Eco Friendly Living Tips for Health and Home

By Val Silver

Eco friendly living and going green is good for you, good for your home, and good for the planet. We evolved to live in harmony with nature and practicing sustainability and using non-toxic products helps us do that. The more we live up to this ideal, individually and collectively, the healthier we will all be. 

But in our modern world, this is easier said than done. We are bombarded with toxins from chemical fertilizers, smokestacks, pesticides, herbicides, additives, and chemicals in cleaning products and personal products. Our oceans, landfills, and landscape are overwhelmed with an endless barrage of plastic and the chemicals that leach into the environment and the food and beverages we consume.

Fortunately, thanks to environmental advocates and wise consumers who vote with their wallets, manufacturers are listening and offering a wonderful array of green cleaning products and reusable items that promote sustainability.  An abundance of safe, effective personal products, home goods, and green cleaning products are readily available to make it easy for you to practice eco friendly living. 

Why Living Green is Good for You

Clean air, food, water and land maintain and improve wellness and quality of life. It is living as nature intended. Enjoying unspoiled beauty and nature are good for the soul.

Conserving resources and living in harmony with nature does more than help you live a better quality of life. It saves you money in the long run, especially in health care. Eco friendly living preserves the health of the planet for other living beings and your future generations. 

On the other hand...

Toxins in all forms compromise your quality of life in mind, body, and spirit.

Consider physical toxins such as chemicals and particles. They are in our air, water and foods. Pollution in homes is often several times greater than the outdoors due to out-gassing and chemical use.

Gasses, chemicals and particles from pollution are a major source of many health problems. When we eat, drink and breathe, those pollutants end up inside of us. They are implicated in diseases such as cancer, respiratory problems and obesity.

Whether you breathe in toxins, ingest them, or absorb them through your skin, they get absorbed by your tissues and stored in your body. They can interfere with and alter proper cell functioning which eventually may make you ill. 

Eco friendly living is a pillar of healthy living.  To preserve your health in the short and long term, make living green part of your lifestyle.

If you, or someone in your home already has a chronic illness, going green is a high priority. The sooner you switch to green cleaning products, non-toxic personal products, and clean food the better. Air out your home often, too.

Eco Friendly Living Tips

The following living green tips are easy to incorporate into your modern lifestyle. They help you replace harmful man made chemicals and consumption of pollution causing resources with healthier alternatives. 

1. Choose clean foods and personal products. 

As much as possible, eat clean foods, drink clean beverages, and use safe products on your skin. 

  • Drink chlorine and fluoride-free filtered water whenever possible. 
  • Eat ethically raised, hormone, antibiotic-free meat and eggs. 
  • If possible, purchase organic vegetables and fruit that are typically chemical-laden. These include imported grapes, celery, potatoes, peaches, spinach and other greens, blueberries, cherries and bell peppers. If they are not organic, washing them in a bath of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to a cup of water for five minutes will remove some of the pesticides.
  • Many people are on one or more pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs can be toxic in your body. When you use the toilet, you excrete them into the water supply for other people to drink. Do not flush unused drugs. Talk to your medical provider about possible natural alternatives. 
  • Personal products such as soap, shampoo, feminine products and cosmetics often contain unnatural ingredients. They are absorbed through your skin and end up in the air and water supply. For example, lipsticks often contain lead. 
  • Choose organic or more natural products. Read labels carefully or make your own chemical free beauty products that nurture your health instead of putting you at risk. Make extra for eco friendly gift giving.
  • Choose washable diapers for when you and baby are at home so your child's skin is not in constant contact with chemical-laden material. Although old style diapers are still available, the new ones are leak resistant and look like the heavily marketed disposable varieties, only cuter. Yes, this is a bit more work, but you save a substantial amount of money, and cut back on natural resource and landfill waste. 
  • Women, you may not think of eco-friendly living when it comes to that time of the month, but this is important for your comfort and health. Consider using menstrual cups or reusable organic sanitary products. Okay, I hear you, but this is not gross. The cups have thousands of positive reviews. They work better than tampons to prevent leaking, don't dry out your vaginal tissues, are said to make periods less uncomfortable, and save you money over time. Plus, you keep harmful chemicals out of your female parts and waste out of the landfills. At the very least, ditch the plastic applicators. 

2. Use reusable shopping bags.

Canvas bags are inexpensive, sturdy, last a long time, wash well, and hold a lot of groceries. 

Return plastic bags to the store for recycling or reuse them on your next visit. Plastic bag manufacturing in the U.S. alone burns approximately 12 million barrels of oil a year and hundreds of millions of bags end up in landfills and waterways. They take approximately 1,000 years to degrade. 

Eco Friendly Living Tip: Store the bags in your vehicle so you always have them available for shopping trips. Until you get in the habit of bringing them into the store, put them on the seat next to you. 

3. Boycott plastic water bottles.

eco friendly living tips

This eco friendly living tip directly benefits you and the planet. 

Pure water is one of the most essential things you put into your body. Use filtering pitchers or tap filters and refill your own bottles. Glass and stainless steel are good choices. Plastic made from petroleum and obesogenic hormone disrupting chemicals can make you fat and sick. They leach chemicals into the water, especially when hot. 

