How Toxic Chemicals Make You Fat
I wasn''t surprised to learn that toxic chemicals can make you fat.fresh fingers
I became interested in the subject of toxic chemicals in the early 1980s, when exposure to the toxic chemicals everyone encounters in everyday life damaged my own immune system to the point where I had a bizarre set of seemingly unrelated symptoms. I couldn''t sleep at night, I would faint when I took a shower, and I would binge eat, uncontrollably. There were times when I wasn''t even hungry and irresistible cravings would come over my body and I would have to eat. No cravings for carrots, of course--I would have to eat ice cream or chocolate or cake or bread. And not just a bite. I would stuff myself.electricity saving box kaina
Once I learned that toxic chemical exposures could be provoking symptoms in my body, I began to keep a journal of when I was having symptoms and what I was exposed to just before. My urges to eat came after being exposed to any number of petrochemicals, particularly car exhaust. I would go out shopping and head right for an ice cream cone.osteoren
But I was also hungry, hungry, hungry, all the time, and when I ate, I ate until my stomach couldn''t hold another bite. My appestat no longer worked. My brain couldn''t tell my body to stop eating.fuel free
My thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism, was also affected. There is much scientific evidence that fluoride in tap water can make the thyroid gland malfunction. And so on top of all the food I was eating, my body wouldn''t burn it up.
I gained 150 pounds.
This was not lack of willpower. It was like my body had a will of its own that I could not control. And it turned out to be exposure to toxic chemicals that was triggering my eating.
I''m happy to tell you that once I identified my exposure to toxic chemicals as the cause of my impulse eating, I was able to do something about it. After I eliminated the toxic chemicals in my home that were causing my excessive eating (more about that later), got my thyroid under control, and did some other things (more about that later, too), I was able to stop gaining and lose some of the weight.
But there is more to the story about how toxic chemicals can make you fat. And now that I know what''s really going on in my body and how toxic chemicals affect weight, I''m losing even more weight. And you can lose weight too, even if other methods have failed.
The Chemical Connection
One evening, Dr. Pauia Baillie-Hamilton, a medical doctor, was reading the newspaper. An article on the powerful hormone-damaging actions of pesticides caught her eye. What really grabbed her attention was that the small amount of chemicals needed to wreak such havoc with our sex hormones was not too different from the small amount of toxic chemicals the average person is exposed to every day.
It so happened that at the time, Dr. Baillie-Hamilton herself was wanting to shed some weight, and finding it difficult to do so. With this in mind, the thought came to her that if these chemicals had the power to alter our hormones so drastically, then they must also have some sort of influence on our weight. She ran for one of her biggest medical textbooks and found what she was looking for. The words were right there in black on white: “Changes in sex hormones can cause weight gain.” And pesticides damage sex hormones. The connection was made.
Over the next three years, she extensively searched the medical literature and read thousands of papers before writing a book, published in 2002, called The Body Restoration Plan. Interesting book.
Petrochemicals Cause Weight Gain
Dr. Baillie-Hamilton has a chart in her book that shows a line representing the percentage of overweight adults from 1960 through 2000, and along side another line showing the increase in the U.S. production of manmade petrochemicals over the twentieth century. Decade by decade, the increase in overweight adults trails along right behind the increase in the production of petrochemicals. Is this a coincidence or a correlation? The medical literature is convincing that the two are related.
Dr. Baillie-Hamilton''s research revealed that growth promoters, pesticides, synthetic petrochemicals, and a whole range of the most common environmental pollutants around us produce fattening effects in animals and humans.
When Dr. Baillie-Hamilton began to group these chemicals together according to their structure, she found this:
- In addition to our pesticide exposures, the same, or similar, chemicals were also being used as medicines to treat a whole range of human illnesses
- the same, or similar chemicals were also widely used in a huge range of cosmetics, toiletries, and other household products.
The range of chemicals that can cause weight gain include pesticides (those used in food and those sprayed around the house and used in other common products like flea collars for cats and dogs), drugs and medicines, heavy metals, synthetic chemicals of all kinds, solvents, fire retardants, and many other substances.
Organochlorine pesticides are the most fattening of all. This is because our bodies have a difficult time getting rid of them and so these stored pesticides cause continual damage to our weight control systems. We''re talking here about the pesticides that are found on fresh foods and in the foods used to make food products found in every supermarket and most restaurants today. And they affect our weight even in the small amounts that are found in foods.
That poison apple from the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty is what is being sold in our supermarkets today. We’re told to eat fruits and vegetables to lose weight—and that is correct—but the fruits and vegetables we are being sold are tainted with chemicals that make us fat. They don’t wash off, and if you peel them to remove the pesticides, you’re also peeling away much of the nutrition.
So why isn''t everybody fat? Well, each person is born with their own detoxification system, and some can detoxify and remove toxic substances better than others. Age, eating habits, and the amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to all affect the end result on our weight.
