There are three steps to The Optimal Health Model: maximizing what is needed, minimizing what is harmful, and prioritizing an environment for healing.
Back in episode 35, we covered the maximizing part. Today, I’m focusing on minimizing.
So what exactly do we need to Minimize for our bodies to feel Optimal and functioning on all cylinders? Anything that can be harmful, degrading, disabling in some way:
We are constantly surrounded by poisonous substances, which affect our minds and bodies. It’s important to recognize that toxins can be found externally (outside your body) or created internally (inside your body).
Examples of external toxins are: pollution, second hand cigarette smoke and pesticides.
Internal toxins, on the other hand, include: bad bacteria and yeast create dangerous toxins right inside your body. A low-grade, chronic viral infection and chronic stress, anxiety or negative thinking all add to the total body burden of toxins.
Yes, even your thoughts are a source of toxicity!
Here are the top 5 sources of toxins, along with recommendations to reduce your exposure:
Your food has more toxins than you may think. The biggest culprit for toxic exposure is processed foods, which are full of chemicals and additives that can create symptoms ranging from cravings and weight gain to poor digestive health and food allergies.
But it’s not just packaged food to avoid. Conventional produce is also full of pesticides. In fact, over one billion pounds of pesticides are used on food in the US alone. These pesticides have been linked to symptoms ranging from muscle cramps and heart rate changes to irritability to emotional instability.
To reduce your exposure to food toxins: Choose whole foods instead of processed foods and choose organic fruits and vegetables. EWG.org created a list of the best things to buy organic (The Dirty Dozen) and a list of things you don’t actually have to worry about (The Clean 15).
Do you know the source of your water?
Tap water is teeming with toxins. The Environmental Working Group found over 140 contaminants in tap water. And many bottled waters have been shown to be just as bad as tap water, not to mention toxins that leach from the plastic bottles themselves.
To reduce your exposure to water toxins: If you have only tap water in your home, you might consider getting a whole house water filter or an Aquasana sink and shower filter, to reduce your exposure to the major toxins.
Whether inside your home or outside your home, the environment is also a major source of toxins. Pollution from manufacturing, cars, and second hand cigarette smoke can be challenging to avoid. However, you can avoid a lot of the toxins inside and around your home.
Too many people use harsh household cleaners containing bleach, ammonia and other toxic chemicals that can cause health problems ranging from nausea to skin destruction, fluid in the lungs and wheezing.
To reduce your exposure to environmental toxins: Some people choose to live in rural locations for the clean air and land. At home, you can also switch your cleaning products to those with all-natural ingredients, like Seventh Generation brand cleaning, laundry, and dishwashing supplies. You can also choose “green” or chemical free products, like fabrics for furniture, which often have flame retardant chemicals on them; or paint that does not have VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The products we use to look our best may be the biggest source of aging and other adverse symptoms. Beauty products like toothpaste, lotion, youth creams, soap, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes and makeup are full of toxic chemicals.
Even beauty and personal care products from the health food store can be filled with ingredients that cause harmful symptoms.
To reduce your exposure to toxins in beauty and personal care products: Read ingredient labels on your personal care products. Anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body.
Some important ingredients to avoid in your beauty and personal care products are sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, triclosan (found in antibacterial products), Parabens (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, p-Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, n-Butylparaben and Benzylparaben), mineral oil, petroleum, Diethanolamine DEA, Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, talc, lanolin and phthalates.
Be sure to check out the EWG’s Skin Deep Database to research toxic chemicals that could be in your cosmetic and personal care products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 90% of all illness and disease is due to stress. Stress can kill the good bacteria and yeast that live in your intestines and keep your immunity and digestive health strong.
As the good bacteria and yeast die off, the bad bacteria and yeast are able to take over.
Our behavior can put a tremendous amount of stress, say, on the liver if we consume very large amounts of alcohol and we smoke on a regular basis, and high amounts of sugar or other refined carbohydrates. That’s a 1, 2, 3 punch right for the liver and can cause a lot of stress in the liver.
Toxins are really the BIG thing, but there are a few more things you should work to minimize as well:
Do you want more to empower yourself through healthy living? Is your busy lifestyle an obstacle to your health? Join The Rebel Health Coach community for the support and knowledge you need for better performance, better business and a better you!
Disclaimer: The activities and research discussed in these podcasts are suggestions only and are only advised to be undertaken following prior consultation with a health or medical professional. Fitness training, nutrition, and other physical pursuits should be tailored to the individual based upon an assessment of their personal needs.