Daily life and healthy living… something may be missing, and it makes you uncomfortable. It may start by reading about an unfamiliar topic, listening to a provocative lecture or podcast, or watching a stirring documentary. The previously unfamiliar is now a flashing red light and conjures up questions, doubts, fear, and anger. With this new knowledge, do you sweep it under the rug and go on just as before or do you do more research and attempt the most difficult thing…change your ways?
In the early ’90s I attended a holistic dental conference. I was going to skip a lecture given by an MD about sturgeon fish becoming extinct in the Mississippi. I thought, “this is unrelated to the dental conference”. But it turned out to be a life changer for me, my family, and my practice.
Your Healthy Living May Be Undermined
Statistics rarely hold my attention, but it was accompanied with a riveting story. It was found that plastic manufacturers located on the banks of the river were dumpling massive amounts of industrial toxic wastes into the water. The once plentiful sturgeon fish were either spawning fish that were sterile or not reproducing at all. Female birds feeding on the fish were infertile or were nesting with other females and not breeding. Scientists tested the chemicals disposed of in the water which were known endocrine disruptors. The bodies of the fish and birds showed high levels of these chemicals. The lecturer then went on to show slides listing the thousands of other potentially health-harming chemicals throughout the country’s waterways, air, and soil going into the food chain. The extensive use of chemicals added into personal care and cleaning products and construction materials, fabrics, and furniture was accumulating in our bodies and being passed on to our offspring. My head was spinning. I wondered, could these chemicals be toxic and seriously impair healthy living and longevity. Could there be connections to human infertility or other ailments? And if so, is it possible to get these toxic products safely out of our bodies?
Healthy Living Must Include Recognizing What’s on a Label
I never really paid much attention to labels. And if I did read them, I had no clue what the listed chemicals were or how it could affect healthy living. I assumed that the chemicals were in such small amounts which rendered them safe to ingest, inhale, or absorb into our skin. The lecturer pointed out though that when we added up all the chemicals from all the products we use and are exposed to daily, the amount of toxins is far greater than the tiny bit found in any one item. And there were no studies that looked at the safety of combining multiple chemicals. I went back to my hotel room to now read the labels on all the products I brought with me. I was freaked!
And I Thought I Was a Beacon for Healthy Living
I was shocked to discover that ALL my toiletries that I used every day contained toxic ingredients. Chemicals were in my contact lens solution, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, deodorant, foundation, blush, eye shadow, mascara, lip liner, lip stick, mouthwash, toothpaste, lip balm, and sunscreen. I took notice of my dry-cleaned clothes, the smells of disinfectants and air fresheners, and the packs of coffee… and then I got depressed. Although I was eating organic and nutritiously, drinking filtered water, exercising, getting enough sleep, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments, there was a shortfall in my healthy lifestyle. I had to research what these chemicals do to the body and find good products that were natural.
Purging Chemicals is Necessary for Healthy Living
When I arrived back at my home, I immediately went to the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and proceeded to toss everything that did not seem natural or could be unhealthy. My husband and kids thought I was nuts. Maybe I was a bit obsessive, but I was convinced that good health for all of us depended on purging the products that could interfere with our wellness and longevity. My motto was (and still is) that it is far better to prevent disease than to treat disease. So, everyone pitched in. I then needed to replace our personal care items, cleaning supplies, and packaged foods. I shopped all new items with a safe shopper’s guide in tow, choosing products that were devoid or very low on chemicals that could be carcinogenic, neurotoxic, allergenic, or caustic. Back then, there were much fewer healthier products than exist today.
It wasn’t hard getting used to new cleaning supplies, many that I made myself. I was able to find organic foods and personal care products that fit the safe shopper guidelines. My sons were not fans of the cereals and snacks but we all persevered for three weeks when the rebellion finally calmed down – maybe not coincidentally. It seemed that everyone got used to eating less sugar, got a better night’s sleep, were in happier moods, and had way fewer allergy symptoms. We got through it and were able to stick with it and I’m proud to say that the healthy lifestyle habits have continued into their adult lives.
And in my dental practice, we made sure to use dental materials that were biocompatible and eliminated the use of toxic substances used routinely in dentistry. Our water coming through the hand-pieces was filtered, our cleaning supplies were without harsh chemicals. We used air purifiers and aromatherapy diffusers. Instead of pain medications, we had great success with homeopathic remedies. Through the years, we added, subtracted, or changed supplies as new products and materials continued to evolve. All this from cleaning out my cabinets.