The Toxin Solution

Chapter 8. Stay Healthy and Detoxed

Because this is an age when chemical and industrial toxins are so pervasive, the threats to health are also unprecedented. Earlier eras had to deal with sudden death from infections and accidents that people now recover from easily with the help of surgery or antibiotics. But advances in modern technology and science have left us with another problem—the accumulating effects of toxicity. The slow accrual of harmful chemicals in your body can gradually erode your organs and systems and lead to chronic disease.

I believe you have followed the Toxin Solution because you want to protect yourself from this outcome. And the good news, as you found out from reading this book so far, is that it is possible. Even in our toxic world. Now the challenge is to maintain and consolidate those gains. In this chapter, I show you how to maintain your progress going forward, following the new baseline for health you’ve established. While continuing to limit your exposure to toxins, you will learn how to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. You will learn how to ensure that your body deals efficiently with the toxins you cannot avoid. At the end of the chapter, I will describe how to use the information in the book’s appendices to test your own toxic load and to access longer-term treatments, if needed.

The Toxin Solution Maintenance Plan

There are three goals to my Toxin Solution Maintenance Plan:

1. Keep new toxins from entering your body.

2. Keep decreasing your toxic load.

3. Improve key functions of your physiology so you can live a long and healthy life.

Here I will focus on the first two of these three keys to maintenance—keeping toxins out and decreasing your toxic load. The third is a topic for another book. (My 1996 book Total Wellness is now a bit out-of-date but fully addresses how to optimize all aspects of your physiology.)

Keep Out New Toxins

The Toxin Solution began by examining the causes of toxic overload, and what you can do about it. I want to reemphasize an important point I made in those earlier chapters: Although many toxins cannot be readily avoided, it is much easier to avoid the avoidable toxins than it is to get them out of your body. It takes months to years, in many cases, to get just half the amount of many of these poisons out of your body. Obviously, you can’t hold your breath to avoid inhaling polluted air, nor can you easily avoid medications that people flushed away and therefore have found their way into many regional and municipal water supplies. But as I showed you in chapters 2 and 3, you can avoid many kinds of avoidable toxins—so please make sure you do.

Some of the recommendations I make in this chapter may be expensive. Rather than advising you repeatedly to undertake these steps “if you can afford them,” I simply make the suggestion, and you can determine which approaches you can afford. Occasionally, I will also suggest less expensive alternatives.

After reading the Detox Maintenance Protocol and the explanations that follow it, you may wonder if the maintenance program is excessive. I don’t think it is. My own family has decided that ongoing detox is so important to our health that we do virtually everything I recommend here. Yes, the list is long—but the truth is, it could be even longer.

Sadly, as I discussed in chapter 2, the major source of toxins is the food we eat every day. I recommend the following practices when either growing, purchasing, cooking, or storing your food.

Eat Organically Grown Food

Many foods are contaminated during their growing or processing or from the containers in which they are stored. That is why I recommend that you eat only organically grown foods—and store your food properly (in glass). I realize the sticker shock people experience due to the prices of organic food. That is why many people I know have joined a food cooperative or subscribed to a CSA (community-supported agriculture) in order to keep their organic food costs down. There are an increasing number of food coops and CSAs across the country. Food co-ops, particularly worker-operated food co-ops, offer the added benefit of opening the door to a community of health-minded people like yourself. If you can’t afford to eat everything organically grown or you must eat in restaurants frequently, be sure to at least avoid eating the foods on the Dirty Dozen Plus Two list (see chapter 3)—fourteen foods that should be eaten only if they are organically grown.

Avoid Additives and Preservatives

As I have been cautioning throughout The Toxin Solution, read food labels and avoid foods that, despite the “natural” label claims, are filled with added chemicals. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely it is that there is something in the food that’s bad for your health. The list of top preservatives and additives to be on the lookout for is long.

Table 8.1. Detox Maintenance Protocol

Food

• Eat organically grown, unprocessed food.

• Avoid foods with additives and synthetic preservatives.

• Grow some of your own food.

• Do not buy food packaged in plastic or use plastic for storing food.

• Avoid aluminum and Teflon cookware.

• Limit barbecued, grilled, and charbroiled foods.

• Limit alcohol consumption. If you do drink, wine and beer are “best” and aged liquors are worst.

 

• Use the least toxic forms of marijuana if this is a drug of your choice.

Air

• Install HEPA air filters in your home.

• Avoid ozone machines and wood fireplaces, since they release unhealthy oxidizing compounds.

• Change the filters on your heating and cooling systems regularly.

Water

• Filter the water you use for cooking and bathing.

Household and yard

• Use carbon monoxide alarms and nonradioactive smoke alarms.

• Use fragrance-free natural household cleansers low in solvents, or make your own.

• Clean, dust, and vacuum regularly.

• Avoid “Scotchgard”-ing your furniture.

• Check for black mold in any potentially wet area of your home periodically.

• Wear natural fibers.

• Use nontoxic paints.

• Use bedding materials made from natural products with no or low release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Health and beauty aids

• Use natural products without fragrance that are low in chemicals and free of phthalates.

Additional

detoxing

• Continue eating cabbage-family foods.

• Continue taking fiber supplements.

• Use a sauna periodically, or exercise, to generate sweating.

Note that this list includes salt and phosphates, as well as the many synthetic preservatives and flavor enhancers. And don’t be fooled by such claims as “Nothing artificial added.” This can be very misleading, because the food product manufacturers have their raw-material suppliers add the noxious chemicals beforehand, so they can say they themselves didn’t. Look for the “USDA Certified Organic” label instead.

Table 8.2 Preservatives and Additives

CHEMICAL

WHAT IT DOES

WHERE IT’S FOUND

Acacia gum

Stabilizer

Soft drink syrups, gummy candies, marshmallows, M&M’s, chocolate candies, edible glitter

Ammonium sulfate

To activate baking yeast

Baked goods

Artificial colors, anything beginning with FD&C

Adds color to make poor-quality foods look better

Most colorful processed foods

Aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin

Artificial sweeteners

Artificially sweetened foods, especially soft drinks, and in packets at restaurants

     

Benzoyl peroxide

Bleaching agent

White flour

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Synthetic antioxidant

Packaged foods, baked goods

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) or butylhydroxytoluene

Synthetic antioxidants

Packaged foods, baked goods

Calcium, potassium, or sodium propionates

Mold inhibitors

Processed foods

Carnauba wax (palm or Brazil wax)

Coating and glazing

Hard candies

Carrageenan

Thickening agent

Creamy foods and desserts

Castoreum

“Natural” flavoring

As a substitute for vanilla

Corn syrup; high-fructose corn syrup

Sweetener

Almost all sweetened processed foods

Cyclamate and cyclamic acid

Artificial sweeteners

Artificially sweetened foods

Dextrose

Sweetener

Desserts, sweets, cookies, candy

Diphenyl, biphenyl

Preservatives

Citrus fruits

Disodium ribonucleotides, inosinate, and guanylate

Flavor enhancers

Any foods with MSG

Dodecyl gallate

Synthetic antioxidant

Packaged foods

Heptylparaben

Preservative

Cosmetics

Hexamine, hexamethylene, tetramine

Preservatives

Caviar, cheese, herring, and preserved fish

Hydrogenated vegetable oil and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Preservatives

“Chewy” foods

Insoluble

polyvinylpyrrolidone

Stabilizer and clarifying agent added to wine, beer, medications, pharmaceuticals

Shampoo, toothpaste, white wine, beer

Mannitol

Artificial sweetener

Sugar-free mint candies and gums

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and all glutamates

Flavor enhancers

Many processed foods

Octyl gallate

Synthetic antioxidant

Cosmetics, perfume, soap, shampoo

Olestra

Fat substitute

Pringles Light

Orthophenyl

Preservative

Citrus fruits

Paraffin, Vaseline, white mineral oil

Solvents, coating and glazing, antifoaming agents, lubricants

Shiny foods

Phosphates

Balance food acidity

Many processed foods

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate

Emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling, thickening agents

See Polysorbate

Polysorbate

Emulsifier

Any food with water and oil kept in

   

suspension

Potassium acesulfame

Sweetener

Sugar-free baked goods

Potassium and sodium nitrate

Preservatives

Cured meats

Potassium bromate

Flour bleaching

Baked goods (this is really important as competes with iodine and causes low thyroid)

