Are you truly living, or striving to live, a healthy life?

If so, for what purpose?

I believe that being healthy is meant to help one more fully live their values, pursue their passions, and promote better social connections.

This means to really be well we must stop narrowly and solely paying attention to the physical body and aim for a more balanced viewpoint in all areas of well-being. Diet, exercise, proper supplementation, and medication are necessary and important, but there is so much more to concentrate on.

A whole person approach, that integrates the mind, body, spirit, and promotes social connections is more likely to allow one to achieve their own personalized health goals and live a happier, more vibrant life with loved ones.

Previously, I provided techniques and resources that discussed enhancing wellness through various methods including:

  • reviewing a holistic health framework which consisted of relationships, engagement, vitality, accomplishment, meaning, and positive emotions
  • using joyful movement to nurture the mind and boost brain function
  • applying EFT and HeartMath for emotional and social wellbeing

I also highlighted how staying healthy in one’s body is not about body size or body shaming, rather it is about nourishing and nurturing it.

Now, I’d like to focus a bit more on preventative lifestyle medicine. Besides promoting health, we also do well to avoid what can rob us of well-being.

This starts with knowledge and learning about the environment that surrounds us. Specifically, I will discuss how to avoid unnecessary and ubiquitous chemicals in our food, personal care products, household cleaners, and water.

I find in my practice that a lot of my clients who get “stuck in a rut” with symptoms often have environmental or emotional triggers that have been overlooked. Someone can have an extremely healthy diet and lifestyle, and even a balanced mind-body, but if they are bombarded with chemicals and toxins, it can negatively affect them.

There is a lot of science on how toxicity affects health outcomes. I reviewed many key points in my previous series where I discussed:

Below I provide a summary of how to live a non-toxic lifestyle for overall wellness and some action steps you can take.

Try not to get overwhelmed. Take one thing at a time.

Before you know it, you’ll be living clean and green!

Living a Non-Toxic Lifestyle: Nourishing, Clean Foods, Safe Personal Care Products, and Greener Homes

In today’s world, we need to stay aware of what we purchase so that we are not unknowingly trumping our attempts for wellness and healthy nutrition through toxin exposures. Eating healthy foods that have less chemicals has been shown to decrease body burden and this can have a positive impact in many areas of wellness.

Clean eating doesn’t have to be based on body size or obsessing solely on physical health, but rather a choice to take care of oneself and optimize emotional, cognitive, and mental health.

In a previous article discussing cleansing and why eating foods with less chemicals are important, from a Health at Every Size perspective, I stated:

Those in the anti-diet world may resist these concepts and believe that they are “wellness diets” in disguise which are marketed for weight control and/or body manipulation. No doubt, there is validity to these latter claims. These deceptive “lifestyle medicine hacks” do have a dangerous connotation when used as marketing ploys to sell supplements, restrict and eliminate foods deemed “unclean,” and/or food and body shame people based on their nutritional choices and the products they use.

As with most things in medicine which focus on nutrition and lifestyle, diet culture can slip in and take over the best intentions. This is why I find the most effective approach, especially concerning cleansing and detoxification, is a personalized and integrative one that honors all body shapes.

I have found in my practice that it is possible to nurture the body with healing foods that provide extra support for being under excessive toxic insults AND not fall prey to weight preoccupation and harmful diet culture messages. Just as with intuitive eating, when one is in alignment with their body and wants to feel good, they can make empowering choices with food selections and tune-in to what best serves their mind-body-spirit at the moment.

That being said, not everyone may want or need to cleanse, but many can be supported by adding in foods and taking lifestyle measures to mitigate their risk.

In my article on staying healthy in a chemical world, I reviewed what one needs to be aware of when considering a cleanse or detox. I also provided a comprehensive compilation of tips for greener living and how to access safe, non-toxic foods and products. These suggestions are good for everyone and can be done across the board. They are listed below.

Nourishing Your Body with Clean, Nutrient Dense Foods

For enhancing nutrient density and avoiding chemicals that can counteract the benefits of nourishing foods, suggestions include:

Cleaning Yourself and Your Home with Safe Substances

There are some additional measures to live a non-toxic life. Women’s Voice for the Earth (WVE) offers ten tips to avoid toxic chemicals in your home and personal care products. I have expanded on some of them below.

