The Other Way

051: Environmental toxins: their impact on fertility, hormonal health, & more

October 17, 2023 Kasia Stiggelbout Season 1 Episode 51
The Other Way
051: Environmental toxins: their impact on fertility, hormonal health, & more
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

"Non-Toxic Living" – when you hear it, what do you think of? Organic food, green juice, maybe drinking filtered water? (Teaser: The health of that water may actually depend on more than its source – it could also be influenced by the container it comes in!)

Today, we're delving into environmental toxins and toxicants: what are they, where are they hidden (cookware, makeup, even yoga pants?), and how do they impact your hormones, fertility, overall health – and even the health of future generations?

I have the privilege of speaking with Jenna Hua, a registered dietitian, environmental health scientist, and Founder & CEO of Million Marker. Jenna is a staunch advocate for understanding how our daily consumption habits affect our well-being. Jenna's journey, from studying food environments in China to founding a health tech startup, is as inspiring as it is informative.

Our discussion navigates the murky waters of toxins, often concealed in products we use every day, and their significant impact on health and fertility. Jenna sheds light on both persistent and transient toxins, explaining their intricate effects on our bodies. She also opens up about her personal fertility struggles and how they led her to establish Million Marker, underscoring the heart-wrenching reality that these toxins can harm unborn children and echo through generations. Jenna's insights into the regulatory measures taken by the government to manage these toxins are as illuminating as they are thought-provoking.

But it's not all gloom and doom. Jenna equips us with practical advice on detoxing from toxins and making lifestyle changes that can protect our health. From the importance of choosing organic products and reducing plastic use to selecting the right cookware, Jenna provides actionable insights for a healthier life. Tune in for an eye-opening exploration into the world of toxins, their impact, and the steps we can take to safeguard our health. Uncover the dangers lurking in your non-stick pans, the fragrances you love, and even your everyday receipts. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to take control of their health.

Jenna's Bio:

Dr. Jenna Hua, an environmental health scientist and dietitian by training, is passionate about the environment, public health, and everything food. Jenna holds a BS in Nutrition and an MPH and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford Medicine.

Frustrated by the lack of data regarding how harmful chemicals (like BPA, phthalates, and parabens) from plastics and everyday products affect our health and clinical outcomes, and the absence of a personalized approach to mitigate harmful chemical exposures, Jenna set out on a mission to change this.

She founded Million Marker, a health-tech startup dedicated to empowering everyone with the data and tools to determine how the products they use, the food they eat, and the water they drink negatively or positively influence their health. Million Marker helps people understand what chemicals are inside of them—and then provides simple solutions for quickly reducing harmful chemicals through mail-in test kits, lifestyle audits, product recommendations, and counseling.

To connect with Jenna on Instagram: ht

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To connect with Kasia

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Hello and welcome to Nourish. My name is Kasia and I'm an entrepreneur, a longtime meditator and a student of Chinese medicine. My mission with this podcast is to share the tools and practices to help you integrate your whole self into every aspect of your world. As someone who is both a Taipei high achiever and a deeply spiritual, vulnerable and empathetic being, I know firsthand how it feels to be living a double life showing up one way at work a different way alone and struggling to reconcile the two.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

This disintegration of authenticity is one of the biggest causes of burnout, health flares and anxiety. For me, understanding how the mind-body connection is crucial to health and success, cultivating a strong sense of inner self and applying the healing philosophies of Chinese medicine and Zen Buddhism to my life has allowed me to lead from a completely heart-powered place, letting go of other people's judgments and finding peace in allowing my multi-dimensional being to shine. My hope is that this podcast may inspire you to do the same. I want to call out. It is a practice, it is a journey, but I believe it is the most important thing that we can do for our bodies, minds and our ultimate potential. Enjoy.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Jenna, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for having me, kasia, the honor is all mine and the timing is perfect, because a lot of what you're talking about around, I guess biomarkers, toxicity this is stuff that I have been curious about for a while and a lot of my audience has been starting to ask about, and, especially, as we kind of you know, as a woman, I'm of fertile age and this might be TMI for people. If my mom's listening, she'll be very pleased, but I'm starting to look at, like you know, fertility testing and things like that, and when I looked at your website which we will get into, don't worry folks I was just shocked and I feel like I opened a can of worms here that I don't know, that I wanted to, but now I can't unsee it and we need to spread the word. So, before we dive into all of those things, I want to pause and ask a question that I ask every guest, and that is what are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

Jenna Hua:

I know this has to be non-work related right.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean it could be work related. I purposefully kind of like omitted that. I'm curious if they would be the same for you, so you can tell me that too.