Potassium ferrocyanide

Anticaking agent

Table salt (some sea salt as well)

Potassium nitrate

Preservative

Preserved meat

Propyl gallate

Synthetic antioxidant

Cosmetics with oils

Quinoline yellow

Food dye

Yellow processed foods

Saccharin

Sweetener

Sugar-free foods, packets at restaurants

Salt

Taste enhancer

Virtually all processed foods

Sodium and potassium bisulfite

Preservatives, bleaching agents

Prepared salads, dried fruits, wine

Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose

Viscosity modifier, thickener

Toothpaste, laxatives, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, textile sizing, paper products

Sodium, potassium, and calcium sulfite

Preservatives

See Bisulfites above

Sulfur dioxide

Preservative

Dried fruits

Tartrazine

Food coloring

Yellow processed foods

Tert butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)

Synthetic antioxidant

Vegetable and animal fats

Titanium dioxide

Pigment, opacifier, sunscreen

Foods with artificial white pigments

Grow Some of Your Own Food

While writing this book, I happened to have dinner at a conference with one of my top graduates, Dr. Gaetano Morello, who practices in Vancouver, British Columbia. He made a comment that really resonated with me: “I have noticed that every one of my patients who is aging well has their own food garden. I think this helps them not only due to freshness and lack of pesticides, but the natural bacteria in the soil appears to promote a healthier gut.”

If you are able to do so, grow at least some of your own food. If you do start a garden, use only natural fertilizers and sprays when needed. And avoid pesticides on your lawn as well: you don’t want to breathe these chemicals or track them into your house. Do not include supposedly organic recycled city grass clippings in your compost or food garden. Urban grass is often grown with high-phosphate fertilizers that are contaminated with cadmium. As already discussed, this extremely toxic bluish-white metal has made its way into the food supply. Also, don’t spray weed killers like Roundup anywhere on your property, since it can also get into your food.

Do Not Buy Food Packaged in Plastic

Pay attention to how your food is packaged, cooked, and stored. Do not buy food in packages with plastic or waxed liners. The chemicals used to make plastic nonsticky, malleable, and soft can contain phthalates and BPA. These known endocrine disruptors can negatively affect cardiovascular health by raising your blood pressure and can affect your energy by decreasing thyroid hormone production. While you’re at it, get rid of all the plastic containers you use to store food at home—in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

When you buy condiments like mustard and ketchup, or peanut and other nut butters, choose the ones in the glass jars instead of the plastic. That not only is healthier for you but will also provide you with good storage jars once you have consumed the product. Wash and save the jars and their lids for storing food. If you find that the lids are plastic, make sure not to overfill these jars so as to keep the food out of contact with the lid. Plastic in lids often contains BPA (bisphenol A). No, I am not being OCD here—every source of exposure adds up. Anytime you can avoid a toxin, you should do so, because there are so many toxins we can’t avoid.

When purchasing containers, look for ones made of borosilicate glass or soda-lime glass, which behave like Pyrex and can withstand heat and cold. If you absolutely must use canned goods or plastic, make sure they are BPA-free.

Avoid Teflon and Aluminum Cookware

For some time, there have been concerns about the use of aluminum cookware. Because aluminum is extremely soft, it leaches into the food that is cooked in it. High amounts of this metal have been found in the brain tissues of those with Alzheimer’s disease. My best assessment of the research suggests that aluminum is not a significant cause of dementia—but it causes other problems. This is why it is now banned in many countries, including Germany, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Argentina, and Brazil. Use stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic.

And get rid of your Teflon pots and pans once and for all. If you can’t or don’t want to lose your favorite Teflon fry pan, then learn how to use it correctly: never let it get hotter than 350 degrees. The problem is that you are not only cooking with Teflon, but eating Teflon (polyfluorotetraethylene) as well! This coating breaks apart at high heat, and can cause flu-like symptoms known as Teflon flu. Polyfluorotetraethylene has been linked in some studies with low birth weight, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, and weakened immune defense.

