Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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Dealing with those wee beasties

It is believed that around 70% of us could have a fungal and / or a parasite issue in our digestive system.  This often occurs over a period of time, but usually because of long term stress, bad eating and drinking habits, drug use (both legal and illegal), especially antibiotics, steroids or oral contraceptive medication or a combination of all of the above.

 

As the ecology of the digestive system starts to break down then the bad yeasts and bacteria start to take hold.  This then opens your digestive system up to being a lovely inviting home to parasites also.  Initially you may not notice any symptoms / side-effects of this happening but eventually (sometimes years later) you may notice your health isn’t quite right, that Monday morning feeling never goes away and you may also have started to have some or most of the symptoms below.

 

  1. Flu / Sinus Problems / Coughs/Sore Throats
  2. IBS / Upset Tummies / Constipation/Indigestion
  3. Depression
  4. PMS, Mood Swings & Irritability
  5. Headaches/Migraines
  6. Chronic Fatigue / Low energy levels
  7. An inability to Lose Weight / Weight Gain
  8. Itching throughout the body & including the genital and rectal areas
  9. Poor Concentration / Feeling Generally Muddled
  10. Skin Conditions / Acne /Eczema
  11. Dizziness
  12. Muscle Weakness/Pain
  13. Food & Chemical Sensitive’s
  14. Low Libido
  15. Thrush and Athletes Foot
  16. Inability to absorb and utilize adequate nutrients from your food

 

The reason for this is because as the fungus grows it produces toxins which spread throughout the body.  They can affect all areas of the body and especially run amuck through the digestive and endocrine systems, potentially affecting our hormones, including things like thyroid function and insulin production.  The more the fungus grows the more toxins it produces and the more overrun the body becomes.  Your body works hard to try to remove these toxins and in the meantime the fungus is producing more and more of them.  Without some additional help the body simply cannot deal with the fungus and its friends, the parasites and you start to become increasingly unwell. 

The good news is that it is fairly easy to bring the fungus back to a normal healthy balance.  You can do this in one of (or a combination of) the following ways.

 

Detoxing the body

If you create an environment that the fungus and parasites do not like within your body they will leave.  If you follow a really healthy diet plan then the digestive system will eventually become balanced again.  This can be helped by cutting out processed foods, sugars and alcohol and consuming a combination of detoxing herbs.  The three following herbs are especially powerful at eliminating fungus and parasites, but if in any doubt see a qualified herbalist who will advise you on how and when to take these and any others:  Wormwood, Black Walnut and Clove.  Also look to introduce anti-candida foods, such as ginger, garlic, coconut oil and oregano. 

 

Fermented Food and Drinks

Fermented foods and drinks are full of good bacteria, yeasts and probiotics, when you consume these they help to rebalance the digestive system and eliminate the overgrowth of fungus and eventually encourage the parasites to leave, as they don’t like healthy environments.  Try to have as many different strains (different fermented food and drinks) as possible for optimum benefits.  Start with a very small amount, maybe a tablespoons worth and slowly build up, otherwise you may find you have some pretty side effects, as the fermented produce affectively detoxes the digestive system.  A slight churning of the stomach is a good sign, it means the good stuff in the fermented produce it attacking the bad stuff in your gut, however if you have any worsening symptoms than this then please reduce how much you are consuming and slowly build it up again.  Note: By fermented I mean lacto-ferments or cultured foods and drinks, not pickled. 

 

Zapper

Zappers are wonderful little boxes of health.  A traditional zapper looks like a small box that has two electrodes and a strap attached to it.  You wear it next to your skin (on the lowest setting to start with and never above 12 volts) for 60 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening.  It literally draws toxins right through the skin and along with this it is thought to kill many viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites within the body.  It also helps to ground you and reduces the effects of electromagnetic stress, due to it being negativity charged, just like our planet.  Zappers are thought it help alkalise and balance the body and remove everything from herpes and Lyme disease to emotional blockages throughout the body.  These are not recommend for anyone with a pacemaker or if pregnant.

