1) Filter your water
Did you know that led, copper and other heavy metals are often present in your tap water? Add chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, chemicals (such as BPA and triclosan), bacteria, parasites and other contaminants and it’s a good idea to use a filter. The easiest way to start is with a water filter jug that sits on your bench top. It’s cheap and convenient. I recommend Ecobud’s Gentoo water filter jug but there are many others out there. Make sure it removes fluoride (amongst other things), as fluoride kills bacteria in the gut…the good and the bad. Alternatively look to install a water filter system in your kitchen (and showers) and find out exactly what it removes from the water. Reverse Osmosis filters are a popular system but always do your research.
2) Avoid plastic where possible
Avoid nasty chemicals seeping into your food by replacing plastic where possible with glass, steel or ceramic containers. No need to chuck these containers out. Use these instead to store your kid’s goodies in like Lego, crayons and other crafts. In particular never reheat food in plastic containers in the microwave. This way you keep the nutrients intact and stop harmful chemicals leaching into the food more easily. I recommend gently reheating food in a saucepan on the stove or use the oven for larger meals. Remember to avoid plastic bottles of water too.
3) Get savvy on additives
Start making better choices for you and your family. Simply get the Chemical Maze App on your phone so that you can find out which chemicals to avoid for food produce as well as personal care items and cleaning products. You’ll be horrified to see what’s really in the stuff we’re eating and using. If you’re very interested in this subject I highly recommend you watch the ‘Human Experiment’ documentary (with your partner so you have them on board too). You can rent it online or its available on Netflix.
4) Avoid canned foods where possible
Most canned foods contain chemicals in their linings like BPA, aluminum and preservatives. Especially those foods that are very acidic which will leach more of the chemicals (more like they’ll stew in the toxins) such as canned tomatoes, tuna in lemon, etc. For tinned tomatoes I replace these with blending my own tomatoes in a food processor or buying passata in glass jars (which is just crushed tomatoes). Nowadays you can buy sardines, salmon and other typically tinned fish in glass jars, or go fresh instead. If you need to resort to cans ideally chose organic produce in tins that are BPA free. Saying that manufacturers are using a different chemical to BPA but apparently it’s just as toxic. So try to avoid in general especially for very acidic produce.
5) Say no to receipts!
Nearly all paper receipts are coated with BPA and this carcinogenic chemical quickly enters the blood stream as soon as you touch it. The quantity is highly concentrated, often more so than food packaging and plastics! Especially keep them out of reach from little hands that go straight in mouths.
6) Swap out the antibacterials
In 2014 the FDA noted that antibacterial products are no more effective than soap and water to kill of germs and could actually be dangerous. Most antibacterial soaps, hand santisers, wipes, cutting boards and all sorts of home items contain the chemical triclosan. This commonly found chemical can cause a number of health issues of which some are listed here:
- Has the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Being an endocrine disruptor, triclosan interferes with the body’s regulation of the thyroid hormone as it mimics the hormone once in the body, potentially leading to issues like infertility, artificially advanced early puberty, obesity and cancer.
- Can lead to health issues in children – evidence suggests that children with prolonged exposure to tricolsan have a higher chance of developing allergies and hayfever.
- They are really bad for the environment with high levels of the chemical recorded in the blood of sea life in the ocean as tricolsan gets washed down drains multiple times a day.
Using good old fashioned soap and water and cleaning products from quality natural ingredients is the way to go to reduce exposure.
7) Chose personal care products wisely
Your skin is the largest organ in the body and whatever you put on it enters the blood stream. Most perfumes, deodorants, creams, make-up, hair products etc contain toxic ingredients. Use the Chemical Maze app to make better choices and shop at your natural health food store or online. This applies as well to household cleaning products. Make safer purchases or even make your own! I love shopping at www.nourishedlife.com.au for some toxin-free buys.
8) No to air fresheners, plug-ins, sprays or fragrance
Synthetic fragrances use toxic chemicals that interfere with your wellbeing. The dangerous chemicals used can cause skin, eye and nose irritation, asthma, allergies, hormone disruption and even cancer. Open up the windows often and sprinkle a few drops of essential oils like lavender for freshness.
9) Ditch the non-stick
Teflon is found in non-stick cookware and contains some pretty nasty chemicals to make them slippery. When cooking food (especially on high heat) these chemicals enter our blood stream and can cause some serious health issues. If you’ve just bought a new set cook with them on low heat (i.e. no smoke comes from the pan) and over time replace them with ceramic and stainless steel options and don’t be afraid to use more healthy oils and fats when cooking.
10) Go organic where possible
Last but by no means least. Chose organic whenever possible. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list.
These are the foods that have the most pesticide residue and ideally should be bought locally and organically. Click here >>
These foods are ok to eat without having to resort to organic produce as they have less pesticide residue. Click here >>