Over the last several months activists have been busy drudging up the cold, hard facts society must face – all the advancements made in technology and modern conveniences has contributed to an increase in dangerous environmental toxins. As a doctor, I have become increasingly aware of these additional threats to the health of my patients, as well as my own family.
That is why it is so important that we care the earth as much as ourselves. If the earth is well, it is likely that we will be well too. I tell my patients, ‘don’t just eat right, eat clean.’ Organic, whole-foods are best and shopping at the local farmers’ market if possible. I would even go so far as to be cautious with your choices in household cleaners. Lemon, vinegar and baking soda are equally as effective, less costly and non-toxic.
Toxic exposure runs deep – humans are exposed to toxins even before leaving the womb – studies have found more than 200 toxins in fetal umbilical cord blood. Toxic cosmetics, contaminated water sources and basic household products contribute to the decline of your health, including and especially, endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors cause dangerous hormonal imbalances, which can lead to metabolic disorders, fertility issues, cognitive impairment and cancer. This is why it is important to monitor your hormone levels throughout the lifespan and make lifestyle changes to inhibit exposure and improve hormone balance.
In honor of Earth Day (April 22), take the time to care for your health and the health of the Earth by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle:
- Go organic - Try to incorporate more organic foods into your diet and limit your intake of processed foods. You can find these products in health food stores like whole foods, but many grocery stores are making it very easy by offering more organic products and in some cases entire sections dedicated to organic goods. One tip I give my patients all the time as a rule of thumb for diet is “If it wasn’t considered food a 100 years ago, don’t eat it today – stay close to nature with whole foods.”
- Choose organic/all-natural products for your home & body – Stop using scented products found in lotions, perfumes and scented candles. They may contain parabens that can interfere with your hormones and liver. Instead, incorporate natural essential oils, soy-based candles and natural mineral-based cosmetics.
- Eliminate the Chemicals – Many of the household cleansers we use to keep our homes clean pose a wide variety of health risks including hives, asthma, hair loss, breast development (in men), facial hair growth (in women), liver damage and cancer. Natural cleansers work just as well and don’t contain toxic ingredients. Using products instead like lemon, vinegar and baking soda offer a safer solution and cost less too.
- Drink filtered water from BPA free bottles – Many companies have created BPA free plastic bottles, but to be certain or your safety and the safety of the environment, metal and glass bottles are becoming popular. You can protect yourself and the earth, by reducing waste and using non-toxic containers.
- Don’t microwave in plastics or unmarked containers - The FDA requires companies to mark containers that are suitable/ not suitable for microwaving. If a plastic container is marked “microwave safe,” the FDA required testing prior to the approval, however unmarked containers from restaurants should not be microwaved – this is true for glass, ceramic and paper containers as well (metal is not suitable for microwaving.) Some studies actually suggest that chemical migration from plastics can occur regardless of temperature change or exposure to microwaves, so you are better off storing foods in glass or ceramic containers.