The bright lights, celebratory feasts and gifts galore enhance the holiday season. However, all the wrapped presents and Christmas lights shining all night long, form a ton of excess garbage and energy. The Center for Disease Control reports that Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. That got me thinking. Since I research and report on taking small steps toward better health, why don’t I investigate easy, eco-friendly tips to go green this holiday season.
As a recovering work-obsessed multi-tasker, I spent most days analyzing work and life situations while also writing emails, listening to conference calls in the car driving, or reading industry information during exercise sessions. The idea of “doing it all” energized me. But truthfully, I was always exhausted and stressed. I took yoga a few times to “de-stress,” but found limiting my thoughts to be impossible. In addition, I felt foolish because I thought everyone around me was “better at stretching.” So I gave up before I really even began. Despite my lackluster first experiences with it, I ran to yoga after my second breast cancer diagnosis and haven’t turned back since.
“The current system is failing consumers,” a quote today during the U.S. Senate committee meeting on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions about the cosmetics industry. Personal care products are being regulated under laws that haven’t been updated since 1938, so a number of advocacy groups and political leaders are working to change this through the Personal Care Products Safety Act. It doesn’t matter your socio-economic status, personal background or where you live in this country…you should care. Why? Because what you put on your body, goes into your bloodstream. Many toothpastes, shaving creams, lotions, shampoos, lipsticks, gel nail polish, hair straighteners and the list goes on…are filled with toxins. Our skin is our largest organ and we absorb all the chemicals into our bodies. Studies have shown that these toxins may include hormone disrupters that fuel cancers, agitate allergies and influence fertility. So, what can you do?
Do you remember the early months of your child’s life and the fear of sickness that went along with it? Whether you put them in daycare or signed up for mommy-and-me classes, their exposure to the outside world introduced them to heaps of germs. For me, three days into my son’s daycare career, he came home with sniffles and a fever. I cried. I stayed up all night nursing every moan. And I somehow believed that his immune system would be stronger as it fought off these minor illnesses early in life.
Maybe true. Maybe not. Now as a second grader, he still gets sick every now and then. However, it’s minimal with preventative care. I use natural products and modalities to boost his immunity so that he stays well and so do we. If his body is healthy from the start, it can naturally fight off the sickness that gets passed around in school.
Do you jump out of bed, brush your teeth, shower with shampoo, conditioner and then spray perfume throughout your hair? Let’s assume you use several products in the morning and throughout the day. What if these items contained a few toxic chemicals? Studies have found that cosmetics ingredients such as phthalate plastics, paraben preservatives and triclosan (a pesticide) are common pollutants in the human body. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disrupters. Just like the food we put IN our body, the products we put ON them seep toxins into the blood stream. This is why after I was diagnosed with my second round of breast cancer, that I over-hauled my personal care regimen and cover green beauty on the blog. This morning, I spoke to Teresa Dufour on CT Style and shared a few tips.
Being a northern girl my whole life, spring excites me. After months of spending time indoors, swarms of people run, walk and laugh outside, just because there’s a warm breeze and clear blue sky. The new season ushers in bright clothing, less bulky shoes and new makeup. Now that I focus on living a healthy lifestyle, I limit the cosmetics I use. I’m also really careful with the ones I select, making sure they are clear of hormone disrupting chemicals. Studies have proven these toxins can lead to various diseases especially breast cancer. I also verify that the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database rates my selection of green beauty cosmetics low in toxicity. I still love to doll myself up and have found many non-toxic products that work well. Continuing this series, “What’s in My Bag Now,” here are my favorite non-toxic, green beauty picks for spring.