So you’re devoted to your sunrise salutations, eating organic, getting enough sleep, and getting in your twice weekly meditation/yoga practice. Or at least you’re incorporating enough of these practices to rightly expect results and yet are still experiencing weight gain, unexplained infertility, chronic fatigue, anxiety/moodiness, poor memory and hot flashes. So what gives? Maybe an environmental detox is in order!
Optimal wellness is a process with many layers. Woven together, they can create a magnificent orchestra of synergistic healing. Toxic exposure is a significant layer that’s often not given the attention it needs. We are constantly being exposed to an overwhelming number of chemicals from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the furniture we sit on, the lotions and potions we put on our skin and so on.
Going on an annual juice cleanse is great to help lighten the toxic load but once it’s over, loading your body up with the same internal and external toxins is not going to produce real shifts and create sustained wellness. Our DAILY habits in life impact us the most, way more than the annual 7 day juice cleanse. It’s much easier to lighten our toxic load in the first place, by reducing our exposure than it is to remove toxins.
So where do we start? First, I can’t stress enough, the importance of making gradual changes. There is always a good, better, and best in anything but trying to do everything at once is not the goal here. Every time we make a change, it is important to say “I am choosing this to enhance my overall health and wellness and it’s enough for right now.”
To help you along, here are six fairly simple yet major changes that will make a big impact on your home environment and health.
I think one of the easiest thing to incorporate is making your home shoe-less. Shoes come off the minute you or a guest crosses the threshold. This practice is so valuable for many reasons but first and foremost, it helps to eliminate pesticides, molds, feces (gross but true), and other harmful chemicals from being brought from the outside world into our sacred spaces. Even more important if you have a little one crawling around.
2. Ditch the Plastics!!! We know that plastic is bad for the environment and most of us know it is bad for our bodies. But do you know why? In very simple terms, plastics disrupt your hormones thanks to compounds such as xenoestrogens which are estrogen mimicking and drivers of estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is not fun and sometimes serious. Signs included decreased sex drive in both men and women, headaches, mood swings, PMS, weight gain, heavy periods, and endometriosis.
Solutions to minimize plastics: Make the commitment to limit or eliminate plastic water bottles. And while you’re at it, say NO to plastic straws. Our oceans will thank you. Here are 3 options to help curb your use of plastic bottles.
- One thing that has helped me is buying a 30 oz Yeti tumbler (any good glass or metal container will do). I add all sorts of infusions such as a sprig of rosemary and lime, refill it throughout the day and now I’m in the habit of carrying it around wherever I go.
- Invest in a water filtration system: There are many high and low $$ options; from an under the counter system, whole house filtration, to a basic pitcher. Find something that works in your budget and know that it is the perfect option for your wellness. Here are few great resources to get you going: Propur-Fruit infused water filter, Radient life water filters and Multipure Aquaversa Model MP750.
- Water delivery: If you’re not up for a home investment just yet, look into a water delivery service that uses glass such as Mountain Spring.
3. Fragrances–Perfumes, Air Fresheners, Candles, and Dryer Sheets: I’m not sure I can live in a world without perfume and I love to light a candle as soon as I walk in the door. So what is the problem and WHY are they so harmful? In short, the majority of products that list fragrance contain the hormone-disrupting chemical phthalate. Phthalates are used to make the fragrance last longer. This carcinogen has been banned in many countries and is linked to obesity, allergies, and is a risk to optimal fetal health. Here are some of my favorite solutions.
- Essential oils are your best friends. They can be used instead of perfumes and air fresheners. I love Plant Therapy essential oils. They are high quality, pure and way less expensive than the popular brand out there that begins with the letter “D”.
- To replicate my favorite commercial Scent I turn to Nantucket Perfume Co. They can replicate your favorite perfume in pure oil form. How cool is that!
- Air fresheners: I use a diffusor or you can get a spray bottle and fill it up with water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I like using high quality oils from Plant Therapy.
- Candles: Look for 100% soy or beeswax and naturally derived essential oils. One of my favorite candle lines is by Elements. Makers of candles that are sleek and chic and have a wooden wick that actually gives the crackle of a fireplace.
- Dryer sheets: a great swap is to look for ones that are made with actual plants. Trader Joe’s carries some with just dried lavender. They smell divine, won’t disrupt your hormones, and you can get them for a bargain.
4. Deodorant: Commercial deodorant is loaded with fragrance (phthalates), aluminum, and SLS (sodium laurate sulfate). Used regularly and placed dangerously close to our lymph nodes, these have been linked to Alzheimer’s, cancers, and are yet again hormone disruptors.
If you’ve been wearing antiperspirant for a while, you might first be in need of a pit detox. Don’t be discouraged if you have worse than normal natural musk, it will re-calibrate. Then I would go for the natural option. With so many wonderful brands, it is so much easier to find a great smelling non-disrupting product. I like Schmidts deodorant which you’ll find at Thrivemarket.com
5. Cleaning Products: We see them on the shelf next to regular household names. They are usually more expensive and we haven’t made the shift yet. Why is this so important? The fact is that when we clean with toxic chemicals, we ingest them through our lungs, and when we are washing our laundry or dishes with toxic chemicals, we absorb them through our skin. Added it up, we are exposing ourselves to more than we realize, not to mention that it’s all going straight back into our water supply.
Green home cleaning products are more accessible, less expensive, and easier to use than you may think, and I promise they are just as effective. There are a lot of great options out there and here is one of my favorites, Branch Basics or use one of the brands at Thrivemarket.com
6. Non-stick Cookware: The inconvenient truth about convenient cookware.
You’ve upgraded to better quality eggs and grass-fed meat but are still using non-stick cookware. How harmful is it? The slick coating on this cookware contains fluorinated chemicals. When exposed to heat, most non-stick cookware becomes a source of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a long-chain chemical compound that has been linked to a frightening range of health problems including thyroid disease, infertility in women, organ damage and developmental and reproductive problems.
The simple fix is to start incorporating ceramic, cast-iron (both of these are my favorites), heatproof glass and stainless steel into the mix.
P.S. stay away from copper cookware as it can cause elevated copper levels which interferes with zinc absorption.
So now you have some great ideas to help start turning your home into a toxin-free environment. With a better understanding of why you’re making these changes, they will seem much more effortless. Pick just one area at a time, make changes slowly and enjoy and enjoy overall improvement in your short and long term health.
Here’s a wonderful source for non-toxic products, foods, etc for baby. https://www.gentlenursery.com/
Tell us what changes you’ve made and what was the easiest to incorporate!
Written by: The Wellness Contessa (Kelly Hill) and Cindy Dupuie
Edited by: Vicki Ronaldson