When thinking about the toxins in our lives, do you think about what you put IN your bodies? What we eat or digest has a big impact on the level of toxins we have to deal with. And sometimes we do even know we are subjecting ourselves to this toxic exposure. Beth Greer, our Super Natural Mum and Chemical Free Community Ambassador (USA) share some practical ways of decreasing your families toxic exposure from those things that go IN your bodies. Enjoy our in our ‘Living in a Toxic World Series – Tips to transform your home into a safe haven’.
Does washing fruits and vegetables with water and vinegar really help remove pesticides?
First, I always advocate eating organic. The chemicals in pesticides are invisible, odorless and tasteless, so the only way to know for sure that there were no pesticides used is if you buy organic. But just because something looks OK, it may actually not be so healthy for you to eat.
For example, don’t be fooled by those juicy non-organic strawberries displayed in the market. They may look luscious, but they have a dark side. Their red color has been enhanced by a fungicide and they have been infused with methyl bromide, a gas that is injected by a tractor into their growing soil. These substances then become part of fruits’ flesh, and can’t be washed off.
Washing fruits and vegetables with a vinegar rinse might leave a vinegar residue and is unnecessary. There have been studies done about the best way to remove pesticides. In one, scientists compared pesticide removal methods on 196 samples of lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes. Some were rinsed under tap water for a minute; others were treated with either a 1 percent solution of Palmolive or a fruit and vegetable wash. Tap water “significantly reduced” residues of 9 of 12 pesticides, and it worked as well as soap and wash products, the studies found. The full report can be found here, A Soap-and-Water Rinse Gets Produce Cleanest
1.Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list for pesticides on produce on the Environmental Working Group.
Is using plastic in the microwave really dangerous? And what about when plastic containers say they are microwave safe?
When food is wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic container and microwaved, the chemicals in the plastic may leach into your food. Fatty foods like meats and cheeses can cause a chemical called diethylhexyl adipate to be released from the plastic containers. According to the Harvard Medical School, the FDA requires that manufacturers test plastic containers and that those tests meet FDA standards and specifications. Only containers that pass this test can display a microwave-safe icon, or the words “microwave safe.” The standard is based on 100–1,000 times less per pound of body weight, which is obviously radically different between Adults and babies.
1. Don’t microwave using plastic water bottles, or plastic tubs for margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard…they are not microwave-safe.
2. Don’t microwave in plastic grocery bags.
3. Don’t let plastic wrap to touch food during microwaving…it may melt. Use wax paper or parchment paper instead.
4. Better yet, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled microwave-safe.
5. More information at Healthy Child .org have a good overview called ‘Know Your Plastics’.
I like to leave a water bottle in my car but someone told me that the plastic can release toxins when the car heats up. Is this true and what is an alternative?
It’s never a good idea to heat plastic, whether it’s in a microwave or in a hot car because a chemical called BPA (Bisphenol-A) is leached out of the plastic and into your water contents. BPA is a chemical that acts a lot like the hormone estrogen when it’s introduced into the body. There is a movement happening to ban BPA from all products. Plus, your hot car isn’t the only problem…scientists have found the longer a bottle of water sits on a shelf, whether in a grocery store or your refrigerator, the higher the risk you’ll consume a greater dose of a chemical called Antimony, a potential carcinogen.
It’s a good idea to stop using plastic water bottles for other reasons too. They’re bad for our planet: 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles used in the U. S. become garbage or end up in a landfill, contributing to global warming. They’re also found in our oceans as small bits of plastic that fish and birds mistakenly eat because they look like krill. We then eat the fish.
1. Filter your own water and fill up your own reusable bottles. Stainless steel and glass are best.
2. If you must use plastic, to be certain you’re choosing a bottle that doesn’t leach, check the recycling symbol on the bottom of your bottle. If it’s a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine. The type of plastic bottle in which water and soft drinks are usually sold is a #1. While it is considered safe it is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it – it makes a good breeding ground for bacteria.
What are the benefits of eating grass-fed beef vs. conventional (factory farmed) beef?
Almost all of the meat sold in supermarkets is from cows raised on factory farms, feedlots, or CAFOs ( ). Most CAFOs pay little attention to human health, food safety, the humane treatment of animals and the environment. In these overcrowded industrial environments animals are fed whatever it takes to grow them as large and as fast as possible.
The farmers focus on getting their cows fat quickly and cheaply, and give them synthetic growth hormones and feed consisting of grain, corn and soy (most often genetically modified). Since cows are meant to eat grass and not grain, their stomachs become acidic and they get ulcers and other digestive problems. Farmers then dose the cows with antibiotics that we consumers then ingest.
So it’s a good idea to look for beef that was raised on pasture and labeled “grass fed.” The good news is that a growing number of farmers let their cattle graze on grass, which is the diet in harmony with nature. The animals eat nothing but their mother’s milk, fresh grass and cut hay their entire lives and tend to be healthier and more humanely treated. Grass-fed beef does cost more than conventional beef, but their meat is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Aside from Omega 3s, grass-fed beef contains another beneficial fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is present in all beef, but a 1999 study in the Journal of Dairy Science found that grass-fed beef had 500 percent more CLA than cows fed a grain-based diet. Grass-fed advocates say to look for “100% grass-fed and finished” on the label to be sure. Plus, these cows are not given growth hormones or antibiotics.
1. You can find grass fed beef at local farmers’ markets, natural food stores and specialty meat markets.
2. The demand for organic meats is growing; some Australian farmers are banding together to find a smarter way of getting organic meat from paddock to plate. Organic Meat Online is just an example in Australia where they have negotiated shipping and freight contracts to be able to deliver organic meat delivered fresh and cold any where in Australia.
For more information?
Go to Super Natural Consulting for information and how to get Beth’s award winning book ‘Super Natural Home’ full of tips on how to detox your home, her speaking calendar or just to ask a question.
- For further information on chemicals to avoid go to the Chemical Free Community Library
- To search for services and products that are non-toxic and less toxic go to www.chemfreecom.com
- The Chemical Free Community Facebook also has a constant stream of information…but beware “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it and then there is no going back!
BETH GREER: aka Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, green holistic health educator, healthy home expert and impassioned champion of toxin-free living. She’s also a Hufﬁngton Post columnist, radio talk show host, and trusted consumer advocate, who is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about healthy home, school and work environments. 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, endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Ralph Nader, Peter Coyote, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and others, shows how everyday items like food, beauty products, household cleaners, bedding, and electronic equipment are making us sick. Interested in Beth’s e-course?
Looking for a speaker, keynote or panelist for your next event. Contact Beth