Detoxing is a big subject these days. I’m always running into somebody who is doing (or is about to do) some kind of cleanse or flush or fast or something. I do believe detoxing is important, and next Tuesday’s Top 10 list will be my ten favorite ways to detox. This week, I want to start before the fact: my Top 10 Ways to keep yourself from being toxic in the first place, ways to keep your system humming along after your cleanse so you’ll be building health and vitality every day of your life.

1. Just say no to incidental drugs. We are a very drugged society. Most of us were born to


 mothers who’d been drugged for childbirth, and we were given drugs before we left the hospital. We were immunized and given antibiotics throughout childhood and, for good or ill, our bodies had to deal with all that. Even now, it’s so easy to grab something for a headache, something for muscle aches, something for heartburn, something for gas, something for allergies, something for cramps, a drink to relax with, and big cuppa Joe for waking up. Safe, natural alternatives are out there. Read up. And consult your holistic MD or alternative health care practitioner for guidance in your particular case.
2. Talk with your physician and a knowledgeable pharmacist about the prescription drugs you’re taking. You want to be sure that what you’re taking works with whatever else you’re taking, that you still need to be taking what you’re taking, and that the dosage is right. Especially if you’re on a serious health-promoting program, your doctor may give you the good news that you need less (or none) of some of the medications you’re on now.
3. Don’t go GMO. Avoid genetically engineered foods by choosing organic when you’re buying corn (cornmeal, grits, polenta, all that stuff) and soybeans (including soy milk, tofu, fake meat, et al). Canola, flax, tomatoes, potatoes, and squash may also be GMO. Skip the canola (use olive oil) and if you can afford organic on these other things, great; but on corn and the soy you really need to stick with organic or just not eat it.

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3.  And otherwise eat organic as much as you can. I once saw a speaker spray an apple with Raid and then ask who wanted it. There were no takers. It was a powerful point. We think of “regular food” and “organic food,” but the sprayed stuff wasn’t “regular” until after World War II. Before that, people had eaten organic food since the beginning of agriculture; it just wasn’t called organic. I know the certified organic food costs more, but here are some guidelines: (1) If you eat animal foods (meat, milk, eggs), get these organic if you possibly can. The pesticides et al “biointensify and biomagnify” in animal tissues, so you’re getting a higher concentration than if you just ate a sprayed plant food. (2) Avoid irradiated foods by choosing organic spices. The Frontier brand isn’t expensive and you can buy spices in bulk and freeze them for, literally, years. (3) If you can, choose organic when buying these “most tainted” produce items: strawberries, grapes, cherries, apples, apricots, peaches (from Chile), bell peppers, spinach, celery, green beans.
4. Clear out the junk in the kitchen. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good old kitchen purge. Look there: peanut butter with hydrogenated oil — that’s trans fat; out it goes. And lookie-cookie: it’s cookies! — sugar, white flour, trans fats, preservatives. And cereal in colors found nowhere in nature. “But it’s a sin to waste food!” Maybe so, but it’s a bigger sin to eat it and defile your one and only body.
5. … And the junk that’s under the sink. Are you cleaning with fume-y, chemical cleaners? Give your lungs a break and simplify the whole cleaning routine with a few, basic, nontoxic products from a company like Seventh Generation or Ecover. And you can clean practically anything with baking soda, club soda, and white vinegar. See Annie Berthold Bond’s classic book on homemade cleaning products: Cean ‘n Green.

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6. … And in the bathroom. What are you putting on your face and body? Would you eat it? Well, you are. All those transdermal medications work because the skin absorbs what you put on it: you’re absorbing the creams and lotions and makeup. It needs to be the purest you can get, free of parabens and other questionable chemicals. You want the purest possible toothpaste, too.
7. Do something about the Great Big Deal. We all have one: one habit or practice that we’re holding onto and that could really do us in. Smoking is that for a lot of people. Or conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (research the bioidenticals: For me it’s coloring my hair. I’m not going to give it up, but I keep searching for less and less toxic brands. Aveda is the best I’ve found so far. Ask yourself what your “great big deal” is and deal with it. It’s important.
8. Drink better water. Filter your tap water at the very least. There are simple, cheap pitcher-


systems for doing this. Or invest in a reverse-osmosis water-purifying system. Or get genuine, certified spring water delivered, ideally in glass bottles since plastic can leach into water. (I’m showing a fancy bottle here since Saratoga Springs water is so tasty and lovely. It’s not what I drink every day, but dreaming is allowed.)
9. Install a chlorine-removing shower head. Ask for this for Christmas if you have to, but get one. Chlorine was used as a nerve gas in WWI; when you shower in standard water, you’re breathing this stuff. I know it’s not a lot, but no one knows how much is too much.
10. Lessen your EMF load. I had the phone company 


in the other day to activate a bedroom jack: I’m going from portable phones back to standard ones to lessen the amount of electromagnetic field radiation to which I’m exposed. “You believe that stuff?” one of the Verizon guys asked, as if we were talking about alien abduction or 2012 annihilation. There is a lot of solid science, mostly from Europe, that tells us that EMF radiation—from cell phones, portable phones, WiFi, even having an alarm clock plugged in near your bed—has been linked to higher rates of leukemia in children and numerous other health concerns. I’m not suggesting becoming a fanatic (I
‘m writing this using WiFi right now), but if you can help yourself—with some sort of EMF protection device, using a clock with a battery or a phone with a cord—it can’t hurt. And it could help.
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