Plastic-Free July (and every month)

Why Avoid Plastic?

Avoiding plastic has always been something high on my agenda.

When I was a teen and a twenty-something, it was about protecting the environment –

  • not creating waste,
  • minimising the creating of single-use items, and
  • protecting our beautiful planet (in a very general sense)

As I have gotten older, and understood more about the environment and health, it has become even more important.

Here are three really big reasons to avoid plastics.

 

1. Pollutants from Plastics

Plastic bottles and containers can leach phthalates, xenooestrogens and other pollutant into the food, personal care or cleaning product with them.

This can play havoc with our health, as they interfere with our hormones (“endocrine-disrupting chemicals”).

What is more, they can also effect other animals that are exposed to them.

 

2. Plastic Polluting

Most of us already know about the piles of plastics in the oceans that form islands…

Our PET bottles, condoms, bags, and so on, all sweep the oceans and accumulate in certain areas.

As well, very small particles can break off plastic items (including synthetic clothing) to form microplastics.

These tiny pieces are a massice problem in the environment.

 

3. Killing Wildlife

One example is seabirds.

I saw a documentary where seabirds needed humans to help them survive.

 

Parents were feeding their young plastic that they had “caught” in the oceans…

Of course, the young were not able to digest it…

So it accumulated in their stomachs.

There were three big consequences of this.

a) The presence of the plastics in stomachs of the youing birds could leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals… which might have devastating effects on the species.

b) The birds were not being nourished properly – as plastic isn't food!

c) The baby birds were heavy with all the plastic in their stomachs – which meant that as they headed out to sea, they would not be able to fly, and would then drown.

The scientists would catch the youngsters as they headed to the water…

And get them to vomit out all the plastic.

There was a surprisingly (and alarmingly) large amount of it!

By removing the plastic from their stomachs, they were being given the best chance to survive.

 

It was truly heartbreaking to see this.

So, what can you do about it?

Join the Challenge –

In my free Facebook group, we are doing a Plastic-Free Challenge.

Consider alternatives to plastic –

 

Choose Your Tactic

PlasticFreeJuly.org has compiled this great resource – download it here – then review it and choose which ones that you can action.

P.S. This is a great one to involve the kids with 😉

Environmental Stressors Can Cause Blindness??

Environmental Stressors Can Cause Blindness??

Say what? Environmental stressors can cause blindness????

Yup.

Let me illustrate this with a story about Billie.

Billie (not her real name) is a young Mum who is super keen to ensure her bubba is safe. She’d heard about 5G and noticed some of the attention it was getting. So she asked Dr Google, she joined FB groups, she sought out information from everywhere.

Out came Protective Mamma Bear.

5G became an obsession. It consumed every available moment between changing nappies, feeding, washing, playing with bubba and sleep…. Well, to be honest, it even started to creep in there too – as she dreamed about #5G.

Billie was so obsessed with 5G that she thought nothing of using her tablet while bubba slept, while it connected to the wi-fi.

The humidifier in bubba’s room that was causing mould to grow on the ceiling didn’t even enter her mind.

The perfume she spritzed on her body and clothes didn’t get a mention.

She was so caught up in the one issue, that she saw nothing else.

Not surprisingly, she was blinded by her obsession with one environmental stressor.

Billie is not alone. Environmental Stressors are Hugely Important

Billie’s story is not unique. I see this time and time again – be it around #SmartMeters, #fragrances, #lead, #mould… any #EnvironmentalStressor. 

Whilst it is valid to be informed and proactive, there are quite a lot of issues with this kind of blinkered focus on one thing. 

In a nutshell, the issues are:

🤷🏽‍♂️ There is a lot of mis-information, hype and well-marketed nonsense. As a result, you can end up spending a lot of time and money on unnecessary things

🔎 With all the mis-information, you might end up doing something that could make things worse

🔍 Usually, when my team and I assess homes of people like Billie, we find all sorts of other problems that are much larger issues than the one they are stressing about… the blinkers need to come off to be able to address the bigger picture

And yet, there is much more to this…

It is one small word that has massive ramifications.

