Why I chose to get rid of harmful products out of my life

By Trevor McDonald 

It took a major struggle to get me to realize that the way I was living was wrong.

But once my eyes were open, it was like I just kept falling down the rabbit hole.

Let me explain…

For many years, I struggled with alcohol addiction. I was an alcoholic. I got sober from alcohol addiction five years ago. It wasn’t easy, but I haven’t looked back.

Part of my recovery and resolve to stay sober was the realization that I was slowly killing myself with alcohol. If you know anything about alcoholism, you know I’m right. Alcohol is a poison, a central nervous system depressant.

And with a newfound love for life, I wanted to do everything I can to stay on this earth as long as I can. And that meant cutting out other toxins.

When you start to look for toxins in your life, it’s like taking that first step into the proverbial rabbit hole. You can’t stop learning, and you can never go back.

Why I chose to get rid of harmful products in my life

One of the things I quickly learned on my journey was that my body was processing many more things than I realized. If I’m being honest, I started my health journey thinking I just had to focus on eating organic. I was only worried about the things I was ingesting.

But then I learned that almost everything we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.

So, the chemicals in that bug spray I’ve been using are now being processed through my liver? I know this sounds naïve because it makes complete sense, but I never let my mind go there before.

And then I couldn’t ignore any chemicals in my environment. They all detract from your health in some way, however small.

In this moment, I think it’s important to remember that in most cases, the chemicals are in very small quantities. Each exposure has been tested for its safety. So this realization isn’t meant to cause intense anxiety. On the other hand, it should help you realize that you’re in control. At least, that’s what it did for me.

Major sources of toxins in my life

As I learned about where the toxins were coming from, I was also learning how to remove or mitigate them. Here’s where I started:

  • Skincare products – In the past, I was never one to seek out natural products. It’s not that I had anything against them per se, but I just couldn’t personally justify the expense. Now I can. My health is so much more important than the few cents more I’d spend on a natural product. I didn’t use many skincare products, but you can bet I replaced the ones I did. This includes sunscreen, moisturizer and deodorant. And I had major hesitations about that last one. I tried a few before I found one that worked. (Spoiler alert: it was PiperWai).

  • Foods – I began with foods because my diet was pretty terrible. I started buying organic foods whenever possible (at least from the dirty dozen) and I stopped buying processed meats that are filled with nitrates and other bad stuff. With more veggies in my diet, it wasn’t long before I started feeling amazing.

  • Cleaning agents – I was floored to learn that laundry detergent and fabric softeners are as toxic as they are. How could something that smells so fresh actually be so harmful? But when the EWG tested detergents, more than 35 percent of them didn’t get a passing grade, meaning they were incredibly toxic. Check out the list here to see if your favorite brand is an offender.

  • Water – Not only is BPA in plastic water bottles a problem, but our water supply also contains trace amounts of toxic substances. The one I was most concerned about was fluoride, so I made sure to get a filter that addressed fluoride and other toxins in my water. I’ve had to up my hydration levels in recovery, and I can rest easy knowing that I’m drinking from a cleaner source now.

Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of all the toxins in our lives, but we can make great strides by cutting out the major offenders. Try a few more natural products in your routine. You may find they work even better than their chemical counterparts.