 

Enemas and Colonics:

Enemas and colonics are very affective at removing those pesky critters from the digestive system.  Enemas are fairly easy to do at home, but in my personal opinion they don’t get high enough up the digestive system to be completely remove all fungus and parasites, however colonics do.  I would highly recommend going to a fully qualified colonic expert, preferably with a medical or nutritional back ground.  They will be able to tell you if you have a fungus or parasite issue and the best course of action to help support the treatments they give you (note there should be multiple treatments to be affective).

 

Yeast die-off Diet

This option is a bit more drastic, but affective.  There are many die-off diets around, some lasting years, some just a few days and others using pills and potions.  The die-off diet I recommend lasts around 3 weeks (slightly less for moderate cases and slightly more for more severe cases).

During a die-off diet you would aim to starve the fungus so that it retreats back to a healthy level within the body.

To do this you would need to completely cut out all sugars for this period, this includes fruit sugars and honey as well as all the bad sugars.  You also need to cut out all yeasts and funguses as well, this includes mushrooms, vinegars, blue cheeses and pickled goods as well as alcohol.  On top of this you would cut out all items that create a sugary or yeasty effect in the body, so this includes all refined carbohydrates, and many white foods like white potatoes, white flour / pasta and white rice (but brown rice is fine and things like quinoa are fine).

 

Tomatoes and carrots are both fine raw but cooked they become sugary, so they are best avoided or dramatically cut down in this period.

 

You should try where possible to only eat organic foods, especially where meat and dairy are concerned.  These two types of foods in particular if not organic that can hold a high number of antibiotics and additional hormones that the fungus will love.  Any pesticides and preservatives on fruits and veggies will be a little gold mine for the fungus also, so if you can’t manage organic make sure you wash these well.

 

If you have any food or chemical sensitivities then these need to be avoided for this time to help the body heal and the immune system strengthen. 

 

It is very important that during this time of change you have a varied and balanced diet and do not cut items out not to be replaced by other items.  Varying your diet will minimise food sensitivities and help your digestive system work more effectively, as well as give you a good supply of essential nutrients.

 

Anything you can do to strengthen the immune system is going to help, so make sure you have adequate amounts of Vitamin C, Zinc & Selenium in your will help. 

 

Drink at least 2-3Litres per day water to flush the fungus and it’s toxins out and to support a healthy digestive track. You can make this water more alkalising by adding cucumber, ginger or pH drops.

 

Cut out, or if not down on caffeine, instead replacing this with herbal teas, especially one’s that support the liver, like nettle and dandelion. 

 

Make sure to take a daily probiotic (if you are not consuming fermented foods and drinks), one with many million strains of lactobacillus bacteria.

 

Grapefruit Seed extract (not grape seed extract) is recommended, please read the label and consume only as advised and start with the minimum dose.  This is a very strong, natural antifungal and isn’t for everyone, so if you find this is too much for you then please discontinue use.  This is also not advised long term. 

 

Oregano Oil extract is an excellent natural antifungal, but again it is fairly strong, so shouldn’t be taken long term.  And although it suggests on the label that you can put this directly onto the mouth undiluted, I would not recommend this unless you want to be hopping about the kitchen trying to scrap the taste off your tongue for the next hour (like I was). 

 

I would not recommend taking the above anti-fungals for longer than 12 weeks, which is the believed amount of time it takes for all the toxins from the fungus to leave the body after the die-off diet.

 

Lastly, try having daily Epsom salt baths to help draw out the toxins created by the fungus and the die-off of itself.

 

You will know when the die-off is finished as you will likely be feeling under the weather during this time and will literally wake up one morning (usually around the 3 week mark) feeling absolutely fine again.

 

Here’s some other relevant links:

The Body Ecology Diet – Donna Gates, for her website, click here.

Cultured Food for Life – Donna Schwenk, for her website, click here.

Zapper – Dr Clark, for her website, click here.

Parasite Cleanse – The Kitchen Stewardship, click here.

Candida Cleanse – The Candida Diet, click here

 

Do any of you have any tips for dealing with inner beasties? 