Your Body’s Natural Slimming System
Dr. Baillie-Hamilton identified what she calls the Natural Slimming System. Each of our bodies has a very powerful internal system that is designed to keep our bodies at a normal weight. But toxic chemicals can interfere with this system and a weight gain is the result.
I want to tell you about your body''s natural slimming system in a bit of detail, so you can see just how toxic chemicals make your body fat.
Our Natural Slimming Systems are composed of a whole interconnected network of body systems, including appetite, metabolism, hormones, fat burning, body heat, exercise, and more, which work together to maintain our ideal weight. Each of our bodies has an ideal weight that they will maintain in feast or famine by adjusting different parts of these weight control mechanisms. This is called homeostasis and it happens throughout nature. The Earth maintains its narrow range of habitable temperature through just the same type of process. The fact that we each eat tons of food over our lifetimes, yet, if all is functioning properly, still maintain an average weight, shows that this system is in place and operating.
Our Slimming Systems are made up of four component parts:
- a control center (the brain)
- various “slimming” hormones
- a body structure
- a supply of nutrients
These are highly interdependent, and if one changes, it affects the function of the others.
When these four work harmoniously together, they regulate our appetite, metabolism, and energy levels to keep our weight normal.
If, however, there is an alteration to the brain, changes to hormones, damage to body organs, or a shortage of nutrients, the Slimming System malfunctions and we gain weight. It really is that simple.
I''ve already mentioned that toxic chemicals can affect the nervous system and since the brain is the center of the nervous system, it can certainly go awry. But I want to tell you more about hormones.
Hormones are molecules that act as internal messengers, carrying information and instructions around the body, enabling the parts to “talk” with one another. Though only minute amounts are produced, they control virtually every body function, including
- maintenance of body heat
- the control of body size, weight, and shape
- and how much fat we burn.
Here''s the thing about hormones and toxic chemicals. You may have heard about certain toxic chemicals that are “endocrine disruptors.” Hormones communicate by traveling through the body and connecting with receptors. Receptors are like locks and hormones are the keys. The “keys” circulate through the body until they find the right “locks.” When a hormone key enters into its correct receptor lock, the hormone/receptor complex bind to specific parts of DNA in the cell, which directs the cell''s function. The problem is that certain toxic chemicals also fit the receptors. As these chemicals circulate through the body, they enter the receptors as if they were hormones, blocking the way for the actual hormones to enter. The chemicals do not contain the vital information and the communication doesn’t take place, thereby breaking the connection between hormone and receptor. For the hormone, it really is quite like a husband coming home to find that another man is already in bed with his wife and there is no room for him! Though research in this field is still relatively new, scientists believe that it takes a very small amount of these chemicals--even a single exposure--to disrupt normal functioning.
How do you know if your slimming system is damaged? Dr. Baillie-Hamilton gives us some clues.
The biggest and most obvious sign is that your body is overweight, or that you are gaining weight or can''t lose weight. Other relevant indicators are a great desire to eat fatty or sugary foods, a tendency to feel cold, and a pot belly or abnormally bigger hips and thighs.
If you have to restrict the amount of food you eat or exercise excessively to maintain a stable weight, your Slimming System needs some attention.
Restore Your Body’s Natural Slimming System by Eliminating Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
First, eliminate as many exposures to toxic chemicals as you can.
Toxic chemicals come into our bodies through four main methods of exposure:
- ingested by mouth via the foods we eat and the beverages we drink
- through the eyes, when chemicals are splashed or attached to dust particles, or are on the hands and rubbed into the eyes
- absorbed through the skin, such as when any beauty or hygiene product is applied
- inhaled through nose or mouth, which can be much more harmful than ingestion because fumes are immediately absorbed through the lungs.
Our bodies do have detoxification systems to handle exposures, and many common symptoms advertising tells us to suppress with drugs--such as sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination, and mucus membrane secretion--are actually our bodies at work to remove substances that do not belong in it.
The liver can make many toxic substances harmless, but its ability to do so is greatly affected by the relationship between the size of the liver and the exposure (a child, for example, has less capacity than an adult), the health of the liver, and how much the liver has to work to detoxify the body. The liver can handle an occasional exposure to toxic substances--think for a minute, back when our human bodies came into being, how many toxic exposures did cave men have?--but it''s not designed for the daily onslaught of chemicals we experience today. Such frequent exposure not only stresses the liver and makes it less effective, but the liver can also be damaged by chemicals and many drugs, making it even less able to process toxic substances.
Top Toxic Exposures to Eliminate First
Eliminating toxic substances from your life is a big subject. I know. I''ve been writing about it for over twenty-five years. My current book on the subject, Home Safe Home is more than 400 pages. So let me make a few suggestions to get you started.
Here are the top five things to do that will eliminate the most fattening chemical exposures.
1. Replace the conventionally-grown foods you eat with as much organic food as you can find and can afford. This eliminates the most fattening chemicals--pesticides--along with all the food additives and hormones. And it gives your Slimming System the nutrients it needs to function properly. Be sure to get enough protein and eat some raw fruits and vegetables every day. Prepare as much food as you can from fresh, whole ingredients, instead of eating processed foods.
