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Living Clean in a Toxic World

By guest columnist Caroline Farquhar

Caroline is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Director of Education for Renew Life Canada. She is a passionate health advocate who educates through her frequent radio, television and public appearances. She was the resource speaker at the FREE seminar entitled 'Do These Toxins Make Me Look Fat?' held on April 23rd, 7 pm at the Banquet Hall of Smitty’s Steinbach. The event was sponsored by Renew Life and Good n Natural.

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No one will look out for your health better than you. What can we learn today to prevent ourselves from visiting the doctor’s office in the future? It’s all about education! Education leads to a lifestyle based on prevention. Look at your sources of information; who wrote it and why, what statistics were used, and how are they credible? Ask lots of questions and educate yourself from trusted sources.

Speaking of trusted sources, I once read a newspaper article that made me pause. It was exploring if detoxification, specifically crash cleansing diets, was safe. Since I work in the cleansing field, I was interested in what the article had to say. One comment said “detox diets play into the myth that harmful substances in our food build up in our body and cause negative health effects like obesity, fatigue, headaches, and more.” A dietician referenced in the article said: “The truth is that the primary organs in our body are well equipped to remove wastes. The liver, kidneys and large intestine are the best detoxification systems. The claims for detox diets are baseless, and no scientific studies support them.”

Now I agree that crash detox diets are not the best or safest technique for cleansing, however, harmful substances in our food do cause negative side effects. And while the kidneys, liver and large intestine are indeed excellent detoxification systems, they simply are not able to handle the amount of toxins we are exposed to. Overexposure to toxins will slow down or even damage our body’s systems, including its capacity to detoxify on its own. Today we are bombarded with increasingly excessive amounts of chemicals.

Consider, for example, your daily morning routine; look at the toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, deodorant, perfume or cologne, make up, gel, and hair spray you use. That’s a hefty dose of chemicals before you’ve even left the bathroom!  Cosmetics aside, look at the array of chemicals, dyes and additives in the foods you eat. I learned in nutrition school to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store where you find real foods like fresh produce and meats which don’t have labels or contain a lot of chemicals and preservatives. My teacher’s mantra was: “If you can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be in your body!” Now it’s mine. Eat whole foods from trusted sources as much as possible. Organic is best, but not always feasible. Remember the point about education? It applies to food as well. Do your homework to learn what food sources to trust.

We’ve looked briefly at toxins in cosmetics and food, but what about other sources of toxins like the air, soil, and water around us? From the clothes we wear to the couch we sit on, we are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. This even includes heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. With more than 80,000 chemicals in use today, and over 1000 more introduced each year, we cannot deny we live in a toxic world. So what can you do about it? Brenda Watson’s Detox Strategy book is very good at outlining a strategy. She uses the acronym “RENEW” which is easy to remember.
•    Reduce your exposure by cleaning up your air, water, food and household environment.
•    Eliminate toxins in your system by detoxification through herbal cleansing.
•    Nourish your body by eating good wholesome foods to build your immune system.
•    Energize your body by exercising.
•    Wellness which ties everything together to develop a lifestyle that focuses on prevention, including minimizing exposure to toxins.

You put yourself on a path to wellness when you follow this advice. I am living proof that it works. I was constantly sick, tired, cranky, bloated, and headachy. I blamed my poor health to lack of sleep, PMS, stress, or the latest virus going around. Once I educated myself and cleaned the toxic buildup out of my body, I felt fabulous! All my symptoms went away and I have more energy today in my 40’s than I did in my 20’s!