Hormone or “endocrine” (the fancy word for hormone) disruption is becoming a more commonly discussed topic. Obviously, I’m a fan of pursuing health, so it’s cool to see people get hyped about wanting to upgrade their health.

But…BUT…I see people go NUTS on this particular topic. They start throwing out their cleaners, refusing takeout from plastic containers…Honestly, when you start reading the literature on a few of these guys, it’s hard not to go a little DEFCON. But wrestling with this topic and others like it consistently lead me to the question:

Are these elements truly endangering our health? Or could it be more dangerous to believe we are so fragile, that we can’t handle them at all?

I think the key here is to approach these topics with curiosity, with a desire to mitigate negative influences where we can, rather than attributing our entire health or wellbeing on them. For someone struggling with liver clearance or thyroid issues for example – cleaning up environmental chemicals may be a great move. But everyone is different and this means everyone has different thresholds. Personally? I believe if I have the ability to avoid EXCESS exposure to some of these elements while developing resiliency in moderate amounts…and I can take steps to upgrade my practices over time without stressing over any of it…why wouldn’t I?

My aim is to present some information today and suggest some simple actions to bring us middle of the road. As a coach, discussing these topics without being dogmatic is tricky. As a coach speaking to an unknown audience…a nightmare. So, to provide extra clarity, this post is written for you if:

  • You enjoy finding ways to upgrade your health without being a psychopath
  • You’re not sure if your detoxification systems – liver, GI, kidneys, skin – function optimally (perhaps you experience some occasional skin problems, gut issues or PMS)
  • You’re curious how to make simple swaps to “clean up” your act

FIRST OFF…

Let’s establish WHAT hormone disrupters are. Endocrine simply refers back to our endocrine system – which is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood (aka a ton of super important things lol). In fact, the endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the body. But what does it mean to “disrupt” our endocrine system and what has the ability to impact us like that?

Well, we’re discovering that many synthetic chemicals in products like plastics and fragrances can mimic hormones and interfere with or disrupt the endocrine communications. Since we’re exposed to these chemicals daily (and especially vulnerable in utero and throughout childhood) it makes sense that people may freak out a bit. A number of these chemicals have also been classified as obesogens, act at low doses (daily life), and include pesticides, herbicides, plastics, detergents, flame retardants, personal care products, etc. Among other things, obesogens increase the number of adipocytes, increase ability to store fat, module hormones, that regulate appetite, satiety, and energy metabolism.

Bummer.

Remember what I said about going DEFCON? Take a breath, you’re ok I promise. Let’s arm ourselves with a little bit more knowledge then we can wrap this up with some easy action items.

SOME COMMON CULPRITS (AND WHAT THE LITERATURE SAYS)

Now that we’re all freaking out (seriously, don’t), let’s make some easy changes.. Remember: you’re not fragile, just trying to upgrade your game.

APPLYING THE LOW HANGING FRUIT

  1. READ LABELS: Simply knowing what you’re exposed to on a regular basis can be enlightening as heck (remember, it’s nothing to freak out about, simply be aware of and change as you like)
  2. FILTERED WATER: Real talk, bottled water does kinda suck. The industry is barely regulated which means we tend to pay a premium for crap quality. Plus it’s a big bummer for our environment and you never know how long that plastic has been exposed to temps that can compromise the integrity of the plastic (aka bleed into the water). Tap water is arguably better than bottled water but depending where you live, ehhh. It can contain a bevy of its own potential hormone disruptors, including residue from birth control pills (awkward 😬). Investing in a reverse osmosis filter, CBG unit, or at least a standard fridge filter is definitely a good step.
  3. INSULATED WATER BOTTLE: I mean these things are so damn pretty these days, why wouldn’t you want one? Keep your water fresh throughout the day, save the worllllld and stay hydrated (because you’re *probably* not drinking enough anyway amirite?).
  4. PERSONAL PRODUCTS: The Environmental Working Group has a nifty database where you can search your personal products and see how they rank on an A-F score. Try swapping out gradually, as you run out of what you currently have. I’ve found that the more I graduate to simpler products, the less I seem to need (and I’ve been a sweatyyyyy gal my whole life).
  5. GLASS TUPPERWARE: You can’t eliminate all plastic, but you can take some easy steps to reduce your use. Swap plastic food storage containers with glass or stainless steel. If you do keep plastic ones, don’t use them to store fatty foods, and try not to microwave them.
  6. AVOID FRAGRANCES: If you’ve noticed some sensitivity to scents (how’s that for alliteration), try avoiding “fragrances” as listed on ingredients, particularly in detergents or products that touch your skin. Legally, “fragrances” can mean up to 300+ different chemicals. Heck, give your essential oil friend a sale (lemongrass + lavender is my favvv).
  7. EAT ORGANIC: Yeah, yeah still a debated topic *eyeroll.* Don’t @ me with “organic is expensive!” or “this study showed no difference between organic and conventional blah blah.” Remember who this post is for? If you’re interested in making the simple upgrades OR if you might have some detox issues, you may want to buy organic because of what’s NOT present on those veggies..

Damn guys, you made it through. That was a heavy one, I know. I would love to address any questions or feedback this one brought up for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out. In the meantime, go forth and BE ANTI-FRAGILE.