Drop the Toxins that Are Making You Exhausted
Is it just me, or have you noticed that everywhere you go, people always turn the conversation to their latest illness? Maybe it’s just my passion (ok, obsession) with teaching people about the effects of toxins on their (lack of) health but it seems like nearly everyone I meet has some chronic illness to wax poetic about. I’m not talking about senior citizens commiserating over achy joints here either.
I’m talking thirty-something mothers complaining about the cost of having precancerous moles removed. A recent email from a favorite blogger sharing her life-long struggles with eczema. Or moms swapping stories of their kids’ digestive issues, allergies, asthma, allergies, crooked teeth… the list goes on. And I haven’t even hit on my favorite topic- the overwhelming, never-ending exhaustion and irritability that momma’s today struggle with at an unprecedented rate.
Have you noticed that most people in our society today are so unwell? The overall health of society has taken a rapid downward spiral in the last few decades and it begs the question, “What’s going on?”
Are YOU Asking the Right Questions?
Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” far too many otherwise sane, rational human beings are asking the wrong questions, like, “What can I take for this (fill in the blank) condition?” Here’s your loving wake-up call. STOP accepting chronic health issues as a normal part of life- the natural process of aging that we all experience at one point or another. Autoimmune issues, cancer, daily exhaustion, skin issues- these are NOT a part of growing older. They’re warning signs that things are dangerously out of balance with your health. Stop looking for ways to “treat” and “manage” these health problems and start asking the right question, “What’s at the root of these health issues?”
Let’s Get to the Root of the Problem
Matthew 3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Ever notice how Jesus like to talk a lot about roots? The root is where the plant receives life. It doesn’t how talented a gardener you are- if the roots are infected, there can be no life.
Actually, I love how the Lord always goes right to the heart of the matter. No messing around with band-aid solutions and quick-fixes, He’s interested in getting REAL results. It makes perfect sense, yet in our quick fix, pill popping society, we tend to stick to the superficial, hoping we can find some miracle treatment that won’t require us to make any significant changes to our lifestyle. After all, change is painful.
Getting to the root of the matter, however, is the only way to get true, lasting results. I’ve found that while the struggle to change can be hard, the results are gloriously worth it. While the health issues Americans are facing may seem varied and diverse, they all have the same root- toxins that damage and weaken the body and mind leaving our immune systems depleted.
There’s a plethora of varied definitions for the word toxin floating around these days. Let’s make it simple and define a toxin as anything that causes harm to your health. Toxins include foods that damage the gut and promote inflammation. It also includes negative thoughts and habits that create chemical signals in our body which promote disease. And let’s not forget the obvious things we all think of when we hear the word toxin- chemicals from industrial by-products, heavy metals and pesticide residues to name a few.
In my book, Toxin Takedown, coming out October 2016, I share the five areas of toxins that are leaving us sick, exhausted and miserable. Let’s take a closer look at these five areas- you might just be surprised to find that toxins are more than what you thought they were.
No matter how well you eat, it’s nearly impossible to avoid toxins in our food these days. Covered in pesticide residues, filled with unhealthy artificial fats that damage your cells, laden with sugar and full of artificial chemicals- toxins abound in processed foods.
One of the top toxins in most women’s diets today includes gluten- a nasty protein that is damaging gut health and contributing to inflammation and diseases. Linked to everything from dementia to autoimmune disease, gluten contributes to a condition known as leaky gut in which the lining of the gut becomes permeable.
Normally the gut wall acts as a watch-guard against toxins that would damage our health while allowing nutrients to pass into the bloodstream where they can be escorted to tissues throughout the body to both nourish and repair. Gluten disrupts the cells of the gut lining, however, allowing any and everything into the blood stream- from heavy metals to pathogenic bacteria.
Fluoride, added to public drinking water here in the U.S. in an effort to keep promote dental health, is another toxin that is having disastrous effects on the health of many mommas. Fluoride depletes the body of iodine, a nutrient that’s especially important for the healthy function of the thyroid gland- which, by the way, regulates metabolism and directly affects energy levels.
- One Tip to Ditch Toxic Foods- Purchase a water filter for your home that removes fluoride and other contaminants from your drinking water. Bottle water won’t cut it, by the way. It’s often just as polluted as tap water, with the addition of plastic that leaches into the water from the bottles themselves. Get a good quality water filter and your thyroid will thank you.
Every day mommas slather on a whole host of creams, lotions, and cosmetics in an effort to look and feel beautiful. Miracle creams promise everything from “younger looking skin” to “more dates than Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates” (I mean, isn’t that what they’re implying when they show a flirty model using their cosmetics and surrounded by adoring males?) Unfortunately, these promises are just smoke and mirrors, not only failing miserably to deliver any of the promises they make- but actually doing more harm than good.
I did a little internet research while writing this article and came across one particular cream that boasts of being the” #1 selling anti-aging moisturizer” (don’t they all say that?) which promises to “reduce the appearance of up to 10 years of wrinkles” and also “hydrates and firms” helping to “retain skins’ youthful surface contours” (that part made me laugh).
Scrolling down past all the hype, I finally came across the ingredients list tucked down towards the bottom. While a whole list of unpronounceable chemicals greeted me, let me highlight just a few that I did recognize- as powerful toxins that cause cellular damage. Yes, even skin cells, my dear.
