Safe to say, everyone wants to be healthy. In addition to the classics like diet and exercise, another way to enhance health is by decreasing your daily toxic load and minimizing exposure to the chemicals that can contribute to illness and disease. When you take steps to decrease your chemical burden, resilience increases, organs begin to improve their capacity to endure and respond to stress and overall health improves. Below is the Swift Fix 6, my favorite fast, effective and easy-to-implement ways to start reducing exposure today. So let’s start slashing:
- No shoes in the house.
Take a tip from the Japanese and those with delicate wood floors: go barefoot or wear slippers inside your home. Take it a step further and ask guests to do the same. The no-shoes-indoors rule will minimize the amount of dirt, lead, pesticides and yes, even fecal matter that all those shoes can track into your home. When I started doing this years ago, visitors used to think it was a bit eccentric, but now it’s second nature. Everyone just automatically takes their shoes off when they arrive and nobody bats an eye anymore.
- Let go of the heavy cleaning artillery.
In other words, switch from conventional cleaning products to greener ones. Caustic cleaners that envelop you in a cloud of toxic fumes should have no place in your home – they’re simply too harmful to your body and the earth. Make the switch over to earth-friendly cleaning products or blend up you own. Try replacing bleach with vinegar, bathroom tile “scrubbing foams” with baking soda and use hydrogen peroxide to remove stains. Switch to vegetable-based liquid soaps for dishes and general cleaning.
- Downsize your carpeting.
Luxurious as it may seem, wall-to-wall carpeting tends to “off gas” fumes and chemicals that can add to your body’s total toxic load, so consider getting rid of it. Replace the old school, wall-to-wall with natural fiber wool or cotton rugs, hardwood floors or ceramic tiles. Can’t imagine living without wall-to-wall? Then look for eco-friendly wall-to-wall carpets made without petroleum products or toxic chemical finishes and insist that your installer uses non-toxic glues, adhesives, stains and sealers.
AT THE OFFICE:
- Improve your air quality.
Invest in a portable air cleaner/purifier to help reduce the toxins floating ‘round your office cube and enable you to breathe a bit cleaner. If you’re lucky enough to have a window, open it often to help circulate the fresh air. If possible, sit as far away from the copy machine as possible to reduce exposure to airborne particles. Can’t sit further from the source? Then ask the office manager to move it to a less densely populated part of the office.
- Use green plants as natural air detoxifiers.
If you’re sitting all day long in an office full of off-gassing wall-to-wall carpeting, upholstery, drop-ceiling tiles, copy machines and computers, you might consider investing in a few office plants to help hoover up the toxins. Even one lone potted plant can help clean up roughly 100 square feet of space. Which plants clean best? See the NASA list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_air-filtering_plants), which includes classics like spider plants, English Ivy, rubber plants and Boston ferns.
- Side-step toxic co-workers.
Emotional pollution is as harmful as environmental contamination. You can have a great corner office or job you love, but an office full of angry or hostile co-workers can drag you down and make for a toxic work environment. To combat the bad vibes, make an effort to cultivate relationships with upbeat co-workers, give the toxic ones a wide berth and take time for yourself with a head-clearing lunchtime walk, workout or meditation session.