The truth is, this is a difficult question to answer with so many factors effecting our health daily. Many things we face environmentally have the most significant effect on the health problems we face. These include the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the homes, buildings, and neighborhoods where we live and work. All of these may contribute, sometimes by disrupting how the body works.
We become vulnerable to our environment in various ways:
- Air Pollution: From car exhaust to wildfires, ozone, both natural and human-made substances, can wreak havoc on the body.
- Smoke: A single cigarette can carry hundreds of chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, and arsenic.
- Pesticides, Herbicides, and Insecticides: The toxins they use to kill the critters eating our food are also extremely toxic to humans’ health containing carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and slowly affecting our health, but in the long term has detriment.
- Unclean Water: City water alone can have hazardous microbes, heavy metals like arsenic and lead, as well as chlorine.
- Chemicals: ranging from the perfumes we wear, the cosmetics, cleaning agents, body care products, disinfectants, some of the foods we eat.
Although some of these factors are much bigger than we can take on for a change, there are a few ways that you can take charge of your health easily with resources that are right in our city!
- Your Lymphatic System:
Taking care of this key system year-round is essential for healthy immune responses to our environment. A few things you can do to support a healthy lymphatic system is drink plenty of water, exercise to get the blood flowing (dancing is my favorite way to move), eat lots of alkaline foods (lemon/lime, most fruits, leafy greens, and some legumes), cold exposure (cold showers, ice baths, or a Tabata of both hot/cold shower)
- Eat Real, Whole Foods
I cannot say this enough, what you eat 80% of the time will either give us life or feed dis-ease. You get to choose this aspect of your life, and I see that most people will put this on the bottom of their list of priorities. I said 80% because we need balance in life, and if we can maintain a healthy eating pattern 80% of the time, the 20% for mere pleasure allows us to enjoy life guilt-free. Make this a fun and creative part of your life, buy vegetables you do not usually cook with, and remain playful as if an art form is being created.
- Drink Clean Water
Water is a fundamental need for humans, and polluted water is not just dirty; it is also deadly. Having access to clean water should be a basic human right but is not an option for some. Contaminated water can host many pathogens and heavy metals, causing dis-ease like chronic diarrhea and disrupted gut microbiome. Something simple you can do is purchase a water filtration system to clean the basic metals and chlorine out of your water. You can find a place to buy fresh spring water near you like findaspring.com or boil your water before drinking it.
- Shop Local
When we purchase from online sources, we are keeping the cycle of environmental toxins going. Shopping local can keep the exhaust from trucks down, support your city by keeping the dollars within your city (where your money goes, energy flows), and we have some amazing options here in Siouxland that can truly benefit us all. Since Aldi has popped up in our city, we have access to fresh organic produce at a portion of the cost of what some of our other stores offer. If you are looking to stay on a budget, this is a great option. Next to Nature is where you can go locally for high-quality supplements, herbs, and non-toxic home care products. A place where you can find a Mind-Body-Spirit approach is MindBody Connection with herbal tinctures, bodyworkers, and various TCM classes.
As you progress towards your goals of becoming healthier in every aspect of your life, remember to take your time, build yourself up to be strong in one area at a time, and fuel yourself on the cleanest ingredients you can. If I can recommend for anyone looking to make changes, begin drinking plenty of clean water throughout your day. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables — as much as you can consume in each meal. And when you get those two things down, begin incorporating a good practice of moving your body, supplementing, and enjoying a massage to release toxins from the body.
By Hali Benson