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How to Reduce Your Toxic Load (Even if You Live in NYC)

Here at Plantable are firm believers that a whole food, plant-based diet lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle, but we also recognize that there are other factors at play – stress management, exercise, adequate sleep, and mental health, just to name a few. Today we’re focusing on how to reduce our exposure to toxins from polluted air, cleaning products, cosmetics, and anything that burdens the body’s internal detox system. By making a few simple changes, we can reduce toxicity in our lives (even if we live in NYC).

For those of us living in New York City or any other large city, we’re probably not in it for the natural landscapes and fresh air. However, fear not! Detox tips are beneficial for everyone, no matter where we live. Here are some of the easiest ways to go green and feel clean!

 

Rethink cleaning products.

Common household cleaners are filled with harsh chemicals like ammonia, ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate, sodium hypochlorite and/or trisodium phosphate – all of which are toxic and should not be ingested. Any product with warning labels cautioning that it’s poisonous if swallowed should be seen as a red flag – products can enter the bloodstream through the pores of our skin. As a simple first step in remodeling your arsenal of cleaning supplies, replace bleach with white distilled vinegar, a natural and effective disinfectant. 

 

Beware of microwaving plastic, even if it says “microwave safe.” 

It’s common for food labels to say that a product is “microwave safe,” so we can simply cook it right inside the container it came in. But is it safe for people or safe for containers? Yes, the container won’t bubble and melt, and we won’t burn our hands when we grab it - but that doesn’t change the fact that heat can cause phthalates, BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals from plastic to leach into the food. Better safe than sorry!

 

Replenish pots and pans.

Not all kitchenware is created equal. In particular, nonstick pots and pans are made of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) or other chemicals that have not been tested for health impacts, which can also infiltrate our food. Opt for cast iron, stainless steel or glass products if possible, and check out www.nontoxicliving.tips for more information. 

 

Simplify cosmetics, starting with small changes. 

Cosmetics are barely regulated by the FDA, and the small amount of regulation in place mostly concerns mislabeling and color additives. Since the beauty industry has been mainly self-regulated for over a century, there are many ingredients in our products that have already been banned in Europe. But on the bright side, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an activist group specializing in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability was formed in 1992. They have a wonderful consumer guide that ranks the safety of products, and the Skin Deep section has all of the information you need to find naturally effective cosmetics. 

And now for the simplest body detox? Follow a whole food, plant-based diet! Our bodies are working overtime to flush out foreign substances on a daily basis.

We can thank and reward them by filling up on fruits and veggies! Sugar, refined grains, processed foods and animal-based products are inflammatory and take their toll on digestive health, burdening the elimination process. 

Every little bit helps. By following some of the tips above, we can both help ourselves and help the planet too!