Toxins in foods, cosmetics, household items, and the environment may be linked to even more illnesses than we realize. Wellness warrior, Suzanne Somers, talks with health experts to get to the bottom of the effects of toxins on our bodies in her latest book, “Tox-Sick.”
It’s not difficult to find information linking toxins to cancer. But can they cause other common health problems, like asthma, stomach issues, and hormonal imbalance? How about weight gain and depression?
I caught up with Suzanne on what she uncovered and how we all can live a healthier, less toxic lifestyle.
An Interview With Suzanne Somers on ‘Tox-Sick’
Liz Thompson: First off, love the book! You share super insightful interviews with several doctors on the importance of eliminating toxins. We tend to think of toxins as leading to diseases like cancer, but your research shows they are involved in many widespread maladies. Do you think toxins are the root of all disease?
Suzanne Somers: Let’s say many diseases of today are rooted in the massive toxic assault. Unfortunately, this experiment on “us” has had no long-term studies. Chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides (glyphosate being the worst) are aggravating, then add in genetically modified food, and what you have is a toxic soup accumulating in our bodies. At some point (and it’s different for everyone) we reach what I refer to as a tipping point. It is at that moment the liver says, “I give up.” The liver is our detox organ. At present, in most all humans, our livers are groaning. When the liver can no longer do its job, these toxins are free to roam about in the body. In my book, I discuss the pathway, but I will give you a thumbnail at this juncture as to how it works:
Toxins enter into the body three ways: through the skin, in the food we eat (which puts them into the gastrointestinal tract), and in the air we breathe. Not much we can do about the air, with the exception of that air we can control in our homes. When chemicals or processed food goes into our G.I. tracts, the liver is supposed to extract all toxins but an overloaded liver will “spit” them out into the portal vein and then all the toxins end up in the G.I. tract. If you have imbalanced gut flora from overuse of antibiotics and toxic buildup, you have a recipe for disaster. You need the right balance of good and bad flora. If not, these toxins are now free to go on a rampage in your bloodstream and what do they do? They literally “eat” through the lining of the barrier wall of the G.I. tract, allowing them to “leak out”—this is called leaky gut—into the bloodstream and once there, they look for fatty organs and glands to invade; maybe the pancreas, maybe the thyroid or others, but the organ toxins most want to invade is the brain. The brain is 65 percent fat and toxins love to live in fat. Now, here’s where it gets really dangerous–when the brain starts accumulating toxins, the brain itself shrinks to make more room for the chemicals. Now you’re in trouble. This is where ADD, ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and yes, Alzheimer’s and cancer have their opportunity to flourish. This is why eliminating toxins as best you can is your greatest defense against the diseases and conditions of today.
LT: Your book also covers how eating a fat-free diet can lead to, among other things, inflammation. Do all physical symptoms of health issues boil down to inflammation?
SS: Ever since we went nonfat, we’ve all become fatter and sicker. And, no small thing, non-fat food doesn’t taste as good. What is better than full fat yogurt? What is better than organic yummy butter, or olive oil or grass-fed rib-eye steak? Every cell in the body requires cholesterol, yet we’ve spent billions of dollars trying to eliminate it–one of our body’s most important building blocks. Every cell in the body requires protein, fat (cholesterol), and carbohydrates to reproduce.
The brain cannot operate without cholesterol. New science has proven that the fat-free movement was a flawed experiment. In the 1950s, researcher Ancel Keys determined that because President Dwight Eisenhower ate bacon and eggs every morning and then had a heart attack, that fat and cholesterol was the culprit. He conducted a flawed study to declare fat as the offender and as a result the country went low fat. The food manufacturers jumped on board and an industry was born.
Inflammation is an indicator of good health or poor health. For instance, if you take a highly sensitive CRP (C-reactive protein) blood test, your number should be low, between .05 and 1.0. Recently, I was with a girlfriend who was coughing incessantly. I knew she had had this chronic cough for quite some time. So I gently suggested to her that she might want to take this blood test. Her numbers came back at 16, which is frighteningly high. Shortly afterward she had a heart attack. This was a woman who ate a non-fat diet and didn’t listen to the signs and the “language” of her body.