Jenna Hua:

I think it's a bit different For me personally. I would describe myself number one as a food lover. I'm somewhat funny and I'm pretty thoughtful.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Oh, I love that. Oh, I mean, I was looking at your portfolio and just you know a couple of casual things out there Postdoc from Stanford, phd from Berkeley. You are a environmental health scientist, dietician by training and the founder of Million Marker, which is a Y Combinator funded company. I guess year of 2019, if that's correct. I mean those are so many amazing things and I love how none of the words that you used in there were necessarily like the typical words that I would expect of like a Silicon Valley tech focused founder, and I so appreciate that. I think it sheds a lot of color to other aspects of your personality.

Jenna Hua:

I like that and I also you know, when I was looking at your podcast it's you cover a list of, you know, very holistic topic and I think we need to think more holistically as a person and how we approach life, as well as how we approach our health.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Couldn't have said it better than I have said it, but that's so true, so true. And you know, in many ways I'm also a mindfulness practitioner and this is very kind of, I think, related to what we're going to talk about today. But in many ways, our disconnect from, like, various aspects of ourselves and our world has kind of gotten us to, I think, a lot of the situation, the circumstances that we're in right now in terms of toxicity and kind of disconnecting, how what we do to the planet kind of comes back to us in terms of what we consume and how that can affect us. So I'm getting ahead of myself here. I want to actually take a step back. So I already kind of spoke to this, but you are the founder of a company called Million Marker, which is a health tech startup dedicated to empowering people with the data and tools to determine how the products they use, the foods they eat, the water they drink right here negatively or positively influence their health.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

And, as I said, when I looked at your website, I was shocked. I mean, there are so many toxins out there, so many and more than I think I was even aware of. I mean I was looking at some examples of the toxins from everyday products we're talking about, and I would love to actually kind of start at the beginning. You obviously have this incredible background in science and in research. What inspired you, like, was there kind of a pivotal moment that just turned on in your mind where you're like, oh my gosh, I have to pursue this in some way? Like what was it that kind of opened your eyes to the way that everything that we're consuming in one way or another is potentially affecting our health.

Jenna Hua:

That was two pivotal moments. The first pivotal moment was when I was doing my dissertation in China. I was actually looking at how food environment you know where people shop, the distribution of food environment, for example. Food environment around you could be fast food, restaurant, you know, grocery stores or organic food, so these kind of distribution actually contribute to people's food choices. Then how does that influence their obesity risk? I was looking at a group of adolescents over there and then it occurred to me that it's actually not just where people purchase their food. It definitely influences their dietary choice, what's around you, but more importantly, it's actually what's in the food. So that got me started thinking okay, can we actually understand what's in the food? And also, given you and I have different genetics, even if we eat the same food, we would respond very differently.

Jenna Hua:

At the same time, like during that time, there was a lot of food scandal going on, food safety issues.

Jenna Hua:

That really got me thinking about toxicity. And then when I came back to the US finishing up my dissertation and it would just occur to me we actually don't know, we don't really have a good way of measuring what's inside a person, like thinking about your own physiology, your own genetic, and how do you process these toxins or what nutrients we don't actually know. So that kind of prompt me to start thinking about okay, this idea of expozone, which is the idea that was talked about during that time, is your total exposure from when you were born until when you're died, every exposure in campuses, and how does that make disease happen and how do you do prevention? That really got me thinking. Okay, is there a way we can actually capture all of these things so that we can inform individual about their health, about different biomarkers? Can they do something about it? So that was the first pivotal moment. I was like okay, we have no data, we have no tools. How could we create these tools to allow individual to understand about themselves?

