Maybe I should start this post off with a list of some of the things that I’m starting to get really angry about now that I know how much they negatively affect me and others who have MTHFR genetic mutations and/or thyroid disease or dysfunction:
- Government mandated folic acid fortification of foods: folic acid is an artificial substance that can actually be very harmful to people with MTHFR mutations – and we’re talking about potentially 30% or more of the population here. I’ve written an entire post about this issue and how to avoid folic acid.
- The fluoride and other poisons in our water supply.
- The allowance of food to be packaged in plastic containers that leach toxins into the food or beverage, or companies that are still charging a lot for their appliances while allowing food-touching components to be made of “bad” plastics.
- The general level of toxins we are exposed to from industrialized farming and food production, pollution and unacceptable chemicals in products.
- Poor food quality and harmful ingredients in food, not just for those of us with MTHFR, but for everyone (high fructose corn syrup, for example)
- “Standardized” medicine that does not evaluate each patient individually and operates against holistic ideals
- The corruption that allows much of this to happen
This is probably a growing list and I’d be naive if I thought that any of it was going to actually be stopped until everyone gets together and takes a real stand against it. Information about these issues dribbles out here and there in the mainstream media, but overall those of us trying to live clean, healthy lives are not winning. Just look at how many more regular supermarkets there are than organic supermarkets and farmers markets, and how much more expensive “healthy” food is.
On this website I am trying to exemplify the type of lifestyle that someone with special health challenges like MTHFR and thyroid issues should lead. But already I am failing. I have challenges in my household situation that prevent me from customizing everything so that I can avoid both toxins and the common endocrine disruptors that will surprise you. Otherwise, I’m doing the best I can and following a MTHFR protocol and a good diet. If you have MTHFR, I insist that you watch this video on Methylation and MTHFR Defects. It’s created by a naturopath who is a leading researcher in this area and who has MTHFR himself so you can trust the information there. You will learn a ton, I promise!
I live in a rented house at the moment and I’ve just moved back to the United States after many years overseas. We have to take some time to build credit and save for a house while we decide where in the city we want to live long-term. So we have at least another 10-18 months in this house. It’s a great house but some things about it are out of my control right now. I’ll give you a quick tour…
You can smell the chlorine in our water. My husband complains every time he takes a shower that his skin smells like he’s gone in the pool. While our district is in compliance for all water contaminant levels, a review of the substances in our water is alarming. We have 0.41 mg per liter of fluoride, 1.75 mg per liter of chlorine and a whopping 9.75 average mcg per liter of arsenic! The latter is particularly alarming because of the effect that much arsenic can have on children and expecting/breastfeeding mothers.
But, as you can see from the photo above, our weird kitchen sink faucet doesn’t seem to be particularly filter-ready. Our plan when we purchase a house is to install a comprehensive water filtration system at the primary water main, but in the meantime, we only drink and cook with bottled water. Thank goodness for Costco!
Now I know this is not the ideal solution for a few reasons, the first being that the water comes in plastic bottles. The brand we use is supposed to be fluoride and BPA-free, but who ever really knows. The second reason this is not ideal is the cost, but at the moment this is what we’re using until I can investigate some additional options. It would be more costly for us to outfit a house we are only going to live in for a year with a permanent filter than to keep purchasing bottled water in bulk for a year or so.
Third, and perhaps most important, this doesn’t solve the shower problem. Toxins in water are absorbed into our skin and that’s not okay. When you ingest a toxin, your kidneys and liver have a chance to minimize the damage, but your skin absorbs things right into your system. I’ve started shortening my showers and taking them less frequently. I spend most of my time behind my desk anyway so I’m not filthy at the end of the day and requiring constant scrubbing. So when you look at your water sources, be sure to look at everything you are doing with the water: bathing in it, cooking with it, watering your vegetable garden with it…use the best systems you can afford to improve the quality of your water.
Most of the rooms in our house have wall-to-wall carpet. Apparently certain carpets have toxins and, in general, tend to trap carcinogens. I try not to walk around barefoot but, seeing how we don’t know what kind of carpet we have, I’ve tried not to worry about this one too much at the moment.
Plastics in the kitchen
I turned the water tank for our brand new $600 espresso machine over today to empty it and saw the #7 plastic symbol on the bottom. Hmmm… Some quick reading online led me to this handy plastics guide and let me know that I MAY not need to worry about this. In general, however, it is difficult to avoid plastics in the kitchen. Pre-packaged meats often have a plastic tray and even the healthiest foods come wrapped in plastics. I’ve left this image in the set to remind you to do your best to reduce plastics in your kitchen and look for alternative packaging. I hear about new advances in packaging all the time so there are other materials out there. Companies just don’t always implement them because of the costs involved.
*By the way…coffee isn’t good for people with elevated homocysteine or trying to conceive anyway, and I only allow myself one a day (some things are just non-negotiable for me and my coffee is one of them). Just in case you were wondering.
I’m a huge foodie who loves to cook so I shudder at the thought of this one. I AM supposed to avoid petrochemicals as much as possible because of my hypothyroidism, so this makes sense. Again, however, this is not something I can change this year.
Chemicals in personal care and household products
I stopped using perfumes and lotions, only wear makeup a couple of days a week and have swapped out the products I do use for more natural substitutes. I don’t use fluoride or SLS toothpaste or shampoo with sulfates in it. My next product to tackle is my antiperspirant. That’s going to be tough because, while natural deodorants exist, I haven’t seen any alternative antiperspirants.
Cleaning products are also tough. I’ve tried a few of the “green” ones and am happy with the results. At the moment, however, I am using a large number of regular cleaning products. I wear a mask and gloves when I clean and aerate the room. This is another area where my lifestyle detox needs some improvement.
What are the toxin challenges in your life?