The January 2015 session of Unplug & Recharge—a 10-day juice fast/detox that I lead each year—recently came to an end. It was a great group of folks and, as always, I learned many things myself. The group had insightful questions and also had many good answers for each other throughout the session.
As part of the detox, participants receive daily modules or lessons about topics related to health. One topic that garnered a lot of interest was the section on toxins, most notably this passage:
“We live in a very toxic and somewhat unnatural world, and our bodies were not designed for the challenges we face at every turn from our contaminated food, air and water. Add to that the chemical soup in our clothing, household items and cars, and then toss in the virtually inescapable electromagnetic fields we endure everyday…well, you can see why we need to seek every break we possibly can from this toxic overload we call modern life!
“According to the World Resources Institute, there are 17,000 chemicals appearing in common household products, yet far less than half of them have been adequately tested for their negative effects on our health. If you take into account all the chemicals that you might come into contact with during a single morning, you’ll understand how critical this topic is to your long-term health. Just to get you thinking, consider a “typical weekday” in the average American’s life:
“You wake up after sleeping on bed sheets washed with detergents containing alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), shut off your electromagnetic-field (EMF) emitting alarm clock and stumble into the bathroom. You use toilet paper containing residues from the manufacturing process including bleach and select xenobiotic endocrine active compounds (EACs). Reaching for your toothbrush, you soap up your teeth with a concoction of sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which is used to clean oil spills, and a dab of triclosan, which is a pesticide. If it’s your time of the month, you insert a chlorine-bleached tampon laced with synthetic ingredients, pesticide residue, and traces of dioxin. Being health conscious, you take your synthetic multivitamin, which potentially contains binders, fillers and other manufacturing additives, and is then coated with shellac. Awake now, you’re ready for a cup of coffee. Over 1000 chemicals have been reported in roasted coffee; more than half of those tested are carcinogens. You brew yours using tap water, which contains chlorine, fluoride (a by-product from aluminum production) and other chemical additives. Unknowingly, you pour your brew into a cup that was made using lead-based paints before you flavor it with a chemically laden “low carb” artificial sweetener.
And you haven’t even hit the shower yet!”
To me, this sums up entirely why I participate in detox classes throughout the year. There is so much “out there” that we cannot avoid and it truly seems to get worse each day. During each session of Unplug & Recharge, I try and do one small thing that will be sustainable after the detox is over. Switch to a DIY toothpaste, find unbleached toilet paper, go back to air-drying clothes outside…whatever I can manage that helps. And then, I try not to freak out about all the toxic stuff around me that I cannot control, or sometimes even influence.