Kasia Stiggelbout:

You opened up a can of worms with it, I think. I mean just to give people some perspective. What kind of toxins are we talking about here? Just to give a couple of examples, and what are some of the products that you have through? Some of your research recognize that we are being exposed to XYZ types of toxins through day-to-day products. What are some examples of those?

Jenna Hua:

There are many different types of toxins. Heavy metal could be a toxin. Heavy metal can occur naturally as mineral from well water. Heavy metal can be that way they could be in fish. That's the toxin. Talking about mercury, for example. Here we talk also a lot about synthetic toxins. These are, for example, pesticides. If you don't eat organic you could get a lot of pesticides exposure. We're also talking about toxins that were here. It's actually a more legit term to use is toxicant, so toxin. We usually talk about naturally occurring subsidence versus toxicant or synthetic and these toxicant could be.

Jenna Hua:

One example would be BPA. This is the one way. People probably have heard about that quite a bit. Bpa has been banned, actually in children's products for over a decade now, thanks to Conscious Mother. But BPA is this magical chemical that makes plastic shatter proof. It used in coating of cans to preserve food. I mean it's very, very useful.

Jenna Hua:

However, we also found BPA is endocrine disrupting chemical or hormone disrupting chemical. That means it mess with your hormone. It actually mimics estrogen. So if you think about it, your hormone is literally the signaling chemical governs every bodily function you have Fun, your mood, your metabolism, your fertility, your weight Everything is governed by a hormone. The issue with hormone is that they act in such tiny, tiny amount. Think about like a one drop of water in like 25 Olympic-sized swimming pool. That's like how much it required for hormone to act on your body and then send signal to cause an action. So you don't want any of these disrupting chemical in you because once it comes in it mess with the signal and when hormone works like lock and key, they have to match. So when this foreign chemical come in, it makes your hormone to just match. You can think about all the downstream impact of all these bodily functions that we just talked about, which is like a really, really problematic.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Oh my gosh. So just to kind of tie it together for people, right? Because I think a lot of women, especially who are in the wellness space, they're familiar with the term endocrine disruptors and I love how you actually kind of quantified the amount in a way that kind of provides a level of scale of how little of like an endocrine disruptor is required in a way to like make massive changes on the body. Like you provided that kind of visual for people, Can we kind of continue that cycle a bit?

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Because I think we think like, oh, you know, we're just drinking from you know, like a can of I don't know, maybe this isn't the case I don't want to put spin drift on the hook here. Maybe there's our BPA free, but like the seltzer of any kind, we're not even drinking Coca-Cola at this point. We're thinking we're being healthier because we're consuming like a sugar free, just carbonated beverage and we're getting exposure to these toxins you know, setting aside the amounts, because I'm sure that differs by person to kind of have some sort of downstream effects, as you kind of mentioned, everybody's different, but like when it comes to having that I guess, toxicant or toxin overload, and let me know if I pronounced that correctly. What are some of the downstream effects that can come of, let's say, consuming like regular amounts of BPA to the point where it could be detected in your body? Or let's say your body is having a struggle processing that?

Jenna Hua:

There are many, many like a downstream impact it could have. These chemicals, in addition to being hormone disruptors, they're also now being called the obesity or diabetes. Obesity means they can actually cause obesity. Diabetes means they can actually cause diabetes. We don't have a lot of data on human that's part of the issue why we don't have good policy to actually regulate these chemicals. However, we have a ton of animal data actually demonstrating that these chemicals actually causes obesity, causes diabetes, and not only that it actually like if you have a large amount, yes, it's going to affect you, and one of the kind of focus that we have is like focus on fertility, which we're going to talk about later.

