Products to Use/to Throw Out

To Use

Ditch commercial products and make your own with this handy infographic as reference.

Ditch commercial products and make your own with this handy infographic as reference.

 

When you limit the amount of commercially-made products that you bring into your home, you not only cut down on costs at the grocery store but will keep you and your family healthier.  Below is a list of some common uses for seven household products.  Add some drops of carefully selected essential oils (like lavender, rose, or sweet orange) to any of them for extra pleasure!

Below are a few tips offered for your additional experiments and experiences.

  • Cut up old bath towels.  Reuse these as rags for cleaning your house rather than paper towels, which are expensive and contribute to 3,000 pounds of waste in landfills each day.
  • When you grocery shop, leave your list at home.  Instead, fill your basket with local, seasonal, and organic items that are on sale that week.  Once you have your fruits and veggies, you can start to plan what other items you might need for the week.
  • Stock up on staples when they are on sale.  Some ideas–look for jars of organic pasta sauce, condiments, and, frozen organic veggies or fruit.
  • Purchase things in bulk like quinoa, granola, beans, nuts, seeds, and dried herbs.
  • Cook up large pots ofgrains and beans then divvy them up smaller portions to freeze for later meals.  Staples that work well: quinoa, brown rice, black beans, and kidney beans.
  • Prep veggies on Sundays.  You can wash, chop, blanch or steam them.
  • Invest in a high quality blender. This will allow you to make your own nut butters, almond milk, oat flour, soups, dips, and smoothies.  Choose one with at least a 5 year warranty.
  • Limit the amount of beauty products you use daily. Keep your routine simple!
  • Go organic with your savings.

Do duckduckgo searches on any topic/item, for there is a plethora of invaluable information being posted.  Just be on the lookout for corporate trolls though.

To Throw Out ASAP

Check these sites:

http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners and http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

But items that are part of the “standard” of contemporary living—such as electronics and even your office chair—can also do more harm than good in the long run.

The list of offending items can certainly be made exceedingly long, but here I will list 10 everyday items that you’d be better off without.  A recent article in Time Magazine1 lists even more items you should throw away for better health.

splenda

#1 Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) trick your body into storing fat and raise your risk of diabetes.  If you are looking for health benefits, you are better off throwing those colorful little packets in the trash.

The same goes for any food or beverage containing artificial sweeteners, such as diet soda. Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain, artificial sweeteners also promote other more serious health problems, including heart attacks, stroke2,3,4 and Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the mechanisms by which artificial sweeteners promote obesity and disease is by disrupting your intestinal microflora.5,6,7,8  Specifically, artificial sweeteners alter metabolic pathways associated with metabolic function.

Decreased function has been observed in pathways associated with the transport of sugar in your body.  Artificial sweeteners have also been found to induce gut dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in otherwise healthy people.

#2  Plastic Food Containers and Bottles

Tossing your plastic food containers and plastic bottles is a basic step to reducing your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA), bisphenol-S (BPS),  and phthalates.

Your endocrine system as a whole is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.  These endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been linked to a wide number of adverse effects, including the following:

  • Reproductive health problems
  • Hypertension: According to one randomized, controlled trial,9 BPA from cans or plastic bottles can raise your blood pressure within just a few hours of ingestion
  • Reduced IQ in children10,11
  • Hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, and impaired learning
  • Cancer of the breast, prostate, and thyroid12

Heat, along with wear and tear through multiple washings, can increase the amount of chemicals being leached from containers and bottles.  Therefore, holding on to old containers is not a good idea.

While switching to BPA-free containers has an advantage, has been revealed that even “BPA-free” plastics can leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.

Your best bet is to avoid plastic containers altogether and to replace them with glass bottles and containers.  Also opt for glass baby bottles if you have young children.  Making the switch to glass eliminates having to figure out which plastic might be safer than another, only to later find out that it was not any safer.