One of the things I try to teach in my books is that our bodies have a “language” and our bodies are talking to us all the time. A cough is a “language,” body heat is a “language,” your moods whether they’re good or bad are a “language,” inability to lose weight is a “language,” body itches are a “language,” joint pain is a “language,” acne, rosacea, and skin problems are a “language.” These are all indicators of inflammation. And guess where inflammation begins? In the G.I. tract in exactly the way I described above; toxins and chemicals eat through the barrier wall leak out into the bloodstream and then go on a rampage.
Nature is perfection and nature wanted us to live on a high fat diet. Our very first food (if we were lucky) was breast milk. Breast milk has almost the exact same percentages of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat, as butter! Nature clearly wanted us to be on a high fat diet. I do not have weight issues and I live on an organic very high fat diet: fats, vegetables, quality grass-fed organic meat protein and organic poultry. My food is delicious. I can have yummy wine reduction or butter sauces, my food is loaded with flavor, and I am never dieting. Dissect the word diet “DIE-T.”
LT: You’ve written on menopause and hormonal issues at length in previous books. So toxins can exacerbate hormonal symptoms too?
SS: Millions of women have found quality of life and the joy of aging with natural bioidentical hormone replacement. I know I had a little something to do with this and it makes me very proud and gratified. But in the last few years, a lot of women had started writing me saying, “I was feeling great on my hormone replacement and now it feels like it’s not working as well; what could be the problem?” Toxins blunt hormone production. Here you are taking your hormones faithfully and simultaneously the toxins are trying to undo the good the hormones are doing for your body. To thrive and survive today, you have to change your life in the following ways: eat organic food, use organic skin care cosmetics (go to SuzanneSomers.com and look at my line of natural toxic free organic skin care, hair care, organic makeup, and organic cleaning products). These things can change your life and the health of your family. The only control we all have is taking care of our own individual spheres: i.e., our families and our homes. Once we leave our homes, we are subject to the environmental assault. In your home, you can close your doors and live a clean, green, organic, toxic-free life. By doing this, you will be way ahead of the game relative to your health as compared to others.
LT: Some health experts feel cheat days are essential in sticking with a healthy eating plan. How do you feel about cheat days?
SS: I guess cheat days would be when you just have to have that ice cream or that sugary dessert. If you have gut issues such as bloating, constipation, gas, discomfort, and unexplained weight gain, then most likely you have “bugs” in your gut. Sugar (and grains which break down to sugar) are a happy meal for any bug, it’s what they crave and feed on. It is how they reproduce. By giving up sugar and grains, your weight will fade away.
LT: In your opinion, what is the one most significant lifestyle change a person can make to better their health now and ward off disease?
SS: Clean up your life by getting rid of all toxins you can control and remember that every choice you make throughout each day matters. Make a list in your mind, every time you put something on your skin, every time you put a morsel of food in your mouth, every time you clean your house, ask yourself: Is this choice leading me toward optimal health or away from it? At the end of the day you are going to be amazed at how often you make the wrong choice. This simple exercise will help you to gain control over your life, your weight, your health, and that of your family.
LT: You have a comprehensive line-up of skin and hair care products. What are you using most right now?
SS: In addition to all my other SUZANNE Organics organic skin care products on SuzanneSomers.com, my formulator just introduced me to this amazing tightening peptide formula, and it’s really doing its job! It has collagen and elastin fibers for an incredible firming effect on the skin. So we developed a system of products around this ingredient: Firming Facial Cleanser, Firming 7-Day Crème, Neck Firming Serum, and Firming Eye Serum. I’ve been noticing that people have been saying to me how good my skin looks and it’s really decreased my wrinkles. And for my hair, True Brazilian Activating Serum – which is a styling serum that keeps your hair frizz-free, super silky, and shiny. All of these products are organic and Certified ToxicFree – I mean, they are actually good for you. What goes onto your skin or scalp, and eventually into your bloodstream, enhances your health, as well as making you more beautiful. What a win/win for everyone.
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