It can sometimes be overwhelming to hear about all the dangers in our modern lives: the pesticides in food, the nasty chemicals in skincare products and cosmetics, the bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic bottles and containers, and all the other consequences of our reliance on synthetic chemicals. So today I wanted to share 3 easy steps you can take toward living a greener lifestyle!
1. Switch to glass or ceramic. For storage and serving, always avoid plastics, particularly those with codes 3, 6, or 7. Never microwave plastics. Bonus: avoid collecting plastic bags at the grocery store and shopping mall by investing in reusable, eco-friendly shopping bags, like these.
2. Detox your body, detox your life. Consuming a plant-based whole foods diet rather than animal products reduces greenhouse gasses by 1.5 tons per year per person. If every American dropped even just one serving of chicken per week from their diet, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking 500,000 cars off the road. Chicken, turkeys, pigs and cows are the largest producers of methane in the US - methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20x more powerful at trapping greenhouse gasses. Plus, nearly half of the fresh water in the US goes to raising animals for food. Did you know it takes 2,400 gallons of water per pound of meat produced? Compare that to 1 pound of wheat which requires a meager 25 gallons of water to produce. But you know what all that water doesn't go toward? Cleaning up the excrement produced by livestock, 89,000 pounds of it created per second, that is. So much untreated waste pollutes clean groundwater and rivers in 22 States. Bonus: Avoid the Toxic Ten ingredients [ listed below ] found in soaps, lotions, sunscreens, and cosmetics. Look for 'cruelty free', 'eco-friendly', or 'biodegradable' on the label to identify products that are safest to use.
a. Parabens, methyl/ethyl/butyl-paraben; hydroxybenzoate/benzoic acid. Found in makeup, deodorants, shampoo, lotions, body scrubs
b. Phthalates & Bisphenol A, known as plasticizers; DBP, DEHP, DEP; 1-2 benzenedicarboxylate. Found in nail polish, fragrance, lotions, plastic bottles, baby bottles & toys, plastics (no. 2, 3, 6,7)
c. Synthetic Fragrances, often contain phthalates not listed on label. Found in shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products, lotions, deodorants, makeup, perfumes
d. Chemical sunscreens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, octyl methoxycinnamate. Found in sunscreens; switch to zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
e. Triclosan, Found in anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soaps, kitchen sponges, toothpaste, dishwashing liquids
f. 1-4 Dioxane, toxic by-product not on label. Found in shampoo, body lotions, baby bath products
g. Formaldehyde & releasers, formic/methyl aldehyde; DMDM hydantoin; behentimonium chloride; quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea; methylisothiazolinone. Found in nail polish, shampoo, bubble bath, baby lotions, shampoo, antiperspirant, makeup, hair dyes & treatments (Brazilian blowout)
h. Sulfates (SLES/SLS), sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate; ammonium laureth sulfate. Found in shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, bubble baths, facial cleansers, baby & body washes, soaps
i. PG, PEG, PPG, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, polypropylene glycol. Found in shampoo, makeup, baby washes, lotions, body washes, soaps
j. DEA, TEA, MEA, ETA, di/tri/mono- ethanolamine (ETA); cocamide DEA, lauramide DEA. Found in skin cleansers, shampoos, body lotions & washes, hair coloring, detergents
3. Buy organic. There is a large body of evidence on the relation between exposure to pesticides and elevated rate of chronic diseases such as different types of cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS, as well as birth defects and reproductive disorders. In a study in which people were put on an organic diet for five days, and then back to the conventional diet it became clear that eating organic provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to pesticides commonly used in agricultural production. But not only do pesticides wreck havoc on our bodies, they can impact the environment and destroy entire ecosystems, threatening biodiversity and weakening the natural systems upon which human survival depends. In a capitalist society, putting your coin toward more environmentally friendly alternatives will dictate how companies run and which practices they continue to use. Bonus: You can also choose to support local farms and markets. Buy seasonally fresh produce to limit the environmental impact of shipping out-of-season fruits and veg across borders.
How easy was that? Three super-simple ways to Green up your lifestyle and make a more positive environmental impact. Why not give one or all of them a try?