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Kombucha Probiotic Tea

Kombucha is a 2000 year old fermented probiotic tea.

It’s beneficial to digestive health, helping to balance the good and the bad bacteria within the gut.  It helps the body to lessen it’s toxic load by supporting the liver and boasting the immune system.  It is also thought to support the joints, helps with PMS, increases metabolism, is packed full of B vitamins and plenty of enzymes, supports auto-immune conditions and increases energy levels.

When left to second-ferment gets fizzy and can resemble champagne. It’s tasty, especially if you use a flavoured green tea like jasmine, as I do.

You will need to obtain a scoby/mother/mushroom (some of the many names for the same culture/bacteria starter for your probiotic tea) , which should come with a small amount of kombucha tea to start you off.  You can get these from sellers on ebay, fermenting forums online and fermenting groups on Facebook etc.

Kombucha Recipe:

Make a jar (1 litre) of tea in the usual way…WITHOUT MILK

Boil your kettle of water, pour over a teabag add 4 tablespoons of organic sugar.

Once the tea bag has brewed for 10 minutes, remove it and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the scoby with starter tea and your freshly brewed but cooled tea all in a mason jar.  Cover your jar with some muslin and secure with an elastic band.

Place jar in a cool, dry place, like a cupboard or on your kitchen side, but away from sunlight.

Leave your kombucha to brew for 7 to 10 days (depending on your taste preference). During this time your kombucha mushroom will grow a baby kombucha mushroom which will look like a clear jelly over the original mushroom piece.

After 7 – 10 days pour around 700ml of your kombucha tea out of your jar  and bottle for either second fermenting or to drink as it is.  Be careful not to pour out your kombucha scobys (you should now have two).

Top up the jar of kombucha tea with fresh, cooled brewed tea as above and start the process again.

2nd Fermentation

This is when after bottling your drink, you allow it to still for a further 2-5 days (ideally in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour). The end result is a bubbly champagne-like refreshing drink. Other ingredients such as ginger root, lemon or other fruit can be added at this stage.  These items can be added by cutting them into small pieces or by juicing them then pouring the juice in with the kombucha tea, which is my preferred method.

What I have learnt:

  1. The longer your kombucha brews the more vinegary it becomes (and indeed will turn to vinegar eventually).
  2. Every time you change your kombucha tea, a new baby scoby forms (find friends to give these two).
  3. Decaffeinated tea and different types of sugar can be used, although the tannins really are needed for good kombucha tea.
  4. Avoid artificial sweeteners and honey while fermenting as these can reduce the potency of the culture.
  5. You can dehydrate your extra scobys and make sweets from them.

Do you make your own Kombucha tea?  If so what’s your favourite flavour? 

Here’s some links to some more information on Kombucha:

Food Renegade: How to Grow a Kombucha Scoby.

Mother Earth News: Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea.

Seeds of Health: What is Kombucha Tea?

 

 


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Nice and Simple Sourdough Recipe

The Benefits of Sourdough:

Due to the natural yeasts and bacteria in the sourdough starter and amount of time the bread dough it is allowed to rise for it means that any gluten in the dough are eaten up.  During this process the starches are predigested which means the dough become much easier to digest.  This along with the increase in lactic acid and natural preservatives makes for a yummy, healthy and easier on the digestive system loaf.

Ingredients:

480g of flour (I prefer spelt flour)

100g sourdough starter

220ml of fresh water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Mix 100g of sourdough starter with 300g of flour and 220ml of water well in a bowl and cover for 8 – 10 hours (at this stage you can add herbs, chillies and sundried tomatoes).
  2. Add the remaining 180g of flour, sugar and salt and knead well and cover and allow to rest for another 2 – 3 hours.
  3. Knead again and pop into a lightly oiled bread tin or proof basket and leave in a warm place covered for 1 – 2 hours (you can make slices in the top of the dough at this stage if you want to).
  4. Preheat your oven on a medium heat (around 180) and add a bowl of boiling water to the bottom of your oven.
  5. Place dough in its baking tin/basket into the upper oven and cook for 30 – 35 mins.
  6. Remove from the tin and allow it to cool slightly before cutting into it.