Jenna Hua:

It's because these chemicals actually pass on to generations, so your exposure can literally impact not only your next generation but your grandkids generation. So it's pretty severe. But the issue here is that people don't feel it. It's like we talk about these are very low dose exposures, meaning that you only get exposed to tiny, tiny amounts From day to day. You wouldn't even feel a difference, but you don't really know when your cup's going to get full. So one day, 10 years down the road, you're developing diabetes, you have obesity or other metabolic syndromes or other conditions that this could be. Your cumulative exposure can actually contribute to your future disease.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So that was actually another question that I was curious about, which is is it kind of a cumulative effect? Is it, for example, like certain types of toxins or toxic ends perhaps might have effects after a singular dose of a certain amount? But is it also something to be aware of that, I guess, for people who are thinking like, oh my gosh, I'm being exposed to this all the time? Are the effects in any way reversible, or is it more of a cumulative effect or one dose of act, If you can kind of give us some insight into that too.

Jenna Hua:

So the doom and gloom part is that they can be cumulative, depending on what you're being exposed to. So we have two categories. In broad category we have two categories of toxicants or toxins. One is persistent, one is transient. So persistent chemicals the reason we call them persistent is that your body can't get rid of them, literally 50 years or 10 years a long time. So one example of that is the PIFAS that we have been hearing the news called Forever Chemical. They've been called Forever Chemical because you can't get rid of them, so once you're exposed to they stay in your body for a long time.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

And would it be products that might have this, because I've actually never heard of it. What would be some examples of potentially products that have this type of persistent chemical?

Jenna Hua:

Nonstick pants. Number one Lovely. If you use nonstick pants, please get rid of them, because usually for nonstick pants, if it's not scratched it's okay. Generally speaking, however, you don't know when you're going to have this little scratch. They also don't last a long time. We always recommend people, if you have nonstick pants, get rid of it, because this will give you exposure.

Jenna Hua:

Pifas is also using plastic. Is using waterproof clothing Anything. If your clothing says water repellent, most likely you don't have Pifas in it. This is a dilemma with the outdoor industry. I love going camping and hiking. I need that my water-approved gear. That's one area that we actually don't have a ton of solution Currently. Many companies are now thinking about replacing Pifas, but we're also hoping that they're not going to replace a Pifas substitute which is going to cost the same impact. That's actually what happened when we banned the BPA as a single chemical and the manufacturer started using these BPA alternatives. They can literally swap a letter from BPA or the BPC or any combination of the alphabet. They will have a new molecule and that just going to cost the same health effect that you don't really know With Pifas. We're really hoping the government will actually regulate Pifas as a whole class, then people wouldn't get exposure, because it's persistent exposure it's very hard to avoid. You only can't avoid fun to get go Once you're exposed to, nothing you can do about it Well that's great to know.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Hopefully future generations, in my case. Now, what about those transient toxicens or toxins? How do those typically work?

Jenna Hua:

The transient ones, I think, is where we can actually do something about it. The reason we call them transient is because your body actually have a natural detox system to get rid of them through sweating, through your urination and then through pooping out through your stools. This part is encouraging. This is where a million market comes in. We want to educate people, especially on these transient toxins so you can avoid them, for these, if you avoid exposure, your body will actually get rid of them. When you mentioned about the accumulation, there have been really interesting research coming out that saying if you actually have, say, for example, you have PFAS exposure, which is persistent chemical, and you also have BPA exposure, which is transient, we can talk about phthalates in a little bit. Phthalates is another, almost a poster child transient chemical that we really want people to avoid. One really significant research have shown if you actually perform moms, if they have all three exposures during pregnancy, there's a way worse outcome versus they just have single exposure for their kids.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Oh my gosh, that is huge. It's just insane that we spent so much time talking about healthy eating and all these things. Many of us are likely drinking our healthy, green, organic smoothies, and maybe we can open the can of worms on that too, but out of BPA, completely releasing or covered plastic bottles.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean, it's nuts. You started to speak to fertility and I really would love to dig into this. What exactly is happening? You mentioned that there's the effects that it can have on our body that could be more transient or more persistent. Any of these chemicals that we're exposed to are consuming products that leave some of this trace behind. Why the focus on fertility, which I noticed that million markers focused on now, why is it important?

