
• DMDM hydantoin
• Imidazolidinyl urea
• Triethanolamine (or "TEA")
b. At the beginning of the list, look to avoid ingredients that start with "PEG" or have an "-eth" in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
c. Check the middle for words like--"FRAGRANCE," "FD&C," or "D&C".
2. Where you can, use non-chemical-based beauty products such as soap and cream as these are the greatest cause of environmental toxins. Ecostore products are available in supermarkets so look out for dish wash liquids, soaps, and washing powder - these all make a difference and are easy fixes.
3. Try to reduce your use of microwaves and make it a rule: NEVER microwave a plastic container. Under high temperatures BPA is more easily transferred from plastic to food. Use glass containers.
4. Don't take receipts unless necessary. Almost half of paper receipts contain BPA and there's evidence that cashiers have very high BPA levels.
5. Reducing the amount of processed foods eaten especially those from plastic containers and wrappers is one of the quickest ways to reduce levels of BPA in the body - by eating fresh, non-packaged foods, a person could reduce blood levels of these chemicals by up to 90 per cent in just three days.
6. Wash all produce before eating or cooking - simple but very effective.
7. Use a BPA free water bottle rather than plastic water bottles as these can leach toxins into your water especially when they get a little warm - ever left yours in the car? Look for a sticker saying BPA free, they're available from the Warehouse, sports stores and supermarkets.
For more information check out Lee-Anne Wann's website.