 

Notes:

Your sourdough starter needs to be fed once and week and should live in your fridge until the day before you want to use it.

To fed your sourdough starter add 50g of flour (I use spelt flour) and 50ml (or grams) of filtered water. Mix well and pop back in the fridge until you want to use it.

Your starter will separate (with the hooch laying on top), this is absolutely fine and it just needs stirring back in each week when you fed it.

 

Sourdough Starter Recipes:

The Kitchn: How to Make a Sourdough Starter, click here.

Nourished Kitchen: How to Make a Sourdough Starter, click here.

Paul Hollywood: Sourdough Starter, click here.

BBC Food: Sourdough Starter, click here.

 


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Wild Garlic Fermented Probiotic Pesto

At this time of year there is plenty of wild garlic around.  Not only is this growing for free all over the country, but it’s incredibly good for you also. Here’s why:

  • Its antibacterial
  • An natural antibiotic
  • It’s an antiseptic
  • Great for the heart, being even better at reducing blood pressure than normal garlic
  • Reduces arteriosclerosis and elevated cholesterol levels
  • Reduces the risk of blood clots

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I went foraging for wild garlic the other day and I made some fermented probiotic pesto.  Here is the recipe. Ingredients:

  • 700/1kg of wild garlic leaves
  • 120 grams of pine nuts or chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of filtered water
  • 50/100 grams of basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Directions: 

  • Blend all the ingredients (accept the water) in a blender, (you can change the ratio of ingredients to your personal taste)
  • Add mixture to a a sterilised jar and top up with the water so it comes just above the level of the mixture
  • Place a small plate or weight of some sort over the top of the mixture so that it is all submerged
  • Pop the lid on and put in a cupboard for anywhere between 10 days and 2 months

Notes:

1. You can ferment the wild garlic by itself (as per the above directions), so that you have a store of probiotic garlic to last you through the winter.

2. You can add olive oil to the jar rather than brine/salted water and this will make a pesto closer to the shop bought stuff and one that you could use almost straight away.

3. Don’t pull up the wild garlic bulbs – the leaves (and flowers) are the best bit of wild garlic and if you leave the bulbs even more wild garlic will be there next year.

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Here’s some other garlic fermenting links you might be interested in:

Eat Weeds, Lactofermented Wild Garlic, click here.

Cultures for Health, How to Ferment Garlic Scraps, click here.

Galloway Wild Foods, How to Ferment Wild Greens, click here.

Nourished Kitchen, Brine-pickled Lactofermented garlic scraps, click here.


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Homemade Probiotic Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar:

  1. Detoxifying
  2. It helps balance the pH level of your body, helping you become less acidic and more alkaline
  3. Helps with the treatment of stings, bites, sunburn, warts, skin tags and verrucas
  4. Great for the health of your hair and works wonders as a hair shampoo
  5. Helps promote weight loss
  6. It helps balance the flora of the gut/digestive system
  7. It can be used as an all-round cleaner throughout the home
  8. Helps whiten teeth and freshen breath
  9. Helps balance blood sugar and blood pressure levels
  10. Helps with ingestion, heartburn, hiccups and sore throats
  11. It helps mask animals, from fleas and ticks, so is great used as a dog shampoo or a little added to their drinking water

I’ve never understood why apple cider vinegar is so expensive to buy, when it’s so cheap and easy to make! And here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 6-10 organic apples (whole or scraps of)
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 piece of muslin
  • Elastic band

Directions:

  1. Rinse apples/scraps and cut into large chunks.
  2. Put the apples in the bowl and cover with the muslin and allow to go brown.
  3. Add apples to the jar and cover with water.
  4. Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and leave in a dark place for 2-4 months (short time for scraps and longer for chunks of apple from whole apples).
  5. Strain the apples pieces and any scum from the liquid and bottle in an airtight container and use as and when required.

 

Apple cider vinegar is great in salad dressings and raw food recipes.

