Was reflecting on all the ways I have reduced my exposure to toxins over the last few years and all the benefits I have experienced as a result. Here is a list of the things I have recently eliminated from my life either through diet and/or changing personal care products:
Meat – Stopped eating animals more than 5 years ago and have enjoyed better energy levels ever since (read more about this here Why I Became a Vegetarian)
Dairy – cut dairy products out of my diet in 2008 and my body got leaner and my energy levels increased yet again (read more about this here Why I Became a Vegan).
Aluminum – This year, I stopped using antiperspirants which include the controversial ingredient Aluminum Zirconium. This was a tough one to give up, but I switched to deodorants for a short period and then cut them as well and now use baking soda as my “perspiration manager” (read more about Aluminum here Things I Quit – Antiperspirant and Deodorant)
Parabens – Last year, I stopped using shampoos and soaps that contain cancer causing parabens. I enjoy peace of mind of knowing that I am reducing my exposure to carcinogens.
Wireless – This one is on my radar. I used to sleep with my blackberry beside my bed (in case an important call came in during the night??), but now I make sure the phone is off during the night to reduce my exposure to any radioactivity that my phone might be giving off. I plan to reduce this one further.
Sugar – A few years ago, I starting avoiding sugar/fructose and all other processed sugars. This is a tough one to eliminate altogether, since there is sugar in so many foods, especially if you eat out, but I have virtually eliminated it by avoiding sweets and processed foods and by eating mostly whole foods. Now I don’t get the same energy spikes and crashes that I used to get from sugary foods (I had/have a sweet tooth) and my teeth are happier (read more about carbs here Good Carbs and Bad Carbs).
Aspartame and Sodas – Last summer I was staring at the list of ingredients in the energy drink I was consuming and decided that I would no longer drink energy drinks or any other kind of soft drinks. Amongst the reasons was a decision to avoid aspartame and shortly thereafter I also stopped chewing sugarfree gum and eating anything that contains aspartame (to read more see Things I Quit: Energy Drinks).
Caffeine – Stopped being a slave to coffee last year. This was another tough one because I really liked my coffee, but I did and I am convinced I actually became more energetic during my days, plus sleep is so much better now (see Quitting Coffee).
Alcohol – I enjoyed my fair share of drinks in my school years, but since then have generally been a very low volume drinker. To begin with I am constantly hydrating so I avoid diuretics and even having a couple of drinks will wreck my sleep, make me foggy in the head the next day and ruin my workouts, so except for red wine I typically have one or less drinks a month.
There are still plenty of things in my life that I can “clean” up. I am far from perfect, but I don’t try to do it all in one go. I make a change, readjust and then set my sights on other things I want to cut out.
This may all sound like a lot of sacrifice, but I can hardly remember when these things were in my life. I eat an amazingly tasty diet all day long and my wife is a wonderful vegan cook. I have more energy than ever. I sleep better and I feel better than ever. Its hard for me to consider this a sacrifice in any way. All of the things I have cut out of my life, have improved my life.