Tag Archives: green home

3 Easy Ways to Green Your Health for Summer

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 12.39.58 PMIf you’re like most people, a little voice inside your head has probably been telling you for a while that it’s time to get back to a more natural way of living and take a more serious look at the toxins in your everyday life. Even so, you may feel confused about the simple, practical things you can do to minimize your exposure and maximize not only your health, but your contribution to a cleaner planet.

What if I told you that making small, simple changes in your everyday routine could make a huge impact on your health and well-being, as well as the health of our planet?

Studies are coming out frequently about how everyday chemicals in our bodies are resulting in health problems like learning disabilities, autism, cancer and infertility. Often, the impact chemicals have doesn’t show up for decades, like with tobacco, for example. What is also unclear is what happens inside our bodies when we come into contact with different chemicals from lots of different sources. What are the risks for us and our children? Don’t wait to find out! You can do something today, right in your own home. Become aware of what goes IN you, what goes ON you, and what SURROUNDS you.

IN You: Your drinking water

If you think the water coming out of your tap is clean and health-giving … you’d be mistaken. In 2008, an investigation by the Associated Press showed that America’s tap water is contaminated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antibiotics, pain medications, antidepressants and sex hormones “in significant quantities.” Scientists are concerned that, even in small concentrations, these drugs could harm us over time because water is consumed in such large amounts every day. Our bodies may be able to deal with a big one-time dose of a chemical, but if a small amount is consumed continuously over years … no one really knows what can happen to our health.

Green Tip #1:
Play it safe: Buy a water filter and fill up your own reusable metal or glass water bottles at home. Get off plastic bottles. 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles used in the U.S. become garbage or end up in a landfill, contributing to global warming.

(To check your local water quality, go to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s site at www.nrdc.org and then go to “What’s on Tap”? You should be able to access your community’s Annual Quality Report, or you can ask your water utility company for a copy of its annual water quality report.)

ON You: Your personal care products

Most of us use at least 10 cosmetic and personal care products a day and according to the Environmental Working Group, people apply an average of 126 unique ingredients to their skin daily. No one really knows what happens in our bodies when we repeatedly expose ourselves to minute amounts of synthetic chemicals from a variety sources. Another way to absorb chemicals in our personal care products is through the mouth. When a drug like nitroglycerine is administered for a heart condition, it is given under the tongue for fast absorption. So are natural homeopathic remedies. So what happens with your toothpaste?

Green Tip #2:
Switch one thing you use most often in your bathroom. Your toothpaste, for example.
Chemicals like fluoride, saccharin, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), triclosan and acetylpyridium chloride are in there. Switch to a natural brand that doesn’t contain these chemicals.

SURROUNDS You: Your household cleaners

If you’ve ever walked down the household-cleanser aisle at the market and your eyes began to burn or your nose became irritated, it’s because common cleaning products contain chemicals that can be more dangerous than the germs themselves. Every time your children roll around on the carpet or your pets lick crumbs off the floor, they are being exposed to noxious chemicals. Don’t make the assumption that if it’s on the grocery shelf it’s been tested and is safe. Most of us, unwittingly, buy products for our home with ingredients that are either poorly studied, not studied at all, or are known to pose potentially serious health risks. Of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in common household products, only 3 in 10 have been tested for their effects on human health. Why? Because the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require manufacturers to test household cleaning products before they appear on store shelves.

Green Tip #3:
Use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and baking soda to clean your home. Fill one spray bottle with a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide and a second one with vinegar. Spray one right after the other. Use it to wipe kill salmonella and bacteria on counter tops, appliances, and cutting boards. Do the same for the shower to kill bacteria and viruses. Use baking soda instead of commercial abrasive cleaners. Put it in a grated cheese container made of glass with a stainless steel top that has holes in it, and just sprinkle it on the surfaces and scrub.


Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is a syndicated radio talk show host, former president and co-owner of The Learning Annex, Certified Build It Green® healthy home makeover specialist, and holistic health educator, who eliminated a sizable tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery. She’s author of the bestseller, “Super Natural Home,” endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Ralph Nader, Peter Coyote, and Dr. Joe Mercola. Visit her at www.supernaturalmom.com 

Originally published December 2011

Green Romance: Eco-Healthy Choices to Enhance Your Sensuality

The scene is set for romance…perfume, candles, flowers, chocolate, and champagne. But wait…some of these products might contain toxic chemicals! Remember that what goes on your body also goes in your body and into your bloodstream, so be sure to choose products without a lot of added chemicals.

A spritz of most department store perfumes, for example, can contain over 100 different synthetic chemicals to make the scent, plus things like phthalates, and parabens. These are endocrine disrupters, that mess with your hormones. When shopping for perfume, look for those made from pure organic essential oils. They’re safe, non-toxic and more subtle than a synthetic perfume…your perfume won’t precede you when you enter a room and it won’t linger after you’ve gone!

What surrounds you can also get in your body. Artificially scented candles for example, contain chemicals that can trigger asthma and allergies. Instead, choose candles scented with essential oils. Look for soy or beeswax candles with cotton wicks (make sure it doesn’t contain a lead core which will release into the air), because most candles, unless otherwise labeled, are made from paraffin, a petroleum product, and fumes from paraffin wax have caused kidney and bladder tumors in lab animals.

How about roses…romantic right? Well, not if they’re sprayed with pesticides! These are toxic to our planet and to the growers. Look for organically grown flowers that use only natural repellants. When you choose something like that, you’re not only removing harmful chemicals from our environment, you’re also helping to improve the lives of flower growers, who are mostly women in developing nations.

What goes in your body can impact your health, well-being and mood. It’s well known that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, triggers feel-good chemical endorphins in our brain. The Aztecs believed that chocolate had aphrodisiac qualities, acting almost like a love potion. But most commercially made chocolate contains pesticides. So look for organic chocolates – they’re non toxic and delicious.

Before you sip that wine or champagne, did you know that conventionally grown grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet? So, again, look for organic wine and champagnes. You can find some amazing organic varieties that taste wonderful, are very high quality and are competitively priced to those made conventionally.

Try some green romance this Valentine’s Day season. Using non-toxic products will surely enhance your health, vitality and in turn, your sensuality.

How to Detox Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

If you had to choose just one room in your home to make environmentally friendly, it should be your bedroom. We can unsuspectingly create a toxic environment by sleeping on the wrong type of mattress, or exposing ourselves to electronic devices that interfere with sleep. Getting good quality sleep allows you to stay healthy and fight off illness because sleep is the time when your body heals, repairs and rejuvenates.

Transforming your bedroom into a safe haven can have a major impact on improving your health and well-being. The good news is creating a healthy bedroom is pretty simple.

Start by looking at the most important piece of furniture in the room — your bed. Most mattresses are made with synthetic ingredients like polyurethane (PU) foam (that degrade over time), and have been treated with flame retardants known as PBDEs. Research has linked PBDE exposure to adverse health effects including thyroid hormone disruption and permanent learning and memory impairment. Plus, lots of other chemicals are in our mattresses that off-gas, or release into the air…imagine breathing this stuff in every night…for years!

The healthiest mattress is one made of natural latex foam. But watch for the words “made with” on the label. For example, if it says “made with natural latex” that might mean there’s only 1 or 2 percent of it in the mattress! You want 100 percent (if you are chemically sensitive) or at least 80 percent of the mattress made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients.

If you can’t afford to buy a new mattress, get a mattress topper made from organic cotton and wool. Or use a mattress cover made of a tightly woven barrier cloth with a thread count of 300 or higher to help protect you from the chemicals in an unhealthy mattress.

For the bed frame choose one made from solid wood instead of particleboard or fiberboard, which can give off toxic formaldehyde fumes. The National Cancer Institute has classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans.”

Do you feel buzzed at night and you haven’t had any coffee? A big sleep disruptor in the bedroom can be exposure to electronic devices, wireless technology, and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Dr. Magda Havas, a leader in the movement against unrestrained wireless technology use, says EMFs can cause headaches, nightmares, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, as well as long-term illness.

