Toxic Body Burden – One Woman, One Earth: A Review of The Non-Toxic Avenger


What do you think? Does it sound like it has the makings of an action hero adventure? In fact, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You by Deanna Duke is a personal, down to earth, step by step guide to understanding and appreciating what we put into our bodies, and the impacts both knowingly and unknowingly these products, foods and airborne substances have on us, each and everyday. Deanna helps us understand the depths and details we would need to go through to understand what types of toxins are in our bodies and what actions we would need to take to reduce these. One of the beauties of the book is that Deanna has done the hard part for us, and as far as our own bodies and our own individual “toxic burdens,” Deanna offers us different paths we can follow, both long or short, that can help each of us reduce the toxins in our own bodies too.

An interesting parallel that jumped out to me as I was reading Deanna’s book, was the tremendous challenge Deanna had in coming to grips with and then managing her own personal “toxic burden” juxtaposed with the “toxic burden” we are creating for our planet, and how difficult this is to come to grips with – both consciously and unconsciously.

Deanna Duke, aka The Crunchy Chicken, has been writing her successful blog by the same name for almost 5 years. Deanna is an urban “modern day” homesteader, who lives in Seattle with her husband, two children and her “three chickens, a rescued chihuahua and four fish.” Deanna’s blog is a real life account of how she and her family are working to lower their impact on the environment and at the same time reduce their exposure to toxic chemicals.

The Non-Toxic Avenger takes this “a step further” and recounts Deanna’s journey to dramatically lower toxins in her family’s life and in her own body. Deanna starts with getting a “baseline” battery of tests to see what toxins are in her body, and then follows a step by step guide to try to find out where these toxins are coming from and then eliminate as many of them as possible. Is Deanna successful? You will need to read the book to find that out yourself!

Deanna is member of my Green Mom’s Carnival group – an amazing “collection” of women from around the country who blog on a wide range of issues, but who come together to blog monthly around an area of mutual concern; by the way this month’s Carnival is on climate change! The Green Moms support each other through general comraderie as well as through personal and professional advice. I have always been impressed with Deanna’s breadth of knowledge on subjects that come up in our Green Moms forum and her irreverent and humorous way of pointing out the facts to us on areas in her perview as well as her forthright way of helping us see and understand these facts too. Deanna “pulls no punches.” This book takes a more serious tone then Deanna’s blog, but her humor and knowledge shine through. When Deanna asked me to review her book I was both honored and more than a little curious.

As Deanna tells us in a recent interview with Retrohousewife Goes Green, If you do “nothing else” in trying to lessen your own body toxic burden, she recommends avoiding the following:

1. Bisphenol A: (BPA) found in plastics, canned foods, canned beverages
2. Triclosan: found in anti-bacterial soaps, toothpaste and a huge number of consumer products (almost anything that claims to be bacteria resistant)
3. Parabens: found as a preservative in many body care products.

Read you labels, see if these toxins are listed in things you use everyday..sometimes they are easily identified, other times they may be “lurking” but you will need to dig deeper then the label on the package.

What about our planet’s toxic burden, an issue that was always at the front of my mind as I was reading The Non-Toxic Avenger. Do we have a “Deanna” who we can consult, when it comes to steps we need to take to lessen our planet’s “toxic burden?” Is there a non-toxic “planet” avenger, who can “come to the rescue” like Deanna does, doing the hard part for us by helping us understand clearly what is making our planet sick, and then taking it the next step by helping us understand what we need to do to reduce and correct the damage we know we are causing?

In fact we have many Deanna’s, scientists the world over who are working with the UN International Panel on Climate Change or their National Academies of Sciences, independently and then collectively studying the changes that are happening to our planet, identifying causes and helping us work towards solutions. We have caring “mamas and papas” like you, who are helping your kids and families understand how we can all lower our negative impacts on the environment; teachers, politicians and business leaders helping us find ways to lead more sustainable lives.

Unfortunately, we also have loud voices trying to drown out the facts on climate change and minimize or turn us away from positive action. As Deanna shows us, it’s hard work to really understand what is going on. But the good news is that there are many people working on the “heavy lifting” part of the earth’s toxic burden story. So stay tuned to Climate Mama, the Crunchy Chicken and other Green Moms carnival sources as we help you understand this bigger picture, and break it down, step by step to things we can all do to help heal our planet.

Finally, as they say timing is “everything” and our review of Deanna’s book coincides nicely with a new series our friends at the Balancing Act are launching on January 30th. The show will follow the six month journey of four women who want to transform their lives in the areas of health, nutrition, fitness, beauty, lifestyle and empowerment. Tune in or visit for more information. I think Deanna’s book would be a great read for these women, and all those of us tuning in who are interested in creating our own transformational journey too!

The Facts: Deanna did send us a copy of her book for the review, but a free book doesn’t alter our review. What you get is our honest opinion – As you can tell, we REALLY enjoyed the book and learned a lot too! As well Climate Mama does blog regularly for The Balancing Act, where our posts help to educate woman around the country on the realities of climate change and what they can do to feel empowered to take action in this crucial fight!

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