How toxic are you? This is a daunting question that most of us are not only afraid to ask but also really have no idea how to start assessing the question. I’m going to go over an easy way to start considering your toxic load to help you start making some healthier choices in your day to day life.
Unless we make a conscious effort to avoid them, we encounter toxins all the time in our day to day life and we often don’t even realize it. A lot of the time we have come to consider products that we use safe and harmless just because they are the norm. We rarely stop to say, hey – what am I putting in my body? What am I breathing in? What am I absorbing through my skin?
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. I used to never read the label. I used to see the ads for how x product would help me solve x problem and be happy a solution was provided while never thinking to check the ingredients (especially when it came to beauty products). I never used to think about how all the little small toxins I encountered day to day were accumulating and how this was making me feel. I finally started to wake up when I realized I was always exhausted, always getting sick, and mentally struggling to keep it together.
So, how can you start thinking about your toxic load? Let’s consider “The Barrel Effect”.
The Barrel Effect
Think of your body like a barrel. The barrel has a certain amount of room to hold toxins before it starts to “spill over.” The total load that fills the barrel consists of: past and present physical, chemical, and biological contaminants found in food, air, water, products, and the environment as well as the emotional state of the individual. All of these factors (environmental, dietary, genetic, and emotional/psychological) accumulate over time to have an effect on your health.
In a moment we will take a more detailed look at everything that can “fill your barrel”. But first, let’s take a close look at how this barrel effect really works. The idea here is that your body, just like a barrel, has a certain amount of room it can fill before it can no longer comfortably hold its contents. So, if we are speaking in terms of toxins – you could add in some chemicals from your daily personal care products (soap, shampoo, etc), some stress from your job, sugar from your processed snack and so on. Dealing with any of these on their own is not an issue for your body. But altogether, piled on day after day, your barrel begins to fill up faster than you can empty it. Your body slowly becomes overwhelmed. Your barrel begins to “spill over” and this translates to health problems. New allergies can be an example of your barrel being too full.
What can you do to help lower the effect on your barrel? Start recognizing the different sources of toxins in your life so you can begin making smarter choice.
Sources of Toxins
- What you eat: processed, refined, sugar, chemicals and pesticides, GMOs,
- Food sensitivities and intolerances
- Cleaning products: harsh chemicals
- Personal care products: additives/chemicals in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, hand lotion
- Emotions: stress, anger, frustration, anxiety, any kind of emotional duress
- Health / Physical: infection, disease, weakness, age, stress, psychological
- Your environment: where you live and work
- Outdoor pollution: exhaust, smog
- Indoor pollution: dust, mold
- Habits: alcohol, smoking, drugs
What can you do?
My hope for you is that you can start looking at the small changes you can make to help promote optimal health. This isn’t meant to scare you – it’s meant to inspire change. Our bodies are strong and will do everything they can to stay healthy. They just need a little help. You can start by taking the time to consider what fills your barrel. Take a good hard look at the sources above and ask yourself where you can make changes in your life. Start small. Pick one thing and find a healthier alternative. Make this healthy alternative a part of your routine and once it no longer seems like something new, find another thing to add or change. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Make manageable lifestyle changes instead of trying to rewrite your life.
The important thing here is that we are in control of our toxic load. Start reducing the number of toxins in your life today.