The world has become a toxic place, in more ways than one. While we cannot control all of them, one area we do have control of is our home. That’s right, your home may be loaded with toxins you may not even be aware of. I discovered this as I started on a healing journey several years ago for Lyme disease and additional autoimmune issues. It’s not something I broadcast or talk about much, mostly because it’s an invisible disease, where others cannot see the pain and immobility it brings. If you are in the same boat you understand. Throughout this journey, I have learned an incredible amount about how our environment affects our healing – and honestly our everyday living. It’s not just food sprayed with pesticides. It’s the chemicals in our cleaning products, the toxins in our makeup, and the air we breath. And that’s just naming a few! While a healing journey for an invisible disease, or really for an sickness or disease may seem isolating, one great part of modern technology is the community you can find online. It’s easy to find people in similar situations who can offer reprieve and whom you can hopefully learn from. For me, Instagram has been this modern day research tool. It’s been so helpful for me in building this community of people who have or are going through the same things I am. The funny thing is they feel like friends, like a support group, but I haven’t even met, let alone spoken with most of them.
One of these “friends” is Shawna Holman. Shawna is the face, the funny persona and the big personality behind @alittlelesstoxic. She is a hoot to watch, but the best part is that she shares helpful information in an easy to digest way. Her mission is simple – show people how to make little swaps to rid toxins from their daily lives. Shawna started her Instagram to share what helped her on her healing journey, and it’s now turned into a full-time job and a new book. Shawna’s most helpful swaps, along with information and ideas can be found in her new book, “a healthier home: the room-by-room guide to make any space A LITTLE LESS TOXIC.”
While I think the whole book is incredibly valuable for any human, it’s especially helpful for anyone trying to heal from a chronic illness. It’s hard to pick just 5 swaps, but I did! However, I do recommend following Shawna on Instagram or buying this book to have all her great resources at your fingertips.
Top 5 Healthy Home Hacks:
- Indoor Air Quality: I live in a big city and it always amazes me how much grime I wipe off the surfaces in my home – even in the winter months when the windows are tightly shut. Pollution isn’t just outside, it’s in our homes too. While there are many things you can do to help improve the air quality of your home, which is important since you spend a lot time there, these are 3 of the easiest…don’t wear shoes inside (I never used to be a no shoes in the home person, until I started trying to heal and learned how much ickiness is on the bottom of them), avoid products with fragrance and invest in a good air filter. I have the AirDoctor 3000 and love it!! (Shawn will always tell you on Instagram when there is a sale on the AirDoctor products too.)
- Cleaning Products: Who knew the very things we use to clean our homes could be hurting our homes, and more importantly us. The number one thing you can do here is to find cleaning products with less harsh chemicals and less fragrances. It’s all about balance too. Maybe you can’t afford to swap every product, or you have one “bad” one you just love, remember, little swaps add up to big improvements. Using cleaning products with better ingredients will also help improve your indoor air quality. Some good brands are Seventh Generation and Branch Basics.
- Food & Cookware: When it comes to food, the best thing you can do is eat fewer packaged items, and when you do have to eat packaged goods, read the label. Less ingredients, and ingredients you can pronounce and know what they are is always better. When it comes to packaged products, a few of my faves for healthier options are Primal Kitchen and Simple Mills. As far as cookware goes, you want to avoid any product that has PFAS or PFOA. These are hidden chemicals in things like non-stick cookware. No one wants little flakes of chemicals in their scrambled eggs! Use cast-iron or stainless steel, or ceramic. For storing leftovers, glass containers are best. There are less chemicals and they are more versatile, often able to be put in the microwave, oven and dishwasher, which you don’t want to do with plastic.
- The Lymphatic System: A lot of people experience swelling in their bodies. Sometimes it is due to disease or sickness, sometimes it’s from a rough workout or a meal that didn’t agree with you. One thing that has been a tremendous help in my healing journey, to keep swelling at bay, is to ensure my lymphatic system is working as best it can. While massage from a trained professional is great for this, you can incorporate some things into your daily routine to help too. Dry brushing before hopping in the shower helps keep the lymph system in check, meaning stimulation to the nervous system, increased blood flow, and keeping the detoxification pathways open. While a dry brush is a great for the body, a Gua Sha stone is an option for the face. These are two great healthy at-home hacks, but if they are not done properly they can cause more harm than help. Please be sure to find instructional videos from trained professionals!
- Personal Hygiene: While it would be nice to share more on each and every thing you should look for here, it’s actually easier to share some things you should avoid – artificial dyes, fragrance, PFAS, phthalates, SLS, bleach, parabens. These toxins can be found in toothpaste, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, face wash, feminine hygiene products, and makeup to name a few. Your skin is your bodies biggest organ, and it absorbs everything you put on it, so use just as much thought and caution as you would when you consider what you put in it. I like Dime Beauty, Seventh Generation and Ilia for some of my personal care product staples. I have many more, so ask if you need them, and be sure to checkout @alittlelesstoxic for great ideas too (and she often has discount codes).
While this was an easy post to write because it’s become my everyday life, and I am also grateful to people like Shawna for sharing their healthy hacks, it was also a difficult post, because it was vulnerable. I don’t share my ailments with many people, but if any of these tips can help any of you, the way they helped me, then it’s well worth it. Happy healthy home hacking!
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