The other night I was watching the movie "The Holiday" on Netflix, and landed on the part where Graham is explaining to Amanda why he never told her he was a father. If you have seen the movie, you know that what first appeared to be a one-night stand quickly evolved into a much more emotionally charged relationship between the two characters. 

"I’m a full-time dad," Graham explains. "I’m a working parent. I’m a mother and a father. I’m a guy who reads parenting books and cookbooks before I go to sleep. I spend my weekends buying tutus. I’m learning how to sew. I’m Mr. Napkinhead! I’m on some kind of constant overload and it helps to compartmentalize my life."

Real-life circumstances are always different from a holiday-themed movie about love, but the truth is that we all feel that constant overload at all times. Top it off with knowing we should do more to reduce our toxic load, which in and of itself lets in a barrage of "shoulds," and the overwhelm grows even more. The need to compartmentalize it all increases more every day. 

You are not alone. 

It is not feasible (or even wise) to cut out every toxic contributor in a single day. However, there are a series of small steps you can take to reduce your toxic load in fiscally and emotionally responsible ways. My biggest tip is to address each topic one by one, building healthier habits one day at a time, until one day you look up and realize that your health, happiness and sanity are all stronger for it. 

Now the overarching question: What is a toxic load? The term "toxic load" refers to the accumulation of toxins and chemicals in our bodies we take in from a variety of sources. The more sources that have toxins and chemicals, the more we build up in our bodies, which then could result in a variety of hormonal imbalances, cancers, autoimmune conditions and more. While genetics and other factors contribute greatly, there are ways we can lessen the toxic burden and greatly increase our health. 

Now a 30,000-foot view of five ways you can reduce your toxic burden:

  1. Switch your personal care and cleaning products to safer and more natural alternatives. 

  2. Change your old, scratched and/or nonstick pots and pans to cleaner alternatives. 

  3. Install water and air filters, utilize air-filtering plants, and open windows when Arkansas weather permits.

  4. Toss the scented candles, air sprays, scented plug-ins and other fragrances. Invest in cleaner options like unscented candles and/or essential oils and diffusers.

  5. Remove plastic containers, plates, cups and cutlery in favor of glass or stainless steel items. 

With every step, every change, you will find yourself one step closer to a cleaner, safer, more toxin-free life. Your cleaner choices will not only set the stage for a healthier life for yourself and your family, but will also contribute to the availability of safer alternatives for generations to come.


Heather Disarro is the author and creator of Heather’s Dish, a clean beauty educator, a health coach and social media boss. She loves spending time with her family doing almost anything outdoors, eating great food, reading and enjoying everything Arkansas has to offer.