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Detoxify Your Space
Navigating a global pandemic has made us more acutely aware than ever before of the need to keep our spaces clean and free from harm. And as mindful as we need to be of specific germs and viruses, there are actually harmful toxins hiding everywhere in today's world. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, our bodies are constantly bombarded with bad guys, and the home is no exception. Clandestine contaminants lurk in our living spaces in our cleaners, cosmetics, cookware, and consumables, making us vulnerable to serious health concerns such as chronic inflammation, respiratory disorders, cancer and other ailments. There are no real warning labels to highlight "toxic" products, though, and most toxins are invisible to the naked eye.
Even stress can play a role in contributing to the body's toxic load. However, there is no need to get overwhelmed, or heaven forbid—stress! You can take many steps, both small and large, to detoxify your space without needing to be a green guru or DIY master. Breathe easy: you've got this.
As the seasonal shift takes us back indoors, reducing our toxic load in our homes can support our bodies and minds and keep us well. Here are some steps you can take in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom to move towards a cleaner, greener home.
A natural place to begin on the road to a toxin-free temple, what we put into our bodies directly impacts our overall health, immune system, weight, and mood. Cleaning up our diets can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to start noticing detoxification's benefits.
The Pantry. Stock your fridge and cupboards full of nutritionally dense foods and minimize the junk. You'll be reaping the benefits of a clean system in no time. Start by getting rid of processed foods containing trans-fats, glucose-fructose, and high amounts of sugar. Take a trip to the grocery store and load up on the following foods for a detox-friendly pantry:
- Complex Carbohydrates. Low-glycemic whole grains (for those of us not adhering to a low-carbohydrate diet), legumes (lentils, beans, peas), and colorful root vegetables, including yams and winter squash, are great fuel for your body.
- Quality protein. Put an emphasis on plant proteins (think tofu, lentils, nuts) and fish. Wild salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids, improving both your physical and mental health.
- Healthy fats. This includes omega-3 fats found in fish and cold-pressed flax oil, healthy monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil, as well as unprocessed nuts and seeds.
- Fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are not only loaded with vitamins and minerals, but they are also antioxidant powerhouses. Think brightly colored berries, like blueberries and acai berries, and dark leafy greens. Adding antioxidant-rich food to your diet will help your body fight harmful free radicals—they're basically your own personal wellness army.
- Spice up your life. Get yourself set up with a great, easy-to-access spice rack. A superb flavor enhancer, spices can really go the distance to strengthen your body's immunity and help fight inflammation. Some of the best detoxers out there are turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, milk thistle (for the liver), and ginger.
The Tools. How you prepare your food can be just as important as what you are eating. Start by getting rid of potentially harmful cookware, including Teflon pots and pans, which contain chemicals that may be ingested and inhaled when cooking. Stay on the safe side and opt for cast iron, ceramic, and stainless steel cookware instead. Another swap you'll want to consider is using glass or stainless steel Tupperware instead of plastic, which can leach into your food (especially if you are putting hot food in your containers).
Other helpful tools to have on hand are a juicer for the fruits and veggies (this potent juice extract is a great start if you don't have a juicer) and a good quality blender for delicious soups and smoothies. A crockpot or Instant Pot makes cooking whole grains, soups, and stews easy. These tools will allow you to more easily fit nutritious meals into your busy schedule.
Water Filtration. Getting a good water system in place will help you filter out the nasty chemicals and heavy metals that can come in through the taps. There are many great options in the marketplace today, including water pitchers with filters built-in (Brita is the most common brand) and water filtration systems that fit directly on to your kitchen tap available in a range of prices. Getting a water filtration system in place is an efficient way to cut off a steady stream of toxins while not breaking the bank.
