Food for Thought with Kat | Toxic detox | Food

Now that Christmas and Hanukkah are past, it’s time to detox, de-stress, and reduce bloat. The old adage that “what goes up always comes down” is certainly true at the end of the year. After the hype of the holiday season, you will definitely see no signs of our overindulgence. New highs will undoubtedly follow, but they could be capped at numbers on our scale, at least for a while.

With less than a week to go until 2023, has anyone given up their holidays in favor of a salad? not here.

It doesn’t take scientific research to show that a dry January has benefits (although we do have one). , revealing more common sense when he reveals that he will arguably start drinking more than usual in December. I’m sure it’s not.

Toxic overload

Booze isn’t the only reason many of us focus on detoxing in the New Year. Luxurious holiday food, decadent parties, plentiful food and sweets are driving us to fast, diet, fast (and drink), and sober until February. This kind of detox is in the vacation realm and may be a low with a high for many of us, but what happens when some of your health foods naturally contain toxins?

I’m not talking about preservatives, chemicals, or man-made toxins found in processed foods. I’m not talking about food coloring or emulsifying gum. I’m not even talking about sugar. I’m talking about heavy metals. Some metals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, sodium, and copper are essential to our health, while others can become toxic if consumed in excess. , grains and vegetables are increasingly found in the healthy foods we eat. With each news article, a higher level seems inevitable.

It is widely known that heavy metals are found in our food, along with those that are essential to our existence. In 2012, Consumer Reports reported that grains contained dangerous levels of arsenic. The magazine updated its tests in 2014 and revealed the presence of heavy metals in spices in 2021.

Because these heavy metals are naturally present in our soil, they can be found in food. Coupled with human environmental practices (hello, leaded gasoline), or lack thereof, these levels are on the rise. . Arsenic, Mercury, Lead, and Cadmium are the four major elements to avoid. The problem is that it’s getting harder and harder to do so. As our soil becomes increasingly unhealthy due to overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, its heavy metal load increases, which is absorbed into our food and ingested by us.

Not long ago, there were reports that baby food contained heavy metals. Not only from the rice content, but also from the selected vegetables. It was my 7-year-old daughter who told me that peas contain heavy metals. Wondering if pencils still contained lead, she asked her good old Google. They took her to a page telling her that the peas I always asked her to eat were filled with lead instead of letting her know that she was now made of graphite. went.

Within days, news spread that higher than desirable levels of lead and cadmium had been found in chocolate bars (thanks, Consumer Reports). The truth is that it’s ubiquitous, albeit in low concentrations in some foods, but it’s impossible to avoid it while staying nutritious. Because livestock eat the same foods that we do, they also get higher than desirable levels of heavy metals. Like humans, animals also store lead in their bones. All anger, bone broth, and collagen are therefore at risk of being contaminated with higher than desirable levels of lead, and no commercially available bone broth or collagen products have been tested for lead.

Currently, there are few heavy metal tests mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, which sets limits on acceptable levels of food. There are few clues as to whether a spice or vegetable is low in heavy metals.

What should I do. Consumer Reports offers some of the following information…

cooked rice

Choose white basmati rice from California or Southeast Asia, as it tends to be low in arsenic. Because the bran is removed, white rice retains less arsenic than brown rice (although brown rice lacks the nutrients and fiber it contains). When cooking rice, rinse it well and soak it in water before cooking. Cook 1 cup of rice in 6 cups of water to reduce arsenic levels.

Other grains that contain less arsenic than rice include amaranth, millet, quinoa, cornmeal, and oats.


Spices and herbs are grown in the soil, so it’s not surprising that they contain unacceptable levels of heavy metals. , white pepper and so on. If they are bland for you, don’t stop there. Some brands have been found to be lower than others and you can always set up a small window box herb garden.

peel off

Root vegetables tend to be higher in lead than other vegetables, but you can reduce your lead load by peeling and washing them.


Local water systems typically have more monitoring, but Vermont suggests testing spring and well water for lead every five years. You can get a free test kit from their website. Bottled water is the only drinking water whose heavy metal levels are regulated by the FDA.


Interestingly, lead seems to accumulate in the outer shell of cocoa beans after harvest. There is talk of genetically modifying cocoa beans to absorb low levels of heavy metals, but apparently that is not an immediate solution. Clean brands turned out to be Mast, Taza, Valrhona and Ghirardelli. All of these were fairly low in both cadmium and lead.

low level

It’s impossible to completely cut out foods that contain heavy metals, so while this is another lesson in moderation (and not recommended), avoid tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, and melons. , strawberries and other foods absorb little arsenic in the body. parts we eat.

Adequate intake of (non)heavy metals

Not all metals are created equal and some are essential to our existence. Our bodies gravitate toward getting what they need, so when one metal is deficient, it can try to find the missing metal and absorb more of the less good metal. Adequate amounts of calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamin C can prevent our bodies from absorbing too much lead.

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