🔎 It is #stress 🔎 

Stress can cause a whole gamut of problems. It can:

😡 Reduce your ability to #detoxify 

😞 Negatively impact your #sleep (and as a result, your mood)

😕 Cause a release of all sorts of chemicals in the body that ultimately reduce your #resilience 

AND, this next one is the worst of all, in my opinion.

😔 Stress can cause you to freeze up, become #overwhelmed and take NO action


I believe strongly in taking #empowered action.

There is always something you can do to make a difference.

Even if it feels small, it is enormous! 

So, I urge you to keep perspective, to open your heart to the wonderful things in life, and draw inspiration to take empowered action.

One of my favourite recommendations is to put flowering plants in your garden (or balcony). This will help the birds, bees, insects and your loved ones. 

Take a moment to imagine how the world would benefit if every single person did this? 

🌻🐝🌸🐾💐🦉🌞🦆🌿


House Hunting?

Moving (and house hunting) is a highly stressful time…

Add to the mix the need to avoid environmental stressors, keep to a tight budget and manage with low tolerance – house hunting becomes almost impossible.

Sound familiar?

I get it – not only have I been there myself, but I've also guided many clients through this process.

I have also seen things go pear-shaped. Very pear-shaped… Like one of my earliest pre-purchase inspections. 

You would not believe what happened…

My client arranged for me to do the inspection… So I arrived on this sunny afternoon, excited to determine if this house was suitable for him.

“Let's go in!” I said.

“Uh-uh! Not me. Every time I go in there, I get sick. You go in and assess it.”

I did a double-take.

Why would he want me to assess the place if he can't be in while I inspect it????

I explained the scenario to him – all set to head back to the office. But he wanted to go ahead. So, I did. And my report recommended that he keep looking. My professional advice was disregarded. He bought the place…

And moved out almost as fast as he had moved in.

There is no need to make the same mistakes.

If you have been looking for a new place no doubt money is tight. You may not have enough time to organise a professional indoor environmental health assessment done. Stress levels are through the roof.

You've moved before, and it is essential that you don't have to move again because you can't end up in another place that is unsafe, nay, uninhabitable.

The track running in your mind goes something like this:

What do I do? 

How can I avoid the things that make me sick? 

How can I protect your health and that of my loved ones? 

Am I right?

So here's what you can do:

  • Learn my “Crystal Ball” method;
  • Draw on my training, experience and insight so that you can keep a property on or your list or cross it off with confidence; and
  • Become EMPOWERED to make sound decisions for your health and that of your loved ones.

You don't need to invest tens of thousands of dollars or years of time training and equipment…

You just need someone to show you #PROtips and tricks so that you can shortlist properties for yourself with confidence…

eco-health-solutions natural

Thus, I have curated this course.

I want you to:

  1. Be able to confidently cross places off your list, keeping only the good ones;
  2. Avoid having to gather the energy to look at places, only to be sick for weeks after;
  3. Save time, money and energy.

All of my years of training, experience, up skilling and knowledge have been consolidated into 13 online lessons, complete with worksheets, my black book of online resources and the essential 122-point checklist so you know you've covered all bases.

Just what the doctor ordered, hey?

  • Do you suffer from environmental sensitivities?
  • Desperately trying to find a home that isn’t going to make you sick, or sicker?
  • Feel forced to settle on a less-than-ideal home because funds are tight?
  • Multiple home assessments haven’t helped you find the perfect place, but you can’t afford to keep coughing up cash?

A LIFE-CHANGING ONLINE COURSE THAT’S ONE-OF-A-KIND 

In Looking for a New Place? How to Avoid the Pitfalls, indoor environmental health expert Lucinda Curran reveals how to streamline the house-hunting process, eliminate uninhabitable homes with confidence, and make a promising shortlist of homes for professional assessments.