Jenna Hua:

There's a bit of a personal story to this too. When it comes to fertility and that's actually my second pivotal point why I started million marker is I had a lot of fertility struggle myself and the doctors couldn't diagnose me. I had four super late stage miscarriages and I was just told good luck next time. I was looking for an answer for myself. This kind of answer is very unsatisfying. Considering humans have been reproducing for thousands of years. I'm like how can we not figure out all the prevention and strategies, that so many things? We just had no idea, because I studied environmental exposures and I have always wondered could it be my exposure led to my miscarriages and my autoimmune conditions and all these things? When I went to the doctor they said the only test available is heavy metal. But we literally have been studying these chemicals for literally decades. Like how can we not have a test? It's very problematic. Well, this kind of information is overwhelming and people might feel doom and gloom, but once you learn it you cannot unlearn it and I believe that if you know better, you do better. So that's kind of prompt me to start and I mentioned that kind of before. We started recording that fertility is a really interesting angle for people to understand these exposures because one is developmental timing matters. Developmental timing we mean is when you're exposed to when you're really young, this impact to be a lot larger and more detrimental than when you're much older. So think about, like an unborn kid in your growing really fast, or a kid. So not only they don't have a fully functional detox system, this exposure, like the amount, will be much more for them than for a full grown adult. Not only that, that these chemicals, when we talk about why fertility is important, because they impact sperm quality, egg quality, like why do they do that? Because in order to produce sperm, in order to produce egg, you need your hormones, you need the testosterone, you need the estrogens in order for it to happen. So if you think about it, these can come in messing up with your hormone system and the signaling. You would just not make good quality eggs and you would not make quality sperm. And it takes two to tango. So if you're already starting with poor egg quality, poor sperm quality, you can already imagine that this embryo quality wouldn't be as optimal. At the same time, if you don't prevent your exposure during your pregnancy, you're literally exposing your unborn kid with these exposures and these exposure would pass on to the next generation. But if you actually pay attention before you start conceiving, you already change it. You're optimizing your sperm quality, you're optimizing your egg quality. Your embryo quality will be better. You would have created a very healthy immutorial environment for your unborn kid and when your kid is born, that you're already on this path for this very healthy, sustainable lifestyle that your kid is going to totally benefit from, not just currently but also the future generations. So it just like OK, it gives you literally the biggest bang for your bucks. So if you understand this knowledge and if you start taking action, you're just going to literally benefit for generations, and not just you and your family, but also the environment.

Jenna Hua:

Because if you have a horrible planet to live like, full of pollution and everything, what's the point Like? How does your kid and then your kids, kids, your grandkids going to live? Because a lot of these chemicals that we're talking about there are major pollutants. There are major plasticizer chemicals. If you have pain and tension on the news that we see plastic problem is pretty huge right now the Pacific garbage patch you see the horrible photos of turtles and whales that getting polluted by plastic birds. And you can imagine and there's also a lot of research now showing that microplastic or ananoplastics are in human bodies, in blood, in lung and biblical cords, if you think about it that these chemicals that we use, these transient ones like BPA, phthalates, these are literally plasticizers. They can contribute to more than 80% of the weight by plastic. So long story.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean, ok, there's something so empowering about even being able to do something about this, to recognize where you're at like, to get a baseline of data, which is what Million Marker provides, because, frankly, I remember feeling so overwhelmed in I think I tried to do like a plastic-free month. It was nearly impossible. It was nearly impossible to do that and then you factor in just some of the lifestyle choices that we make day to day that go beyond that, and it all adds up and so I think, just recognizing and having this different view to understand what kind of effect this is having on your body and then potentially your kid's body, that is just so, so, so empowering, frankly. Also I'll mention this, jana, because you mentioned that you studied in China for a period of time and I studied Chinese medicine.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Actually, in between Microsoft and what I'm doing now, that kind of was my focus, and one of the things that I found so fascinating is that when it comes to conception, we talk a lot about the first 40 days, the 40 days after birth. There's that very popular book, but in Chinese medicine they spend a lot of time actually preparing the mother and the father for pregnancy, and this is just probably one of the most important things that we can do, because if you're consuming foods and water and getting exposed to literally toxins or toxicants every single day, that is going to have such a larger kind of footprint on the health of your child. That is huge.

