Home Is Where The Health Is

Home Is Where The Health Is

We spend so much of our lives in our homes, yet  do we ever really consider their role in supporting our health? Here are a few simple tips for making your home environment healthy as can be.

In the kitchen

Swap plastic for glass

It’s really important to swap all plastics out of the kitchen, Use glass or stainless steel water bottles, glass food containers and steel lunchboxes. Teflon non-stick pans should be swapped for steel or something from Greenpan (greenpan.co.uk) which makes brilliant frying pans. Plastic water bottles may contain bisphenol A which, we all know can be an endocrine (hormone) disruptor.

BPA has been proven to leach into food, enter our bodies and mimic the hormone oestrogen. Because of this some experts believe it may be fueling the rise in hormone-driven cancers. It’s also implicated in obesity, neurological disorders as well as thyroid problems, male infertility and asthma. Currently, the charity Breast Cancer UK is campaigning for a ban on BPA use in food packaging – it’s already banned for use in baby products in all EU countries and a total ban for all food products in France. Avoid ingesting this toxic health hazard by using glass containers to store food, and never heating, microwaving or freezing any food contained in plastic – always spoon food out into glass or porcelain. Some companies have stopped using BPA in tin linings, but the majority still do. If in doubt, google a tinned product before you buy it. Keep clingfilm away from food too. Try sustainable food storage Bee’s Wrap instead (£15, notonthehighstreet.com) and never heat food wrapped in tin foil – aluminium leaches into the food and this heavy metal is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

Swap regular for organic

And of course, what you put in your pans to cook is even more important: Organic food is higher in nutrients and lower in pesticides which may be toxic. If cost is an issue, concentrating on the dirty dozen and clean fifteen (the crops that have the most vs the least pesticide residue) is a very good start.

Swap white for brown

White bread, pasta and flour should be swapped for wholegrain as the nutrients and beneficial fibre is contained in the husk which is removed during the refining process.

In the garden

Swap out the weedkiller

If there’s one change you need to make it’s this: get rid of glyphosate. What’s that you ask? It’s the potent toxic ingredient in weed killers like Roundup and it’s implicated in all kinds of horrible diseases like Parkinson’s and cancer. Recent independent studies showed farm workers exposed to glyphosate or Roundup are at least twice as likely to develop lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). Roll up your sleeves and yank weeds out, or pour boiling water on them to kill them first.

In the bathroom

Swap antibacterial cleaner for natural

There’s a new warning about infertility, and your household cleaner is in the frame. Researchers at the University of California have found that exposure to common products damages human cells. Certain hand wipes, disinfectants and mouthwash contain things called quaternary ammonium compounds which kill germs by dissolving their cell membranes. But the latest findings suggest they do this by damaging the powerhouses of cells, known as the mitochondria, and they do the same to our cells too. This means the sex cells needed to start a family are at risk. Offending products named in the study include Tesco Fresh antiseptic disinfectant, Dettol surface cleaner and antibacterial wipes, Lemsip Max All In One Liquid, plus various Colgate mouth products. Also check all of your products for the ingredient triclosan – linked to cancer and used in Colgate Total, for example.

The solution? Go natural of course! There are hundreds of DIY cleaning product recipes online, or try Dr Bronner Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner (£8.95, dolphinfitness.co.uk), and all-purpose cleaner which you can use for laundry, cleaning surfaces, washing the dishes, mopping the floor, or to clean bathrooms and sinks.

In the living area

Swap man-made for natural

Embrace the principles of biophilic design, the idea of using natural materials to bestow wellbeing benefits upon inhabitants and improve the human connection to nature. It’s backed by science, with several studies proving that homes based on biophilic design has wide-ranging psychological and physical benefits, from improving sleep to reducing stress levels. Using natural materials, like silk or wool, or even water-based finishes, can do a lot to reduce toxins in the home, many artificial materials give off toxins throughout their lifespan, creating poor indoor air quality, and as a result negatively impact on the overall health and wellbeing of the occupants.

Throughout the home

Use eastern wisdom

A healthy home is one where the positive qi energy is flowing calmly and smoothly around each room, without obstruction. Large pieces of furniture that block doorways or routes around the house should be repositioned or removed. Systematically declutter under the bed, stairs and in any junk rooms or cupboards. Even if you can’t see the mess, it will still be stagnating the energy flow!

Boost natural light to stimulate the qi. Regularly clean windows and mirrors, and position mirrors to maximise the light in all rooms. Brighten darker rooms with lighter coloured paints, wallpaper and fabrics. Nature in your home will also uplift the energy. Use houseplants with soft, rounded leaves or fresh flowers. Avoid artificial ones and quickly remove any that are dying or dead. Natural, non-synthetic scents and oils will help stimulate or slow down a room’s energy. Carefully choose energising or calming fragrances to harmonise with the desired function of each space.