2. Drink a lot of pure water. By a lot, I mean...I drink a half gallon to a full gallon every day. The body needs water to flush out impurities and get rid of toxic chemicals and fat. But don''t drink a lot of tap water, because it contains those fattening chemicals too. We’re told to drink eight glasses of water each day, but if you are drinking tap water with all its pollutants, that water is just making you fat. My best advice is to tell you to get a water purification unit that removes the pollutants and leaves the minerals. Bottled water often contains fattening plastic residues.
3. Use nontoxic or natural cleaning products. Cleaning products are among the most toxic in the home--and the easiest and least expensive to replace. Though there are many excellent nontoxic cleaners on the market today, for the most part I still clean with the same simple and inexpensive ingredients I started using twenty-five years ago: baking soda, vinegar, and liquid soap. Baking soda is an excellent scouring powder for sinks, countertops, pots and pans, and bathrooms. Distilled white vinegar is a great grease cutter and window cleaner. Liquid soap cleans everything from dishes to clothing.
4. Control pests using natural methods. Those same fattening pesticides found in food are also present in household bug sprays and garden insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.To control pests without pesticides, start by pest-proofing your home. Figure out how pests are getting into your home, and do something to keep them out. Fill holes and cracks, put screens on windows, put up chicken wire barriers or fences. Then, make your home an unpleasant place for pests to be. Take away their food supply by keeping living areas clean-sweep up crumbs, wipe up spills immediately, wash dishes after eating, store food in tightly closed containers, keep a lid on the garbage and empty it often, and compost scraps frequently. Dry up their water supply-repair leaky faucets, pipes, and clogged drains. And get rid of any clutter they can hide in-clean out closets, the attic, the garage, the basement, and anywhere else unused or infrequently used items pile up. If pests do make it into your home, try shooing them away, vacuum them up, put a glass over an insect and slip a card under it and take it outdoors. Herbal repellents work well, too-most pests don''t like the smell of bay leaves, cloves, pennyroyal, lavender, or cedar.
5. Use natural beauty and hygiene products, preferably those made with organically grown ingredients. You can find these easily in natural food stores and online.
For more about how you can eliminate toxic chemicals in your home, read my book Home Safe Home. Also check out my Green Living Q&A blog (where you can ask your questions about toxic chemicals in consumer products and safer alternatives) and Debra''s List (where you''ll find hundreds of links to thousands of nontoxic products). You can even call me for a personal phone consultation on my green hotline.
Detox Your Body and Lose Weight At the Same Time
Just about the same time I was reading The Body Restoration Plan, I happened to read a story in a women''s magazine about how you can lose weight by cleansing your liver. The article was about a three-day liver rejuvination program developed by Ann Louise Gittleman Ph.D., author of the bestselling book The Fat Flush Plan.
My husband and I tried the three-day program. Both of us noticeably lost weight, and we both felt great. “Cleaner,” we both agreed. My husband said it felt like little pac-mans were running around in his blood, cleaning it out. I felt that too. And so I went and bought and read The Fat Flush Plan.
Well, does she have it right! Dr. Gittleman writes, “Not only is the liver the main organ for detoxifying pollutants and chemicals in the body, but this vital organ also is a hidden key to effortless weight loss.”
Wow! In one fell swoop, by caring for our livers, not only can we lose stubborn weight, but we can also revitalize the very organ that is most needed to protect our bodies from the effects of toxic chemical exposure.
There is so much emphasis these days about what we should avoid or eliminate if we wish to control symptoms or maladies, and very little about taking steps to heal our bodies so that they function properly.
To lose weight, we don''t need to starve our bodies, we need to EAT! Eat the nourishing, fresh, whole, organic foods that are needed for our bodies to function. Remember, sufficient nutrients are essential to our bodies’ natural slimming systems.
Dr. Gittleman has a whole liver restoration diet that results in weight loss. If you want to try this for yourself, I suggest you get Dr. Gittleman''s book The Fat Flush Plan and read it. But to get you started, here''s the three-day plan my husband and I did.
On the first day, you just drink a liver cleansing “cocktail.” To make enough for one person for one day, place 1 cup all natural, unsweetened cranberry juice and 7 cups pure water in pot. Bring up to boil, then turn off the heat. Place 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a tea ball and steep in the liquid for 15 minutes, then discard the spices. We made this the night before, then chilled it overnight. In the morning, add 3/4 cup fresh orange juice and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
First thing in the morning, pour 1 cup cleansing cocktail in a glass, add 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, and drink. An hour later, drink 1 cup water. For the rest of the day, alternate drinking 1 cup cocktail (without flax seeds) with drinking 1 cup water. When you get to the last glass of cocktail, add another 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds and drink.
The next two days, we ate only liver-enhancing foods: eggs, yogurt, artichokes, beets, broccoli and cauliflower. We didn''t eat all of these, we just chose the ones we liked.
ELIMINATING TOXIC CHEMICALS
CAN HELP MAKE YOUR BODY SLIM AND BEAUTIFUL