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It’s Everywhere, And It’s Making You Fat

It’s everywhere. It “is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television.

You can feel it when you go to work…when you go to church…when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” — The Matrix

Whilst I could be talking about the simulated reality of the Matrix in a dystopian future, I think this could easily be about Estrogen, and “xenoestrogens” — the estrogen-mimicking chemicals such as parabens and phthalates. According to Dr. Robert Rakowski, we are all swimming in a sea of estrogen.

I wanted to let you know about this, as it can be difficult to lose those last few inches of body fat, and this could be the answer you were looking for.

Men and women produce both estrogen and testosterone. In simple terms, higher ratios of estrogen to testosterone result in more female characteristics such as increased Body fat. And higher ratios of testosterone to estrogen promote a leaner physique. It’s one of the many reasons why weight training is so beneficial for women.

I bet you’re thinking, estrogen is natural, so…

How Bad Could Xenoestrogens Be?

Estrogen is a natural hormone in humans that is important for many processes in the body, such as bone growth, blood clotting and reproduction in men and women. In a natural environment, your body will balance these two hormones. So natural estrogen is good, and the body will process the amount it needs to use, and reduce the concentration of those it doesn’t.

But xenoestrogens are ‘endocrine disruptors’ — chemicals such as phthalates and parabens. They can bind to estrogen receptors, and allow more estrogen to pass through; or bind to androgen receptors, and block androgens like testosterone — to create an estrogen dominant environment.

So a build up of xenoestrogens can make you lose muscle, and increase your body fat. Not a great combination! They are also stored in body fat, where their levels continue to rise.

Not only can xenoestrogens make you fat, but according to an article on the toxic effects, published in Alternative Medicine Review1, phthalates have been associated with a number of serious health problems, including:

  • Infertility
  • Testicular dysgenesis
  • Asthma and allergies, as well as
  • Leiomyomas (most commonly tumors in the uterus)
  • Breast cancer

Xenoestrogens can also lead to breast development in boys. The onset of puberty is getting younger every year, and in some parts of the world it is seen as normal to get regular injections, to delay the onset of puberty.

Where Are You Consuming Xenoestrogens?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parabens2 are man-made chemicals often used in small amounts as preservatives in:

  • Cosmetics and toiletries, including toothpaste
  • Medicines
  • Food
  • Beverages

Often more than one paraben is used in a single product.

Lets not forget phthalates, these are used in plastic containers for food and drink, as well as cleaning products, and other household goods — the more flexible the plastic, the more phthalates used. Warming them leaches more phthalates into your food and drink.

You don’t only ingest xenoestrogens from things you touch, it can also be in dust, so you breathe it in too — so it really is everywhere, just like the matrix.

How You Can Reduce Your Levels Of Xenoestrogens To Get Lean And Strong

It’s hard to eliminate everything covered in plastic, so start with the biggest things first. What do you consume the most often, and how you consume it?

It’s useful just to write down a list of what you eat, drink, and apply to your skin on a typical day. Also include any food or drinks containers, if there’s any chance they might get warm, or heated up.

1. Food, drinks and containers

I’ve known about xenoestrogens for many years, and have made some good changes. However, I’m not as clean as I should be. Going through this list made me realize I’ve been ignoring my kids. They have plastic drinks bottles recommended by their school. They also have alternative plastic ones at home. These can end up in the sun or a car, getting warm, and leaching phthalates into the liquids. I tasted some of their water recently, and do you know what…it actually tastes like plastic! They don’t realise it shouldn’t taste like that, as like most children, they’re always drinking out of plastic containers. So I’ve just ordered them these…

And what about your drinking bottles, or bottles of luxury water? Are they in plastic bottles? Do you leave them in the car, or sunshine? Do you put coffee in a plastic container? I have this steel one for my coffee:

I aim to eat as much natural food as possible. Anything prepared for you, will probably contain preservatives — and that can mean parabens. Ready meals can be a double-whammy. Not only containing preservatives, but also asking you to heat them in their convenient plastic container. Don’t do it. If you must eat a ready meal, then take it out and bake it in a glass oven-proof dish, to avoid the plasticisers going into your food. Luckily I rarely eat ready meals. But you also have no controls over whether they heat up plastic containers in a restaurant. You only control what you prepare yourself.

Do you microwave with plastic film on top of your food? Think twice about doing that.

2. Cosmetics And Toiletries

There are a number of paraben free suppliers out there. The easiest starting point for me was to go to The Body Shop, where 80% of their products are paraben free. It’s a quick, one-stop shop, giving you time to compare other products.

Here’s a photo of the current state of my paraben-free toiletries. The two in the glass jars are little experiments of mine.

Sanex Foam Bath Zero 0% | Body Shop Rainforest Shine Shampoo | Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Conditioner | Palmer’s Coconut Oil Conditioning Shampoo | Body Shop For Men Maca Root Shave Cream* | Body Shop Beeswax Texturising Wax* | My homemade toothpaste | My homemade shea butter moisturiser | *These don’t explicitly say “paraben free” on the packaging, but I didn’t notice any in the ingredients.

Last week I put together homemade toothpaste, and also a homemade moisturiser for after I shave. Both have 5 ingredients or less, compared with the 20 plus chemicals you normally see in such products. I’ve only been using them a week, so the jury is still out as to whether these are any good. If you’re interested, do make sure you’ve subscribed to my email newsletter, so I can give you an update in the future.

Have a great week, and start thinking about not only what you eat and drink, but the types of containers you use, and what you put on your skin.

P.S. Keep Lean, Strong & Healthy —
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Some of the links or adverts in the post above are affiliate links—so if you click on the links and purchase an item, I may receive affiliate commission. Hey, if enough people purchase, eventually it might be enough for me to go and buy a coffee, to fuel writing my next article. All opinions I expressed in this post are entirely my own. Please refer to my DISCLOSURE page on the ABOUT tab.


[1] Walter J. Crinnion. Toxic effects of the easily avoidable phthalates and Parabens. Alternative Medicine Review. Vol 15, No. 3

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parabens fact sheet. May 2010.

[3] The Body Shop. Do your products contain parabens?

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