Are you poisoning yourself every day? A toxin is defined as something that is capable of causing disease or damaging tissue when it enters the body. Toxins are often perceived as dangerous chemicals or metals. But even beneficial nutrients like water, which are necessary to sustain life, are toxic at high doses.
In their book The Perfect Health Diet, Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet apply the economic principle of declining marginal benefits to toxins:
It implies that the first bit eaten of any toxin has low toxicity. Each additional bit is slightly more toxic than the bit before. At higher doses, the toxicity of each bit continues to increase, so that the toxin is increasingly poisonous.
Anything that goes in your body or on your skin can potentially cause significant health issues over a long period of exposure. Similar to cigarette smoking, it is very unlikely that one cigarette will kill you, but we know that chronic exposure will very likely increase your risk of lung cancer and potential death.
Our modern lifestyle is much to blame for our chronic exposure. Here are the top 3 toxins in our lives:
1. Food Toxins
- Cereal grains (especially refined flour)
- Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, etc.)
- Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup)
- Processed soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)
If you want to explore the damage caused by sugar and sugary foods in greater depth, check out the following resources:
- Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk on Sugar
- Video from Dr. Robert H. Lustig, Sugar: The Bitter Truth
- “141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health”, Nancy Appleton
- “9 Steps to Perfect Health — #1 Don’t Eat Toxins”, Chris Kresser
2. Pesticide: Focus on the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen
The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 refer, respectively, to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group. Check out the following resources for more on this topic:
- Exposure to Pesticides in Produce, video from the Environmental Working Group with Dr. Alex Lu of Harvard University.
- “What are the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen?”, an in-depth explanation by David Suzuki.
- 5 Food You Should Never Eat — CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reveals the 5 foods that Men’s Health contributing editor David Jack says you should never eat.
3. Personal Care Products
- What’s In Your Makeup
- What’s in Cleaning Products — I have this one in the office, if you would like to watch then just ask!
- The Dirty Dozen for Cosmetics — This list surprisingly includes soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, laundry detergent, hair care products, etc.
A great resource for understanding what’s in your personal care products is the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep, This site is packed with important health information about the cosmetics you – and your family – use every day. You’ll find product and ingredient safety ratings, health information about cosmetics ingredients, and smart shopping tips you can trust.
I know we can’t live in a bubble, but limiting exposure through our ongoing theme of prevention will improve the chances of optimal health and longevity for you and your family.
- Reduce exposure to the top 3 by watching the videos.
- Try making your own (DIY) personal care and cleaning products, like this all purpose cleaning product.
- Print off the EWG’s Clean Fifteen or Dirty Dozen list.
Suerte! (Good luck!)