It has been reported that on average, poison centers in America handle one poison exposure case every 14 seconds - that's more than two million people each year. Most often, in-home poisonings involve everyday household items including cleaning supplies, drugs (both legal and illegal), and even cosmetics and personal care products. But other poisons can creep into your home as well, including gases, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. This spring, don't just clean your home - detox it! Here are eight easy things you can change in your home environment that will make a big, positive impact on your health.
1. Filter indoor air. After months of being cooped up indoors, you probably can't wait to open up the windows and let a warm spring breeze "clean" the stuffy out of the house. Unfortunately, that means letting a barrage of allergens and environmental toxins blow through your home as well. Replacing your air filter frequently is one easy way to combat toxins and allergens in indoor air. Another is to add extra filtration with a portable air filter.
2. Use natural air fresheners. Instead of masking odors by using candles and air fresheners, which actually introduce more toxins into the air, try eliminating them using baking soda. To get that pretty smell you love, try naturally derived alternatives such as potpourri or essential oils.
3. Drink clean, use a filter. Chlorine is a common "cleaning" agent used in the treatment of tap water. Studies have shown that chlorinated drinking water can negatively impact the thyroid, immune system and even pregnancy, possibly increasing the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. Referred to as "the chlorine dilemma," a better large-scale cleaning solution for water has yet to be found. As it stands, the best way to reduce your intake of toxins from your drinking water is to purchase a filter. The Environmental Working Group's national drinking water database and filter buying guide can help you better understand the contaminants present in your tap water and choose the best water filter for you. At the clinic, we use Vollara to filter out the chlorine and fluoride. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about Vollara. Also, check out the 2 Pure H2O VitaTech Water System.
4. Give your cleaning supplies cabinet a makeover. While conventional products may disinfect, they also leave behind additional toxins that have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive and hormonal problems. EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning lists hidden toxins in cleaning supplies and provides information on how to read cleaning product labels. Try some non-toxic methods, such as using diluted vinegar for windows, and baking soda paste for scrubbing. EWG's DIY Cleaning Guide is packed with DIY recipes for non-toxic cleaners and can be yours for a small donation to the cause. Also, check out green-living expert Sara Snow's advice.
5. Ditch the plastic. Storing, cooking and freezing food in plastic containing petrochemicals such as #3PVC (commonly used in food packaging and plastic wrap) and Bisphenol A (BPA) (commonly used in hard plastics like tupperware, water bottles and baby bottles) can cause these chemicals to leak into your food. Studies have linked #3PVC and BPA to a number of health problems, most notably cancer, reproductive system damage, impaired brain development, liver dysfunction and impaired immune function. Not all plastics are created equal. When purchasing plastics, look for the resin identification number located in a triangle on the product. Opt for containers made of #1, 2, 4 or 5 plastics. Better yet, ditch plastics in favor of lightweight stainless steel or Pyrex glass containers. We drink our water and green juices from glass mason jars. Every morning, I peel one lemon and cut it into 4 sections and add it to my mason jar and fill it up with natural spring water. I keep refilling it and strive to drink 3 of these a day!
6. Truly clean your laundry. Laundry soaps, fabric softeners and dryer sheets, particularly those of the scented variety, are allergen and asthma inducing culprits. In fact, fragrances are among the world's top five allergens. Additionally, many softening chemicals, referred to as "quats," have antibacterial qualities, and overuse of such chemicals may cause the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. To reduce your family's exposure, choose free and clear laundry soaps. Skip fabric softeners and dryer sheets all together and substitute with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar per load during the rinse cycle. For the time being we use Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent.
7. Bathe in nature. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other body products often contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other health problems. The EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is an easy way to learn more about your personal care items and help you make less toxic choices in the future. In our shower, you will find Everyday Shea Lavender body wash as well as my favorite soap by Nubian Heritage in Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver. It smells divine. Both products you may find at Whole Foods.
8. Protect your grin. Most toothpaste sold in the U.S. contains fluoride. Proper usage instructions are often confused with advertising tactics, making the use of fluoride potentially very dangerous. In fact, the health risks associated with fluoride are so serious that the FDA requires a poison warning on every tube of fluoride toothpaste now sold in the US. Risks from ingestion include stomach problems, permanent tooth discoloration, skin rash, metabolism impairment and acute toxicity. The best solution to eliminating the risk of fluoride poisoning is to switch to a fluoride-free brand of toothpaste. If switching isn't an option, be sure to abide by the real rules of use and stick to a pea-size amount of toothpaste, and don't swallow. We interchange Kiss My Face Triple Action Whitening and doTerra's OnGuard Natural Whitening Toothpaste.
Quick Tips for Making Your Home Healthier and Greener:
- Decorate with air-cleaning plants. They will help cut down on seasonal allergies.
- Dilute cleaning supplies and use gloves when cleaning.
- Avoid “antibacterial” cleaners. Use soap and water instead.
- Remember, just because the word natural, or some other variation, appears on the container, it does not mean that the product is truly natural, much less toxin free.
Photo Credit. FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Poisoning and Toxicity. Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph. 2013.
Your Best Air Freshener Isn't An Air Freshener. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, EWG Senior Scientist. Environmental Working Group.
EWG National Drinking Water Database. Environmental Working Group.
Do You Filter Your Tapwater? Should You? Environmental Working Group.
