Our daily lives are filled with chemicals, some we know off and others we don’t. We are well versed in the terms car emissions, greenhouse gases, BPA plastics, chlorinated water, processed food, genetically modified food and industrial cleaners ... pretty daunting! But lets take it back to basics. Lets start in our homes and make gentle changes that lower our toxic load and increase our well-being. Lets look at what we eat, the products we use and the plants we have.
Ever solution driven, what can we do to reduce our chemical load? Food, eat as organically and/or spray free as possible. The chemicals used in animal rearing (antibiotics, steroids and hormones) and food horticulture (pesticides, herbicides and fungicides) all need to be processed by the body. Specifically, the liver works very hard to break down and eliminate these toxins. Store your food in glass jars as vs. plastic containers. These look fabulous and there are no plastic compounds leaching into stored food as they expand and contract with the temperature.
In the 1950s there was no such term ‘chemical load’. For my grandmother, her cleaning products were hot water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and scrunched up newspaper. Within 30 years, my mother’s approach was very different, a spray bottle for every room in the house, from furniture polish to air freshener. This trend has continued today with people, often women, regularly ‘bleaching’ every surface in their kitchens and bathrooms. BUT some people have opted out of these cleaning products and we are looking to our Granny’s housekeeping notes to change the chemical balance in our homes. Household cleaners are a quick win - chose ‘green’ options. Either make your own or buy brands that are plant based and stick to what they say on the label – ‘no chemicals’. Trust that hot water and ‘old fashioned’ ingredients can do the same job at a fraction of the cost with the same outcome. Using the correct essential oils can also increase their effectiveness and gives your space an aromatic smell that is not chemically manufactured.
Use houseplants to freshener your home. These marvellous works or nature give out oxygen and water vapour and take in carbon monoxide – photosynthesis! Plants also process benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, these are commonly found in furniture, carpeting, manufactured flooring and building materials, also glues, nail polish removers, rubbers and detergents. The best varieties of plant for this are rubber plants, the bamboo palm, peace lilies, spider plants and ferns. Plants (like pets) also create a sense of calm and peace, a mindfulness state. Fill your garden, balcony or terrace with plants to continue the same sense of joy. Outdoors, the best toxic beating plants (besides a mature tree!) are English ivy, golden pathos, philodendrons, chrysanthemums and gerberas, but every plant has a part to play.
Join the Botanical Pharmacist, Fawz Farhan and myself, Nutritionist, Paula Sharp on Saturday 7 July, 10 to 1pm to learn how to make your own household cleaners. A must for every household looking to reduce its chemical load!
Paula is an avid writer and enjoys working with food and words.