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Green & clean: 5 healthier choices for you and the planet

Green & clean: 5 healthier choices for you and the planet

Green Living

By Le’Nise Brothers

Many of us do what we can to be Earth-friendly, not just on Earth Day but every day—from putting out our weekly recycling and composting our vegetable peels to reducing our car journeys where we can.

Have you thought about the impact on the environment of what you eat, what you put on your skin, what you clean your house with and what you use during your period? Little changes in all these areas can make us even more eco-friendly, as well as being beneficial to the health of our hormones.

Here are five Earth- and hormone-friendly changes you can make.

1. Eat organic, free-range when you can.

The research shows that conventionally farmed produce that’s been heavily sprayed has negative effects on our health, fertility and hormones. Consider making the swap to organic produce where you can afford it. The Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen guide from the Environmental Working Group shows the 12 fruits and vegetables you should always buy organic and which 15 you can get away with buying non-organic. When in doubt, if it has a thicker peel, then it’s probably okay to buy non-organic.

Clean Fifteen: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, aubergines, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, broccoli

Dirty Dozen: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers

2. Avoid single-use plastics if you can.

If you watched Blue Planet, you’ll know the impact plastic is having on our planet. Did you know it also affects our hormones?

From plastic water bottles to cling film to the plastic wrapping on shop-bought fruit and veg, the majority of the single-use plastic we use cannot be recycled. Most plastic products leach chemicals that mimic oestrogen. If you have any form of hormone imbalance, using a lot of plastics can make any symptoms from this imbalance worse, such as PMS, mood swings, heavy and painful periods and painful breasts.

What do you do instead? Invest in a stainless-steel flask to avoid buying plastic bottles of water, use glass storage containers at home, skip the plastic-wrapped produce, avoid plastic straws and use Bees Wax Wraps instead of cling film.

Related Content: Boosily, Natural Make-Up for Kids >

3. Try switching to natural skincare and cosmetics.

Why make the switch? Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything you put on to it—the good, the bad and the ugly. Many conventional make-up and cosmetic brands contain synthetic chemicals that can have an oestrogen-like reaction in the body. These synthetic oestrogens add to the body’s hormone load and can contribute to hormone imbalance and, in some cases, early onset of menstruation.

The natural beauty world has moved on significantly in the past five years and there’s now a huge selection of natural beauty brands to suit all skin colours and textures. If you’re thinking about making the switch: check out Naturismo and Content Beauty for a wide range of natural skincare, beauty and makeup brands.

If you want to check out what’s in your beauty products you currently own, check out these apps: SkinNinja and Think Dirty.

4. Consider making swaps to your cleaning products too.

Just like you absorb what’s in your skincare products, you also breathe in what’s in your cleaning products. All of this exposure adds up and disrupts your hormones.

Ready to make the swap to natural cleaning products? Ecover, Kinn Living, Faith in Nature, Seventh Generation and Dr Bronners are great, widely available natural options—or you could always make your own household cleaner with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda and 2 litres of water. Mix it all together and decant into a spray bottle.

 5. Rethink your menstrual care products.

The average woman will use about 9,600 tampons during her menstrual life cycle. Have you ever thought about what’s in all those tampons that you’re inserting into one of the most absorbent places in your body?

Most conventional tampons and pads are bleached with chlorine and the cotton they’re made from is sprayed with insecticides and other pesticides. The vagina is very absorbent and if you’re using around 20 tampons per cycle and 240 tampons per year, this slowly but surely adds up and can have a negative effect on female sex hormone balance.

Look for non-bleached cotton tampons and pads such as Natracare or Organyc, or consider investing in a menstrual cup. Lunette, Divacup, Lilycup or Mooncup are all great options.

One last thing: don’t flush your tampons down the drain!

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