Here it *finally* is – the last post in The Detox Series! We have now gone over the importance of detoxing and being mindful consumers and users of products and tools we use to clean, for self-care, or for daily essentials. In this post we will cover detoxing at the source: all the food going directly into your body.
Even if you consider your diet to be quite healthy – you avoid processed foods, you eat a lot of produce, you drink a lot of water – you could still be ingesting harmful chemicals unknowingly (scary, I know. But we’ll dive deeper!) One reason for this is that there are limited regulations in place by the EPA and FDA to protect people from harmful chemicals, so it is primarily up to the consumers (you and me, baby!) to know what we are exposed to and how to avoid exposure as much as possible.
What This Article Covers:
- The Water We Drink
- Pesticides in our Produce
- The Meat We Eat
1. The Water We Drink
- It is thought that over 200 MILLION Americans (found in the drinking and ground water of over 2,800 communities) have PFAS (the toxic “forever chemicals” that we learned about in the series) in their drinking water.
- The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that there are at least 30,000 industrial polluters releasing PFAS into the environment which ends up in the water we drink, as well as the water our food drinks.
- In addition to PFAS, lead, arsenic, and industrial and agricultural contaminants are commonly found in drinking water across America.
- Ingestion of these chemicals are linked to cancer, brain, nervous and endocrine system damage, and hormone and fertility disruption (more info HERE.)
2. Pesticides in our Produce
- Over 800 pesticides are used in agriculture in the U.S. Many of these pesticides have been linked to autoimmune disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease, reproductive disorders, and neurological, developmental and attention disorders (especially in children).
- Choosing organic produce when possible limits exposure to these pesticides – check out this STUDY on organic produce.
3. The Meat We Eat
- Millions of pounds of low-dose antibiotics are given to livestock every year to speed up the animal’s growth. Not only do these antibiotics then end up in and affect your body when you eat this meat, the mass volume of antibiotics increases the likelihood that harmful bacteria will become resistant to these drugs (also known as “superbugs”).
- Ingesting these antibiotics in your food can lead to endocrine system disruption and harm to gut health, but can also lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your own body. This is especially important for young children as their immune system is still developing. More on this HERE.)
So…that’s disturbing. What Can Be Done?
- Get to know your specific tap water. Different locations have different chemical risks – click HERE to see what is in your tap water.
- Invest in a water filter for your home. Check out this helpful GUIDE to which filter is best for your needs.
- Purchase organic produce and food when possible. Yes, organic produce is often more expensive but it could greatly reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Find out which foods matter most to prioritize buying organic, HERE.
- Buy organic meats, and know what to look for on labels. The EWG has created some helpful guides for decoding the labels on meat products, click HERE and HERE!
- Prioritize the Most Reliable Meat Certifications: American Grassfed, USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, Food Alliance Certified Grassfed, Global Animal Partnership, Marine Stewardship Council.
Ideally, the EPA and FDA will continue creating more regulations surrounding these harmful chemicals, but in the mean time – educate yourself and be a smart consumer. Knowledge is power!