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This article is Part 2 of 2 addressing the issue of toxicity in our children and what to do to help them detoxify naturally. In part 2, we turn our attention to specific strategies and tips for detoxifying your kids. Be sure to read my favorite detox tips for picky kids at the end of this article. By the way, all of these tips apply to adults as well!
Aside from avoiding toxins as much as possible, eating more vegetables – especially cruciferous vegetables – is a vital part of naturally detoxifying. Now, if cruciferous vegetables are among your child’s favorite foods, then you are truly blessed! On the other hand, if your child is like mine, you’ll need more creative ways to get those good green veggies into his body.
Before my son started school, he was a very good eater. He would eat a variety of vegetables, plenty of fruit, olives, avocado, black beans, and others. He had not developed a taste for sugary treats like candy, cake and ice cream because we did not give any to him.
However, once he started school, things changed. We had less control over what foods he was exposed to. Of course, he saw his friends eating candy, cookies and other treats. He quickly began to favor more carbohydrate rich foods like pasta, pizza, cookies and breads. He became very picky about eating vegetables and other plant-based foods. Fortunately, to this day, he still refuses to eat hot dogs or drink soda! I thank God for that!
We have had to find more creative ways to get vegetables into his diet. It is not always easy but it is possible.
Every part of your body is involved in the process of detoxifying harmful chemicals from your body. When you are exposed to toxins – whether you eat them, inhale them or absorb them through your skin – your body immediately goes into action to expel them. You produce more saliva to buffer the toxins. Your digestion speeds up to expel the toxins quickly. This can result in diarrhea. If the toxin gets absorbed through the intestines or through your skin, it will enter the bloodstream. Your heart rate will increase and your arteries will constrict. This naturally results in elevated blood pressure.
Eventually, all of your blood is filtered through your liver. Your liver is your body’s main organ of detoxification. Every toxic chemical – alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs, BPA, parabens, etc. – is broken down in the liver.
Many other organs are involved as well, including your skin, lungs and kidneys. These are your body’s natural methods of detox when you are in a state of good health. They are very effective and extremely efficient.
However, the body of the average person who is consuming the standard, toxic American diet and struggling with illness is not efficient at detoxifying. They are overloaded with toxins. Unable to keep up, their body has been storing toxins in the liver, in the fat cells, the brain cells and nerve cells. This build up of toxicity is what causes disease. This toxicity is a major cause of the escalating rates of cancer, autism, and ADHD in our children.
Some of these methods involve simply removing the toxins. This is the most important aspect of detoxifying your body. When you stop the toxic exposure, your body immediately begins to detox naturally. Children are more vulnerable to toxicity but they are also more efficient at detoxifying. They can rid their bodies of toxins, like BPA, in a relatively short amount of time once the exposure to eliminated.
However, it is impossible to completely avoid all exposure to toxins. So, the other methods discussed are useful for stimulating your bodies own natural systems of detoxifying.
Transition away from prescription medications. Seek dietary and alternative solutions. In part 1 of this series, we mentioned damaging effects of antibiotics, ADHD drugs and antidepressants. Prescription drugs are a huge – often overlooked – source of toxicity for everyone, especially children. Of course, you should first consult your physician and/or a naturopathic physician to help your child reduce and eliminate prescription drugs.
Reduce the schedule of vaccines or eliminate them altogether. I discussed in part 1 the problem of toxicity in vaccines. They contain many toxic chemicals and heavy metals including MSG, GMO yeast, formaldehyde, aluminum and mercury. Additionally, many shots are often given in one visit and some of the shots contain multiple doses. This increases the toxicity. Many health conscious parents have opted for a reduced schedule of vaccines. Many other parents have chosen not to vaccinate at all. Unfortunately, most parents do not realize that every state provides for vaccine exemption. To attend school, your child needs either up-to-date vaccinations or a vaccine exemption. Regardless of your decision, you owe it to yourself and your children to educate yourself before you make that decision.
Don’t buy canned foods or stick to BPA-free canned foods. BPA is a very common source of toxicity that comes from certain plastics and plastic linings of canned food containers. If you buy canned food, look for those that specifically say ‘BPA-free’. Additionally, do not drink from plastic water bottles or store food in plastic containers. Use glass containers instead.
Know the Dirty Dozen. Certain fruits and vegetables have higher levels of pesticides and should always be purchased organic or not at all. They are: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines (imported), peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and sweet bell peppers. Other produce should be purchased organic as well if it is available and feasible.
Do not Eat Commercially Raised Meat/Animals - All beef, pork, poultry and fish sold in typical supermarkets or restaurants are raised in a manner that causes toxins to build up in the meat and fats of these animals. These commercial animal raising practices also deplete all healthy fats from these animals. Additionally, they are given a steady supply of antibiotics and steroid hormones. When you consume these animals, you are consuming those toxins, antibiotics, and hormones as well without getting any of the healthy omega-3 fats that should be there. This has a toxic effect and causes havoc with your body’s own hormone production and metabolism. Better You avoid meat eating at all.
Eliminate processed foods and fast foods. They are filled with toxic synthetic chemicals, including preservatives, dyes and ‘natural’ (beaver butts!) and artificial flavors. These are not actually foods. They are food-like substances that are loaded with MSG and unhealthy fat to make them taste good and cause you to crave them. They are one of the biggest sources of toxicity.
Switch to organic cleaning and personal care products in your home. Most typical cleaning and laundry products contain chemicals that are absorbed through your skin and cause a toxic build up in the body. There are many safe and effective cleaning and laundry products commercially available.
Probiotics. Most drugs – and all antibiotic drugs – destroy your bodies natural healthy gut flora (bacteria in your intestines). These healthy bacteria play many important roles in your digestion, immune system response, and detoxifying. It is important to restore them if you have been on any prescription drugs.
Incorporate more plant-based whole foods in your child’s diet. Your body is designed to naturally detox itself when given the right nutrients. Those nutrients are mostly phytochemicals found in plants – vegetables and fruits. These phytochemicals go to work like little soldiers in your liver, kidneys and other organs to detox your body of harmful chemicals. The most powerful natural inducer of our liver’s detoxifying enzyme system is sulforaphane, a phytonutrient produced by broccoli when you bite and chew it. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are great detoxifiers. They boost your liver’s ability to clear toxic chemicals from your body. Your body needs plenty of these on a regular basis to detox and build a healthy body. Of course, this is difficult for children who are picky eaters – 99.9% of kids!