Rachel x

4 Beauty Ingredients To Avoid

Do you know what’s in that tub of cream you rub into your face every day?

Image result for vegan makeup

If you haven’t already gone natural it might be time to consider making the switch, as there are a lot of nasty chemicals in your beauty bag that could be doing your body real harm.

INGREDIENT: PARABENS (BUTYL-, ETHYL- OR METHYLPARABEN)

Harm: Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.

Found in: makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers.

INGREDIENT: PROPYLENE GYCOL

Harm: Polyethylene when it is not combined with glycol, is the most common form of plastic used in the world. Moreover, according to a report in the International Journal of Toxicology by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, it often includes ethylene oxide (which The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as group 1, meaning it is a proven carcinogen) as well as heavy metals (lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium and arsenic).

Found in: shampoo, soap and shower gel.

INGREDIENT: PETROLATUM

Harm: Petrolatum comes from crude oil and while it is classed as non-toxic, there is a risk of contamination from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil and its by-products.

Found in: most commonly, Vaseline, but also skincare and eczema products.

INGREDIENT: SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE OR SODIUM LAURETH

Harm: A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, large quantities of it could be absorbed into the body and irritate skin, causing inflammation. It seems to be quite low risk but this increases the longer it’s left on the skin, the more concentrated it is and the more often it’s used.

Found in: shower gel, shampoo and lathering, cleansing products.

And the ones that sound bad, but aren’t:

• MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a special biological sulfur found in plants, soils, fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, meats, and milk and could help joint pain and clear your skin.

• Hyaluronic acid is a type of carbohydrate (made up of simple sugars), that occurs naturally in our bodies and binds to water, helping to lubricate eyes, muscles, and our skin.

• P-Anisic acid (also known as draconic acid) is derived from anise, a flowering plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region and southwestern Asia and has antiseptic properties.

Rachel x 

rCup:The world’s first reusable coffee cup made from used paper cups

Finally, there’s a travel mug that’s been designed with practical portability in mind. The rCUP won’t leak – ever! It keeps your drink hot or cold and you can pick it up without scalding your hand. You can easily open it and take a sip while you’re on the move with one hand. Even better – the drinking experience is great – you never have to drink your coffee through a tiny hole ever again.

The story of rCUP

In late 2016 award winning Cornwall based eco-design company Ashortwalk were asked to develop ideas to turn used paper coffee cups into new products. At the time, a BBC campaign led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had successfully raised public awareness of the fact that only 0.4% of the disposable cups they used were actually being recycled. The tide had turned on our throwaway culture and people were demanding a more sustainable way to enjoy their coffee.

What can be done with waste coffee cups?

The reason why most paper cups aren’t recycled is because they have a plastic lining, which makes them difficult to recycle as paper.One of our polymer and recycling partners, Nextek had recently carried out a PHD on recycling used paper cups with Imperial College London. Rather than trying to seperate the paper from the liner they took the logical approach of recycling the whole cup. By cleaning and shredding the cup they found a clever way of blending the strong fibres of the cup to a recycled plastic polymer. We were then able to begin work on blending this polymer with other recycled materials to mould it into new useful products.

Creating a genuinely useful reusable cup

The rCUP reusable coffee cup was designed by the team of designers to be genuinely useful. They wanted the design to be functional anywhere and everywhere.
Key features include:

  • 100% leak proof
  • BPA free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Well built, robust and long lasting (10+ years lifetime)
  • Can be opened and closed with one hand
  • Keeps drinks warm or cool depending on what’s in it
  • Can be picked up even when the contents are very hot
  • Gives an enjoyable drinking experience just like a real mug

A cup that is made from waste, helps recycle waste and reduces waste

Their cup is currently the only one that is made from the single use cups that are still being used in coffee shops and cafes every day. It’s all about the circular economy – by creating products from used cups they’ve stimulated the demand for the once worthless used paper cup. This demand increases the value of used paper cups, which enables recycling firms to invest in the infrastructure required to recycle them.
In real terms discarded coffee cups have zero value – in fact it actually costs £100 a tonne to dispose of them. But when captured and collected these cups for recycling, the value increases to around £35 a tonne. If you then process them into a useful polymer the value shoots up to £1,200 a tonne. When this polymer is used to make a new product, say, an rCUP reusable cup, its intrinsic value becomes £20,000 a tonne! This is the huge value of closed loop product design.
Which? Best reusable coffee cup

Shop now for your very own rCup

Rachel x

Please Note: I was not paid or asked to endorse this product and information in this post has been taken from the rCup website.