My recent visit to the pristine waterfalls located in untouched areas well off the beaten path in Hawaii had a big impact on me. It was so cleansing to swim in the waterfall pools and breath the incredibly clean air of the rainforests there. The pools were always cold, and I can never help but wonder what is in water that I can’t see to the bottom of (ask me one day about my crocodile story from Kakadu, Australia! 🙂 ), but I was always so grateful and glad to feel that slightly scary and exhilarating chill of just diving into the unknown! While I’ve always been very conscious of living as chemical-free and clean a life as possible, being exposed to that ultimate clean environment really brought this topic to the forefront of my mind.
LA is not exactly known for its clean air… but living on the ocean here in Santa Monica and having more space definitely feels healthier- heck I even have lemon trees in my yard!
There is an estimated 80,000 chemicals in the market and in products in the United States, and what is really scary is that companies aren’t required to do any safety testing on these chemicals. It is tempting to reason that our exposure to these chemicals in certain products are so small that it can’t really hurt us. But the truth is that when we combine multiple different chemicals from many different sources, we can create toxic overload in our body, which can affect our body and prematurely age us.
Here are a few of the practices that I personally adopt to help keep reduce toxicity in my body:
1. Use a shower filter. There are an estimated 314 pollutants found in tap water, including arsenic, vinyl chloride, chlorine and benzene. When you take a hot shower your pores open up, thereby allowing some of these chemical compounds to enter your body and bloodstream. I’m so sensitive to non-filtered shower water that when I got to LA I could literally smell the chemicals on my skin— that is until I installed my shower filter a week after I moved in. Highly recommended!
2. Don’t wear your shoes in the house! My mother never allowed shoe-wearing in our house growing up, so it always seemed normal to me to take my shoes off upon entry. My friends know that they can’t walk past the first doormat in my NYC apt without taking their shoes off- otherwise they get the stink eye from me! The Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC claims that the majority of dirt, pesticides and lead found in your home are brought in from the bottom of your shoes! EW!! It is even more gross if you throw yoga mats down and play all over the floor, the way I do. I always wear my super comfy open-toe white cotton slippers at home!
3. Don’t wear perfume. I love great smells just like the next gal, but I haven’t worn perfume in at least 6 years. 95% of the chemicals used in perfumes are synthetic and petroleum-based. Toxic!! Even when a product is labeled “fragrance-free”, beware that they can still contain other scary chemicals to cover up scents. Natural oils are acceptable, and sometimes I apply them. The only thing is that they fade rather quickly, so reapplication may be necessary.
4. If you ever eat processed food, look for “non-GMO” on the label. Upwards of 70% or more of processed foods contain GMO ingredients, and chances are if you see corn or soy on the label it is GMO. The DNA of these foods have been tampered with to grow bigger and faster, but they are low in nutrients and heavily sprayed with pesticides. Check labels- or better yet- do not eat processed foods at all!