Family Health

Mamas on Bedrest: 9 Tips for Greener Living

November 9th, 2011

Click to take the postpartum depression survey conducted by Case Western Reserve University Thank you very much for your consideration.

My friend and colleague Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, was recently awarded one of the Austin Birth Awards for “Best Nutritionist”.  Rosalind is a wealth of information and helps many couples achieve pregnancy naturally with her programs on health and nutrition. Rosalind recently sent out an e-mail with more alarming statistics on toxins in our environment. (We have discussed these very issues in previous blog posts on Green living and Healthy home.) With her permission, I am sharing the e-mail with you here as it contains some excellent practical tips Mamas can use right now.

Now let’s go green – as in a clean, green home for you and your family!

There is mounting evidence that man-made chemicals might mimic, amplify, or block our natural hormones effecting metabolism, mental processes, physical growth, sexual development, reproduction, and many aspects of fetal development.  [A study just last month in Pediatrics found in the womb exposure to bisphenol A (a compound used in making plastics) was associated with neurobehavioral problems in girls at age three. 10/24/11]

We know that 80 to 90% of our exposure to toxic chemicals comes from the food we eat and from the inside environment where we live and work – thus you do have a large measure of control to protect yourself and your family.

Top 5 changes to a safer, greener home:

1.     Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate!

Open windows a crack for an hour or so every day. Airtight homes allow toxic fumes and pesticides to accumulate to very high levels.  Ventilate the laundry room when washing and the bathroom when scrubbing and your office for clearing computer monitor and printer emissions.  Keep your garage door open for an hour after you pull your car in or park outside to allow the car to cool before pulling it into the garage.  Never idle the car in your garage.  Garages accumulate some of the nastier heavy metal toxins.

2.     Keep dust (pesticides, lead) outside of your home.

Place a commercial-grade doormat inside and outside of each door leading into your house or remove your shoesDust and vacuum inside your home twice a week.  [Active vacuuming increases dust kickoff for several hours.  Ventilate and do not vacuum in the presence of children.  A HEPA filter vacuum will remove 99.9% of dust particles.  Normal vacuuming removes only 5-15%.]

3.     Use only natural pesticides inside, outside, and on your pets.

Use natural cleaning supplies.  Avoid the most toxic offenders, which are oven & drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and any extra strength cleaners.  Do not store any chemicals near heat or hot water pipes, which may volatize compounds into the air you breath.  [See below for recipes on how to make your own green cleaning products.]

4.     **Avoid plastics as much as possible (they are hormone disruptors!).

  • Do not heat food in plastic containers or use plastic wrap to cover.
  • Store only cooled food in plastic containers.
  • Drink from glass containers whenever possible.
  • Do not use plastic cutting boards.
  • Avoid cooking with Teflon, but if you must, use lower temps and never heat an empty pan (oil, liquid or food reduces the temp & the release of toxic gases).

5. Food and drink green checklist:

  • Eat “certified organic” protein foods (butter, cheese, milk, eggs and meats).
  • Most small, wild fish are safe seafood choices, with wild Alaskan Salmon having the most benefits.
  • Wash all produce and eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Eat a diet low in rancid fats & trans fats (no fried fast foods or junk foods).
  • Eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods that you cook yourself.
  • Use filtered water.

Regarding “natural cleaning supplies” and making better choices, you can:

1.     Continue to use your current favorite cleaning product but purchase the one that is “Free” of perfume and “Clear” of dyes.

2.     Wean off your products to a green cleaning product line in your grocer.  The People’s Choice for 2011 was “7th Generation”.

3.     Google “healthy cleaning supplies you make yourself” for many simple and inexpensive recipe options with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.

4.     A few examples of how to make your own cleaning supplies.  Many of the products you have in your home along with a few basic, inexpensive products (borax, washing soda, a natural liquid soap) can get you started.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. of  liquid soap (to cut the wax residue from the Windex you may have used)
  • 2 cups of water

Oven Cleaner

  • Spray the oven with water
  • Shake on baking soda and salt
  • Spray again with water
  • Let it sit overnight
  • Wipe up in the morning and wash any remaining residue with liquid soap.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • ½ tsp. of washing soda (such as Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – a “free” & “clear” detergent that boosts cleaning power by 40%)
  • 2 tsp. borax (a naturally occurring mineral compound that cleans and deodorizes – borax acts like a bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide)
  • ½ tsp. of natural liquid soap (a completely biodegradable soap, uncolored and unscented)
  • 2 cups of hot tap water
  • Combine in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved.  [Optional:  Add 3 drops of an essential oil – lemon, tea tree, lavender or eucalyptus.]

Mold and Mildew CleanerMold is very harmful and difficult to rid.  Prevention is the key.  You have many options.

1.     White distilled vinegar sprayed without rinsing is reported to kill 82 % of mold.  [Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet bowl.]

2.     Equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

3.     Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic.  [Mix two cups of water and 3 drops of tea tree oil and spray your bathroom walls once a week.]

4.     Use Borax for scrubbing and to inhibit future growth.

Note:  The smell of vinegar and tea tree oil are very strong so ventilate to dissipate.

Conventional cleaning supplies are toxic to you and your family.  To minimize your toxic burden consider one or two or more of the safer options listed above.

To your safe and greener home,

Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, Fertility & pregnancy guidance through health and nutrition

Note: Another excellent resource for creating a greener home is The Healthy Home Book by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. The Healthy Home is Available in The Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Amazon Store under “Healthy Living”.