I recently came upon my Grandparents' engagement announcement and noticed this paragraph below it referencing a very potent insecticide. The year was 1946 and they were likely talking about DDT
(dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), which had been released for agricultural use in 1945. DDT was first studied by the American Military in 1942 and was used during World War II to combat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne diseases. It was first touted as a miracle chemical for its supposed public health benefits. Little did they know how long this insecticide would persist in both the environment and in human tissue and how it would later be linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, immune dysfunction, neurological conditions, and cancer. DDT was later classified by the EPA as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) and was banned for use in the U.S. in 1972, although we continue to produce and sell DDT to other countries.
DDT is only one example of the hundreds of toxic chemicals we're exposed to by simply living (and living simply?) on our planet. From pesticides and antibiotics in our food, fluoride in our water, pollutants in our air to chemicals in plastics and on our furniture, the knowledge that we are literally surrounded by toxins can be very overwhelming. And scary.
So, here are a few basics for every day detoxing and living as clean a lifestyle as possible:
Not only is exercise good for your mood and physique, but sweating eliminates toxins. Saunas are amazingly effective for sweating, as well.
With every exhale you are removing toxins that have accumulated in your lungs. Whether through meditation, yoga, exercise, or daily breathing exercises, breathing it out is a good thing.
Our kidneys, liver, and intestines are the filters for toxins, so flushing them out is incredibly important. This means drinking a sufficient amount of water (1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day) and having as many bowel movements per day as you do meals (yes, really!).
If you can eat all organic, please do so, but at the very least, avoid the dirty dozen - the produce that is exposed to the highest levels of pesticides. The complete list can be found on the Environmental Working Group's website.
Ditch the chemicals
All of them - including cleaning products, shampoo, cosmetics, soaps, and detergents. If they're not natural, they're bombarding your home and body with toxins which confuse your endocrine system, contribute to allergies, and suppress your immune system.
Detoxing is tough work and the body can use a boost to eliminate effectively and efficiently. Many of our Naturopathic modalities can help, such as botanicals, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Since everyone is different, talk to your doctor about the right herbs or remedy for your situation.
Dr. Michelle Haff is a Naturopathic Doctor at Lilac Natural Medicine in Manchester, New Hampshire. Her practice focuses on Pediatrics, Women's Medicine, GI, Endocrine, and Mental Health concerns. She is a Primary Care Provider for the whole family and loves treating kids from pre-conception into their teens, as well as adults of all ages. Dr. Haff is a graduate of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona and Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is licensed to practice medicine in New Hampshire and is the Vice President of the NH Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NHAND). Dr. Haff is also a member of the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She loves yoga, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.
Dr. Michelle Haff (she/her) is a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Acupuncturist at Lilac Natural Medicine in Bedford, New Hampshire. Her practice focuses on Pediatrics, Women's Medicine, GI, Endocrine, and Mental Health concerns. She is a Primary Care Provider for the whole family and loves treating kids from pre-conception into their teens, as well as adults of all ages.