In the 21st century, we are bombarded by toxins and anti-nutrients in practically every part of our lives: in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, in the water we drink, and from the products we use and consume on a daily basis. But our home can and should be a sanctuary. A place to rest, renew, restore, and reinvigorate so we are better equipped to face the challenges of each day. Let’s take a look at some actionable steps you can take right now to detoxify your living space and makeover your home to optimize health.
- The Air We Breathe
Maintaining clean air in your home is essential for a healthy living environment. Here are some tips to help you improve and maintain indoor air quality:
Ventilate: Indoor air is nearly always more polluted than outdoor air. Open windows when outdoor temperatures allow.
Purify the Air: We recommend using one air purifier per room. HEPA fine mesh filters remove dust, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and tobacco smoke down to 0.3 microns in size. ULPA filters remove smaller particles than HEPA, down to 0.12 micron diameter. Photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) air cleaners, e.g., Molekule, remove particles down to the size of small viruses.
Cultivate plants: Plants take in carbon dioxide and provide clean oxygen to your environment. Their green color is also soothing and relaxing. Some great choices are English ivy, red philodendron, spider plants, Ficus, snake plants, Boston fern, peace lily, and Dracena (dragon tree).
Dust and vacuum regularly to reduce the buildup of dust, pet dander, and other allergens.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap small particles. Choose environmentally friendly and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) cleaning products to reduce the release of harmful chemicals into the air.
Change filters and clean ducts regularly. Change filters in your HVAC system regularly (at least twice a year) to avoid the circulation of mold, dust, and other pollutants. Test ventilation air quality at least yearly and consider a professional duct cleaning every 3-5 years.
Remove shoes: Institute a no-shoes policy in the house to keep pollutants out. Walk barefoot indoors in the warmer months and consider a comfortable pair of slippers made from natural materials for the cooler months.
Maintain Humidity levels between 30 and 40% to reduce the growth of mold and dust mites.
Avoid VOC products. If painting, use low/no VOC paints. Let new products ventilate outdoors until off-gasses, or better yet, choose natural products with no chemical smells.
Limit the use of candles. Be cautious with candles, especially those made from paraffin wax, as they can release pollutants. Choose soy or beeswax candles with cotton wicks as a cleaner alternative. Even better, opt for natural air fresheners like essential oils or simmering pots of herbs and fruits on the stove.
- The Food we Eat
Here at Nature’s pHarmacy® we have talked a lot about the foods to keep in the home (and to eat out) to support optional health and wellbeing. The bottom line is to eat a wide variety of whole, organic/ biodynamic foods in a wide variety of ways, avoiding overprocessed and packaged foods. Avoid crisped, chipped, and chemically processed items that look like food but bring chronic ill health. Check out our blog posts on the Twelve Nature’s pHarmacy Principles to Eat by, Part 1 and Part 2 for a deep dive into the things to bring into your kitchen and home to prepare healthy, non-toxic meals. We also provide one recipe each week in our blog to help you bring these principles to life.
- The Water we Drink
Depending on where you live, you may get water from a public municipal water treatment system or from a well on your property. These days, in many municipalities, the water supply contains too many harmful minerals and chemicals and too few restorative minerals and chemicals. We recommend these adjustments to makeover your water supply:
Check out the EWG Tap Water Database to get a better idea of the status of the water supply in your area, including the contaminants found and the levels detected. They also recommend the types of water filters you can use to remove those specific contaminants from your tap water.
Test your tap water. I recommend confirming the quality of tap water with routine testing through a reputable company. Such comprehensive testing can typically be done for under $200. I strongly advise skipping the $20 home testing kits that yield little to no reliable information.
Use only clean spring water, delivered in glass. Plastic and associated chemicals can leach into the water at certain temperatures, so glass is always best. Mountain Valley delivers nationally and Alive Waters delivers in parts of CA, TX and FL. If you are not in one of the distribution areas, check out this map of natural mineral springs to find one close to you.
Hydrate. Make sure to hydrate with mineral water, broths, soups, and ‘wet’ foods. Most people are a little dehydrated. This imposes a significant stress on your heart, lungs, blood vessels, bones, joints, muscles, and other essential systems. Well hydrated people urinate every few hours while awake.
- The Products We Use in the Kitchen
Choose traditional cookware: copper, glass, unglazed ceramic, cast iron, stainless steel, and bamboo. Check out our blog post on “The Truth About Pots and Pans” to learn more about why it’s so important to avoid non-stick coatings, silicone, and aluminum.
