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Detoxify your life and save the environment!
Natural, organic and eco-friendly products are all the rage at the moment and rightly so! Not only are they better for your health but the earth will thank you too. Researchers have found a strong connection between exposure to environmental toxins and serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, heart disease, respiratory and digestive diseases. So just what products and behaviours should you be investing in to make sure you, your family and the earth stay healthy? We've got your green gateway right here.
Diet and exercise
- Ride a bike or walk. Instead of using your pollutant-producing car, walk or ride to your destination. It's good exercise and great for the environment. At the very least, take public transport. Driving a car for a year produces 95,000 pounds of global warming pollution.
- Exercise outdoors rather than in a gym. The fresh air is better for your lungs and you'll save harmful carbon dioxide emissions by ditching the treadmill.
- Eat local and organic. Getting vegies from a farmer's market saves fuel because produce isn't transported long distances and organic farming keeps chemicals out of the soil and out of you. Head to your local Macro Wholefoods store.
- Don't use your microwave. Not only can the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of microwaved food alter into potentially cancer-causing free radicals, but microwaves are one of the worst enviro offenders.
- Eat less meat. Commercial livestock can be pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, which isn't good for you or the earth. Try and cut back to two serves a week and make sure it's healthy, organic meat.
- Stock up on chlorella powder. As far as foods go, chlorella is almost perfect. It's a simple single-cell algae plant that will detoxify your liver, cleanse your bowel and eliminate heavy metals from the body, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, pesticides, insecticides. Put it in a drink.
- Turn off power points you don't use regularly, especially those around your bed. It will save electricity and brain cells.
- Let natural light in. Sunlight releases good endorphins in the body, making you feel happier and boosting your immune system. It also means you won't be using internal lights as much.
- Use safe cookware. Research shows that when heated, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces emits fumes that can make people sick. If you can afford to replace your non-stick cookware, do so with stainless steel, gastrolux cookware or cast iron.
- Drink and bathe in filtered water. Taking a shower in chlorinated water allows the chlorine to go into your bloodstream. You can purchase shower filters from hardware stores that easily attach to your shower nozzle it'll save water as well!
- Avoid plastics. Store food in glass jars, it's better for you and the environment.
- Use natural cleaners. Seventh Generation, Ecologic and Howard Naturals are all great non-toxic cleaning brands but you can also use everyday household things like vinegar. Add it to some water to clean windows, bench tops and floors. Baking soda and water will also do your sinks and tiles and lemon in water will do windows. A great book for natural remedies is Organic At Home, (Murdoch Books $34.95).
- Don't dry-clean your clothes. Many places use a chemical called Perc that may be linked to cancer and reproductive damage. Only dry-clean clothes you absolutely have to and ask for no plastic wrap when you pick it up.
- Go for organic cotton clothes and vegetable dyes. They're great for people with sensitive skin and have no pesticides and less chemicals. Also make sure to wash clothes in cold water.
- Open your windows. Even in the most polluted cities, outdoor air has been found to be less toxic than indoor air. Aerate your house and dry clothes on a line rather than in a dryer it's better for people with allergies too.
- Know your terms. Products claim to be a lot of things but here's how to tell the good from the phoney. 'Natural': these products use natural ingredients but contain enough preservatives to prevent them from going off. Organic: unfortunately this term has been hijacked by marketing gurus and often means nothing. Certified organic: contains no sulphates, artificial fragrances or colours, chemicals, pesticides, synthetic detergents, petroleum by-products or genetically modified ingredients; and it's not tested on animals. In other words, a damn good buy.
- Go natural. As a general rule of thumb, use nothing on your skin that you'd be afraid to eat. Why? Products are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream just as if you'd eaten them! Miessence is one Australian company making a great range of all natural and certified organic skincare and make-up but there are many others. Ask at your local department store.
- Avoid hairsprays: Never use aerosols, they're toxic. Most hairsprays contain nerve gas and propane, the stuff that goes into your gas heater, and they damage the ozone layer.
- Use essential oils not perfume. Not only do some perfumes contain cheap alcohol which can irritate the skin, but they use synthetic chemicals which can cause cancer. Only spritz natural perfumes made from pure, organic essential oils. Essential oils come from just one source, a living plant!
- Do your research. There are thousands of DIY recipes for natural homemade facials, masks, body lotions and even shampoos and there are also great organic alternatives for just about everything from sunscreen to insect repellent. Search the Internet for ideas.
In summary, you don't have to change your entire life, but if you can try and do a few things every month, everyone will benefit!