Jenna Hua:

Absolutely. That's the part that I really like this holistic way of thinking about human body and health. Not saying that Western medicine is not important If you have broken limbs or have an accident, that's absolutely useful. But as for day to day, having this holistic thinking, I think it's very important, and this is not just when it comes to food, but it's also stress.

Jenna Hua:

You mentioned your mental health, your spirit, mind and the body. It's very, very important to have everything working together, because we tell people to detox a lot, but if you actually don't have a healthy body system to support you, so even if you detox, it's not going to do much. You literally have to think about your microbiome, your gut, your fully functional gut. You need to be exercising. That helps you detox. You need the nutrients to help support your body and you also can't be too stressed out. Your mental health is extremely important. When we talk about these detoxing strategies and tips, we don't want people to overwhelm, because if you're stressed out, you're making that cortisol, which is also a hormone, so you don't want to have a ton of cortisol because that's not going to help you or it's detoxing 100%, 100%.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So you actually just brought up such a good topic that I think we should discuss, which is I feel at least this is my perspective that when I think of detoxing, I think of green juice in a plastic bottle and you're just drinking that thing for six days. I think I did this once when I still lived in New York City for three days and I nearly died after that. That was the end of that drink, did not do it. I couldn't do the four full days. I was so hungry. What does detoxing from some of the toxins and toxicants that you talked about? What does that look like? Because when somebody takes the million marker test, they are able to understand what their exposure looks like, and then what happens after that. What kind of recommendations are you making for people?

Jenna Hua:

A lot of these recommendations we focus on are lifestyle choices coming from your diet and coming from the products you use. Those are the major ones. When it comes to diet, obviously based on your financial situation, we always want people if you can, please see organic trying to reduce plastic as much as possible, as you mentioned. I mean, we have such complicated relationship with plastic. It's so convenient, it's so useful. We can't completely get rid of it, but you want to reduce as much as possible, especially anything that comes to contact with your food.

Jenna Hua:

Think about your kitchen. Don't use that sarin wrap. Use a B-Wax wrap that you can easily clean and non-toxic. Get rid of that non-stick pan. Use stainless steel or use cast iron or ceramic and also try to use a water filter. Those are important strategies when it comes to your product, trying to buy non-toxic products.

Jenna Hua:

Number one thing to avoid is fragrance. Fragrance is the easiest thing to pay attention to and also to avoid. Don't get fooled by aroma sometimes, or unscented. So unscented is actually a scent. If you buy a deodorant, the deodorant says unscented. That's actually a scent that could contain fragrance. A lot of fragrance is a collaborate words that could have over 3,000 chemicals in it. The phthalates is the number one in fragrance. It's not only used as preservative, but it's also used making the fragrance to stick onto your body for a lot longer. That's a hormone disruptor and you don't want to have it. So that's the number one thing. So avoidance is the number one.

Jenna Hua:

We often get people ask okay, can I take some vitamins to help detox? That's always like we always get that. For now we don't have a lot of studies showing which vitamin can actually help you detox. The only solid research we have is on vitamin B and vitamin B complex. I mean theoretically it makes sense because one way also for detox is making sure that you consume a lot of antioxidants. So if you have a rich, colorful meal like a fruit and veggie rich meal, you will get a lot of antioxidants. That helps with detox and the solid research we have seen is taking vitamin B complex can help mitigate some of the effect by air pollution.

