Spring Cleaning with a Twist Could the food in your cupboards be causing your child’s behavior symptoms? Could your shampoo and body wash be causing your fatigue? Could your cleaning products be causing your family’s itchy skin?
Take a new spin on Spring cleaning. Make this the time to get rid of things that could be contributing to your family’s health issues.
Spring cleaning is not just for cleaning and organizing your house. You can use Spring cleaning to clean up your family’s health as well. You want to feel great this summer, right? Who knows, Spring cleaning may even help you shed a few pounds.
Spring is a good time to clean up what you put in and on your body. You’ve probably heard a lot about how bad mental/emotional stress is for you. Well, stress from chemicals and toxins are not good for you either. Just making a few simple changes to help clean up what you put in and on your body, can help reduce additional stress. Once your body is not as busy dealing with the toxins you are exposed to, you may have more energy to work on other things, like keeping up with the kids.
Spring Cleaning Your Pantry of Processed Foods
Get rid of the processed foods in your pantry, which are usually those in boxes, bags or cans. While they may be convenient they are not as nutritious as eating real, whole food. Avoid foods with artificial sweeteners, colors & flavors as well as MSG.
Look at the ingredient list, if there are more than 5 items, try finding an alternative. Can you pronounce the ingredients, do you recognize what they are? If you don’t know what they are, your body probably doesn’t either.
Think about how your great-grandmother ate, those are real foods, the ones your body will recognize as food. Not filled with chemicals, preservatives or highly processed ingredients with not much nutrition left in them.
I realize convenience is a factor with busy schedules these days. Planning ahead can help make those busy days a little easier to manage. Making meals ahead of time or batch cooking and freezing has saved me a lot of time. Using a crock pot or Instant Pot can help simplify meals as well. You can put your ingredients in before heading out to practice or a game and then dinner is ready when you get home.
Don’t just buy a product based on its fancy label or advertisement, it can often be misleading. My kids, and even I, still get pulled in sometimes by advertisements or labels, but then I check the ingredients for myself and decide if it’s a good choice for us. Just because the label says, “Gluten Free”, “Sugar-Free” or “All Natural”, does not necessarily mean it is healthy for you.
If a product is not certified organic or GMO-free, check for possible GMO ingredients. The most common ones are:
- Corn-derived ingredients including corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, masa, corn meal and corn oil.
- Soy-bean derived ingredients including soy proteins, soybean oil, soy milk, soy flour, soy sauce, tofu or soy lecithin.
- Sugar which is most likely from genetically modified beet sugar unless the label says, “pure cane” sugar.
- Vegetable oils including vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and corn oil.
Spring Cleaning to Fill Your Fridge
Fill your fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables and animal products raised naturally and organically. Look for foods that are free from pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics and meat that is free-range from farms. Clean the fridge of sugary drinks and replace them with fruit infused water, herbal tea or coconut water.
If you are bored with the selection of produce at your grocery store, check out a local farmers market for new ideas and for what is in season. Bring your kids so they can pick out something new they would like to try.
Purchasing organic fruits and vegetables is preferred but may not always be an option. When purchasing produce check the dirty dozen list at the Environmental Working Group website. If you can’t purchase all your produce organic, at least purchase the items on the dirty dozen list organic, as the non-organic versions contain the most pesticides. You will also want to choose organic if the item is likely GMO such as sweet corn, zucchini, yellow squash or Hawaiian papaya.
The quality of the animal products you eat is extremely important as well. Look for grass-fed/grass-finished beef, pasture-raised/organic poultry and eggs, and wild-caught seafood. Otherwise, you could be exposing yourself to hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, neurotoxic and endocrine disrupting chemicals and more.
Ask yourself when you eat if what we are about to consume will nourish our body or not. To choose foods that nourish and support your body, simply choose foods in their most natural form. Choose foods that are mostly fresh, not packaged, not fried, and foods that if labeled – are completely and totally understandable when it comes to the ingredients.
Spring Cleaning Your Cleaning Products
Cleaning your cleaning products, that sounds strange!
Not only do you need to Spring clean your pantry and fridge to make sure you are putting healthy, nutrient-dense food in your body but check your cleaning products as well. You could be exposing your family to harsh chemicals in your cleaning products, which could be causing unwanted symptoms. Make sure you are using eco-friendly, toxic-free cleaners in your home.
The Environmental Working Group website also has a database of cleaning products and has an A-F grading for over 2,000 products. Check the products you are currently using in your home, if they have a low grade search the database for better alternatives. Also, simple products such as essential oils, vinegar or peroxide can be used for cleaning.
Just because you aren’t putting the items in your mouth does not mean they aren’t affecting you. Breathing in the air or touching surfaces with chemicals and toxins can have a big impact on your family’s health.
Spring Cleaning Your Personal Care Products
Toxins and other chemicals could not only be in the food you eat, and the cleaning products you use, but they could also be in your personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, and makeup.
Using personal care products that contain chemicals and toxins are not good for your skin or your health. The toxic ingredients in personal care products can disrupt the endocrine system and may even be linked to certain cancers.
The Environment Working Group also has a database of personal care products called Skin Deep that has hazard ratings on over 70,000 personal care products.
If you aren’t eating the product, does it really matter if there are some questionable ingredients? Yes, everything is still absorbed on your skin and into your body.
You don’t have to completely get rid of everything at once and make this an overwhelming task. Just be aware of the changes you want to make and as you finish an item up find a clean alternative to replace it with.
Spring Cleaning Your Attitude
I realize this may seem a little out of place but I feel Spring cleaning your attitude can make a big difference to your health as well. Try to focus on the positive and find things to be grateful for. This can change your outlook on a specific situation as well as other areas in your life.
It’s not always the situation that matters; it’s your perception of the situation that matters. You have a choice, either focus on the negative or try to find something positive to focus on. I realize this may be a struggle in some situations, but see if you can find even the slightest bit of something positive to focus on.
It’s so important to start taking control of your mind and teach this to your kids as well. This can impact your peace, calm, focus and all the other things that contribute to you being happy and successful as well as for your kids.
We often refer to this as a ‘gratitude attitude.’ Focus on what makes you happy and what you’re grateful for. This is a great change because a lot of us are so caught up in everything that’s wrong, that we never think about how much is right.
Take a moment at the end of each day and write down the things you are grateful for. Ask your kids what they are grateful for. There’s so much to be happy about but a lot of the time we miss it. Take your new ability to change the way you think and focus on it. Suddenly everything becomes happier.
Spring cleaning with a twist! What will you “clean” first?