Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Clean from the very beginning

I'm pregnant! We're absolutely thrilled and I just felt my first flutters at 18 weeks along:) Our baby boy is due January 1st and we're REALLY hoping he decides to come just a little early to save us a boatload on another deductible - I'll trying every single natural induction tip out there! 
my little bump
From the very start I've been committed to creating a non-toxic and healthy  environment for my little one to grow. This includes my diet of course, but also the products I put on my body and use in our home. In-utero exposure to environmental chemicals has been linked to childhood and adult diseases including autism, high blood pressure, ADHD, mental disorders, heart disease and more (Dr. Mercola July 9, 2014). Any future mothers please read this article from the American College of Gynecology, which is a medical journal that educates OB/GYNs of new policies and medical studies. The first paragraph pretty much sums it up:
Toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies, and are associated with numerous other long-term health problems, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). In a joint Committee Opinion, The College and ASRM urge ob-gyns to advocate for government policy changes to identify and reduce exposure to toxic environmental agents.
About 700 new chemicals are introduced to the US market every year and over 84,000 different industrial chemical substances are now approved for use in our country. APPROVED WITHOUT ANY SAFETY DATA (more than 90% are untested)! These maybe safe/maybe not safe chemicals are in our skin care products, sunscreen, makeup, cleaning products, laundry detergent, EVERYWHERE - many chemicals that pregnant women are exposed to cross straight from the placenta to the fetus!! This NY Times article "Think Those Chemicals Have Been Tested?" will blow you away, so unbelievably frustrating. Especially concerning to me are chemicals considered to me are endocrine disrupting chemicals" which mess with our bodies by mimicking hormones and the way our body naturally works (include parabens, fragrance (phthalates), BPA, flame retardants, and MANY more). Endocrine disrupting chemicals are especially harmful and can do the most damage during prenatal and postnatal development when organ and neural systems are developing. Avoid these chemicals just like you do sushi and deli meat! 

Since the burden to determine product safety is on the mama, I URGE you to examine the ingredients in the products you use. A few months ago I wrote a post "The List of Bad Ingredients" that can help you - the website The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is also an amazing resource. Don't be fooled by marketing gimmicks describing a product as "natural" or "organic" - YOU MUST READ THE INGREDIENTS!! If you can make these changes BEFOFE you get pregnant that is ideal - critical development happens during those first months.

Dr. Mercola wrote this article that is full of valuable suggestions for avoiding chemicals and toxins during pregnancy. He found that in a survey of over 2,500 US obstetricians that 78% agreed that they could reduce environmental exposure through patient counseling and only 20% claim to routinely ask about exposure history. Even more disturbing is that only one in fifteen obstetricians reported receiving any training on the topic at all!! Hopefully more articles like the one in the American College of Gynecology will be published and action steps taken in practices.
I realize all these changes and warnings are very overwhelming - where do you begin?! Mercola's article includes this great list to use as a guide and I've included my blog posts that pertain:
  1. As much as possible, purchase organic produce and free-range, organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides, growth hormones, GMOs, and synthetic fertilizers. (Learn more about GMOs and their danger and my guide to buying organic)
  2. Rather than using conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity.
  3. Eat mostly raw, fresh foods, steering clear of processed, prepackaged foods of all kinds. This way you automatically avoid artificial food additives, including dangerous artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and MSG. Freshly grown sprouts are particularly nutritious, especially watercress, sunflower, and pea sprouts.
  4. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA- and BPS-containing liners). (Read about my new favorite non-plastic products here)
  5. Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath). (I've been wanting to blog about this - we use this bath filterthis shower filter and here is my post on fluoride)
  6. Only use natural cleaning products in your home. (LOVE my recipes for homemade cleaners)
  7. Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a useful database to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.14 (Read my posts on makeup and my beauty routine for product suggestions)
  8. Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, or other synthetic fragrances. (Read more about why here).
  9. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
  10. When redoing your home, look for "green," chemical-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.
  11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door. Most flexible plastics, like shower curtains, contain dangerous plasticizers like phthalates. (Read more about phthalates here).
  12. Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time.
  13. Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective, and natural alternatives out there. (I have lots of natural pest remedies pinned - check out my Pinterest page)
If anyone has any questions or needs additional product suggestions please let me know - I'd love to help!

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