First up was a whole of slew of parabens, including ethylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Parabens are a particularly nasty class of toxins I write about in my book. Here’s an excerpt from Toxin Takedown on just how detrimental parabens are to human health:
Parabens do their dirty work by acting as estrogen mimickers within the body. As parabens enter the bloodstream through the skin, they are mistaken for estrogen within the body, which can lead to early onset of puberty in children, reproductive issues and cancer. One scary side effect of parabens is their ability to cause damage to skin cells in the presence of UV light. Translation: when you slather paraben containing lotions on yours skin and then step out in the sun, you significantly increase your chance of skin cancer. Studies have even linked the use of parabens along with other estrogen mimickers in the potential development of malignant melonoma.
Yep, that’s what’s in your favorite “anti-aging” cream, momma. Oh, but wait! That’s not all. Also tucked innocently in that ingredients list is the word “fragrance.” Sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong.
Fragrance is another toxin I researched for Toxin Takedown- and what I found should be alarming to anyone who cares about their health. Because fragrance is considered a trade secret, cosmetic companies are not required to disclose the actual ingredients used to create this toxic stew. In fact, any one of 35,000 chemicals are used to create “fragrance” in beauty products- many of which are known endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and allergens. Now that’s attractive.
I hope by now you are at least a little bit frustrated with the lies the beauty industry feeds people in an effort to increase profits at the expense of your health. Unfortunately, the beauty industry isn’t the only industry who values their bottom line more than your health either.
Toxic chemicals are found virtually everywhere these days, and cleaning products- the very products we use to keep our families clean and safe- are another area where mommas are being poisoned by toxic chemicals. In fact, many of the same chemicals that are in our beauty products, including parabens, fragrance, and phthalates are also in many popular cleaning products. Nothing like a double whammy of toxins from multiple products you use on a daily basis to keep a momma sick and exhausted!
- One tip to ditch toxic chemicals- Lose the toxin-laden (and expensive!) miracle moisturizer for the humble yet nourishing coconut oil. It doesn’t have the million dollar marketing budget of the “#1 anti-aging moisturizer” but it’s the real deal. Jojoba oil and rose hip seed oil are great choices as well.
Your thoughts matter. Pop quiz: Do you notice how often you go around thinking (or saying), “I’m so exhausted!” or “I feel overwhelmed!” or any version of the above. What about thoughts of worry, fear or unforgiveness? Well, guess what Momma- your thoughts have a massive impact on your health.
In fact, researchers found that levels of C-reactive protein were elevated when subjects thought about past stressful events. Those C- reactive proteins are associated with chronic inflammation in the body that’s said to be the basis for all chronic disease. Ouch.
- One tip to ditch toxic thoughts- Prayer is a great way to keep things in perspective. When you’re feeling stressed, exhausted, worried or fearful- give it to God and let His peace replace your stress.
Some of the simple things we do every day without even thinking about it can contribute to fatigue and overwhelm.
One of my favorite habits to talk about? Sleep habits. I feel like I’m turning into a senior citizen here, but I’ve actually fallen in love with going to bed early. Sleep is absolutely essential to a strong immune system, weight loss and brain health- just to name a few.
Momma, when you stay up late, burning the candle at both ends, your body releases cortisol, the stress hormone which signals the body to store fat and increase inflammation- that pesky immune response that is thought to be at the root of all chronic illness, included autoimmune disease.
Sleep quality goes beyond just logging hours between the sheets, by the way. Do you sleep with electronics in your room? Watch television or scroll Facebook on your ipad right before bed? Hmmm… all those bad sleep habits are keeping you from getting quality rest that can make or break your health goals, girlfriend.
- One tip to ditch toxic sleep habits– Make sleep a top priority- and be sure to turn off the television and do something relaxing before turning out the lights. A warm Epsom salt bath with a few drop of lavender essential oil is a great way to unwind!
Many women today are dealing with underlying infections due to the unhealthy state of the Standard American Diet and exposure to certain pathogens in our environment. As a science nerd myself, I’m excited about the cutting-edge research on how the gut microbiome affects our health. For instance, did you know that scientists have found that you have far more bacteria cells in your gut than you have cells throughout your entire body? In fact, the gut bacteria in your digestive tract outnumber your own cells by at least four to one.
Ok, so maybe a little creepy to think about, but my point is your health depends on the health and diversity of the microbes in your gut. The sad fact is, many Americans are experiencing debilitating health issues and fatigue due to an underlying gut infection- candida overgrowth, H. pylori, Small Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), just to name a few. When the “bad guys” crowd out the good guys, pathogenic bacteria spew their toxic byproducts into the body creating inflammation.
Gut infections aren’t the only type of infection that can derail your health either. Dental infections are another area where pathogenic bacteria trigger the immune response. Systemic infections such as Lyme’s Disease and Epstein Barr also trigger the inflammatory response. Many mommas struggle with fatigue for years due to a hidden, underlying infection that is slowly sapping their health and energy bit by bit.
- One tip to ditch toxic infections- The only way to truly know if an infection is at the root of your exhaustion is to have a qualified functional medicine practitioner run lab tests. With proper treatment, these chronic infections can be gone for good and you can feel like new again!
So, how about it, Momma? Ready to ditch the toxins that are keeping you exhausted so you can be the energetic, fit and happy mom you were meant to be? Grab my Exhausted Momma’s Resource Guide here to boot the toxins out and live a life of health and energy.