Recommended Cooking Techniques

It’s healthier to steam, stir-fry, bake, or stew your food. Avoid cooking food at high temperatures without first protecting the food from air. When proteins, fats, or carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures in the presence of oxygen, they form toxic and carcinogenic substances. There are a number of ways to do this. I strongly recommend you look at the “healthy stir-fry” described on the World’s Healthiest Foods website (www.WHFoods.org). My team of nutritionists and I worked with George Mateljan to determine the best ways to cook foods so the nutrients would be most available and the least damage would be done to the food. Basically, the trick is to use a small amount of water rather than oil in your cooking pan. For desired taste, oil can be added after cooking. This keeps the food from getting too hot and the oil from being damaged.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you are going to drink alcohol, consume the least toxic types. For example, wine made from “old vine” grapes has a lot more arsenic, which is used to keep down mold. Organic wine is better, though it is much more difficult to make good wine without sulfites. Vodka is actually less toxic than whiskey. If you doubt this, drink vodka on one night and then drink the same amount of whiskey on another night and compare how you feel in the morning. The “best” forms of alcohol are beer and wine.

Don’t drink too much alcohol: keep it around 1 ounce per day for women and 2 ounces for men.

Use the Least Toxic Forms of Marijuana

If you use marijuana, use the forms that are least toxic. It’s better to get forms of the herb that are organically grown to ensure that you are not inhaling toxic chemicals used in their cultivation. There is no more efficient way of getting these very toxic chemicals into your body than smoking them! Indoor growers will also tend to use a lot of pesticides and herbicides. If you use extracts, choose those extracted with carbon dioxide, since this means there will be no solvent residues.

To help you get started on the Toxin Solution Maintenance Plan here are fourteen days’ worth of meal plans that follow the food guidelines in this chapter.

Table 8.3. Meal Plans

DAY 1

Breakfast

Zucchini omelet with gluten-free toast

Midmorning

snack

Coconut yogurt with chopped almonds and berries

Lunch

Turkey chili with GMO-free cornbread

Midafternoon

snack

Oven-baked organic kale chips with avocado dip

Dinner

Garlic broccoli with lamb chop and dairy-free Caesar salad

DAY 2

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with rye crisp

Midmorning

snack

Organic strawberry smoothie with hemp milk

Lunch

Watercress and sunflower seed salad with sardines, organic kale chips

Midafternoon

snack

Avocado half with lemon

Dinner

Organic baked chicken, sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and green beans

DAY 3

Breakfast

Gluten-free granola with yogurt and blueberries

Midmorning

snack

Organic apple with almond butter

Lunch

Apple-celery-pecan chicken salad over greens with lemon-oil dressing

Midafternoon

snack

Vegetable crudité with hummus

Dinner

Lamb moussaka with Greek salad

DAY 4

Breakfast

Oatmeal with organic apples

Midmorning

snack

Almond butter with sliced cucumber

Lunch

Turkey burger with lemony slaw

Midafternoon

snack

Carrots with chickpea dip

Dinner

Stuffed cabbage with rice pilaf

DAY 5

Breakfast

Deviled eggs with sesame green salad

Midmorning

snack

Blueberry hemp shake

Lunch

Green goddess salad with chopped chicken, watercress, and sliced tomatoes

Midafternoon

snack

Lentil chips with yogurt dill dip

Dinner

Braised wild-caught salmon, curried cauliflower, and green bean sauté with dilled cucumber salad

DAY 6

Breakfast

Huevos rancheros with tortilla

Midmorning

snack

Walnuts and pear

Lunch

Grilled vegetables with cauliflower “rice” and chopped salad

Midafternoon

snack

Celery with sunflower-pecan spread

Dinner

Brassica stir-fry with wild salmon cakes

DAY 7

Breakfast

Quinoa cereal with fresh fruit and dairy-free milk

Midmorning

snack

Mocha hemp smoothie

Lunch

Lentil burgers with sesame green beans and napa cabbage salad

Midafternoon

snack

Orange slices

Dinner

Gluten-free quinoa spaghetti and grassfed bison meatballs with tomato-zucchini oreganata and tossed salad