Enjoy!

 

Here are some relevant links you might enjoy:

Refinery29, How to Actually Enjoy Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Vegetarian Times, Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Cook for Food, Homemade Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Gerson Institute, 8 Amazing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

 


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Super Simple Probiotic Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi is a fermented Korean dish that is really good for you, super simple to do and incredibly yummy.  Add into the mix that it’s packed full of good yeasts and bacteria, making it a really healthy probiotic dish, that helps balance the flora of the gut means there’s no excuse not to get your kimchi on!

There are many different recipes for making up kimchi, but here is my favourite:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 2 carrots (parsnips also work well)
  • small bag of red radish
  • 1 small celeriac (optional)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 inch square of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of filtered water or sauerkraut juice
  • one large or two smaller jars

Directions: 

  1. Using the shredding/grating function on your food processor, or using a hand grater, grate all the vegetables.
  2. Place all but the water into a large bowl and massage the salt thoroughly through the vegetables.
  3. Using either a kraut pounder or the end of a rolling pin, pound down the vegetables until the juices are released, this should take around 10/15 mins.
  4. Put the vegetable mixture into your chosen jar(s).
  5. If the brine mixture from the vegetables does not completely cover the vegetables then top up with water until it does.
  6. Add a couple of cabbage leaves to the top of your vegetable mixture and weigh down with a stone (making sure to boil it first) or a kitchen weight, make sure everything is just under the water/brine level, so that it does not go mouldy.
  7. Put the lid on the kimchi and place in a cupboard for a minimum of 2 weeks, preferably more like a month.  The longer you leave it the better, but if you leave it longer than 6 weeks you will need to ‘burp’ the jar (open it to let the pressure out).  It will taste stronger the longer you leave it.
  8. Once opened, leave in the refrigerator and add to the side of just about any hot or cold dish for a super-charged meal.

 

Note: You can use just about any vegetables in this recipe, so it’s a great way to use up veggies! Waste not, want not! =)

Now go get your Kimchi on! =)

 

 


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Top Tips for Living a Less Toxic Life

I’ve had many requests for my top tips for living a less toxic life.

So there they are:

1. Meditate daily.  Even if you feel you haven’t got the time to meditate regularly try a short three minute guided meditation instead (you can find loads of these on YouTube and such like).  When we bring ourselves into the ‘now’ through meditation we stop the toxic thought processes of running over the past or thinking about what will often never happen in the future.  Here’s a blog post of mine about meditation for more information, click here.

2. Learn to belly breathe.  When we breathe in our normal way, we often don’t expel all the toxins we need to.  Normal breathing is shallow, and we need to breathe into the bottom of our lungs to breathe more effectively.  Belly breathing is when you push your belly out when you breathe in and bring your belly in when you breathe out.  It can take some getting used to.   Also try a few deep belly breaths if you feel stressed or anxious as this will help calm you down and also helps with fatigue, as more oxygen in the body means a healthier and more energised body.

3. Adopt a good posture.  By doing this you lessen the levels of toxicity in the body, as all your organs, including the lungs work more effectively because they are not squashed up.  This helps you expel more toxins.  Sit or stand with your weight evenly over your hips and when carrying things carrying them evenly over both sides of the body.

4. Gratitude is the best attitude!  Looking for things to be grateful for in your day helps form new habits of positivity instead of negativity.  This reduces our toxic thoughts about ourselves and our lives and when we do this it not only makes us happier, but these sorts of thoughts have chemical reactions within the brain, creating new positive and less toxic pathways rather than reinforcing old negative pathways and thoughts.  Try listing 21 things in each of your days that you are grateful for (anything from your hair or health to family and pets), do this every day and see what a difference it makes to our life and those toxic thoughts.

5. Drink plenty of fresh clean water and get plenty of fibre in your diet.  Water includes herbal teas and vegetable juices and should ideally add up to 2 – 3 litres a day, more if you are exercising.  This will help you flush toxins from your body.  In the same respect making sure you have plenty of fibre in your diet will help you maintain regular bowel movements, which is one of the body’s main ways of eliminating a lot of toxins.  If you do not have regular bowel movements you will be holding onto a lot of additional toxins, so this is a must to address for detoxification.