It’s best to sleep in a room without a computer, VCR, TV, electric clock, telephone answering machine, cell phone, or cordless phone — especially DECT (Digital Electronic Cordless Telephones) which emits microwave radiation continuously 24 hours a day, even when the phone is not in use, as long as it is plugged in. Better to have a landline phone that is hardwired. Some people are helped by turning off their WiFi at night.

5 Easy Ways to Get a Restful Night’s Sleep:

  1. Sleep on a mattress made from untreated, non-toxic natural materials containing no synthetic chemicals or fire retardants.
  2. If you can’t afford a new mattress, buy a wool and organic cotton mattress topper.
  3. Buy a solid wooden bed frame instead of particleboard or fiberboard which can give off toxic fumes.
  4. Simplify your sleep space: No TV, computer, cordless phone, or wireless technology.
  5. Be sure that all electrical equipment (including an electric clock) is as far away from the head of your bed as possible, or better yet, not in your bedroom at all.

Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, environmental health consultant, and Certified Build It Green® Healthy Home/Work Specialist. Her bestselling book, “Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home and Planet…One Room at a Time” (Rodale), a Books for a Better Life Award Finalist, is endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joe Mercola, etc. Beth eliminated a tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery by making small shifts in her diet, and the products she uses in her home.

Beth is former President and Co-Owner of The Learning Annex, an acclaimed adult education company. She is columnist for The Huffington Postand hosts “Your Super Natural Life” on Womens Radio, and Women’s Information Network. She’s appeared on ABC-TV, NBC-TV and CNN and on local and national radio shows across the country. Beth speaks at industry expos, spas, health centers and schools on the importance of eliminating toxins from our everyday products.

Beth is a trusted consumer advocate in the Natural Product and Sustainability Market and is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about environmental health. She conducts personalized in-home detox audits and provides consultations nationwide.

Green Your Home Tips

Seemingly innocuous objects—from toys, to plastic containers, to cookware—in your home or workplace may be hazardous to your health. For example, plastics used in common household objects can disrupt the sexual development of baby boys. The culprits are chemicals called phthalates, found in toys, baby bottles and hundreds of other plastic products. Researchers at the University of Rochester studied eighty-five infant boys and found a strong correlation between their mothers’ exposure to phthalates during pregnancy and disturbances in sexual development, including smaller penis size and incomplete testicular descent. 
  • Avoid purchasing items that are not biodegradable or recyclable, particularly with items that have a short lifespan.
  • Replace petroleum-based paraffin candles that pollute the air with renewable, clean-burning beeswax, palm or soy candles. Also, make sure the wicks that are used are pure cotton—many wicks contain lead which burns into the air.
  • Avoid purchasing plastic toys made with soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which release phthalates into a child’s saliva if sucked or chewed. Instead, look for toys composed of wood or untreated natural fibers such as organic cotton, hemp, and wool.
  • Discard nonstick pans. When heated above 660, the coating on nonstick pans emits fumes which cause flu like symptoms. Carcinogenic toxins are released when heated over 680 degrees. Replace nonstick with stainless steel, cast iron, enamel cast cookware or ceramic titanium. With a little patience, you will not miss the nonstick pans. For example, with stainless sauté pans, heat on a lower-than-usual setting, add a bit of oil or butter and wait until hot, then cook. Make sure that pan is absolutely clean before using, and you will have no difficulty with food sticking to the surface of the pan.
  • Plastic
    • Use a non-PVC wrap. BestYet Clear Plastic Wrap, Glad Cling Wrap and Saran Cling Plus are made without PVC. Even better, avoid use of plastic wrap altogether. Replace wrap with glass or ceramics bowls and lids to store food.
    • Avoid plastics that are labeled #3, #6 or #7, as they are made out of PVC and can leach traces of phthalates into the food. Choose products marked #2, #4 or #5 instead, as they are PVC-free.
    • Avoid reusing single-use plastic water bottles, as they leach toxins and carry germs. Instead, choose a hard plastic bottle from Nalgene® or stainless steel.
    • Never heat food in a take-out container or use plastic wrap on a container when heating in microwave. The heat causes toxins to leach out of the plastic and into food.
    • Avoid heating any plastic container in microwave. Opt for glass, Pyrex™ glass or ceramic.

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