DAY 8

Breakfast

Hot amaranth cereal with toasted sesame seeds and hemp milk

Midmorning

snack

Deviled eggs with sliced pepper

Lunch

Black beans with mushroom gravy in baked sweet-potato skins

Midafternoon

snack

Baked apple

Dinner

Roast turkey breast with braised Brussels sprouts, kasha, and cranberry-orange sauce

DAY 9

Breakfast

French toast topped with berries

Midmorning

snack

Crudités with garlic-nut dip

Lunch

Cold red-beet borscht and turkey roll-up

Midafternoon

snack

Green drink with whey protein

Dinner

Bison steak with broccoli and amaranth

DAY 10

Breakfast

Cinnamon organic apple-nut porridge

Midmorning

snack

Scoop of parsley/egg salad with chopped cucumber and tomato

Lunch

Turkey loaf with spinach-stuffed acorn squash

Midafternoon

snack

Celery with garlic dip

Dinner

Chicken wings with sautéed garlic, broccoli, and corn on the cob

DAY 11

 

Breakfast

Organic spinach-mushroom frittata

Midmorning

snack

Chicken wings with crudités and creamy dressing

Lunch

Vegetable-and-bean chili topped with sprouts

Midafternoon

snack

Berry cobbler with almond cream

Dinner

Nut-stuffed sweet potatoes, green beans, and red-cabbage slaw

DAY 12

Breakfast

High-fiber cereal with berries

Midmorning

snack

Walnuts with sliced organic apple

Lunch

Cheddar broccoli soup with turkey bacon and toasted sunflower seeds

Midafternoon

snack

Guacamole with GMO-free chips

Dinner

Gluten-free pizza with chopped broccoli, garlic, and basil-pine nut pesto topping and Caesar salad

DAY 13

Breakfast

Waffles with turkey bacon

Midmorning

snack

Lentil salad with hard-boiled egg

Lunch

Bun-less burger with sliced tomato, avocado, and sauerkraut

Midafternoon

snack

Wheat-free pita triangles with hummus

Dinner

Chinese chicken and green bean stir-fry over cauliflower rice

DAY 14

Breakfast

Peach hemp smoothie and eggs over easy with gluten-free toast

   

Midmorning

snack

Rainbow fruit salad

Lunch

Adzuki bean burger with stir-fried shiitake mushrooms and sprout salad

Midafternoon

snack

Organic popcorn with olive oil and nutritional yeast

Dinner

Curried lamb over rice with dal and yogurt cucumber salad

Air

Unless you plan to move to an area with especially clean air, you are stuck with air pollution, especially when living in cities, and especially in those cities with smog. Even rural areas may have many local sources of pollution—from burning fossil fuels, air currents bringing pollution from elsewhere, rural industries, and even from your home’s heating system. Fortunately, a number of strategies will greatly decrease your exposure to toxins in the air, wherever you encounter them.

First, you can filter the air you breathe in your house. Put HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filters in your bedrooms, family room, kitchen, and wherever else in your house you spend a lot of time. If your house uses forced-air heating or cooling, follow these specific guidelines:

 Have your furnace inspected annually to ensure there are no gas or oil leaks.

 Install the best-quality air filters you can afford, and change them regularly.

 Install electronic electrostatic filters, and clean them regularly.

I recommend that you not use an ozone machine to improve the air in your home or office. While the ozone is great at precipitating out the particles in the air, we are already exposed to way too much of this highly oxidative compound in city air. And avoid using air fresheners. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), rather than “freshening” your air, all they really do is release phthalates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and benzene and formaldehyde (both of which are carcinogens) into your home.1 Same problem with the softeners put in driers. If you must use them, choose those without fragrance.