Cleaning Products. Many of the cleaning products we commonly use in our home are chock-full of chemicals that promise to brighten and whiten our floors and countertops. Instead, these products fill our environments with dirty toxins. One major step you can take for a hazard-free house is to swap out chemical-laden cleaners for clean, green, grease-fighting machines. There are several fairly simple recipes you can look-up online for DIY cleaning products that will leave your home sparkling, safe, and smelling fresh (vinegar and lavender oil anyone?). However, if you don't have time to blend your own borax, a Google search for natural, eco-friendly, or green cleaning products will lead you to a cornucopia of non-toxic cleaners.
What we put on our bodies can be just as important as what we put in them. From lipstick to face wash, here are some tips to help you detox your bathroom.
Non-Toxic Lotions & Cleansers. Your skin is your body's largest organ, and those pores, well, yes, they are absorbent! This makes our skincare products prime candidates for a clean-up. Swap out any of your current shampoos, conditioners, skin cleansers, and face lotions for ones that are free from parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate, two of the most commonly used toxins in body care products. Also, look for brands that boast an all-natural list of ingredients. A good quality all-natural brand will do the job and, in most cases, leave you smelling fabulous.
Mineral-Based Cosmetics. Many cosmetics commonly available today are loaded with chemicals that might enhance our outer beauty but can hurt our inner beauty (aka our health!). Give your make-up counter an overhaul by opting for mineral-based, natural, and organic cosmetics. There are tons of brands today that make non-toxic products in all shades and styles, so you don't have to sacrifice your beauty routine for better health.
Showerhead Filter. The kitchen is not the only place for a water filter. A showerhead with a filter will remove chlorine and other impurities from your shower water. This not only decreases the number of toxins that make it on to your skin but will also leave your skin and hair feeling significantly softer.
Dry Brushing. Consider adding dry brushing to your bathroom routine. This ancient ayurvedic healing technique involves exfoliating your body and face with a dry brush before hopping into the shower. It helps to open up your pores by removing dead skin, giving the toxins a clear escape route. It also increases your body's circulation, further supporting its ability to keep you well.
Our bedroom is our sanctuary, where we begin and end each day. From the air we breathe throughout the night to the mattress we sleep on, here are some simple ways to turn your bedroom from a hazard to a haven.
Air Purifier. We spend at least 6 hours a night (8 if we're lucky) breathing the air in our bedroom. Though we can't see them, at any given moment, there could be many toxic particles floating through the air in this space. A high-quality air filter is a great investment that will remove large and microscopic particles from the air allowing you to breathe a sigh of (filtered) relief. In addition to an air purifier, houseplants are also fantastic for cleaning the air. Plants enhance your decor, but they also remove toxins that air filters cannot.
An Organic Bed. This can be one of the pricier moves you can make, but an organic mattress will last a long time and contribute to a 'good' good night's sleep. Organic mattresses are made from natural fabrics and fibers and are free from toxic chemicals, dyes, and other treatments. Conventional mattresses are commonly treated with various chemicals to comply with safety standards, including fire and mold regulation. However, these toxins can harm your health. Making the switch to an organic mattress will relieve your body of additional toxins, and the combination of cotton and wool are naturally good at regulating body temperature and moisture.
Essential Oil Diffuser. Essential oil diffusers are a natural way to enhance a room's scent and have several beneficial health effects, from purifying the air to calming the senses. Naturally derived from plants, some of the best oils to purify indoor air are eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, lavender, tea tree, and jasmine. Use any of these oils on their own or in combination. Try a fresh eucalyptus mid-morning on a Sunday, followed by a lavender or jasmine wind down at night.
Sleep App. The science is out: sleep is one of the most critical ways to detox our brains! That's right, sleep plays an essential role in the brain's natural processes for flushing out toxic waste that can cause neurodegeneration. As important as sleep is, it can be hard to shut off our minds so that we can shut down our bodies. Luckily, several sleep apps on the market are designed to help us slow down and float off into dreamland. If you're stuck for sleep, go ahead and try one out today.
A holistic approach to detoxification will not only enhance your overall well-being in a meaningful way but can also be a very enjoyable addition to your routine. After all, a clean home is a happy (AND healthy) home.
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