Malcolm Rands’ tips for good health
There’s no avoiding nasty chemicals. We’re exposed to them every day in the air around us, the food we eat and the water we drink, the things we use to furnish our home and the products we use to clean our bodies and the rooms in our houses. The body can handle toxins but we can get overloaded – and if we can get rid of toxins that there is no need for us be exposed to, that can help us be well.
One of the things I’ve learned about keeping well every day is that small steps can make a big difference. Some of them also tie in nicely to looking after the planet as well as your own health. Here are four ways of keeping well that will help your body work at its best and mount a defence against exposure to toxins.
1. Avoid nasty chemicals in every day products
Tens of thousands of chemicals are used to make the products we clean our homes and bodies with each day, and many aren’t proven to be safe for our health. Reducing exposure to household toxins that might have a negative impact on our hormonal system, irritate our skin, eyes or lungs, or may worsen conditions like asthma, is an important part of being healthy. When you’re next at the supermarket, check product labels for things like sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate, a potential eye and skin irritant; triclosan, which can disrupt your hormones; and synthetic perfumes and dyes. We choose to leave ingredients like these out of our products - and you find out more here about our precautionary approach to product formulation.
2. Eat real, organic food
These days so much food on offer in stores is processed, but in general ‘real’ (whole or unrefined) food is all we need. Think of the things your grandparents might eat – fruit and veg, meat, seafood, dairy and whole grains. These things are found in the outer sections of the supermarket, not the middle aisles. Eating organic produce is also a great option because it cuts down exposure to any pesticides that might be used by growers. Cost makes this option difficult for some, but growing organic veges at home is also a great idea because there really is no better health supplement than growing food organically in your own garden and eating it before the micro-nutrients are lost. If you are buying organic, the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen are really useful resources for finding out which produce puts us at the most and least pesticide risk.
3. Drink filtered water
Drinking filtered water is another way to reduce chemicals that can be introduced to our bodies from the things we eat and drink. Councils need to use chlorine in city water pipe systems to kill micro-organisms that might cause disease, but researchers have identified concerns over the effect of chlorinated tap water on our gut bacteria. It’s important to keep our digestive system healthy because a lack of beneficial gut bacteria has been linked to conditions like autoimmune disease, diabetes, asthma and autism. Getting a water filter at home doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise – a basic tap filter is fine. Also, staying hydrated through the day has lots of benefits including an energy boost, help with concentration levels, managing our appetite, keeping our skin healthy, and detoxifying.
4. Exercising and managing stress
It’s easy to stress when our daily life gets hectic, but the way you respond and manage stress can make all the difference. When the pressure comes on, try getting regular exercise and using relaxation techniques. Yoga and meditation can really help and they don’t need to take a huge amount of time away from your work or home life. You could also try breathing techniques to relax, inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth to release stress as you exhale.
If you have ideas for everyday wellness, we’d love to hear them!
Malcolm Rands and his wife Melanie co-founded ecostore and the Fairground Foundation in 1993. Well known as ‘ecoman’, he’s sought after as a speaker and consultant on the health of people and the planet; innovation, and new models for sustainable business. Follow him @nzecoman