Jenna Hua:

So whenever people ask me about vitamins, I always recommend take your daily vitamin C and vitamin B, because also these two vitamins are water soluble vitamins. So if you take extra, your body will get rid of it. You'll probably see your pee being super yellow, but that's not a big deal. But pay attention on other type of vitamins, unless the doctor tells you to do so, because other vitamins like A, c and E, those are fat soluble vitamins, so take those with caution. But B and C, just pop a couple pills every day, it's not gonna hurt.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Really really helpful. Thank you, I am thinking to do something kind of fun, and since funny, I think, was one of your words, this is fun, maybe somewhat funny, we can go for it. This might get personal too, but not too personal, just like bordering, where it's okay. I was thinking we could go through maybe like the top three most common products out there that are offenders of some of, let's say, the toxins that you mentioned.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

We already talked about nonstick pans being one of them, and I was thinking it'd be cool to talk about the product and then maybe an idea for an alternative, because I feel like that could be really inspiring to people. And then, when I say it gets personal, I'm assuming some of these alternatives are ones you use. So we're gonna get like a look into your kitchen or your beauty medicine cabinet by doing this, but I see you on the call right now and you don't live in a bubble. So I think that there's hope for us all that we can live and exist but also make the better choices. So we talked about the kind of nonstick pans. What are some alternatives that we could look for there? And we can choose like two other products after that.

Jenna Hua:

Ceramic pans or ceramic. Pay attention on a ceramic, because I usually don't recommend ceramic. But ceramic has this nonstick thing and it's easy. But my issue with ceramic is usually these ceramic pans. They don't last as long. After a couple of years you have to throw them out. So in terms of environment or footprint it's not very good. So I always like to recommend cast iron or stainless steel. So, cast iron, you just need to make sure you season that pan pretty well. It's like a day, you know, rub a little bit oil, heat it up a little bit and you can't actually become nonstick. I have heard people complaining about you know, cast iron pan being pretty heavy and I always say it actually helped with your arm muscle. So it's not too bad.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Nice little bite step going on. That's a good idea, yeah.

Jenna Hua:

So where a stainless steel pan is another choice. With stainless steel pans, you just need to use a little bit extra oil. Make sure you use your healthy oil, and that shouldn't be a problem.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So what are two other products that you would think like? If you're thinking like, okay, these are the ones that are potentially really common offenders of some other toxins or toxicants out there, what's another one that comes to mind?

Jenna Hua:

Another one really big one people oftentimes don't know about is BPA is actually used to code receipt papers. So your gas station receipt, your grocery store receipt don't touch that. That will actually give you a ton of exposure through dermal by touching it through your skin. So have your receipt, emailed it to you. Don't touch it. If you absolutely have to touch it, like you know, wash your hands after, but don't touch that receipt.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

That's a good one. That's such an easy swap and I feel like, with all this paperless, cashless stuff going on, everything is more digital now. So thank you, I guess, stripe, for making this work for us. You're making a step in the right direction for health.

Jenna Hua:

Yep. The last one is personal care products. I mean personal care products is a whole big category I mentioned earlier. Definitely, definitely avoid fragrance. So read label is very important. You know, when you go purchase a product, make sure you look at the back of the label and making sure it doesn't have a fragrance as one of the ingredients in that product. Choose fragrance free. That's the best way to go. And now there are some products that would say, oh, we use natural fragrance, so sometimes this can be problematic. The safest way just to avoid fragrance, all fragrance.

Jenna Hua:

The reason I mentioned about natural fragrance is that many times some product would say, okay, this natural fragrance is called essential oil, but there's no way to actually vet this. Essential oil is true, naturally made essential oil. About 50% of the essential oil that in the market is actually synthetic. But they've been called essential oil but it's actually not. It's just a synthetic fragrance. Which exactly? Then you're getting that phallic exposure that you don't want to. So that's another one. And it's not just personal care, it's also household cleaning product, for example, your laundry detergent, your dishwashing detergent. So please, please, choose fragrance free.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Love that. I'm going to be doing some purging and I know that on the Million Marker website, I noticed you actually had a list of some recommended products on there as well, so that could be a great resource, which I'll hyperlink below. I noticed a couple in there. One personal note literally after reading your bio, I was like I got a glass water bottle Immediately. Yay, just like. Oh. But I mean this is like BPA free silicones. I think I'm going to replace this with like a glass straw, I guess, but I don't know if you have any thoughts about that, because I feel like you know we always talk about water bottles, water bottles, but a lot of the ones out there are plastic water bottles. Anyway, right, like what do you use? That's what I wanted.

