We’ve all heard about and likely seen the sad pictures of massive amounts of plastic waste and garbage floating around in the ocean. We’ve likely heard about rain forest deforestation and that glaciers are melting. I am not here to debate those topics. They exist. That is reality, no matter what the cause is. There is only one planet earth, and we can all do a better job of caring for it. And with minimalism becoming more popular, Mother Earth might just jump on that bandwagon with us.
Likewise, we are only given one body. When we don’t care for the one we have, we are left with the consequences. Dis-ease happens when we don’t listen to those little cues requesting we pay some more attention to our health. Thankfully, there are so many ways to support the body and to build up the immune system. Today we are going to discuss some of the ways we can care for both our bodies and the planet at the same time.
So we all know by know that BPA is bad for us. As it turns out, BPS, the chemical used to replace BPA, is too. These types of chemicals disrupt our hormones and are incredibly hard for our bodies to process and get rid of. Our tissues, especially our fat calls, store toxins in an effort to protect us from them. Chemicals leach into our meals when our foods are in contact with plastic, especially if it is heated in plastic.
Stick with non-plastic food storage like glass, ceramic, and even stainless steel for a more child-proof option. I even freeze food in Mason jars with no issues. Not only is this healthier for my family, but I have reduced my waste because I don’t have a cupboard full of mismatched plastic tupperware containers and lids. Having jars and bowls with lids that always fit makes my life a little bit easier.
In line with avoiding the BPA, BPS, and other chemicals found in plastics as well as in metal cans, I buy food in glass containers whenever I have that option. While most of my grocery cart is filled from the produce section of the grocery store, I do pick up a few pantry staples in the packaged food aisles. Thankfully nut butters, apple cidar vinegar, spices, and more can all be found in glass. This is a perfect way to avoid the chemicals on my food and repurpose those jars for later use. This saves waste and money because it means that I can buy fewer Mason jars to use for food storage.
Do you peel your fruits and veggies before eating them? If you do, you are missing out on high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. While I skip peeling most of the time, there are some fruits and veggies where peeling makes more sense. Foods with harder, less appetizing peels like citrus fruits, onions, squash, etc. still contain large amounts of nutrients in the peels though.
Save your vegetable peels to make an easy homemade veggie broth and extract some of those vitamins and minerals during a long slow cooking process. Save fruit peels to dehydrate then pulsed in a blender to create a powdered vitamin. I love saving my lemon peels to turn into a homemade vitamin c powder. I just save the peels in a jar in the refrigerator until I have enough to make a batch. Saved them in the freezer until you have enough for a batch if you don’t go through them as quickly.
Seriously. If you pick one thing from this list, make it this one. I can’t say enough good (or amazing) things about meal planning. When I know what I am making each week, I only buy the groceries I need. Nothing goes to waste because I forgot about it or didn’t end up using it that week. Healthy meals are a must in my home, and nothing wrecks good intentions faster than stomach rumblings with no clue what to make for dinner. I refuse to run out for convenient junk foods just because it is dinner time, and thankfully with meal planning, I don’t have to.
I promise this one is a lot easier than you’d think. Today’s cloth diapers come with a ton of options so that you can find the system that works best for your family. There are even all-in-one cloth diapers that function and go on pretty much just like disposables. An added bonus is that many come with beautiful designs that make you appreciate the days your little one refuses to wear their pants just a little more.
Opting for cloth, even if you just do it part time, massively reduces waste and can give you more control over the products used on your child. Like many of the absorbant-but-disposable white fibers on the market today, most diapers have bleached materials that can irritate the skin. Let’s also keep in mind that skin can and does absorb what is put on it, so skipping the bleach is always a good idea. When it comes to washing cloth diapers, I use natural laundry detergent and let the sun do any bleaching if needed. A set of well cared for cloth diapers can last for more than one child, which really saves you money in the long run.
This one costs a bit more upfront, depending on the type of water filter you get, but it can save you in the long run. By now, you’ve hopefully gotten the idea that plastic isn’t a good option for food containment. Well, the same goes for water. Hopefully, you also understand the importance of drinking good clean water. Most municipalities in the US add flouride, a neurotoxin to the water, which has many unfortunate side effects. One is impaired thyroid function, which could be a reason why thyroid disorders are increasingly common.
Since most wells are flushed with bleach, well water isn’t necessarily a safer drink. Yet, the options to purchase filtered water from a store pretty much all come with excess plastic and waste. A quality water filter that addresses flouride, chlorine, and other water contaminants like VOC’s, endocrine disruptors, and heavy metals can be a long term investment in your health and the environment.
Hear me out before you think this one sounds too out of the box. Most women use pads or tampons during their periods, yet most pads and tampons contain some pretty unhealthy ingredients that we literally put on and inside of one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies. Unless you are buying organic pads and tampons, even the cotton in your menstrual products was very likely heavily sprayed with toxins before being harvested, processed, and then bleached. Plus, all of that waste from all of those women has to end up somewhere.
There are other options. Using organic cloth pads might mean that you have to do a little extra laundry, but it really isn’t that much extra effort (especially if you are already washing cloth diapers!). Menstrual cups are a great alternative to tampons, plus they can give you a lot of insight into your cycle. Additionally, both of these options can last years, saving you quite a bit of money in the long run.
There are so many things we can do to support personal and environmental health. They don’t have to be difficult either. There are things you can do today, and there are things you can work towards little by little. You are one step and one choice away from making this world and yourself healthier. So let’s take that step together.