Just as babyproofing is designed to prevent children from injuring themselves or doing damage around the home, greenproofing is designed to protect families from unsafe exposure to potentially toxic substances in their home, on their body, and in their environment.
People sometimes tell me that greenproofing sounds like a daunting task or that it is not necessary because our parents and grandparents had all these toxins around them growing up and they’re fine. Are they really? Prior to the industrial revolution, the American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8,000 people had cancer and now 1 in 3 people do.
The number one greenproofing device is our health. When we take care of our bodies and our immune systems, we are capable of handling a certain amount of external toxins that we can’t control. Many people think this task is extremely overwhelming and frightening, sometimes even depressing, but there are actually a lot of small steps we can take without having to make crazy lifestyle changes, which can have a tremendous influence on you and your family’s life all the while creating a symbiotic relationship with the environment.
Take Care of Yourself
Society has led us to believe that women should wear many different hats. We are expected to be mothers, wives, daughters, confidants, friends, business women, cooks, nurses, drivers, all the while looking fabulous! So when do we have time to take care of ourselves? We truly underestimate the importance of taking care of our mind and body. Providing our body with the nutrients, exercise and rest it needs makes us capable of handling just about anything. Everything starts with building our own healthy foundation.
Clean Up Your Indoor Air
We can survive for some time without food and water but air is the one thing that is absolutely vital… but of course, it all depends on the type of air you are breathing. To improve your indoor air quality:
– Leave your shoes at the door
This is something I absolutely adore about the Asian culture. Not only does taking your shoes off make you feel at home, but it limits huge amounts of indoor air pollution. It’s so simple and doesn’t cost anything, and babies, children and pets that spend time crawling, touching and putting things in their mouths, will benefit greatly!
– Use safe house cleaners
Most house cleaners that you find on the market contain volatile particles, smells and fragrances that are known carcinogens. Children’s lungs are immature and since they are closer to the ground and more likely to be on the floor, they are the most vulnerable. Make sure the ingredients used in the products you buy are listed. If they’re not, consider that a red flag. Use the internet as a resource to look up ingredients you have never heard of and get help from an eco-consultant.
– Open your windows
Many of us believe that our indoor air quality is better than the outdoor air, especially in a city like Hong Kong. I’m sorry and sad to say that’s not a true. Even in a city like Hong Kong, outdoor air is less polluted than indoor air, so don’t forget to open your windows for at least 15 to 30 minutes a day!
– Limit your exposure to EMFs
EMFs are Electro-Magnetic Fields and you get them from any electronic device and especially from wireless devices like cellular phones and Wi-Fi. Make sure your Wi-Fi is not in the same room as you or your children’s bed and that you sleep with your cell phone off. Try to place your bed as far away from power outlets as possible (even if they are not being used).
Know Your Food
Food is fuel. You wouldn’t put the wrong or the cheapest kind of fuel into your car, right? So why would you do that to your body? Get to know how to read labels and understand the ingredients that are in your food. Pesticides & GMOs have lasting effects on our bodies and our bodies are not equipped to detox from them naturally. Even when fruits and vegetables are peeled, pesticides penetrate the skin and contaminate the produce. Use resources, like the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen (shown below; you can even get this as an app for your phone) to help you shop. Ask Baby Bloom experts to teach you and your helper more about what’s in your food, the impact it has on your whole family and simple ways to create healthier versions of the foods you and your family love.
Feed Your Skin Healthy
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and any product you put “on” it goes “in” it. Make sure you understand all the ingredients in your products. And SIMPLIFY, especially during pregnancy and newborn time. Do not use anything questionable and ask an eco-consultant to have a look at your products if you have questions about the safety of any of them. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and want to get a facial, be sure to let them know you are pregnant. Surprisingly many products are not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Use databases, like the EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, to learn what’s in your products and what risks you are taking if using them.
Don’t forget that women are the ones who can make the difference. We have a lot of power to change what companies will put into their products. At the end of the day, these companies sell what we want to buy.
And last but not least, don’t let yourself get stressed out, especially about greening your life! Stress is worse than any of the toxins around you. Pamper yourself, always keep in mind that you are doing your best, treat your body in a respectful way, and ask for help when you need it!