Jenna Hua:

I use this stainless steel water bottle. You mentioned a silicone. Silicone is a really interesting one. So silicone, in terms of human health, it's actually definitely good for you. Better for human health, okay, and just make sure, when you purchase silicone products, make sure it's food grade or platinum based silicone, because not all silicones are created equal. They could have impurities If it's not food grade, if it's not platinum based silicone, they could give you toxic exposures. However, silicone is actually not biodegradable, so their life is probably four to five years and after that they go straight into landfill.

Jenna Hua:

So this is something to pay attention off. You know, while silicone is okay for human health, but it's really not that great for the environment. So I have silicone bags as convenience. You know, while I go camping or something, I have that silicone bag to put my food in instead of zip lock bags. It's reusable, it's pretty light, instead of carrying, you know, a glass container, which is not very user friendly and you know, if you don't make it easy for people, nobody's going to change. So this is something to pay attention off when it comes to silicone. But I love that you change to a glass water bottle versus, you know, the typical plastic ones.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Oh, yeah, well, you already inspired that and I mean I'm going to be looking at pretty much everything. I think this is just so huge and, as I told you before, we started recording everyone in my family. If you want to know what you're getting for the holidays, pause right now, because I'm definitely cutting everybody this test. They are. Yeah, I think our minds are going to be blown and I'm so excited to take it so that way I can figure out what my I guess toxic load or what that looks like.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean, this was amazing, jenna. Thank you so so much for coming on, and I just want to say thank you for the work that you do, because I think this is just such an unbelievably unique blend of kind of holistic, whole person care with science, and that's exactly what this podcast is all about. Now, people are going to want to find you, so can you just share with the audience, like, where can people find you? What do you have going on? I'm going to deep link everything in the show notes, folks, but please tell us what's happening in the world of Jenna and Million Marker People can find us on our website.

Jenna Hua:

We, wwwmillionmarkercom. We're trying to create a lot of educational content. Even if you don't buy a test, please get yourself educated because, again, once you learn it, you cannot unlearn. Just start making changes. You don't have to make changes everything in one day, but slowly, one step at a time, you can make these changes and reduce your exposures. We're pretty active on social media. Follow us on Instagram.

Jenna Hua:

We try to do a lot of, again, educational content, interviewing different experts because, again, like as I mentioned before, detox is not just about avoiding these chemicals, it's about your mental health, it's about your gut health, it's about many other aspects of your life. So we're trying to create different content, oriented, the holistic way, like what you do, to create these content for people to understand more about their health and how to optimize it. Lastly, I want to give us a little other plugin is that we're doing a lot of clinical trials. Right now we're running studies. One of the study that we're currently doing is we're trying to recruit couples who are trying to conceive for more than six months and haven't been successful. And if you don't have other kind of a cold mobility disease, like diabetes, kidney disease or cancer, we would love to have you and your partner join our study. This is a study mainly looking at how reducing plastic exposures and these hormone-disrupting chemicals can help with your fertility, particularly your sperm quality.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Wow, that is amazing. I am going to plug you to my friends in a very casual way because, yeah, that sounds. I mean, that's incredible. I cannot wait to see that research come out. Jenna, this was so amazing. Thank you so much for joining us here today and it was such a pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much, Kata. Thanks everyone for listening. See you next time.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Nourish. If you enjoyed this conversation, please leave a review. Five Star Reviews helped the podcast grow and I'm so grateful for that. I publish new episodes twice a month, so hit the subscribe button to be notified and if you want to stay connected in between episodes, join my community on Instagram and TikTok at nourish underscore podcast. All right, that's all I got for you today. See you next time.

Exploring Toxins and Health Impact
The Impact of Toxins on Fertility
Environmental Exposures and Fertility Impact
Toxicant Detox and Non-Toxic Product Recommendations

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