According to Nicholas D. Kristof from the New York Times, “Our lives are threatened less by the Taliban in Afghanistan than by unregulated chemicals at home.”
This fact scares me. I started thinking very consciously and deliberately about my own overall health a few years ago, after being diagnosed with the BRCA (breast and ovarian cancer gene) mutation. So many factors surrounding my health felt very much out of my control, and I decided to focus on factors that I could control. What that means to me:
1.) Eating well by including lots of fruits & veggies, organic as much as possible, limiting sugar & processed foods, and limiting meat.
2.) Exercising often and including cardio, flexibility and weight bearing exercises.
3.) Getting my checkups with all of my various doctors. Regularly!
4.) Being really present with friends and family, and creating space for downtime and relaxing.
5.) And finally, taking an in-depth look at what I’m surrounding myself with in my home, including cleaning, bath and beauty products. The chemicals in these products, it turns out, are far more dangerous to me than any war or any gun. These are potent chemicals in my home that I bring in and use. Sometimes use liberally, assuming these chemicals are safe or have been vetted by the FDA or the manufacturer. But they haven’t. Over 150 COMMONLY USED chemicals found in our homes are linked to birth defects, cancers, and psychological abnormalities (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
I’ve learned a few things along the way and I want to share this info with anyone who may just be getting started as well.
I must admit, some of these factors were much easier for me in terms of making changes. I love running, but hate lifting weights. I had to find a class with other people so I could get support and feel motivated to work those weight-bearing exercises into my week. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth so cutting back on sugar wasn’t a problem but giving up my morning coffee and my weekend glass (or two…and sometimes those two are large glasses!) of wine made me MISERABLE. Coffee and wine are back. My husband and children are probably thankful. Choosing different, safer cleaning supplies was super easy, but swapping out my favorite tried & true beauty products has proven to be much harder. I am reluctant to give up a few holdovers.
So what are the takeaways?
1.) First, this process takes time. Changing is hard work! No one can do it all at once. I promise, you are not alone. (Hello, Veritey community!)
2.) Second, get support. Having friends and family who are on board with these changes and making changes as well makes the whole experience much easier and a lot more fun.
3.) Third, relax! Wherever we all are along the continuum is just FINE. The point is that we are making progress, and thinking about health, and actively trying hard to do good things—for ourselves, for our families and for the planet.
No matter where we are now, each of us can be further along tomorrow. The important thing is to just get started.
If you have more questions or concerns, please come to Veritey and let us know. You can write us at
or just post on our community board. We’re there an awful lot. And soon, we will have some Veritey Coaching. Let us know if you’re interested!
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