No matter how cozy or picturesque or off the grid it seems, another source of pollution is a woodburning fireplace. Use an electric or gas fireplace instead, which will have fewer emissions. If you really want to get off the grid, try to hook up with a renewable energy source like solar or wind. If you’re intent on the coziness of a wood fire, be very sure circulation is good and there are no leaks in the fireplace or flue.

Water

The water you get from your local water supply may be anywhere from relatively pure to very contaminated. You can ask your water supplier to provide you with a copy of the periodic assays required by the federal government. Alternatively, you can test the actual water you are drinking at home. I list in appendix G laboratories that test water for metal and chemical contamination. This is a real problem, since around 10 percent of public water supplies have elevated levels of arsenic. Water from wells in farming communities can also have high levels of nitrates, herbicides, and pesticides.

Chlorine, which is added to all water supplies to kill off pathogenic bacteria and parasites, conveys a huge public health benefit, since a lot of people, especially infants, were killed in the past by infections from polluted water. Those infecting organisms are killed by chlorine binding to their hydrocarbons and producing toxic chemicals that kill the bugs. On the other hand, the organic trihalomethane by-products of chlorination (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, chlorodibromomethane, and bromoform) are carcinogenic.2 I read a paper years ago that reported that one out of every ten thousand people who are saved from infection gets cancer from these molecules. It’s a very good public health trade-off—unless you are that one in ten thousand.

To ensure that your water is of very good quality, install a whole-house carbon block filter. This will give you pure water for cooking and also bathing. Most people don’t realize that we absorb a lot more potentially carcinogenic hydrocarbons from breathing in a shower than from water when we drink it. If you can’t put in a whole-house filter, put a carbon block filter on your shower and in the kitchen sink for your food.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Most cities and states now require that all households have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Use them; they can save your life. There are two types of smoke alarms—photoelectric and ionization. Always choose the photoelectric kind. The ionization type of smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material called americium-241. Test the batteries to make sure these are in working order. (If the smoke alarms are wired into your home’s electricity, make sure the backup batteries are working.)

Natural Cleansers

I recommend using only cleaning products that are low in solvents, fragrances, and other chemicals. According to a list compiled by the natural products website GAIAM (www.experiencelife.com), common household cleaners harbor many substances harmful to human health. Here are some of the ingredients you should avoid:

 Chlorinated phenols (in toilet-bowl cleaners)

 Diethylene glycol (in window cleaners)

 Phenols (in disinfectants)

 Nonylphenol ethoxylate (in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners)

 Petroleum solvents (in floor cleaners)3

Unfortunately, you won’t always find a complete ingredient list on product labels due to laws protecting trade secrets. That’s one among many reasons that in our house my wife, Lara, and I use a special cleaning solution we call Lara’s Solution that she makes from the following ingredients:

 Water (1 quart)

 White vinegar (2 to 3 ounces)

 Essential oils, typically lavender combined with rosemary or rose oil (8 to 10 drops)

To help keep the house clean and free of toxins, remove your shoes upon entering. The dirt and dust outside are often full of toxins precipitated from the air. For example, if you have a wooden deck or play sets for children, they constantly leak small amounts of preservatives with highly toxic arsenic or cadmium. Provide socks or washable slippers for guests. Vacuum and wipe surfaces regularly, particularly if you live in a city where there may be a lot of particulate matter and soot.

You will find my recommendations for safe cleaning products in appendix F.

Furnishings

Do not spray your furniture with “stain resistant” chemicals, which are highly toxic perfluorinated compounds. Instead, if furniture stains are a problem, buy nonfabric, nonplastic furniture—for example, leather, 100 percent organic cotton, cotton and linen blends, and wood. Or use coverings that are easily washable.

Bedding, especially “temperature sensitive” mattresses, can release a lot of VOCs directly into your breathing space for hours every night. Use bedding made from natural materials processed with minimal chemicals.

Mold

Check all areas of your house for black mold. This is a huge problem that occurs in as many as 50 percent of commercial and residential buildings. The chemicals and spores released by this mold disrupt the immune system and increase inflammation. I was quite surprised to learn that an amazing two-thirds of adult-onset asthma appears to be due to mold exposure. Although this occurs mostly in bathrooms and kitchens, where there is water, you should carefully check the outside of your house as well for leaks that may allow water into the insulation in the walls—a perfect incubating place for black mold. If you have a mold problem, I strongly recommend seeking the assistance of an expert, since what you see may be only the tip of a serious toxic iceberg damaging your health.