6. Swap the white foods for brown. White rice, flours, breads, pastas, potatoes and sugars should ideally be swapped for wholemeal and brown versions, and sweet potatoes eaten instead of white potatoes.

7. Go organic. I know going organic can be expensive, so if you can’t afford it fully then go organic with the dirty dozen (the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of toxins on and in them).

THE DIRTY DOZEN (try and eat organic versions if you can):

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

8. Eat plenty of colourful vegetables every day.  Colourful vegetables like peppers and beetroot are packed full of antioxidants as well as being highly nutritious.

9. Introduce some fermented foods into your diet.  Fermented foods and drinks like kefir, kombucha, unpasteurised sauerkraut and other fermented fruits and vegetables are packed full of healthy yeasts and probiotics, they help balance the gut flora and eliminate the toxic yeasts and bacteria from the digestive system.  They are highly beneficial for digestive disorders and for overall health and well-being.  Here’s a recent blog post of mine about one of the fermented drinks I favour the most, kefir, click here.

10. Lose sugar, sweeteners, processed foods, gluten and MSG from your diet.  In my opinion not only are these full of empty calories (meaning they are high in calories with little benefits), but they are all also toxic to the body and affect the development of our brain and body in a negative way, as well as our body struggling to eliminate them and often storing them in body fat.

11. Replace toxic beauty products with natural ones.  Due to the fact we absorb up to 60% of what we put onto our skin, it stands to reason that beauty products should be as natural as possible otherwise we are taking on board lots of additional chemicals every day.  You can buy a natural alternative to all beauty products these days or you can make you own, very simply and cheaply.  Coconut oil is a great replacement for many beauty products.  To check out my blog about coconut oil for me info, click here.

12. Replace toxic household cleaners with natural ones.  In the same way we absorb beauty products, we can also absorb household cleaners that touch our skin.  Not only that, but we also breathe in the toxic chemicals from the fumes they produce.  Again it is really easy and cheap to make your own natural cleaners.  Check out my blog about making your own natural cleaners by click here.

13. Replace toxic air-fresheners, candles and other home and car smellies with natural ones.  Toxic air-fresheners are some of the worst chemical products within our homes because we absorb all these nasty toxins through our respitory system.  Watch out for future blogs about how to make your own air-fresheners and in the mean time here is one about making your own natural eco tea-cup candles, click here.

14. De-clutter your home.  One of the items greatly overlooked when living a less toxic life is clutter.  Not only does clutter create mess and dust, but is also often prevents us from moving on with our life as it allows us to dwell in the memories of the past that the clutter reminds us of.  When we live in clutter we don’t make room for new things both physically and mentally in our lives.  By letting go of clutter we generally feel less suffocated,  more energised, less stressed and we become open to new things happening in our lives.

15. Return to Nature.  Electromagnetic stress effects us all, but even more so with people who already have existing health conditions.  This is when the electromagnetic field of electrical appliances interferes with our own electromagnetic field.  This causes a whole host of health issues, but can easily be addressed by spending as much time as possible in nature.  Not only does nature ground us, it makes our normal body rhythms work correctly, it helps the body develop and helps with sleep.  Because of all this, it also helps us eliminate toxins and by being out in nature you’re hopefully also breathing better quality air and getting some much needed vitamin D as well.

So as you can see, living a life less toxic, includes mind, body, home and environment and helps our own health and wellbeing and that of our beautiful planet too!

 

Here’s some more reading for you about reducing toxins in your life:

MindBodyGreen: Four Toxic Triggers That Drain, click here.

Dr Mark Hyman: How to Detox from Sugar, click here.

Lauren Conrad: Fit Tips How to Detox from Head to Toe, click here.

Miss Nutritionist: Top 10 Detox Tips, click here.

The Healthy House: Detoxing Tips for General Good Health, click here.

 

Do you have any tips you want to share about living a life less toxic?