I’ve always considered myself to be a treehugger and so naturally I celebrate earth day every day, not just April 22nd. Even though I’m no longer a sustainability consultant, being kind to mother earth is integral to my health coaching practice.
In a recent study published by the Environmental Working Group, found that up to 420 known or likely carcinogens have been measured in a diverse array of populations . This isn’t surprising since there are now roughly 10,000 human made chemicals in our environment now, the majority of which haven’t been tested for human (or planet) safety. The impact of this on the human body is seriously grave. Besides the most obvious uptick in cancer, I see autoimmune conditions and mystery illnesses every day in my practice.
What’s bad for the planet is bad for your health. These chemicals are, sadly, persistent. What that means is they don’t degrade into harmless substances, they stay in the soil, water, plants and yes – animals.
So what can we, as earth lovers and health lovers do to celebrate earth day and improve our health while we’re at it?
Celebrating earth day inevitably means planting something, right? This could be planting trees to help provide habitat and clean the air. Or, it could be planting some air purifying house plants! NASA published a great study on the best air-purifying plants if you’re looking for ideas.  Top of the list? The Peace Lily. This is probably the best plant I can think of for someone who doesn’t have a green thumb. If this is your first time caring for houseplants then the Peace Lily would be my top choice for you.
The great thing about plants for your office or sleeping areas is that it helps to clean out a slew of chemicals that are emitted from your electronics, furniture, carpets and cleaners (see below for going toxin-free). Plus they bring some life to your space! From a Feng Shui standpoint, they also help to move stagnant energy.
Celebrating earth day requires us to really examine the waste we produce as well as the environmental impact of our choices. What floats to the top for me is the pervasive use and disposal of plastics.
In my vlog/blog post The Plastic Chronic Illness Link I share three of the worst plastics to avoid to help your hormones. But this is just part of the puzzle. Currently, the average American eats about a credit cards worth of microplastics every week.  This isn’t good.
It’s worth it to address the elephant in the room here in terms of health. I’m talking about supplements. This is such a catch 22 here. On one hand our soils are so depleted from essential minerals that it’s impossible to get optimum levels even if everyone did eat a nutrient dense diet. Add on top of that the fact most Americans consume a highly processed diet of nutrient deficient foods, it’s bad. So most of us really do need supplements either to address serious deficiencies or to keep our nutrient levels optimum.
So what do to? First, get tested for nutrient deficiencies through your naturopathic doctor or me to see what your body is really lacking. That way you don’t guess what you need or don’t need. Second, stick with the basics. A good multi-vitamin, plenty of sun (for vitamin D) and stress reducing movement will get you pretty far. Finally, ditch the processed foods and focus on nutrient dense whole foods.
Celebrating earth day means going non-toxic! The best way to reduce your total body burden of toxins is to reduce your exposure in the first place. Though it’s hard to eliminate toxic exposure from everything, you do have control over what you buy.
First stop? The Environmental Working Group Consumer Guides. These guides include everything from what foods you must by organic to avoid serious toxin exposure to products you put on your skin.
In my Complete Guide to Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning, I shared with you what my favorite non-toxic cleaning products are and how to give your home a cleaning that will improve your air quality as well as peace of mind.
Go fragrance free! If you’re using air fresheners, scented lotions and perfume, you’ll want to read my Surprising Truth About Fragrance article. In this, I share how toxic chemicals are often hidden under the ingredient name “fragrance”.
Prioritize organic fruits, vegetables and animal proteins. It’s not just what you’re exposed to through your food, it’s also about what the environment is exposed to. Remember everything has a source. Chemicals sprayed on non-organic produce and grains are extracted (petrochemicals), manufactured (in towns with families), sprayed (on fields near schools), eaten (by children, adults, elderly, sick, healthy) and then excreted (but not entirely because most of these chemicals are stored in your fat). These chemicals aren’t removed at the waste treatment facility. They end up in rivers, harbors, lakes, oceans and ground water and eventually we consume them all over again. Gross I know but this is why we still see DDT in newborns.