Check your refrigerator

Go green - really!

Detoxing your life means more than just losing that holiday weight or nixing the caffeine. It’s a good idea to examine all aspects of your life to uncover places you can cut down on the number of harmful chemicals and contaminants that affect you every day. Here are some places to get the ball rolling.

Water, water everywhere

Filtering your drinking and bathing water is so important for your health and appearance. Did you know that in 2010, one of the top five recommendations of the President’s Cancer Panel for the prevention of environmentally caused cancer is to filter the water you drink? Every water source is different, even in taps from home to home. Variability is driven by local pollutants, water treatment techniques, the age and material composition of the pipes that deliver your water, and the faucet that you use. Even if you have the purest water being delivered to you by your municipal water source, your pipes may leach unwanted contaminants into the water in transport. Unfiltered tap water can contain harmful contaminants like chlorine, lead, pesticides, herbicides and cysts, and what’s in your water varies by your geographic location and municipal water supply. Shower filters can help protect you and your family.

This says nothing about what all that contamination is doing to your hair and skin when you bathe in it! Your skin absorbs more chlorine through contact than you do by drinking it, not to mention the fact that you are also inhaling vaporized chlorine in all that hot shower steam. The chlorine dries out your hair and skin in the shower, the same way (if to a slightly smaller degree) than when you swim in a chlorinated pool.

Got anything in the fridge?

Audit your cupboard and fridge: That’s right, I said audit. Maybe the looming advent of tax season has my brain going crazy with the term, but there are a few things you might want to take stock of:

• Sodium tri-poly-what? Anything containing an ingredient you cannot pronounce has got to go. I’m not necessarily advocating a return to the hunter/gatherer diet regimen, but it’s a safe bet that all those complex chemical formulas for extending the shelf life of food is not doing a heck of a lot of good for your body.

• Sell by 1997: Whoops! Check your sell-by dates and toss/recycle the stuff that has expired. If it’s just a bit past the date and you feel comfortable eating it, that’s all right: what I’m going for here is to get rid of items that may have been named in an FDA recall sometime in the mid-'90s.

• Green/Yellow/Red: Categorize your cabinet and fridge contents into green, yellow and red categories. Green being healthy: can eat whenever I want; yellow being okay in moderation; red being SPECIAL OCCASION ONLY. A good mix is: 50% green category foods, 35% yellow, and no more than 15% red.

Doing Laundry

What are you washing in?

As if cleaning isn't bad enough!

Trash harsh chemical cleaning supplies: Some of the airborne toxins and residues of popular cleaning supplies can do more harm than good to you and your families. And my suggestion for an alternative is… vinegar. That’s right, plain and simple old white distilled vinegar, which is natural, non-toxic, and friendly to the Earth. It’s mildly acidic, which allows it to clean effectively and help keep your family healthy and safe. See VinegarTips.com for 1001 uses for our lovely (and inexpensive) friend.

What are you wearing?

Check your clothing: The word for health these days is organic, and when it comes to clothing, the story is no different.

• Holy cotton! There’s new and trending research out there that states that the pesticides used to grow that cotton that makes it into our clothing can be deadly. The manufacturing processes add in more chemicals and toxins, and some dyes and ink are also highly toxic.

• Don't forget about detergent degenerates. Check what you wash your clothes in, too! Those fragrant and ultra-whitening detergents can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and wreak havoc on people who suffer from allergies, which says nothing about the possible toxins seeping in through your pores. I know some of those organic and non-toxic detergents don’t have the same “get it whiter and brighter” promises that the Big Brands do, but I think I could buy a new blouse a little more often or be more careful if it meant remaining healthy for a few more years.