An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We all know the old truism, and it probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that it’s just as true for detoxification as it is everywhere else.
After all, in an ideal world our bodies’ natural daily detox protocols are be more than enough to maintain a healthy, non-toxic state. For millennia, in fact, that’s exactly what happened! Human beings primarily consumed clean, whole-foods diets and lived in environments comprised mostly of clean natural substances. Certainly there were plenty of virulent infectious diseases, horrific accidents, and other grievous assaults on life and limb. But nutrient-dense diets paired with relatively low levels of environmental toxins meant that people’s automatic detox processes were generally sufficient to fully clear their system every day and prevent toxins from ever building up in the body.
Today the exact opposite is true: people eat imitation food-like products all but devoid of nutrition, and live surrounded by toxic substances at every turn. We drink water saturated with fluoride, sleep in rooms lined with perpetually off-gassing paint and carpet, and eat food contaminated with plastic leeched from storage containers and cling wrap.
I’ll be honest: environmental toxins are one of the scariest rabbit-holes I’ve encountered. Once you start realizing just how many toxins permeate the substances you come in contact with every day, you quickly and almost inevitably feel engulfed, helpless, and hopeless. Cleaning up your life appears impossibly complicated, time consuming, and expensive. But there is hope!
Today, rather than toss you off the cliff into paranoia and depression by talking about all the nasty toxins in your life, I’d like to focus on some easy, inexpensive ways to reduce the toxins in your home:
1. Choose non-toxic cleaning products. The instant my husband and I brought home our first puppy, I became paranoid about how I cleaned my floors. I switched to DIY recipes using Castile soap, vinegar, and water, and never looked back. These days, there’s an abundance of great (and easy) options. Looking to get started? Do a Pinterest search for DIY recipes, pick up some Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products, or browse the plethora of cheap or free kindle books on the subject for inspiration.
2. Store food in glass containers. I use mason jars (with these awesome lids), which maximizes my use fridge space and eliminates leaking and precarious stacking. (Why is it that the one container you need is always at the bottom of a giant stack, just waiting for an excuse to turn into an avalanche at the slightest provocation?) You can also use Snapware and other pyrex-style glass containers with BPA-free lids. (Tip: If you often microwave food in it’s storage container, this is a particularly high-impact option for you!)
3. Use low-VOC, chalk, or milk paint when decorating. The vapor from finishes on walls and furniture last longer than you think and can be rough of your body. Thankfully there are a ton of great (and stylish) alternatives these days! You can find low-VOC paint anywhere paint is sold. Chalk paint and milk paint (and associated tutorials) are readily available on-line in a myriad of colors. (There’s a great explanation of the pros, cons, and differences here.)
4. Buy used stuff. Believe it or not, this is a great way to lower your exposure to environmental toxins. Off-gassing of toxic materials is strongest when products are brand new. Things that you buy used have usually already done the majority of their off-gassing, and will be less toxic (and cheaper!) than their factory-direct counterparts.
5. Pass on dry-clean only clothes. The dry cleaning process is heavy on chemicals, and clothing worn right next to your skin puts you in extended, intimate contact with those unwelcome toxins. Switching to wash-and-wear clothing can benefit both your health and your wallet!
Of course these are just a handful of my favorite options – there are dozens of others. No matter where you start, remember – removing or reducing environmental toxins lowers the burden on your body and helps improve your health, even if you change nothing in your diet or exercise habits!
Have you taken any intentional steps to reduce your home’s environmental toxins? I’d love to hear where you started and why!