Forgotten Toxics in American Water. Renee Sharp, EWG Senior Scientist and J. Paul Pestano, EWG Research Analyst. Environmental Working Group.
Chlorinated Tap Water Called Risk for Pregnant Women. San Francisco Chronicle.
Healthy Home Tips: Tip 9 - Use Greener Cleaners and Avoid Pesticides. Environmental Working Group.
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Environmental Working Group.
EWG Questions FDA Verdict on Plastic Chemical. Environmental Working Group.
Storing Food Safely In Plastic Containers. TheEcologist.org.
Adverse Health Effects of Plastics. Ecology Center.
Don't Get Slimed: Skip the Fabric Softener. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, EWG Senior Scientist. Environmental Working Group.
EGW’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Environmental Working Group.
There are so many great benefits to eating chia seeds. If you haven’t started already to incorporate them into your meal plans, here are some reasons why you should. Chia seeds are native to South America and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance, which can be tied to an increase in belly fat. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and are rich in antioxidants and minerals. Two tablespoons of chia seeds have 10 grams of fiber, 18% of the DRI for calcium, 35% for phosphorus, 24% for magnesium and about 50% for manganese. These nutrients help prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight. Chia seeds also contribute to feeling full and satisfied thanks to the combination of protein, fiber and their gelling action when mixed with liquids. Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains and are a great source of protein for vegetarians.
Chia Seeds Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet. Huffington Post.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. Healthy Eating.
For the past two months we have been making our own homemade version of the Synergy or Mamma Chia Kombucha-Chia drinks. Packed with protein, antioxidants, omega-3, fiber and minerals, this makes a great drink for post workouts.
In a 16 oz bottle combine:
Another recipe I really enjoy is Oh She Glows' Chia Fresca, you can check out here for the recipe along with many other amazing recipes.
A perennial shrub found throughout Europe and in parts of Asia and North America, the butterbur plant has broad leaves and lilac-pink flowers. The name comes from the traditional use of its large leaves to wrap butter during warm months. Traditionally, butterbur has been used to treat pain, headache, anxiety, cough, fever, gastrointestinal and urinary tract conditions. It has been used topically to help wounds heal, and modern studies suggest it may also be beneficial in treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies and asthma. It is recommended to avoid raw, unprocessed butterbur due to its potential for causing liver problems with long-term use. As with any herb, butterbur may interact with other herbs, supplements or medications, and it may also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies. Be sure to discuss butterbur with your Naturopathic doctor prior to use, to decide if Butterbur may be right for you.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. 2013.
Herbs at a Glance. Butterbur. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes extracted from pineapple. When taken on an empty stomach, these enzymes can help reduce inflammation, swelling and improve breathing. Although bromelain is commonly thought of as a digestive enzyme for proteins, studies show that it can help treat symptoms of sinusitis -- or sinus inflammation -- which can be brought on by seasonal allergies. It has been suggested that bromelain also helps reduce other symptoms of sinusitis such as cough and nasal mucus. Traditionally, pineapple has been used for centuries in Central and South America to reduce inflammation as well as indigestion. To work as a digestive aid, bromelain is taken before or after meals. In Europe, bromelain is used to treat sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose and throat surgery or trauma. Bromelain is taken orally and is available as a tablet or capsule, but be sure to check with your Naturopathic doctor before taking bromelain as it may interact with other supplements, herbs or medications.
Thinking outside of the box and applying therapy in the larger sense of the word, this month we discuss cleaning the air in your home as a way to relieve and heal disorders such as seasonal allergies.
While some plants cause seasonal allergies, it is also true that other plants will help filter the air of various allergens as well as harmful chemicals that invade the home.
Of course, these are only a few of the many air-cleaning plants to consider. When shopping for air cleaning plants for your home, be sure to note the lighting and standard temperature for where you will keep each plant, as these conditions can affect the growth and productivity of the plants. You'll want to match plants with both their location and conditions as well as the pollutants they filter.
If you're looking for a more modern option and prefer the convenience of a mechanical air purifier, remember that not all air purifiers are created equal. Many air filtration systems only clean the air of larger air particles but miss the ultrafine particles that account for about 90 percent of all airborne particles. These ultrafine particles come from motor vehicles, refineries, industrial plants and even cooking. They are easily inhaled and have been linked to asthma, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
We recommend the IQAir Cleaner Health Pro Plus, a HyperHEPA filtration system that has been proven and certified to filter up to 99.5 percent of all particles in the air, including ultrafine particles that most other filtration systems miss. As an added bonus, this air filtration system cleans the air in a four step process that produces no residual risky side effects such as dangerous ions, ozone or UV.
Whichever way you prefer to clean your air, all of these options will help, promoting better breathing and body functioning, leading to a healthier home and a healthier you.
My neighbor at work went out of town and asked us to take care of her Peace Lilies because they needed to be watered ever so often. I fell in love with them and they truly made us feel at peace. Later that week, we stopped by the nursery to purchase three of our own Peace Lilies to add to our IV room. They are lovely, serene, easy to care for and they notify you when they need to be watered because they will sag. Both resilient and forgiving, they perk up when they are watered. The Peace Lily is recognized by NASA for its air-cleaning properties and is on its list of top ten household air cleaning plants. It breaks down and neutralizes toxic gases like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide inside its pores. Click here to read about how to care for Peace Lilies. Not recommended for the home if you have cats or dogs.
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.