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Put Your Home on a Diet!

September 08, 2015 by Beth Danowsky RD CLCwith 0 comments

DeathtoStock_Creative Community10Ladies and Gentlemen… Grab your trash bags, put on your aviator goggles and lace up your work boots. It’s time to put your house on a diet!

According to the EPA, one of the highest sources of environmental toxins is the air inside of our homes. No joke! The air we breathe, especially the air in our bedrooms, is likely toxic. Shocking? Yeah, it was to me too…

Products that we all know and love such as moth balls, carpeting, laminate floors, deodorants (air fresheners), plastic and foam rubber, insulation, dry cleaning, paint, gasoline, water, and cigarette smoke to name a few, are the top contributors according to Crinnion, 2011. Living in Hawaii makes other nasty toxins like mold a big issue too.  With the advent of better insulation for our homes that was mandated in the 1980’s, homes became even more toxic because there is less air flow due to more efficient insulation, leaving toxic by-products to linger even longer and reek havok on our health. I know what you are thinking…

Okay, maybe so, but is it really affecting me and my health? If you are suffering from hay fever, allergies, asthma, other respiratory issues, fatigue, auto-immune problems, heart disease, type II diabetes, IBS, excessive weight, and others, you could very well be affected. Even if you aren’t feeling the effects now, you may feel it down the road in a big way. Many toxins accumulate in the body and are considered “persistent”. These are the ones that really do damage and we suspect lead to cancer, dementia and other age related disease. The other toxins that are not persistent are still a problem because they contribute to the total load in your body making it more difficult to carry on other important metabolic processes like making energy. If that’s not a enough to convince you, maybe this statistic will strike a cord… Did you know that the average baby has over 200 chemical compounds that can be identified from the cord blood after birth! We don’t even have a chance living in the modern world…

Or do we?

We may not be able to control the toxins from the outdoor air we breathe, and we may not be able to choose where we live but there are things we can do inside our homes and with our diets to lower the total body burden of chemical toxins so we have more of a chance and leading a healthy and productive life. I discussed some of the ideas for reducing toxins in our diet in a previous article, so I would like to shed some light on what you can do to literally put your home on a diet as a way to improve and better your health. Even if you can change one thing a week, you are doing your body and your world a great deal of good. Small changes really do add up.

Okay, well it’s finally time to evict the hidden enemies! Grab a piece of paper and a pen. It’s time to take some notes!

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HOME DIET GUIDELINES

  • Do you use pesticide sprays for the home and garden? If so, stop and discard them safely.
  • Do you have scented candles in the house? Dispose of them and switch to essential oil diffusers or candles made with essential oils.
  • Do you use air fresheners in the house (i.e. Glade plug-ins, Airwick)? Dispose of them.
  • Do you use scented dryer sheets or laundry detergent? Switch to unscented.
  • Do you use aerosol sprays in the house? Switch to nonaerosol sprays (such as pump-action sprays).
  • Do you cook with Teflon or aluminum pans? Dispose of these and invest in stainless steel or cast iron.
  • Do you use powerful household spray cleaners in the home like Clorox? Replace with vinegar, baking soda, or other safe cleaners.
  • Do you use soap scum cleaner for your shower? Use a squeegee to clean the walls after each shower so you don’t need to use these powerful and harmful solvents.
  • Do you wear cologne or perfume? Look for natural fragrances that do not contain solvents and other chemicals.
  • Has there been water damage in your house? Immediately call a professional and have your home checked for mold.
  • Is your water supply treated with chlorine? Install chlorine filters on your showers (available at hardware stores).
  • Has it been longer than three months since you changed your furnace filters? I know not a problem in Hawaii but if you are on the mainland, I recommend replacing them with pleated filters MERV 7-9.
  • Are you planning on painting? Buy chemically safe paints.
  • Do you have gas appliances? Consider eventually replacing them with electric.
  • Do you have particleboard furniture in your home? Remove it and start looking for replacements made with real wood.
  • Do you have wall to wall carpeting? Remove it and consider replacing with tile, real wood flooring or stone.

This list just gets the conversation started and probably feels a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it? If nothing else, I hope this list got you thinking… If that’s all it did, then I have accomplished my goal. If you are curious and want to learn more about how to clean up your diet and your life from all the toxic nonsense, I highly encourage you to check out this book: Clean, Green, and Lean by Dr. Walter Crinnion. He is a leading expert in environmental health and has made a great impact in the lives of those suffering from issues that modern medicine can’t seem to touch. His philosophy is to find the root cause of the issue, rather than trying to cover it up symptoms with medication. It’s only one piece of the puzzle but the idea of treating the WHOLE person as opposed to the HOLE in the person is the new frontier in medicine… Jump on the bandwagon while it’s still available.

How do you plan to reduce toxic exposure in your home? What have you already done and what do you plan to do next? 

References:
Crinnion, W. (2015). Indoor Air Pollution. UWS Lecture.
Crinnion, W. (2010). Chapter 6 Your Home on a Diet. Clean, Green, and Lean (pp. 118-146). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Beth Danowsky, MS, RD, LD

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