Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Green routine – 7 healthy habits for you and the planet

7 healthy habits for you and the planet:

September is a good time to start new habits. Because a sense of routine resumes after Labour Day you might be able to slide some healthy changes into your everyday routine without much trouble. If you’re open to this notion, here is a September checklist to consider:

Avoid room fresheners:

As the weather cools and we start closing our windows you might be tempted to give your rooms that “aired out” smell with a room freshener. Here’s the problem, spray and plug-in fresheners contain artificial scents (labeled “fragrance” in the ingredient list) that are harmful if inhaled. Carpet fresheners and plug-in fresheners are especially harmful. Instead, opt for essential oils dabbed on light bulbs and on damp dust cloths. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes and vacuum.

Go scent-free with your cleaning products and personal care products too:

Here’s the catch, some “unscented” products still have “fragrance” listed as an ingredient, a scent-masking “fragrance”. It’s best to read the label to be sure. Avoid any products that don’t list the ingredients on the package and look for EcoLogo and other reliable certifications on cleaning products to save you the effort of deciphering complicated ingredients lists.  

Reduce your consumption of canned food:

Most cans are lined in plastic that contains BPA, a hormone disrupting chemical that has been linked to reproductive problems and breast cancer. (It has been banned from use in baby bottles). The chemical is known to leach into foods, especially acidic foods like tomatoes. Try to eat fewer canned foods, switch to jarred foods (strained tomatoes instead of canned) and opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned.

Don’t heat anything in plastic, ever:

All plastic will leach into your food when heated and plastic labeled “microwave safe” isn’t necessarily even food safe; it just means that it won’t melt in the microwave. Only plastics labeled 1,2 and 5 are considered food safe. If plastic containers aren’t labeled or have another number they shouldn’t be used with food at all. Instead, start replacing your plastic containers with glass.

Limit your consumption of cured meats:

The American Institute for Cancer research recommends that you not eat processed meat at all. Look for un-processed, nitrite-free and low-sodium meat products: avoid lunchmeats, hot dogs, prepackaged smoked meats and chicken nuggets.

Go meatless at least once per week:

Meat has a high carbon footprint, especially beef, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria is showing up in grocery stores on beef, pork and poultry products. Substitute beans and legumes for meat, where possible, in your favourite dishes.

Wash new clothes three times before wearing them, especially children’s clothes:

Textiles are processed with chemicals and new clothes are often treated with formaldehyde and other toxic substances. All of these chemicals get absorbed into your body as the clothing rubs against your skin. The same goes for new bedding.

It’s worth it to green your routine. These healthy habits are good for you and the planet.

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