Food is such a simple way to reduce your exposure to nasties. Think about it: how many opportunities do you have each day to filter the toxins you ingest through the food you eat?
Choose fresh over packet
I’m often shocked by the amount of numbers and unpronounceable ingredients contained in packaged food. Sure, you may think “but so and so (insert name of giant food company which made it) wouldn’t want to poison us, right?” Well…it’s not as simple as it seems. Studies (*1) are showing the detrimental health consequences of a diet high in so-called “ultra-processed food”, which encompasses pretty much anything with ingredients you can’t recognise on a label. As much as you can, eat fresh produce instead of packets so you know what goes into your body. An apple is an apple, it’s not trying to “trick you”. And if you have to buy a packet of something, aim to choose the best option available: generally speaking, the one with the least amount of ingredients unknown to you.
Choose organic or spray free
In organic agriculture, the use of pesticides is restricted, while residues in conventional fruits and vegetables constitute the main source of human pesticide exposures (*2). A good place to start is the EWG clean 15 and dirty dozen list. The “dirty dozen” refers to the 12 “dirty” crops that farmers use the most pesticides on. Go through the dirty dozen list and aim to purchase these items organic or pesticide free if you can. When it comes to meat, it’s wise to switch to organic or at least antibiotic and hormone free if that’s more within reach. Research is showing that the use of antibiotics in conventional animal production is a key driver of antibiotic resistance in society (*3). And in the seafood department, try to opt for sustainable as much as you can.
Some shopping resources for Australians
If you live in Australia, a budget friendly option for pantry items is The Wholefood Collective. It’s my go-to for organic, spray-free and additive-free options. There’s a wonderful app called Good Fish which helps you navigate the best options at your fishmonger, supermarket and restaurant. And if you’re in Sydney, Feather and Bone is an amazing butcher with a wide range of ethically farmed meats.
Choose plastic-free packaging and storage
Plastic food packaging and storage have similar negative consequences on our health as plastic water bottles do. Chemicals (amongst which endocrine disruptors that interfere with your hormones) can enter food stored in plastic containers or bags. The leaching of chemicals will accelerate when you microwave food in plastic (*4). Opt for glass, ceramic, even silicone to store food and before you microwave it, always transfer it to a safe container (glass is best if you make sure it’s the microwavable kind). Biome has an amazing range of glass, silicone and other environmentally friendly containers HERE.
This article is part of the series “Reduce your exposure to toxins”. I’ve also written about AIR and WATER.
Don’t panic if you realise that you may have been exposed to more toxins than you thought possible. The body is a wonderful self-healing machine, given the right conditions. Now that you have some tools to choose better, go forth and make some changes. You’ll feel much better for it! If you need help along the way, check out my awesome service Clean and Lean: together we’ll work on a plan to significantly reduce your exposure to toxins, assessing and adjusting your living and working spaces to ensure they’re supportive of your health and wellbeing, not working against them. I can’t wait to meet you!
*All references for this article can be accessed HERE.