Avoid microwaves. Use a stove, oven, air fryer (plastic-free), pressure cooker, or slow cooker to prepare your meals.
Avoid edible oils. There are healthful sources of fat found in whole foods such as nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados. The oils that are extracted from these foods become damaged by oxygen in the air and the anti-nutrient chemicals added to prolong their shelf life or mask their rancidity. All commercial and even many ‘organic’ edible oils are too contaminated. You can cook many recipes with a splash of vegetable broth or water instead of oil.
Upgrade your spices: Grow your own if you can. If that’s not possible, choose organic or biodynamic herbs and spices. Fresh and locally grown is always best.
- The Products We Use on our Bodies
With the cosmeceutical industry largely unregulated, it has been reported by the Environmental Working Group that “595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals, in more than 73,000 products, that have been linked to cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.” This is an easy place to make changes that will reap huge rewards. Consider making over your personal care products as follows:
Soaps: You want your skin to be cleansed without being stripped of the oils that keep it—and you—hydrated. Avoid anything that foams or that is made with lye (as most soap is), and stick with a castile, olive oil, or goat’s milk soap.
Toothpaste. Most toothpastes are riddled with toxins, from the glyphosate in the corn that gives the paste its texture to the other chemicals used, including fluoride, an industrial waste product. A far better choice is a fluoride-free tooth powder.
Mouthwash. Ascorbate makes a far superior mouthwash to what is typically available at your local drugstore. It not only helps your teeth and gums, but also promotes healthy bacteria in your mouth. The healthier your oral bacteria are, the less likely you are to have Alzheimer’s, senility, gingivitis, and digestive disorders. To make this mouthwash, dissolve ½ teaspoon of fully buffered and reduced l-ascorbate powder in a glass containing two ounces of water, then use it to gargle with and swish around inside your mouth. You can swallow it or not, it’s your choice.
Antiperspirants: Avoid them; use baking soda and good hygiene. Antiperspirants contain toxic metals like aluminum. Avoid artificial scents, as they are irritating to the skin, lungs, heart, brain, and body. If your body is putting out odors that are unpleasant, it’s a sign to change your diet, hydration, activity, or mind. If you would like to enhance your smell, you can use cold-pressed sandalwood oil. Other options include lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, or calendula essential oils, which have the bonus of helping to balance mood, brain, and body. Cold-pressed and organic essential oils are better choices.
Make skincare products. You can make wonderful personal care products at home that help you glow and save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars at salons and spas. Cucumbers are terrific for the skin on your face; slice them thinly and place them on your eyes to reduce puffiness. Make a paste of green clay (Montmorillonite) and water to draw out toxins from your skin. Chamomile tea compresses are great for irritated skin. Use cold-pressed organic oils such as sesame, coconut, almond or shea butter as skin moisturizers, organic when possible.
Rethink sun protection. Instead of buying chemical sunscreens, select a sunscreen that uses sesame oil and zinc oxide as a barrier to protect your skin. Better yet, wear a hat and sun-protective clothing.
- The Products we use to Clean
Remove toxic chemicals from your home. Safely dispose of toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies with toxic components. Check with your town or municipality as to where toxic materials are accepted for disposal.
Choose safer, natural options. Use traditional cleaning supplies such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, alcohol, peroxide, with natural sponges, steel wool, and teak scrapers using recipes for homemade cleaners.
Visit the EWG website. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit organization that is a useful resource of information about contaminants in foods, personal care, and cleaning products, as well as in our water and air. Visit their site for consumer guides, reports, and more information.
- The Supplements we Take
Choose wisely. Many supplements contain additives, stabilizers, and forming agents, and often contain the non-biologically active vitamin forms. We recommend PERQUE products, Dr. Jaffe’s brand, as the company takes a holistic approach to formula design and considers the entire nutrient-absorption lifecycle from nutrient delivery systems, to digestion ease, to cellular uptake, to the end result on mind, body, and spirit. This approach ensures that the formulas are designed with all of the essential nutrients, compounds, cofactors and chaperones that guarantee 100% bioavailability as proven in double blind placebo controlled clinical trials. It also guarantees ingredient forms only found in nature that are proven in research to be the most impactful and safe.
Most importantly PERQUE has rethought supplement use not as a one size fits all but as a synergistic combination of evidence-based, 100% active ingredients that are designed to address personalized needs. Authentic PERQUE products are available only through healthcare professionals. Contact PERQUE to find an authorized practitioner near you.