Do not be fooled by BPA-free plastic. Most likely it was replaced by the equally toxic BPS. If you taste plastic, you are drinking chemicals. BPA and other chemicals can make you gain weight. 

Not only that, but every year, people in the U.S. dump enough plastic water bottles to circle the earth over 100 times. 

4. Take a local approach to eco friendly living. 

Grow some of your own food. Buy it local. Transporting goods requires a lot of fuel. Support your local economy including the small farmers in your area. Much of the produce at farmers markets is fresh, high quality, and organic or close to it. Feel free to ask.

5. Choose non-toxic green cleaning products.

Green cleaning products get the job done while sparing your family and the environment from chemical toxins that can make you sick. 

Using natural cleaning products is an important part of eco friendly living. They help you protect your health, your home, and the environment from toxic fumes and chemicals. They do a great job for all but the toughest cleaning needs.

It's easy and inexpensive to make effective green cleaning products at home. Lemon, baking soda, white vinegar, water and natural soap are common ingredients. 

  • Baking soda deodorizes carpets, refrigerators, dog beds and upholstery. Brush it into the material, leave 15 minutes or so, and vacuum it up. Use baking soda in place of gritty cleanser.
  • For a little more 'oomph' on grease or harder to remove scum, try Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds. I use it full strength in the tub. Steam mops use only water and make cleaning a breeze. 
  • Bleach replacement recipe: Mix together 1.5 cups hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup lemon juice and enough distilled water to fill a gallon jug. Use in place of bleach. For super dingy whites, add one cup of lemon juice to your washer along with your laundry powder. 

6. Limit disposable items. 

Use real dishes and silverware. Drink from a mug, not styrofoam, which takes 500 years to degrade. It is made from coal, petroleum and ethylene which pollutes air and water. These chemicals cause lung cancer and neurological problems. 25% of landfill waste is chemical leaching styrofoam.

Eco friendly living tip: Bring your own reusable container to bring home leftovers when you eat out. 

7. Think eco friendly living when remodeling.  

green living

Choose green home products such as low VOC paints, carpets and countertops made with recycled materials, and natural sustainably grown products over synthetics to reduce unhealthy indoor air pollution.

Say "no" to unsustainable hard woods harvested from rain forests. Cutting down the rain forests to satisfy the human desire for pretty wood is a travesty.

Utility companies may offer free energy assessments and suggest options to optimize energy saving. Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive and easy. Insulating ceilings and walls, or replacing old windows are more costly in the short term, but pay for themselves in a few years and save you lots of money after that. They save literally tons of energy resources and spare the earth tons of CO2 emissions, making them win-win for everyone.

8. Reduce use of lights, TV and appliances. 

Electronics using phantom power waste energy and create tons of emissions. Unplug or turn off power strips when finished using them for the day. Turn off lights when no one is in the room for more than 10-15 minutes. Set your freezer to two degrees and your refrigerator to 37 degrees. Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees. That is hot enough and safer, too. These simple practices limit pollution, save natural resources and lots of money.

As a bonus, you reduce the electro-magnetic waves in your home. Always limit how often you stand close to, or touch electronics, including your cell phone. Speaking of cell phones, keep them away from your head and body. They emit radiation, and radiation causes cancer. Unplug your wi-fi while sleeping.

9. Use mercury free compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.

These light bulbs use four times less energy than regular bulbs and last fifteen times longer. Newer LED light bulbs are much improved. If every American household changes out ten lights it would be like taking 16 million cars off the road for a year. 

10. Use your clothes washer and dryer efficiently.

  • Use plant based detergents and cleansers. Trust your nose. If it smells like petroleum and chemicals, it probably is. A walk down the cleaning product aisle at your local store will confirm this. The smell wafts right through the plastic. You don't need that poison in your home.  If you have to use chemicals, be sure to protect your skin and lungs. Castile soap works great for general cleaning. Some green cleaning products contain enzymes or botanical solutions. Essential oils may be added for deodorizing, disinfecting and added cleaning power.  
  • Wash in warm or cold water. Hot water is rarely necessary. High efficiency washers save a lot of water and detergent, and spin out more water to reduce drying time. 
  • Do a few loads laundry at a time. A warmed up dryer saves drying time and energy. Remove lint after every load to dry clothes faster. Too much lint is a fire hazard and wastes energy.
  •  To soften your clothes and linens, add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle or add a washcloth dampened with vinegar to the dryer. Some people swear by wool balls added to the dryer to soften clothes and reduce drying time. An easy hack is to crumple up a tennis ball-sized wad of clean aluminum foil and toss it into the dryer. This reusable ball will soften multiple loads. No dryer sheets laced with chemicals needed! 

Eco friendly living can seem overwhelming in our modern world. But it is worth it. It is an important part of detoxifying your life of what can harm your well-being. 

On a global scale, you may think your efforts don't matter. They do. When lots of people pitch in, the benefits are enormous. Please do your part. The health advantages of living a chemical free lifestyle are huge. Your home and our planet will be a healthier place for you and all of us to live. 

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Eco friendly living tips for health and home  updated 06/2021

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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