Toxicity is a major problem in our society and it causes many diseases including cancer. It is important to avoid as many sources of toxicity as possible. However, it is impossible to completely avoid exposure to every toxin. The good news is that your body is intelligently designed to detox all chemicals – even new ones that scientists have invented in labs. The key is living a lifestyle that allows your body to detox naturally.
This article is Part 2 of 2 addressing the issue of toxicity in our children and what to do to help them detoxify naturally. Read part 1, “The Top 10 Toxins that are Poisoning Your Kids”, to gain more understanding of the toxicity problem and its health consequences. 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!
My Picky Eater
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.
How Does Your Body Naturally Detox?
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.(1,2,3,4)
How to Detox Your Kid’s Bodies
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.
Top 10 Tips to Detox
- 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. There are many resources for information on this important issue. The most comprehensive is the National Vaccine Information Center.
- 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.(5) 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. This list is updated every year by the Environmental Working Group.(6) 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.
- 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.(7,8). 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!
- Incorporate regular exercise. High intensity exercise that elevates your heart rate has many benefits. It speeds your metabolism and balances hormones. It increases blood flow throughout your body and accelerates your body’s natural detox systems. This is important for both children and adults. If your child is sitting in front of a computer of television all day, he is building up toxicity and missing out on many benefits of physical activity. Aiding detox is just one more reason that you should require your kids to go outside and play vigorously everyday.
How to Help Your Kid’s Eat more Plant Based Foods
Watch this short video which reviews some great tips and then I will give you my favorite tips on this topic.
Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Healthier at Home
Cutting vegetables into small and fun shapes, pairing them with peanut butter or other dips, pureeing vegetables to hide them in other foods are all great and effective methods that we personally use. However, the most important point identified in this study was modeling. When your children see you eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, they will naturally (eventually) begin eating more as well. Of course, repeated exposure is also important. So, have fresh vegetables at every meal.
My Favorite Detox Tips for Picky Kids
- Green Berry Smoothies – For kids, use more berries in your smoothie. It will look more like a berry smoothie rather than a green smoothie. This is a great way to hide green vegetables in a great tasting drink that your kids will love. My five year old son loves these and drinks his spinach and kale without ever knowing it! To supercharge the plant power nutrition, I also add Amazing Grass Green Superfood. This is a powdered supplement that adds the nutrition from a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, berries, enzymes and probiotics. This is my absolute favorite nutritional supplement that I use everyday!
- Green Chocolate Milk – What? Yes! This is fantastic and simple. Use almond milk (homemade or carrageenan-free) and Chocolate Amazing Grass Green Superfood. Just blend for about 30-60 seconds and enjoy healthy, nutritious and delicious chocolate milk. Add a scoop of rice protein powder and call it a meal! This is another one of my son’s favorites. It is a quick and easy way to get plant-based nutrition into your child’s body.
- Green juice with Amazing Grass Green Superfood – Start with a prepared green juice (juiced greens and fruits) that you buy at your grocery store of juice your own at home. Using more fruit in your juice makes it more kid friendly. Add a scoop of Green Superfood to dramatically boost the nutrition. If your child is not used to green juice, then start with half green juice and half apple juice and only add ¼ scoop of Green Superfood powder. Over time, your child will enjoy this drink more and you can increase the amount of green juice and Green Superfood powder. My son has either this or a Green Berry Smoothie every morning. We had to start slow on the greens but he takes mostly green juice and a full scoop of Green Superfood powder now.
- Juicing – Juicing can be a fun family event! If you incorporate your kids in the process – not only do you have extra help – but they will be more likely to drink the juice. My son loves to juice carrots and apples. These are both sweet and make for a good kid-friendly vegetable juice. Add in some greens when they are not looking to increase the green nutrition!
After reviewing this issue, I hope that you will be motivated to start living a more non-toxic lifestyle by incorporating these ideas. Change is not easy but it is possible to restore your health and the health of your child. Start today!
The information in this article and the last (part 1) have been presented as a result of a question from a Wellness Achiever Newsletter subscriber. Be sure to subscribe for the latest updates from Wellness Achiever. You will also periodically have the opportunity to ask your questions about health and wellness and have them answered right here.
Question: Which Detox Tip are you going to start today? Which one of the Detox Tips for picky kids is your favorite? You can leave your answer in the comments below.
Dr. Brent Hunter
References for this article: