How many times have you made great, healthy New Year’s resolutions only to fall straight off the wagon by February? The cleanses, ambitious projects and rigorous cleaning missions you start somehow lose their shine as the month rolls on, and before you know it they’re abandoned completely.
The solution? Detoxing your world in a more deliberate, sustainable way. If your goal for 2019 is to improve your overall health, you’ll need to change all your habits slowly for the better rather than rushing into fad diets or intensive new routines.
We’ve put together this little guide to sustainable, holistic detoxing so you can start your year exactly how you want to continue. Think of it as your cheat sheet to better health across the board - for your home, for your body, and your makeup bag too.
I can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a safe, healthy home environment. No matter where you live or who you’re living with, a home should be a sanctuary to relax in and enjoy - not a potential health hazard! Here are a few ways to give your home a proper clean up for 2019.
One super easy way to improve your home environment for the New Year is to ditch any synthetic cleaning products you’ve got lying around. Most conventional cleaning products are packed full of harmful ingredients, right down to their potentially damaging and dangerous synthetic fragrances. Any chemical that’s harmful to humans can harm the environment too, so by making the switch to safer cleaning products you’re improving your world in two ways - brilliant, right?
Look for eco-friendly cleaning brands when you’re out shopping (but be on the lookout for misleading greenwashing too of course), or have a bit of fun making your own. A simple blend of essential oils, water and/or vinegar and baking soda works wonders for cleaning bench tops, disinfecting floors or even cleaning your windows.
Remember, there’s one way to freshen the air in your home the healthy way and it’s super simple - open some windows! Synthetic air fresheners might be marketed to you as sweet smelling and pleasant, but in reality they’re anything but.
Air and car fresheners contain a long list of nasty chemicals including formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, 1,4 dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants. In 2009 the Natural Resources Defense Council tested a line up of common commercial air fresheners in the U.S and found that up to 86% of them contained phthalates, including those marketed as ‘natural’ and ‘unscented’.
What’s even more worrying is that those harmful phthalates didn’t appear on any ingredients lists. In many countries (NZ and US included) the law doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose exactly what’s in their signature synthetic fragrances.
When it comes to detoxing your kitchen, a few little changes can go a really long way.
First up, do an audit of all your pots and pans and get rid of anything designed to be ‘non-stick’. The chemicals used to prevent food sticking to the bottom of the pan can easily seep into your food and the air around you while you’re cooking. According to EWG, PFCs from household items like non-stick pans are often associated with elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defence against disease.
Instead, opt for stainless steel or cast iron for your stovetop. Cast iron pots and pans, in particular, are actually health enhancing, upping the iron content of your food and improving red blood cell function.
To be double sure you and your family aren’t ingesting harmful chemicals accidentally, store food in glass jars and containers instead of plastic. Drinking filtered water where possible also helps eliminate chemicals like chlorine and fluoride from your daily diet, as well as other chemical remnants lurking in your tap water.
As for packaging food up for lunches or outings, buy beeswax (or plant wax) coated fabric wrap instead of cling film. It’s sustainable, won’t cause plastics to seep into your food, and it’s so much better for the environment too!
True, lasting health and vitality can’t be achieved by an easy juice cleanse or a fad diet - it’s about introducing healthy habits slowly. Here are a few body-boosting ideas to get you feeling fighting fit for January, February and beyond.
A healthy diet looks slightly different for everybody, but we’ve found there are a few things to keep in mind to help keep you looking and feeling great no matter what.
This year, focus on removing as many inflammatory foods from your diet as you possibly can. Things like sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates can play havoc with your system and most people notice real benefits from reducing or cutting them out completely. Gluten, dairy and grains, in general, might be worth slowing down on too. These can be highly inflammatory as they’re generally not manufactured or prepared in a way the body can assimilate easily.
Another thing to consider is upping your intake of certain foods and ingredients too. Polyphenols and antioxidants help keep your body’s systems running smoothly and can help you feel more energetic on the whole. Eating an organic, plant based diet with an emphasis on fresh is always the best bet. And you can still eat a high plant based diet and consume meat, just make sure it’s consciously sourced and don’t over do it.
Detoxing and decluttering the makeup bags and bathrooms of beauty-aficionados everywhere is what we’re passionate about! No one can ever be the picture of perfect health if they’re using potentially harmful beauty products, and going natural is a brilliant way to detox from the outside in.
Revamping and improving your makeup collection is indisputably important, but that doesn’t mean you have to make all your changes overnight. Swap any synthetic cosmetic products for natural ones when they run out, and take the time to learn about holistic wellness* so you can be sure you’re making the right changes for the right reasons.*more on this to come at a later date!
When it comes to prioritising your natural beauty swaps, remember that products you use all over your body and those you use most frequently should be cleaned up before everything else. Things like natural deodorant, soap and body lotion are safe to use in large amounts every day while their synthetic counterparts aren’t.
If you’re not sure which synthetic ingredients to watch out for check out EWG Skin Deep Database. They give cosmetics and individual ingredients safety grades so you can make more informed, healthier beauty choices!
Once you’ve sorted the rest of your cosmetics out, take a moment to re-evaluate your dental routine. Is it up to scratch? Is anything about it potentially toxic or unhealthy? A lot of mainstream dental products contain large amounts of fluoride, SLS and other toxins. Switching to natural alternatives prevents these nasties building up in your body while still keeping your teeth and mouth minty fresh.
Activated charcoal tooth powders can help remove build-up and plaque, and Ayurvedic methods like coconut oil pulling is a great way to detox the mouth and get rid of toxins too.
If you’re due for a filling, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and ask your dentist what your options are too. A lot of mainstream dental composites contain BPA and Toluene - two ingredients that you definitely wouldn’t want permanently lingering in your mouth!
What all of this boils down to is that to create meaningful, healthy changes in your life it pays to view New Years detoxing holistically. When you consider the state of your environment, nutrition and beauty habits and strive to clean them all up bit-by-bit, you lay the foundations for a great year and lifelong health too.
And, honestly, what could be a better resolution than that?