Spring cleaning is taking on a whole new meaning. With warmer weather and sunshine quickly approaching, we often go into “spring cleaning mode.” We clean up our yard, open those windows and give the house a good scrubbing…but what about your health? The onset of a new season is a great way to rid yourself of what isn’t serving you, and tune into what is…out with the old, in with the new! Here are some of our favorite “spring cleaning” health tips.
A quick nutrition sweep:
- Swap out the dirty dozen for organic produce, and ditch your GMO crops. If you’re not completely sold on buying all your produce organic, start with the Environmental Working Group’s 12 dirtiest fruits and veggies. Each year EWG samples conventional produce and creates a list of produce with the highest pesticide content. Strawberries have historically been the highest, with over 20 different pesticide residues on a single strawberry! Why is this important? Pesticides cause cancer, and cancer rates are at an all-time high. Genetically modified crops (GMO’s) are even higher in pesticides! Corn and Soy are some of the most frequently genetically modified foods in the U.S. If it’s organic, chemical pesticides aren’t used, and strict rules against genetic modification must be met, so you can’t go wrong opting organic!
- Shop smart when it comes to animal products, or even better, decrease your consumption of animal products. Conventional livestock is injected with growth hormones, live in inhumane environments, and are frequently treated with antibiotics. Why is this important? Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in our healthcare world, and consuming antibiotics on a regular basis can also change the bacteria in your gut and cause a myriad of problems. Growth hormones such as rBGH and rBST increase something called IGF-1 in humans. Elevated IGF-1 is associated with an increased risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. In fact, men who consume 3 glasses of conventional milk daily have a 141% increased risk in developing prostate cancer! Best bet, go for plant-based milk such as almond, organic soy, or hemp milk. Eat grass fed-fed, organic produce. Cut back…eating just one plant-based, animal-free meal per day can help you maintain a healthy weight and eliminate high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease!
Polish up those personal products:
- Be on the lookout for phthalates and parabens. Found in many beauty products, these additives mimic the female hormone estrogen and disrupt the balance of hormones in humans. Why is this important? We’re talking reproductive abnormalities, early puberty, not to mention decreased sperm count and strong links to infertility in both men and women. Best bet, read labels. Look for anything ending in the word “paraben,” use “phthalate-free” products, use caution with fragrance, and avoid using plastics whenever in your daily life as much as possible.
- Clear out the carrageenan. This seaweed-derived thickener is added to many natural foods, toothpaste, plant-based milk and yogurts. Carrageenan can wreak havoc on the digestive system, as the immune system recognizes it as a bad guy, similar to Salmonella. This is particularly important for anyone with digestive disorders such a Crohn’s or Colitis, as it can cause ulcerations in the lining of the intestine. Remember, this stuff if in many “natural” products so read your labels carefully!!
Clean up those cleaning products:
- Ditch the bleach. Bleach, also called sodium hypochlorite, is a respiratory irritant and can increase the incidence of asthma and asthma attacks in both children and adults. Opt for safer options such as hydrogen peroxide, thyme oil, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon! In fact, studies have shown that thyme oil (thymol) is just as successful as bleach at killing common household germs!!
- Say goodbye to products containing formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing agents. Products such as Pine Sol, Comet and Simple Green contain agents that can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic. There are many green cleaning product lines, found at stores such as Whole Foods and even Target. Better yet, experiment with making your own cleaning products with some of the ingredients listed above!
Need some help springing into health this season? Our Whole Health Coaches can educate and motivate you, helping you quickly achieve your wellness goals! Click here for more information on our wellness coaching services and to book your free 15-minute consultation.