Clothing

Wear clothing made primarily from natural fibers—cotton, wool, hemp, or silk. Limit your wearing of “breathable” rain clothing, which usually contains perfluorochemicals. If you really want to use such types of clothing (and I admit that it’s convenient; my motorcycle jacket and pants use treated fabric), don’t try to renew them by spraying them when they wear out. Buy a new outfit.

For your children, use only clothing without polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Yes, this means that the clothes will be less resistant to fire, so be more careful. Your children are much more likely to be damaged by PBDEs than by fire.

House Paints

That fresh-paint smell we may love is caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. These toxic chemicals, found with pigments, are also added to alkyd oil and some latex paints to provide spreadability and durability. Low-level exposure to these chemicals can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Higher exposure and longer exposure times—like those experienced by people who work in paint spray booths—can cause permanent damage to the kidneys, liver, and nervous or respiratory system.

Many companies now make low- and no-VOC paints that work as well as their predecessors. But don’t confuse low-odor with low-VOC. Some paints mask the odor while having high levels of VOC. Look for levels of 100 grams per liter (g/L) or lower. Paints also routinely contain solvents and other additives, like formaldehyde, that you don’t want to inhale. Your best option is to use natural, earth-based paints and pigments if you can find them and are willing to put up with a slightly less “polished” look.

Interestingly, a study I just read summarized research showing that much of the mold toxicity is due to the VOCs that molds release when growing on building materials.

Health and Beauty

To keep reducing your toxic load, use only health and beauty aids (HABAs) that are low in chemicals. To know which these are, read the labels—and look at appendix F of this book. If a product you are using (for most anything) has a nice fragrance, most likely it contains phthalates. The smell may be pleasant, but phthalates—used in hundreds of products as plasticizers or in solvents—are carcinogenic and known to cause reproductive damage. And as you can see in appendix C, they are one of the major causes of the diabetes epidemic. (See chapter 2 for more on phthalates.)

Continue Getting Out the Old Toxins

Obviously, you can’t get out all the toxins you’ve spent years accumulating in just a few weeks. Yes, following the Toxin Solution will greatly lessen the load of toxins in your blood, cells, and intracellular spaces, but they will keep refilling from bone and fat until these sources are detoxed as well. This is not meant to discourage you. Instead, what I want to leave you with is the good news that you can continue to deepen your detox and improve your health over time. Remember the efforts that Jennifer, who had elevated lead and mercury levels, made in chapter 1? As her levels decreased, her health gradually and continually improved.

To continue getting out the old toxins, take the following actions:

 Implement as much of the above as you can. If you do nothing other than live as cleanly as possible, your body will continue to detoxify—albeit slowly. Again, the best strategy is to keep the toxins out.

 Continue eating cabbage-family foods. They are the best for supporting liver detoxification.

 Continue taking fiber supplements. If this is all you do, having fiber in your gut to absorb the toxins being excreted by your liver will greatly help your most important detoxification processes.

 Add a nourishing drink of blended green vegetables to your diet.

 Incorporate an occasional massage into your health regimen.

 Do something every week that gets you freely sweating for at least an hour. For me, it’s playing basketball. For others, it’s a sauna, a bike ride, or the treadmill. Lara likes Zumba and barre.

This chapter put you on the path to maintaining all of the gains you made on the Toxin Solution. By first following the recommended program for detoxing and then adopting the healthy habits I have recommended here, you can ensure that your body:

 Avoids toxins as much as possible.

 Eliminates toxins efficiently.

 Repairs any damage done by toxic overload.

By understanding these processes of toxification and detoxification, you have become your body’s best friend, able to support your health for years to come.

Detoxifying and keeping toxins out are your most effective strategies for avoiding disease and extending your healthy years as far into the future as possible.

Thank you for taking this ride with me.