  1. Make your own cleaning products. You can use essential oils and even invest in essential-oils infused products for purchase if you have the means. These are my top five oils to make spring cleaning safer, soothe the mind-body, and support wellness while keeping the home safe and tidy.
  2. Avoid fragrances and consider an air purifier and diffuser instead. (Read about the sneaky, harmful toxins in fragrances here.)
  3. Purchase non-toxic beauty products. You can replace your cosmetics with safer options by using the Skin Deep Database. I also have a favorite line of essential oils infused products that I suggest to clients.
  4. Ditch BPA (bisphenol A) which is an endocrine disruptor and has many negative effects in the body.
  5. Avoid plastics as much as possible. They contaminate our environment and make their way into our foods and products.
  6. Go Quat-Free. “Quats” irritate the skin and are linked to lung inflammation, allergies, and reproductive issues. They are often found in antibacterial products and end with “-onium chloride.”
  7. Keep chemicals out of the house. Avoid carrying in pesticides and pathogens from the outdoors by taking off your shoes, dusting, and using an air purifier and diffuser. Please remember that our pets and little ones are closer to the floor and are more susceptible to toxins. This makes them increasingly vulnerable.
  8. Avoid non-stick cookware and products that contain PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and others. Health risks associated with them include developmental, reproductive, liver, immune, and kidney effects.
  9. Avoid air fresheners. (see #2)
  10. Stay informed and be active. Toxins impact our own cellular and systemic health, but also our healthcare system, planet, economics, and culture. It is a reality that socioeconomics and accessibility are issues with many of these options. This is why we need to continue to advocate for better regulations from our representatives. We can also vote with our dollars for companies that care for our planet and our well-being whenever we can.

Drink to Your Health: High Quality Water for Cellular and Whole-Body Rejuvenation

The solution to pollution is dilution, but what if your hydration is doing more harm than good?

We need to look at how clean your water really is.

In a recent article on water quality and revitalizing the source, published in NDNR, the author states:

The water in our bodies… is high-quality water. It supports metabolism and DNA function, enables nutrient transfer into cells and waste products out, maintains pH, and facilitates electrical communication between cells.1 This is why it is important to consider the implications of the source of the water in our bodies. We also need to educate our patients on what creates high-quality water. 

One aspect of high-quality water includes reducing the risk of infection and exposure to environmental toxicants, and in most developed countries with access to clean water, this is accomplished. However, reducing risk of infection and exposure to environmental toxicants is not the only thing necessary to create high-quality water, and some of the methods used to accomplish these tasks reduce the vitality of the water overall.

In this beautifully referenced publication, the pitfalls of bottled and spring water are reviewed:

Water essentially becomes a processed food when it goes from spring to package. It may be filtered, subjected to ultraviolet light, ionization, or boiling to ensure freedom from viral or microbial contaminants.3 After this processing, water can contain toxic, volatile organic compounds like benzene and carbon tetrachloride, as well as organic toxins like lead or cadmium…

Furthermore, municipal water also has its pitfalls:

Water supplies can vary greatly in hardness and dissolved contaminants, whether from a well or municipal sources.5 Of most concern are toxic, radioactive, or heavy metals such as arsenic, uranium, or lead.7,8 Excess calcium or other minerals can also create hard water. Even though municipal water is filtered for pollutants and treated for infectious agents, it can still contain pharmaceutical drugs or their metabolites.9

For these reasons, one must seek to create quality water. This includes:

1. Removing contaminants

Options include reverse osmosis, activated carbon, ultraviolet light, and distillation. A combination is usually best. (If using distilled water, make sure to supplement with minerals.)

I am a fan of Berkey filters due to its quality and ability to remove a wide array of dangerous compounds. I have no affiliation but do own one myself.

2. Revitalizing water with a flow-form apparatus to create a vortex pattern

This has been shown to have positive, systemic effects.

Learn more here and consider getting a filter asap.

Take Greener Living All One Step at a Time

All of these interventions are not meant to control someone’s life. They are intended to promote healthy outcomes so that one can live with more freedom and not be bogged down by body woes.

Please don’t let this stress you out or avoid taking responsible measures for fear of not doing things perfectly. Take in these facts in doable chunks, not a water hose.

I know it is easy to get overwhelmed, so it is important to keep things simple and start with one thing at a time. You may want to bookmark this post as you make your way through various steps. You can come back to learn more details and dive in even more as you feel ready.

I hope you can use this information to support your emotional and physical well-being, make your home and the environment safer, and to nourish your important relationships.

Here’s to a happier, more rejuvenating life.

Please share this information and comment below!

In an upcoming article, I’m going to complete our January wellness series with more resources. I will review the topics of mindset, essential oils for mental health and addiction, the benefits of laughter, and love as medicine.

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Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)

This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.

Thanks Pixabay and Canva.