By Emily Countryman
Did the holidays take their toll on you? If you are like most Americans you gained weight this holiday season and if you are like 48 percent of Americans you are resolving to lose weight this year. That is a great resolution to make but what about the other health issues beyond weight? This year rather than just resolving to stick to a budget, read more, and of course lose weight, resolve to improve your health inside and out.
A few ideas to get you started are:
•Home products. Do you use harsh chemicals to clean, wash the dishes and do the laundry? Swap them out with safer organic or natural options. These are available at most grocery stores, and price is close to chemical-laden options. Start with your laundry soap and wash your sheets, you spend a third of your life there.
•Bath and Body. We are exposed to nearly 200 chemicals in our products from our typical morning routines. The skin is the largest organ in the body making absorption of these chemicals very high. Start by swapping out a few easy items from your daily routine, like your toothpaste or deodorant. If your products claim they are “natural” or safe, check the Environmental Working Group website to see where they rank with a chemical safety score.
•Make Up. There are many harsh chemicals in our makeup, nail polish and perfumes. Swap out some simple items like nail polish or a lipstick.
•In the Kitchen. A bit more costly but simple swap is moving to glass containers for foods. If you tend to have leftovers, storing them in glass containers is much safer than plastic – especially if you will reheat them the next day. The toxic chemicals in plastic leach into your food making it not so yummy the next day. •Swap your closet. Many stain-free and wrinkle-free clothing are made so by adding harsh chemicals to the material. While this may be a convenient item to have they usually contain formaldehyde, which is not so convenient for your body to deal with. With all of the claims on health and wellness products on the market it can be hard to know what to choose. If you are serious about making the switch to living a cleaner and healthier life spend some time studying the issue. If you don’t have time ask a friend to help. If you each tackle a topic you can get a few great solutions for each area you wish to improve. There is an overwhelming amount of changes you can make in your life and home to reduce the amount of chemicals you and your family are exposed to. It can be time-consuming and costly to do them all but if you pick one or two to focus on you will improve your health. Little by little you will be improving your overall health.
If you pick a few each month by this time next year you can have made enough small changes to address all aspects of the home and body.
Emily Countryman writes a monthly health column for this newspaper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org