Detoxing Your Body from Herbicides and Pesticides: A Complete Guide

Detoxing Your Body from Herbicides and Pesticides: A Complete Guide

Detoxing Your Body from Herbicides and Pesticides: A Complete Guide

Toxic overload is an epidemic in the United States—and one of the main places we are constantly exposed to toxins is through our food.

As one of the top four agricultural producers in the world, it’s shocking to many Americans who don’t realize the other three (European Union, Brazil, and China) have banned far more herbicides and pesticides that we have.

In fact, in the last 25 years, the number of pesticides used in the USA has diminished very little. And in the last 10 years, usage has mostly stayed the same or gotten worse, despite the overwhelming evidence that these toxic chemicals harm people and the environment.

Ingesting pesticide residues over time is thought to lead to a higher risk of many health problems—ranging from asthma and chronic headaches to depression, anxiety, and ADHD to Parkinson’s disease and cancer, among others. It’s also been tied to the rise in obesity, as pesticides accumulate in our fat cells—particularly the adipose tissue associated with your BMI.

Pesticides can harm the environment by polluting soil, water, turf, and other plants. Besides killing the insects or weeds they mean to target, pesticides can also be poisonous to many other living things, like birds, fish, other useful insects (like bees), and other plants not intended to be affected.

Why Do We Use Herbicides and Pesticides?

If you have ever tried to grow your own garden, you’re aware how quickly your herbs, vegetables, and fruits can become infested by encroaching weeds and plants seeking to steal those soil nutrients. They also attract insects that come along and destroy your desired food source. Commercial growers experience the same problems, but at a much greater (and more expensive) scale. 

Herbicide and pesticide chemicals are designed to kill weeds, insects, and other pests while sparing the crop. As the population grows, demand for food continues to rise, putting greater pressure on food producers to deliver high amounts of quality foods at an unnatural pace.

Using pesticides is more economical for growers than using organic means, which is why manufacturers in the United States have been investing so heavily in ensuring they can continue to use them often through political lobbying, marketing, and financial investment means.

For example, in March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that glyphosate (AKA: Roundup), along with the insecticides diazinon and malathion, are probably carcinogenic to humans. Yet even now, nearly a decade later, glyphosate continues to be one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States. Meanwhile, at least 10 countries, including Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, have banned or will soon ban glyphosate, and its use has been restricted in at least 15 other countries.

Using pesticides also reduces the cost of food production. Without pesticides, growers would have to rely on more expensive, labor-intensive methods of pest control, such as crop rotation or mechanical weeding. Pesticides allow farmers to save money and time, making it more profitable to grow food.

Combine this with the alarming increase in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are found in about 70% of processed foods that contain corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, and sugar ingredients. GMOs may cause organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility.

For live produce, grains, and feed products, farmers can use a type of seed called genetically engineered, glyphosate-tolerant (GT) seed varieties, which allows them to spray weed-killing chemicals all over their fields without harming their crops. 

Meanwhile, those toxic chemicals still get passed on to you and into your microbiome, which serves as your ‘second brain’ and the ‘engine’ for your entire body.

So imagine what happens when you spread toxins into a powerful engine…

How Herbicides and Pesticides Affect the Microbiome

As you now know, herbicides and pesticides are designed to kill living organisms, including the microorganisms in the soil and on crops. 

When these chemicals are applied to crops, they can enter the food chain and affect not only the microbiome of animals but also the humans who consume them

Unfortunately, skipping meat and going entirely plant-based doesn’t get you around the problems herbicides and pesticides cause. Many produce growers crop-dust chemicals over their fields, which means these chemicals sit on the exterior of our fruits and vegetables.

They are not removed prior to being delivered to your local farmers’ market or grocery store. So when we consume them, they can have unintended consequences, such as harming the microbiome and affecting your energy level and brain function.

Recent studies have shown that herbicides and pesticides can disrupt the delicate balance of the microbiome, causing alterations in the microorganisms’ composition and resulting in a decrease in the overall diversity of the microbiome.

Studies have also shown that chronic exposure to these chemicals can lead to a reduction in the abundance of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, while increasing the abundance of harmful bacteria, such as Clostridia and Enterobacteriaceae. This imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to a range of health problems, including digestive issues, allergies, mood disorders, and nervous system disorders.