#3 Non-Stick Cookware

To further clean up your kitchen act, toss non-stick pots and pans.  Replace them with ceramic or glass cookware.  The non-stick coating is made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which has been labeled a “likely” carcinogen by an independent scientific review panel that advises the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Although PFOA is a long complex name, it is essentially a complex chemical that relies on fluoride for its non-stick properties.  The problem is that, once you heat the pot or pan, the fluoride vaporizes into the air where it can kill small birds as well as harm you and your family.  Adding more fluoride into your body increases the chances of toxicity, especially if your water is fluorinated.  Bypass this unnecessary health risk by switching to ceramic or glass cookware that do not emit toxic fluoride.

refresh car

#4 Air Fresheners

Room deodorizers frequently contain 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP), a metabolite of 1,4-dichlorobenzene which has been linked to precocious puberty and other health problems,13 including cancer. Endocrine-disrupting phthalates are also commonly found in air fresheners and room deodorizers.

If you have issues with unpleasant smells, you woud be wise to address the root causes rather than masking them with chemical sprays.

Opening your windows and doors from time to time can help and will also improve the general air quality in your home or office.  If you want a scent, opt for high-quality pure essential oils which can actually support family health and well being.

#5 Antibacterial Soaps and Detergents

Routinely disinfecting your body and surroundings may actually cause far more harm than good in the long run.  Not only does it promote the development of drug-resistant bacteria, but also weaken any natural resistance.  Antibacterial compounds such as triclosan have also been linked to a number or harmful health effects, especially in young children.

For example, research has shown that triclosan can alter hormone regulation and may interfere with fetal development in pregnant women.  This antibacterial ingredient has also been linked to—

  • Allergies
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Weight gain
  • Inflammatory responses

Warm water and a mild soap is really all you need to safely eliminate disease-causing microbes.  Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that “there is currently no evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.”

Besides hand soaps and products specifically marketed as antibacterial, triclosan can also be found in a number of other household and personal care products, including cutting boards, toys, acne cream, and Colgate Total toothpaste—all of which are also best avoided.

One all-purpose disinfectant that works great for kitchen counters, cutting boards, and bathrooms—all places where germs like to grow—is 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.  Simply put each liquid into a separate spray bottle, then spray the surface with one, followed by the other.  In tests run at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pairing the two mists killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion, making this spray combination more effective at killing these potentially lethal bacteria than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.

swiffer_wetjet

#6 Commercial Cleaning Products

You can avoid quite a few hazardous chemicals simply by tossing those commercial cleaning products in the dustbin.  Every single one of them can be replaced with a short list of basic ingredients.  The above chart is a simple starter list of what you need to make your own natural cleaning products.  Include hydrogen peroxide, mixing bowls, microfiber cloths, and empty spray bottles.

Below is an informative video on how to use these ingredients and other tips for cleaning your home without hazardous chemicals.  For example, lemon juice is a natural whitener, vinegar and water makes an excellent window cleaner, and vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer.  Baking soda is also great for scrubbing your bath and kitchen.

 #7 Personal Care Products

Check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Toxic chemicals are very effectively absorbed via your skin.  Therefore, it may be time to clean out your bathroom cabinet to reduce toxic load. This is particularly important for women who tend to use several different consumer products on a daily basis.

Makeup is also a hidden source of heavy metals.  In the report Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup,14 Environmental Defense tested 49 different makeup items, including foundations, concealers, powders, blushes, mascaras, eye liners, eye shadows, lipsticks and lip glosses.  Their testing revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products:

  • 96 percent contained lead
  • 90 percent contained beryllium
  • 61 percent contained thallium
  • 51 percent contained cadmium
  • 20 percent contained arsenic

If you use conventional makeup on a daily basis, you can absorb almost five pounds of chemicals into your body each year15 — and that is without adding in body lotion, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and other personal care products!  To address this health-defeating cycle, switch to organic brands of toiletries and cosmetics.  As provided above, The Environmental Working Group has a great database16 to help you find personal care products that are free of potentially dangerous chemicals.

