Confession: A mere 6 months ago I never thought about my family’s exposure to toxins. It just never really crossed my mind. Was I worried about all of us getting enough sleep? Yes. Was I concerned that my kids ate too much sugar? Yes. Did I think we all spent too much time staring at our phones? Absolutely. Was I worried that the water bottles we used at the gym, the beach or in school were leaching toxins into our drinks? Never gave it a second thought.
Then I was listening to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier in Hollywood. The hosts were interviewing Dr. Sara Gottfried author of Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. I will admit that vanity inspired me to both listen to the episode and to read the book. Because I know I’m getting older. I just don’t want to look it or feel it!
One of the issues addressed in the book is our exposure to toxins in our environment and our food. Alarms bells went off for me. Not only can exposure wreak havoc on our hormones and potentially cause cancer, but they can damage our brains, especially those of our children which are still developing.
Time for Change
For me and, therefore, my family, making small incremental changes seems to work better than drastic changes. I decided to make some small steps to start limiting our toxin exposure. And guess what? I’ll bet my family hasn’t even noticed!
Five Small Steps to Reduce Exposure
1.Ditch the plastic water bottles
With two active kids who play lots of sports, we have a collection of reusable plastic water bottles. I was always proud of myself for not buying cases of water and using the reusable bottles instead. Now, I realize that the plastic — even if it is BPA free — could be causing harm. I bought us each our own stainless steel water bottle.
2. Use fewer plastic storage containers
On Sundays, I prepare salads for my husband and me to take to work for lunch. I am gradually replacing the plastic storage containers with glass ones. It is a little more difficult for my husband since he takes the train to work and walks to his office. My plan is to add some lightweight stainless steel containers in the future. But I have been able to use the glass to store leftover food as well as my lunch.
3. Use more non-toxic household cleaners
I have definitely been guilty of going overboard on household cleaners that probably have polluted the air in our house. I joined Grove’s Collaborative and have been making an effort to purchase non-toxic cleaners. My goal is to make some homemade cleaners in the future.
4. Soy candles
I love scenting my home by using candles. The light, the scent….just makes the house seem homey. Buying candles is something I will do to treat myself. And, of course, I receive a lot as gifts. But did you know that paraffin and wax candles are polluting your home with toxic fumes? Yeah, neither did I. So, I’m weaning myself off of regular candles and using only soy candles for now. My ultimate goal is to use essential oils and an oil diffuser instead candles. Baby steps!
5. Buy organic meat and poultry
I admit that I can be frugal when it comes to certain things. I was shocked last year when I realized just how much money I was spending at the grocery store for a family of four. So when comparing the cost of organic foods to their non-organic counterparts, I had a hard time choosing the more costly version.
So I decided to focus on meal and poultry first. I also decided to automate my purchase as much as possible. Every two months I get a delivery of grass-fed, pasture raised beef and organic, free-range poultry from Butcher Box. I love the convenience and the quality.
Yes, there are still many more changes I can make to decrease my family’s toxin exposure. These five steps are just the beginning. This is the pace of change that seems to work best for us. What steps have you taken to reduce your toxin exposure? I’d love to hear any tips!