Herbicides and pesticides can also affect the soil microbiome (yes, our soil has a microbiome too!). Using herbicides and pesticides can make the soil less diverse and lower the number of microorganisms in it.

This can make the soil devoid of nutrients and plants less healthy, which means even more chemicals are needed to keep crops growing well! See the problem?!

How Herbicides and Pesticides Affect Your Energy Level

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you now know your energy is produced in the structures of your cells called mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and are responsible for producing ATP, the primary source of energy for your body. 

However, herbicides and pesticides can interfere with the function of mitochondria, leading to a reduction in energy production and an increase in oxidative stress, which makes it harder for the cells to repair themselves so they can produce the energy we need on a daily basis.

Herbicides and pesticides can also affect energy levels by disrupting the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating the production of neurotransmitters, which carry messages between the nerve cells in your brain and the rest of your body. 

Neurotransmitters also play a key role in your mental and emotional health. Because exposure to herbicides and pesticides can disrupt the microbiome, production of these neurotransmitters can be reduced, leading to a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings, as well as low energy levels.

How to Detox from Herbicides and Pesticides

The truth is, it can be exceptionally difficult to remove all herbicides and pesticides from our lives. This is because they’re so prevalent—they’re on our fresh, local foods, as well as the packaged ones we buy at the store.

However, taking simple steps such as being mindful of your choices and making lifestyle upgrades can greatly help reduce the amount of herbicide and pesticide residues you are exposed to.

5 simple ways to remove pesticides from your produce

1. Wash fruits and vegetables.

Washing fruits and vegetables can help remove surface pesticides and herbicides. Use a vegetable brush to scrub produce with a thick skin, like potatoes or apples.

2. Do a vinegar rinse.

• Fill your (clean) sink or a large bowl with cold water
• Add 1 cup of white vinegar
• Submerge your fruits and vegetables in the water and let soak for 15 minutes
• Drain the water and rinse off your produce
• Lay the produce out on a kitchen towel until completely dry, or hand dry each piece individually

3. Peel fruits and vegetables.

Peeling fruits and vegetables can help remove some of the pesticide residues that may be present on the surface. Then, give your fruits/veggies a rinse (and maybe a scrub, depending on the hardiness of your produce) before consuming.

4. Purify your water.

Pesticides and herbicides can contaminate your drinking water sources. Installing a home water purification system can help remove these contaminants. You can easily use a countertop distiller if installing a home-system is beyond your budget or reach. 

5. Use natural pest control methods.

Have a garden or fruit trees at home? Instead of using synthetic pesticides and herbicides you buy at the store, consider using natural pest control methods, such as companion planting or using beneficial insects (like ladybugs, spiders, praying mantises, and ground beetles) to control pests.

Should I always choose organic?

Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, making it a safer choice for people who are concerned about exposure to these chemicals. 

The Environmental Working Group puts out a yearly list of food items that should always be purchased organic and ones that can be consumed conventionally (assuming you remove the pesticide residue yourself).

How to Get Started

Many clients come to me excited to get started with a detox. And most of them have tried detoxing at home—but struggled to get the results they want.

That’s because removing toxins is actually the SECOND step of the three-part process. When you skip the first step (opening your internal drainage pathways), you simply continue to swirl those toxins around your body… never actually flushing them OUT.

Doing this alone can be a confusing and overwhelming process. Most people don’t know what to expect, what the signs of toxicity leaving your body looks and feels like, or they simply give up too soon.

When you work with a functional health practitioner (like me!) we show you how to skip to the finish line faster—and get the permanent results you want. I promise, this process is easy when you have a proven system and a roadmap to follow. 

That’s because we take a completely customized approach to your health. 

Instead of randomly googling how to detox from environmental toxins—including herbicides and pesticides—and hope that’s what’s going on inside you, we go “under the hood” and run functional lab tests to pinpoint what’s causing your low energy and health challenges.

We also fully personalize protocols to deliver the results you want, whether that’s boundless energy and motivation… youthful, glowing skin… or feeling confident sliding back into your favorite skinny jeans.

When it comes to effective, long-term treatments for health, there’s no way “Dr. Google” can compete! In fact, because ‘he’ doesn’t take in your personal history and biological makeup. Following what Google says often does you more harm than good!

Want to see if we’re a good match? Take the first step here.

And let’s clear out toxins from your life (and body!) once and for all.

Take Good Care,

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