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This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

11 ways to help detoxify from exposure to toxins 

Becca Crawford

Given the ubiquitous toxicity of our urban environment, our bodies ingest and inhale toxins all the time, sadly. From the “food” we eat, the tap water we drink, the air we breathe, what we lather on our skin and hair, to what we use to clean our homes. But sometimes, an isolated incident occurs that might expose you to a whopping amount. It might be exposure to mould, leaded paint from a reno, your mother-in-law well-meaningly spraying perfumes or ‘air fresheners’ throughout your house, your partner spraying Mortein in every nook and cranny of your apartment, your grandma dousing your clothes with moth balls, your landlord insect bombing the whole building with pesticides, too much alcohol and not-so-clean food eaten on a recent holiday, or heavy metal exposure from an old bath containing lead.  VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are numerous, varied and include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds.  Some are more toxic than others and can have long-term health effects. 

Ok, so you’ve inhaled, ingested or absorbed a bucket load of toxins in higher concentrations than usual. What now? You need to detoxify these compounds from your system as quickly as possible. How quickly you can detoxify largely depends on your detoxification pathways. In particular if you have gene mutation MTHFR (determined through a simple blood test) you won't be able to detoxify as well and may need extra support from a naturopath or holistic health care provider. 

This is what I recommend to help you detoxify naturally: 

1. Continue to eat nutrient-dense whole foods especially bone broth from pastured or wild animals, fermented foods and drinks, leafy green veggies, and coconut oil – all of which have a detoxifying effect on the body. 

2. Drink plenty of filtered water with a pinch of unrefined salt (you can read about why I add unrefined salt to my water in my previous blog here).  In terms of water filters, I recommend a reverse osmosis water filter system from The Water Shop. Simply call them, and mention that I referred you for 30% off.   

3. Avoid all dietary and environmental toxins as much as possible to not overload your already taxed system. The main offenders are refined sugar, industrial seed oils, refined gluten, unfermented soy products (e.g. soy milk), and all conventional household and personal care products. I discuss all this in great detail in my one on one health coaching sessions.  In terms of personal care and household cleaning products, the upshot is less is more! If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin! If it’s not natural or doesn’t biodegrade- don’t use it in your house! 

4. Spend as little time as possible in offending area (if there is one). This might mean quarantining the area, or temporality moving out. 

5. Get out into fresh air as much as possible and have the windows in your house/ apartment open as much as possible with fans on to get good air flow and ventilation all the time. Eat meals outdoors, go for walks in nature or along the coast. 

6. If air quality is affected, diffuse the essential oil called Purification from Young Living.  For information on how to purchase the Young Living starter kit which includes Purification, contact me directly.  Purification is a blend of powerful essential oils that, as the name suggests, purify and clean the air you breathe. I used this a lot after the mould incidents in my house. Simply diffuse 6 drops with water in a diffuser (as opposed to an oil burner!). This is great for people in apartments especially who are exposed to poor quality air from neighbouring apartments (eg smokers). Note that if your room/house is very damp/humid, instead of diffusing (which adds further moisture to the air) you can apply a drop of purification neat under the soles of your feet or diluted in a natural carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil. 

7. If air quality is affected, buy an air purifier like this one. I wrote about this in my recent mould blog. These machines purify the air. In the words of my intergrative GP, Dr Min Yeo “They break up the particles and create negative ions which bind to the toxins.” You can move the air purifier around room to room and especially put it in offending room to quickly purify the air.

8. Get herbal support from a holistic naturopath like Anthia Koullouros. There are detoxifying teas and herbs and other things like charcoal that draw toxins out of your system. If you are pregnant mention this as some herbs may be contraband during pregnancy. 

9. Oil pull. Oil pulling is a powerful detoxifier by drawing toxins out of your body. Read my previous blog post on this here. I’ve been doing it every single morning for 15 minutes upon rising for the past 6 years while showering or getting dressed etc. 

10. Sweat it out in an infrared sauna. Sweating detoxifies the body and research shows that infrared saunas get greater results than ordinary saunas. HeathSpace clinics offer infrared saunas and you can read more about their locations and the benefits of these saunas here. Or you can buy your very own one and keep it in your home like half my friends do ;-)

11. Avoid stressing about the incident! Easier said than done, I know! But did you know that the body can manufacture toxins from stress alone? Further adding to your toxin load. The mantra I often use is “This too shall pass”. Have a strategy of what to do, work to put it in place, trust that all will be fine and know that it will. Lean on family, friends and trusted advisers for support. 

I hope these suggestions help. What other tools do you have to detoxify? I’d love to hear.