In honour of World Environment Day I want to share with you some tips you can use to reduce your environmental toxic load to optimize your health and the health of your family. The following are recommendations I frequently make to patients who are interested in living a healthy lifestyle and making their work and home environment a 'green' living space.
1. Eliminate plastic from your life - use reusable bags for groceries, glass or metal containers for packed meals, avoid reheating plastic containers, and recycle plastic when you do encounter it. I personally like to re-use glass food containers, for example, I clean out and reuse spaghetti sauce glass bottles for lunches and smoothies.
2. Compost and recycle as much as you can. If you already do this, amazing, but if you're new to composting or perhaps even recycling you can find a complete guide for what you can put in the compost and what is recyclable here: https://www.ajax.ca/en/livinginajax/garbagerecyclingcomposting.asp
3. Get rid of aluminum foil!! More research is coming out linking the use of aluminum foil to chronic degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Instead of aluminum foil opt to use wax paper when necessary.
4. Cook with cast iron or clay. Similar to aluminum foil, conventional cookware is lined with toxic materials that accumulate in the body over time and have been linked to diseases such as cancer. Cooking with cast iron has the added benefit of providing us with a source of iron which helps build up our red blood cells. Low iron levels can contribute to fatigue and tiredness.
5. Make your own cleaning products. There are a ton of ideas online for making your own cleaning products for your home. Check out http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-diy-green-cleaning-recipes-141129 for ideas.
6. Reduce bodily toxins/pesticides by buying organic foods. For a list of foods with the highest pesticide/toxin levels check out the dirty dozen and clean fifteen, and buy accordingly: https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/foods-you-should-always-buy-organic/
7. Change the furnace filter in your home at least once per season. This helps to reduce dust in the home, providing cleaner air, and aids in reducing allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma.
8. Add some plants to your environment, not only do they look good, they can make you feel better too. Check out these 9 plants that purify the air: https://greatist.com/connect/houseplants-that-clean-air
9. Use environmentally friendly cosmetics and body products. Check out safecosmetics.org to find out what is in your products, and then madesafe.org to find products that are safe for you and your family.
10. Quit smoking. It's an obvious one. Cigarettes are filled with toxins that are directly ingested. Not only is smoking harmful to you, secondhand smoke harms those around you and smoking is not good for the environment (think about the litter cigarette butts create and the toll it has on our environment). If your thinking about quitting smoking but don't know where to start talk to a naturopath about your options.
There you have it, my top 10 recommendations for living green and reducing environmental toxins. Have a suggestion about how you like to reduce toxins? Feel free to share in the comments!