If you’re pregnant, looking to conceive or are concerned about your overall health, here are a few tips to reduce your toxin exposure.
Opt for natural
Less is more. Reduce the number of personal care products and make up and opt for natural and if possible organic. This includes your nail polish, hair dyes, sunscreen, toothpaste and more! Just be mindful that just because the label says “natural” it might not always be the case. Always read the ingredients. If you don’t know what they are, then it’s often likely they aren’t natural.
A great website to source natural skincare, cosmetics and household care items is Nourished Life (www.nourishedlife.com.au)
Household cleaners, insect repellants and air fresheners often contain harmful chemicals that can penetrate your skin, irritate your lungs and enter your blood stream. Furthermore, these can often irritate babies lungs and children with asthma.
Cheaper and safer alternatives for cleaning include basic household items such as vinegar, baking soda and a good micro fibre cloth.
Go fragrance free
Phtalates (endocrine disruptors), linked to reproductive, motor and behavioural development are commonly found in fragrance ingredients. Furthermore, no one knows what’s in synthetic fragrances as manufacturers only have to indicate the combination of chemicals used with only the word “fragrance”. There are now many fragrance-free products available and if you do want some scent, opt for products scented with essential oils instead.
Choose organic whenever possible (or grow your own)
Eating organic means reducing your pesticide exposure. Research has shown that switching to an organic diet reduces pesticide remnants found in urine after just five days. In addition organic foods cannot be genetically modified.
If switching to an organic diet is not affordable for you, I recommend choosing organic (or at least grass fed) meat and dairy, eat fruits and vegetables that are in season and buy organic fruits and vegetables that are known to retain the highest levels of pesticide residue. These can be found on EWGs dirty dozen list.
Cook your own
Preparing your own meals using fresh, whole ingredients gives you maximum control over what ends up on your plate. And is great practice for when baby comes along.
It is important to note that safer cooking option include example coated cast iron and stainless steel cookware. Until recently non-stick cookware was made of a chemical, PFOA, which has been linked to cancer, heart disease, infertility and pregnancy complications. New chemicals are now being used to produce non-stick cookware however their safety is still unknown.
Swap your plastic for glass
Plastics have been shown to contain many toxic compounds that can end up in your food, especially when the plastic is heated. Avoid canned foods as they are lined with BPA. Switch your Tupperware and drink bottles for glass. If that is too costly, start by just replacing the old, scratched containers. Many plastic containers have a number on the bottom indicating the type of plastic it is. Re-use only #2, #4 and #5. Avoid #1, #7.
Not only will this be better for your health, it will also be better for the environment.
Eat small fish
Fish are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids which are important for a healthy pregnancy and foetal development. Eat seafood no more than 2-3 times per week and opt for smaller fish such as sardines which have less mercury contamination than deep sea fish such as swordfish and tuna.
By making a few changes to minimize your toxin exposure you can protect yourself and your family from possible risks.