We are constantly bombarded with new diets that are designed to improve our health, transform our lives or help us to lose weight without effort. Having a healthy diet is undoubtedly important and what is healthy for one person will be different to what suits another person.
A healthy diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle but there are other possibly equally important aspects of living healthily.
12 tips to reduce your exposure to allergens and pollutants:
1. Declutter and enjoy a more relaxing environment. Clutter attracts dust and makes a home more difficult to clean.
2. Always ventilate your home on a daily basis even if you live in the city. Pollutants build up indoors from cooking and heating fuels (gas or oil), treatments on carpets, furniture and soft furnishings. If you haven't already got one use an air purifier in your main living area and one in the bedroom or get one that can be moved from one area to another.
3. Be aware of what cooking pots and pans you are using - eliminating chemicals used in non-stick coatings such as Teflon has reduced low birth weights as well as brain damage related to it.1 When possible go for stainless steel or some other inert material. Non stick pots and pans are particularly bad once they have been scratched. According to Dr Mercola "it only takes 5 minutes for non-stick cookware to emit at least six toxic gases."2
4. When storing food either in the fridge or the cupboard, store in glass containers rather than plastic, which can leach into the food. You can either buy glass containers with lids or use glass jars. It is particularly important not to store greasy foods in plastic wrap or plastic containers. When freezing foods we wrap them in chlorine free grease proof paper and then seal them in freezer bags, or freeze in a glass jar leaving space for expansion so as not to crack the jar.
5. Cleaning materials and toiletries. Avoid most commercially available cleaning products and toiletries as they contain an array of harsh chemicals as well as synthetic perfumes. For chemically sensitive people these can cause significant symptoms. If you are not chemically sensitive, it is still wise to avoid as many of these chemicals as possible to reduce the total burden of chemicals that need to be detoxified by your body. Use non toxic cleaning products and natural toiletries.
Cleaning and Toiletries
6. New furniture and furnishings have usually been treated with fire retardants and other treatments and often contain materials such as synthetic foam rubber. Synthetic foam rubber may smell when new but also the offgasing increases as the foam breaks down. This is because as it breaks down the surface area of each broken down peice is increased, thereby increasing the area that can offgas! Sadly, there are not many alternatives unless you can afford organic furniture and furnishings though often second hand items may have offgassed at least some of their pollutants. Not all upholstered furniture contains foam, so it is worth asking about the materials used before buying but most will have fire retardants (a legal requirement) and many are treated with stain repellent. Where possible avoid the use of foam rubber mattresses unless they are made of natural latex foam.
7. Carpet- be aware that most carpets and underlay are treaed with fungicide, which lasts the lifetime of the material. This offgases into the air. Also other treatments on carpets such as insecticides, pesticides and stain repellants offgas. If you have small children be aware that when crawling and playing on the floor they can be affected by treatments in the carpet. If you can change the flooring to ceramic tiles or solid wood with an nartural finish, this can be a better long term solution. If not, air the room regularly and use an air purifier that wis designed to remove chemicals from the air.
8. Water - Some tap water smells and tastes very strongly of chlorine whereas the chlorine in the tap water in other regions may be less detectable. However, chlorine is a poisonous gas and can affect organic matter such as hair, skin and the lining of the lungs. It can also affect the digestive system. Water can also contain pesticide residues, oestrogen and synthetic oestrogen, heavy metals, rust and other particles. A customer mentioned to us today that he was told that his mouth ulcers where due to him giving up smoking but since he has avoided tap water, his mouth ulcers have cleared up! Install a drinking water filter if you haven't already done so and consider a shower filter or a whole house water filtration system to remove the contaminants from all the water coming in to the home.
9. Moulds - moulds can be very insidious. You may not even be aware that they are there unless you have black patches on tiles or on the walls. However, if you are bringing logs in to burn they will almost certainly have mould spores on them. We keep our logs outside in a covered bin, bringing them in as and when we need to replenish the woodstove. We also have an air purifier running beside the woodstove. As well as moulds, apparently burning damp wood can be a source of dangerous pollutants. Fix any obvious leaks or damp patches, ventilate the area well, always open the windows after a shower or bath until the window panes are clear. and don't dry washing on radiators as this increases the humidity levels in the air encouraging moulds to proliferate. Install a dehumifidier to reduce humidity levels.
Water and Air
10. If you have problems with dust mites or moulds in the bedroom make sure you have an air steriliser which will incinerate mould spores in the air and remove the source of fungi that dust mites need to live on.
Dust mites live in the thousands in most homes, silently and invisibly and often without causing most of the family too many problems. However, if you or someone in the family are dust mite allergic they can make life a bit miserable. The usual symptoms of dust mite allergy are sneezing, coughing, wheezing, asthma and even eczema. The most important place to keep dust mite free is the bedroom and we have a section on dust mite allergy that will give you all the tips you need. Dust mite proof bedding is an essntial part of a dust mite proof bedroom.
11. Bedding is another area that can increase your chemical load since a lot of bed linen is treated with easy care treatment, which can offgas formaldehyde into the room. Formaldehyde is a brain toxin, which can cause headaches and even depression. While you sleep in easy care sheets, the warmth of the body or the bedroom causes the material to warm up and as it warms up it releases the chemicals into the air, which are then inhaled. When possible use organic or untreated bedding and make sure that you wash your bedding in a natural fragrance free detergent. Do not use chemical fabric softeners as these offgas into the environment. This offgassing is particularly bad if you iron clothing or bedding that has been washed or dried with fabric softeners.
12. Electrostress. This is a huge area and as the number of electronic devices we use increases and with the ubiquitous nature of Wi-Fi, we need to find ways of reducing our exposure or reducing the effects of these fields on our health. If you can turn off the wi-fi at night so that everyone in the home gets a better night's sleep. Leave your electronic devices away from the bedroom or if you use them for reading or watching videos, make sure they are on airplane mode so that the wi-fi is off. Measure the fields with a meter so that you know where the hot spots are and move furniture or devices accordingly to reduce your exposure. See our protective and harmonising products.
Bedding and Electro