Most of us do not need any studies to convince us that we live in a polluted world. We just need to glance at the brown haze that sits on top of most of our cities. Or perhaps glance at all the strange chemical names on the labels on the foods in the grocery stores. Our bodies are like sponges. We soak up almost everything to which we are exposed, from polluted air to chemically contaminated food. Nevertheless, more and more studies are being conducted, documenting the rising pollution within our own bodies, even within the blood the newborn baby.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (simply called the CDC) recently completed an extensive study on Americans. The CDC found 212 chemicals in people’s blood – with 75 of those chemicals brand new, never found before in earlier studies. In another study the non-profit Environmental Working Group finished a recent two-year study of women, discovering that every woman had at least 60% of the 75 tested chemicals in their bodies. There were no individuals who were able to escape our ongoing chemical contamination. Worse, the chemicals were discovered everywhere, even on the top of the Andes Mountain.
If you are interested in the type of chemicals found in the average American blood stream, here is a very small sample of the 200+ chemicals. Acrylamide – formed when foods are fried at high temperatures. Bisphenol-A – found in plastics for food packages, plus our ubiquitous water bottles. Perchlorate – used in fireworks and explosives. Perfluorinated chemicals – developed to create non-stick cookware. Volatile organic chemicals – utilized during the dry cleaning of clothes or cleaning of carpets or spraying of air fresheners. For women, it should be added that many of these chemicals, even gluten, are found in cosmetics.
With this level of pollution rising inside our body and in our blood, more and more physicians, like Dr. Hyman, are recommending detoxification programs. More and more celebrities are sharing their own recent detoxification programs. Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and performers like Jennifer Lopez have recently hyped their own programs for weight loss and improved health. The key is not the weight loss; the key is the improved health. Each of the programs is different, but all of the programs resolve around removing those foods with the most contaminants. That process includes moving away from meats and dairy products. That process involves moving away from wheat and its high level of gluten. That process also involves flushing your body with the right nutrients and high fibers drinks to help eliminate those chemicals.
In many cultures, including Chinese medicine and Ayurveda from India, these detoxification programs have been practiced for centuries. They have been shown to improve digestion, reduce swelling and pain, and boost our body’s healing. They have been shown to help activate our liver, our kidneys, our bowels, and our lymphatic system, which are all crucial for eliminating chemicals. Think of our predicament today. We have 77,000 new chemicals in the last 50 years; we have a forty-fold increase in gluten in our wheat; and we now drink tons and tons of bottled water – with limited knowledge of the real origin of the water or the true contents of the water. And that statement goes for the people who never drink water. Think of all those people who consume soda after soda, or energy drink after energy drink. Each of them has become a chemical processing plant. Unfortunately, your body’s key systems are not equipped to eliminate that high level of pollutants.
You need to ask yourself what you can do to help detoxify yourself from all of these chemicals. You cannot just accept the overload of pollutants (chemicals and toxins) and wait for the surge of chronic illnesses from cancer to heart disease to diabetes to arthritis. For pregnant woman or mothers, you cannot just wait and see how those chemical impacts the development of your baby. You cannot simply wait for cures for autism or ADHD or some other development disability. So, for starters, I would recommend reading Dr. Hyman’s detoxification program. I would even recommend reading the programs of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. Notice the similarities. The eating of more organic fruits and vegetables. The ingestion of more nutrients and high fiber concoctions, which help clear the system.
For those nutrients, let me give you a short list. The B-Vitamins and flavonoids, found in fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A, C, and E, which are found in carrots, oranges, and even almonds. Glutathione, which in found in avocado, asparagus, and watermelon. Branched chain amino acids and phospholipids, which can be found in fish and soybeans. Indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Limonene, which is found in oranges, tangerines, and certain seeds. Now, do you want to try to memorize all of these nutrients? Again, notice the similarity. When you eat more fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, you are helping your body detoxify itself. Those nutrients are not just important for the nutrition of your cells; they are helpful for your body’s entire immune / defense system. You have to stimulate it as much as possible.
Now, let me use the above material as a metaphor. Let me go beyond the narrow topics of detoxifying just the chemical pollutants in your body. Let me ask: Are there other pollutants that need equal detoxification? In the next blog, I would like to address some of those pollutants. However, if you need a hint for yourself, let’s just highlight the pollutants for our world. How about ethnic conflict? Religious conflict? Global warming. Weather catastrophes. Don’t they need to be eliminated? So what about the pollutants within your life, on a more personal level, that need to be eliminated? Don’t you think we should discuss those contaminants?