Often we don’t realise exactly how much the environment we live in relates to our personal health. We are prone to see the environment as somehow separate and outside us. But the truth is that we are intimately connected to our environment.
We encounter harmful toxins, industrial chemicals and pollutants everywhere – outdoors and indoors, at home and at work. They are on the furniture we sit on, the clothes we wear, the soap we wash with, in the food we eat, the carpets we walk on, and more. We ingest the toxins through our skin, nose, mouth and ears. Excessive noise, radiation, polluted air and water, chemical-laden cleaning products and pesticides affect us. Even though we can’t control our exposure to many of these toxins, there are a few things that we CAN control.
According to the World Health Organization, 25% of health problems are caused by environmental factors. Toxins in the environment have been linked to numerous health conditions and diseases, including early puberty, asthma, learning disabilities, diabetes, allergies, reduced fertility, premature birth, and even many cancers.
Listed below are a few changes you can make in your environment to promote your overall health.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Think about all the places you’ve walked today. Do you really want to take all of that into your home? If you don’t feel like walking barefoot, use some comfy shoes that you wear only inside your house.
- Watch out for cleaning products. Many conventional cleaning products leave indoor air pollution because of the synthetic fragrances. As these toxins evaporate, they can make their way into your body and can be harmful. I know this is a schlep, and green cleaning products are so much more expensive. But perhaps this small investment will keep you from ending up in the doctor’s room or even hospital (and that might be even more expensive).
- Ban plastic. Plastic is not only harmful for the beautiful marine life and other animals, but it is also really bad for our own health. Heating food in plastic containers has been linked to cancer, brain damage, fertility problems, and diabetes. It’s best to reheat your food in glass, ceramic, or porcelain.
- In the Kitchen. If you are restocking your shelves, be sure to replace your non-stick pots and pans (chemicals can leach into the food as you cook) with cast iron and stainless steel ones.
- Set bugs free. Rather than pulling out the Raid for pest control, try capturing bugs and putting them outside to go along their merry way 🙂
- Garden organically. Feed your gardens naturally with compost of lawn, spent plants, and even food scraps (not meat, oil, or dairy). Pull weeds rather than spraying them with harsh chemicals.
- Be quiet. Every day, we are bombarded by sounds— leaf blowers, lawn mowers, car alarms, barking dogs, traffic, airplanes, and so much more. Noise can impact our health by affecting our sleep, mood, and stress levels. Noise raises our blood pressure and heart rate, causes hormonal changes, and can cause headaches and anxiety. Make an effort to take a break from the noise you can control. Turn the television and radio off and enjoy the silence. For the noise you can’t control, wear earplugs.
We don’t have control over many of the toxins we encounter outside of our home, but we do have a fair amount of control of what happens inside of our homes. What steps can you take to make your home more of a health haven and less of a toxic zone?