What's weighing you down?
The invisible burden we all carry.
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MY DIET SODA HABIT
I remember when I quit drinking diet soda. I don’t remember the exact day. It was probably about 13 years ago.
The reason it was so monumental is that soda was such a part of my daily life growing up. As a GenXer, sodas were what bottled water is today. Ubiquitous.
My Diet Pepsi habit started in high school. I remember buying one every day at lunch from the Red & Black Shack - our on-campus snack bar.
From that point on, I drank a can of Diet Pepsi every day. For decades.
When my hubby + I started studying health + nutrition, one of the first recommendations was to stop drinking sodas.
To be honest, I didn’t take this advice very seriously at first because I didn’t think of myself as a soda drinker. It’s not like was chugging down Big Gulps of sugary sodas every day. I just drank that one small can of Diet Pepsi. Zero calories. No sugar. There was ‘nothing’ in it. It seemed harmless. Didn’t count. Right?
The more we learned, the more we realized it wasn’t about the calories or lack of nutrients. It was about the chemicals + the impact these had on how our body processed not only other foods but information. Those calories or ‘no calories’ were not so ‘empty’ after all.
Chemicals have a powerful impact on our bodies + how they function. They also create a lot of extra work for our bodies because our organs have to figure out what to do with those chemicals - how to process them.
I finally decided to make the break + see what happened. No more Diet Pepsi for me.
Turns out, the advice was right. Within weeks, it was obvious. My tastebuds changed. My body composition changed. My energy improved. I was thinking clearer. I slept better.
All by eliminating one little can of Diet Pepsi from my daily routine. Something I thought was so harmless. So insignificant.
Who knew something that small could have such a big impact?
The other thing I remember is a few weeks after I stopped, I took a sip of my daughter’s Diet Pepsi + it tasted horrible! I couldn’t believe how bad it tasted to me.
I haven’t had one since.
This was the first time I experienced first-hand in my own body, the power of removing chemicals. How one small change could affect how I felt. How my body functioned.
It happened again when we cut out processed foods. When we switched to organic produce. When we eliminated dairy, meat + cheese. When we changed cleaning products in our house. When we switched to safer personal care products.
Each shift lead to improvements in my health. My energy. My immunity.
There are so many little things we can do in our daily lives to make improvements. To reduce our toxic burden. To improve our health.
And the good news is that every small change has a very real impact.
It’s not like you have to ‘do it all’. One little thing can make a difference. And, it just might start a cascade of other improvements. Much like my Diet Pepsi did for me.
So - pick one.
What’s one small change you are willing to make to reduce your toxic burden?
Here are just a few to get you started in your journey:
Ditch the Diet Soda (or regular soda)
Eat organic whenever possible
Eat whole foods (minimize the processed stuff)
Eat fresh foods (minimize any canned foods)
Use glass containers (avoid plastic containers when possible)
Never microwave plastic
Never wash plastic in the dishwasher
Avoid plastic water bottles
Filter your water
Eat more plants (less meat)
Avoid ‘fragrance’ (found in detergents, cleaning products, nail polish, hair products, deodorants, lotions, makeup, etc.)
Avoid thermal paper receipts
Replace old furniture with exposed foam (or cover it with a slipcover)
Buy products made with natural fibers
Open your windows
Vacuum + dust regularly
Add indoor plants + air filters in rooms where you spend the most time
Swap to safer detergents + cleaners
Avoid non-stick cookware (switch to stainless steel or ceramic)
Take your shoes off at the door
These are small things we can do that will have a big impact on our toxic burden. And, it just might surprise you how easy it is to make the change + stick to it. I don’t miss that Diet Pepsi at all.
This week, I challenge you to pick one thing from this list that you don’t already do. Make a commitment to learning more about it. To give it a try. To lighten your toxic burden just a bit. And, to allow the benefits to make their way into your life.
READ: EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought | Washington Post
READ: Sicker, Fatter, Poorer | Dr. Leo Trasande
EXPLORE: Anticancer Lifestyle Online Course | Anticancer Lifestyle Program
If you need any help with this stuff, let me know! It’s my specialty! I’d love to help you out. On Wednesday, June 29, I’ll be chatting about toxic chemicals + menopause on Instagram at 10am Pacific. Come join the conversation about how reducing your toxic burden can improve your symptoms + a fun way to practice during July. You’ll find us on Instagram @sassy_withstyle. (And, you should totally follow Sylvia’s page. She’s sharing great information every day about thriving in menopause + midlife).
See you next week?