Finding out there are chemicals hiding everywhere can be ridiculously overwhelming and scary. When I found out how they can impact my health and the health of my children, it just made me mad. There are literally chemicals everywhere that can wreak havoc on the body resulting in symptoms like weight gain, headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, allergies and even more serious fatal health conditions. In today’s world, we have the known chemicals from air fresheners, standard paints, scented laundry detergent, commercial cleaners, chemical body care products and perfumes. There is also a huge amount of mostly unknown chemicals coming from furniture glue, flooring materials, flooring glues, pesticides on carpets and fire retardant sprays in couches and mattresses. Then we have my least favorite kind of chemicals… the sneaky everyday kind like unadvertised scented garbage bags, bpa in receipts, plastic lined disposable coffee cups, pesticides in tea and triclosan in hand soap, mouthwash and cosmetics. These are just a few examples of chemicals that we are all exposed to on a regular basis. Once you find out all this info you have a few options. You could just freak out, stress out and secretly cry. You could just say “who cares” if it’s everywhere what can I even do about it. Or you could do what I try to do: Reduce exposure in the environments I have control over while introducing easy ways to help the body detox from inevitable chemical exposures.
Here are 6 things that you can do to help mitigate the effect that toxic chemicals could have on your health.
1) Throw out body care products that have chemicals and fragrances in the ingredients. In addition to our amazingly natural line, there are so many other really great natural body care companies out there that are totally chemical free. Some of the “big” brands that market themselves as “natural” aren’t quite as natural as you may think. Don’t trust any brand based on it’s name. Look at every product carefully and check the ingredients every time you buy it as companies are constantly bought out and ingredients are constantly changed. If you’re not sure about the safety of an ingredient, a quick google search on ewg.org can help you understand what it is, how much research they have on it and how toxic it may be to your body and the environment.
2) Get rid of the “New Home Smell” which is actually chemical off gassing. Look for zero VOC paints when you want to change up the color of your walls. Invest in a high quality air purifier if you are in a new home or have recently renovated and keep the windows open as much as possible. Furniture, paint and flooring will do most of it’s off gassing in it’s first 3 years. If you do want a new couch, buying a lightly used one online can actually drastically cut the amount of off gassing from glues, pesticides and fire retardants in your home. There are also some great plants like Aloe, Snake Plant and Dracaena that will help to remove toxic chemicals from the air while making your house look great.
3) Buy natural cleaning products or make your own with simple ingredients. You can do almost all the cleaning in your home with vinegar, essential oils and baking soda. Some awesome essential oils for DIY cleaning are Lime, Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Lavender, Cinnamon and Clove. If you’re not a Do-It-Yourself-er, Clean Conscious is a local YEG brand that makes amazing and effective cleaning products that are truly natural. You can find her stuff in some local Save-On-Foods. If she’s not in your Save-On, talk to the manager and ask if they can bring her products in- and ask for ours too while you’re at it.
4) Use diet and supplementation to support the liver. That means tons of greens! Spinach, kale and swiss chard are great in supporting the liver. Cilantro in your diet has been shown to bind to and remove heavy metals in the body. If cilantro tastes like soap to you, it could be a sign that you have quite a bit of toxic build up in your body. Dandelion greens and root (usually consumed as tea) are great for liver support and can help to strengthen the immune system. Chlorella and spiraling are algae that are also typically recommended for supporting chemical detox and are amazing superfoods rich in vitamins, minerals and even protein. You can add these powers to smoothies (try the local YEG company tripow) or you can take it in a pressed pill form (try prairie naturals). Milk thistle is another gentle supplement that can be used in conjunction with a healthy diet as a gentle detox and for liver support.
5) Sweat. Our skin is truly amazing! It has the ability to flush out toxic buildup in our bodies through our pores. You don’t need to be running 10k a day to make sure you’re getting an adequate sweat on for detoxification. Brisk walking, hot salt baths (salt will help to draw out impurities even more) and sauna’s are all great options. Ideally, you’d want to engage in some form of activity to get your sweat on daily so mix it up, go dancing on Saturday night, take a bath on Sunday, go for an evening walk on Monday, hit up a hot yoga class on Tuesday, find a sauna on Wednesday, etc.
6) Try skin brushing or lymphatic massage. Our lymphatic system is so important to our overall health. This system works in concert with our circulatory system and allows for optimal exchange and removal of toxic build up in the body. Trampolines and pogo sticks are making a comeback in the health sphere because of the research that’s coming out on how these things help with lymphatic stimulation and drainage. Although it sounds like tons of, hopping on a pogo stick may result in injury and isn’t very practical in our snowy climate. That’s where skin brushing or lymphatic massage can be equally beneficial. Stroking the body (including the scalp) with oil one body part at a time always working towards the heart can help to stimulate the lymphatic system and help the body in eliminating toxic chemical build up.
Focusing on the chemicals, where they are and how bad they are for your body will do nothing but cause you a ton of unwanted stress. Knowing what they are found in your environment is very important and I do encourage you to read and research more on your own, however, as you do, continue to focus on how to proactively mitigate your exposures. Buying an aloe plant is so simple, it will enhance the look of your home and it will actually help your air quality. Making time for salt soaks will help you decompress from your day while helping your body to gently detox from it’s daily exposures. And slowly switching your products over to natural ones will likely make your skin much better and your body less toxic. Be kind to yourself and take it one step at a time. Reach out to us or your hippie friend and ask questions if you feel confused or overwhelmed. A healthy home is a happy home.
Jay & Rae