5 Smart Swaps for Non-Toxic Living in 2016

Every day, we’re exposed to toxins, from our food, water and air! Did you know the average woman wears 168 chemicals on their bodies DAILY in just their beauty products? Yep, there are 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety! Scary stuff.

The liver, gut, skin, kidneys and lungs work overtime each day to detoxify our system of all these various pollutants.While we can never be truly 100% non-toxic, there are some easy steps we can take to make their jobs easier.

In our household we already conscious about making choices for a non-toxic lifestyle, like avoiding artificial air fresheners, scented laundry detergent & highly toxic pest control sprays to name a few. We’ve replaced 90% our chemical-laden household cleaners in favor of plant-based ones like Mrs.Myers or I make them myself with a few basics like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. We use natural remedies first before immediately filling a prescription for an antibiotic or other meds with artificial sweaters, dyes and questionable ingredients that don’t support healing. We get our sleep so our bodies can repair during the night.

We’ve come along way from even 1-2 years ago! It’s all about baby steps that add up into a lifestyle with fewer chemical exposure. Below are my goals for further reducing our harmful chemical exposure in 2016.

Leave shoes at the door

A study from a professor at the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of a shoe (including E.Coli and C.Diff ) and 2,887 on the inside. Herbicides, pesticides, animal fecal matter (or human from public bathrooms…) all make their way indoors and all over your house, your couch, your rugs! Not to mention regular old dirt and grime. I’d like to designate a shoe drop spot by the garage door for keeping “outside” shoes out and changing into “indoor shoes”. I just got these super comfy slippers to shuffle around in the house and they even have a shoe-like bottom so I can step out on the deck or on the front porch without getting my socks wet or dirty! Another helpful item is a box of wet wipes by the door for wiping the paws of furry family members after walks around the block.

Whole house water filter

I’ll admit I still have quite a bit of research to do on which water filtration system is the best, and I’ll be sure to update you when I have found it. But I’m sure everyone could agree that any water filtration is better than no filtration. Heavy metals, chlorine, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticide/herbicide runoff and harmful bacteria are just some of the contaminants found in tap water, even at low levels. Daily exposure certainly adds up and as someone with existing thyroid and metabolic issues, I don’t want to create any extra “fight” for my body.

Skip commercial meat

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but vetting out the right farmers for each grass-fed, grass finished beef & pastured pork and chicken on non-GMO feed has been tough! Grass-fed is important to me because “grass-fed products are rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats that have been linked with disease.” (source) Same for eggs. Have you seen a conventional egg next to a pastured chicken’s egg? The light yellow versus bright orange is dramatically different! I’d also rather buy from a farmer who doesn’t use antibiotics on his animals since that gets passed on to those eating the meat. Antibiotic resistance is a serious thing and not only is it unnecessary exposure but it can contribute to gut bacteria imbalance which can cause illness.

Grass-fed end products are not only healthier for us to eat, but the animals live healthier lives too. I’d much rather spend a lot of my day clucking around, eating bugs and grass as nature intended, than smashed up next to my neighbor, sitting in our collective filth and panting under the weight of my artificially enlarged body. How cruel. As a society we’re so disconnected with where our food comes from and how it gets treated that it’s easy to eat chicken nuggets with a side of steaming denial. I can tell more people are wanting more transparency though so hopefully public demand will create positive change in the factory farming system.

We’re lucky to have many options where I live for farms and co-ops. My goal is to source and start supporting farmers I trust within the next 2-3 months. The best pricing is usually to buy in bulk and thankfully we have a deep freezer we’ve used for a few years. It’s been invaluable for taking advantage of the wild Alaskan salmon runs at Costco and cook-ahead and freeze meals. Totally recommend getting one if you have the space! 

Buy more indoor plants

If you ask my husband, he would say I have a black thumb! But I have kept a certain snake plant alive for going on 4 years now and that’s something, right? Indoor air is usually more toxic than outdoor air and one easy and pretty way to combat that is by using plants. Indoor pollutants like “formaldehyde, VOC’s, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, pesticides and disinfectants (phenols) and radon contribute to ‘sick building syndrome’, which causes symptoms ranging from allergies, headaches and fatigue through to nervous-system disorders, cancer and death.” (source)

Ok that last one might be a bit extreme, but a plant in every room is a nice way to bring some life to your environment while scrubbing the air of the nasties. Besides my forgiving Snake plant,  I love the vibe of a Butterfly Palm, or the big, fat fiddle leaf-esque leaves of the Philodendrons. Boston ferns remind me of my house growing up, and the rubber plant is another hearty choice.

Avoiding BPA and plastics

BPA, or bisphenol A, is an endocrine disrupter that is found in plastics and can leech into food when stored or heated. Much of what you now see on baby bottles and plastic containers now say “BPA Free!” which is a great step, but who knows what they replaced it with? I want to eliminate the concern altogether and stick with glass or stainless steel food storage. No more spaghetti sauce stained tupperware or weird lingering smells! We really like this Klean Kid Kanteen bottle for our son and these cute reusable snack bags for on the go.

Another non-toxic choice to avoid BPA is to buy frozen over canned produce, which have BPA in the can liner. As soon as a fruit or vegetable is harvested it starts to lose nutrients. Fruits and vegetables marked for freezing are allowed to ripen on the vine and then are frozen shortly after harvesting, keeping most of the nutrients in tact. They can be more nutrient dense than most fresh produce that was picked early and shipped thousands of miles! Most frozen veggies skip the added salt and preservatives that are sometimes added to canned foods.

I hope you find at least one of these ideas easy to implement in your own household.I’d love for you to share something that works for your family too!

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Toxins in our environment can have harmful effects on the body. Here are 5 smart swaps to reduce your exposure. | Foster Wellness Health Coaching www.letsfosterwellness.com