Simplify your routine and make your own products.  A slew of lotions, potions, and hair treatments can be eliminated with a jar of coconut oil, for example, to which you can add a high quality essential oil for scent.

#8 Stale Spices

Herbs and cooking spices contain a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and help maximize the nutrient density of your meals.  On a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables.  Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have unique medicinal qualities. Four spices that are particularly effective at quelling inflammation are as follows:17

  1. Cloves
  2. Ginger
  3. Rosemary
  4. Thyme

Freshness matters, however.  If your pantry is filled to the hilt with old spice bottles, it may be time to refresh your stock.  Expired, stale spices also will not provide you with much flavor.  If your attempts at spicing up your meals have left you unimpressed, they may simply have gone stale.

# 9 Electronic Devices

While few would consider getting rid of their smart phones or computers, you would be wise to reconsider how you use all of your devices, and just how many you surround yourself with at any given point of the day.  Some kids, especially teenagers, tend to be surrounded by multiple electronic gadgets for hours at a stretch. I feel the evidence of long-term harm of EMF and wireless radiation is very clear, necessitating a prudent approach.

On May 31, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report admitting cell phones might indeed cause cancer, classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2B).18  The classification came in part in response to research showing wireless telephones increase the risk for brain cancer.  To reduce exposure, avoid continuously carrying your smart phone on your body and keeping them on in your bedroom when you sleep.

Tucking it into your bra or pocket may be convenient now, but it is an open invitation for health problems down the road.  Now consider its inconvenient up front!  It is important to realize that, as long as your cell phone is on,  it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.   Wearing a cell phone on your hip for 15 hours a day is giving that area of your body nearly continuous radiation exposure.  For more tips on how to reduce exposure, please see my previous article “Heavy Cell Phone Use Can Quadruple Your Risk of Deadly Brain Cancer.”  Also consider unplugging from your digital life from time to time to “smell the roses.”  As noted by Time Magazine,19

“Mounting research indicates that information overload—what happens when you use smart devices constantly—is linked to depression and anxiety. Recent studies suggest that this is particularly true for people who are overly attached to their smartphones and tablets, and for those who use multiple devices at once (which experts call media multitasking). Power down and stow your devices in a drawer at least a few times per week to give your brain a break‚ ideally on a set schedule (for example, weekdays after 9 p.m. or weekend mornings before noon).”

#10 Your Chair

While I placed this last, mounting research clearly reveals that your chair may actually be one of the most dangerous items to have around for your health.  Prolonged sitting has repeatedly been shown to be an independent risk factor for chronic disease and early demise, even if you exercise regularly and are very fit.  That is right:  exercise cannot undo the damage caused by hours of daily sitting, just like it cannot undo the harm done by smoking.

Along with obesity, sitting is the new smoking, increasing your risk for lung cancer by more 50 percent.20  Who would have guessed that sitting is far more dangerous than second hand smoke? Sitting has been found to increase your risk of death from virtually all health problems,21,22 from type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to cancer and all-cause mortality.  And, the less you exercise, the more pronounced the detrimental effects of sitting.

What’s the solution?

Stand up as much as possible.  A standing desk is one option. Barring that, make sure you stand up at regular intervals during work hours. For a number of other tips and tricks, see my previous article, “Tips for Staying Active in the Office.”  As a general rule, if you have been sitting for one hour, you have sat too long.  At bare minimum, avoid sitting for more than 50 minutes out of every hour. If you do not already have a fitness tracker, it may be money well spent to get one.  I recommend aiming for 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, over and above any exercise regimen you may have.  I was probably doing 2,000 steps a day prior to using a fitness tracker, and now I am up to about 15,000 steps a day or about eight miles.

For many, simply getting and staying out of your chair is a first step that can bring you closer to a healthier lifestyle.  As you become more used to low level, non-exercise activity, you are more likely to get motivated enough to start exercising more vigorously.

Source:  Healthy Holistic Living

 

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From a Yellow Canary of the 21st century, living in our disabling biosphere

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