No more:

  • Time wasted on pointless inspections
  • Money spent on unnecessary assessments
  • Needless exposure to toxins at inspections
  • Settling for uninhabitable properties
  • Heartache on learning that the ‘perfect’ home wasn’t right after all

“THIS COURSE IS A MUST” 

“I am now better able to rule out unsuitable properties from the comfort of my home which saves me time, energy and cuts down on exposures. The checklist of what to look for in and around the property is very comprehensive and makes it so easy to look for the potential dangers that may be lurking. This course is a must have for anyone wanting to know what to look for and avoid when searching for a healthy home.”

– Genevieve, VIC

Check it out here. 👉

Please note: this course does NOT take the place of a professional Indoor Environmental Health Assessment.

BUT it does mean you don't have to have so many! 🙂

The Benefits of an Outdoor Workplace

discover the benefits of an outdoor workplace

Outdoor Workplaces

An outdoor workplace may sound odd – perhaps you imagine a landscaper, gardener or builder being people who have outdoor workplaces. But most of us can move our workplaces to the outdoors. It’s easier than  you think, and well worth the benefits to health and wellbeing.

Here’s Why Outdoor Workplaces Are So Important

If you’re like a large population of Australians, you likely spend most of your day working in an indoor office setting. According to research from the Australian State of the Environment, the average Australian spends about 90% of their day indoors. For many, this often involves sitting at their desks and staring at computer screens for up to nine hours in a day.

Sitting all day indoors has many health repercussions, including exposure to indoor air pollutants, increased risk of heart conditions, and even sick building syndrome

Human beings are biologically built to live in changing scenery conditions, which aren’t offered inside buildings. More and more our modern environments are controlled by HVAC systems, artificial lighting and air fresheners. 

While adjustments like addressing humidity levels and reducing EMF and following best practices can help, working outdoors is the most effective solution.

Benefits of Outdoor Workplaces

Research shows that exposure to natural sunlight, trees, and outdoor fresh air can positively impact our wellbeing, creativity and performance. 

While not all jobs can be conducted outside,  a workplace that has things such as outdoor lunches, walking meetings, indoor plants, and allowing remote work can all make a difference in our health. The best workplace will combine both a well-maintained indoor building and the setting of nature.

For those of you who work from home, make sure you take your meal breaks outside, introduce plants into your home office, and open the windows!

To learn more about the benefits of an outdoor workplace, check out this new infographic from BigRentz. From improving your memory to honing your focus, the benefits show the value of taking your work from your desk into the outdoors.

Outdoor Workplaces

 

Created by BigRentz

Beds and Bedding: What to Consider

Beds and Bedding: What to Consider


Why Does it Matter?

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to good health. Sleep is the time when our bodies heal and recover from the day, they detoxify and rejuvenate, they reset ready to carry you through another day.

Our beds are one of the places in our homes that we spend the most time. For these reasons, it is vitally important to get out beds just right, so that they support us in our healing and detoxification processes.

Our beds should not increase our exposure to EMF or chemicals.

There are lots of things to consider with our beds – and in many cases, there are compromises to be made.

Beds and Bedding: Bed Base/Frame

Let’s start with the base – or the frame. Metal is not a good choice as it can conduct some types of EMF and reflect others.

#ideal The best option is a wooden bed frame with a wooden slatted base.

Why?

Because this allows air to flow around the bed, which can assist it in drying out, therefore reducing the risk of mould and house dust mites. 

What to look for:

  • Slats
  • All wood
  • Untreated wood (ie not CCA – not the green-tinged wood)
  • Natural wood (unfinished)
  • You can apply an oil or varnish that suits your needs. Livos have a good range.

What to avoid:

  • Beds with a solid base
  • Beds with storage underneath
  • Slats that have been coated with polyurethane base
  • If you are sensitive, you may wish to avoid pine


Beds and Bedding: Mattress

In my opinion, mattresses are the biggest areas of compromise when it comes to beds and bedding.

Here’s the lowdown.

Most mainstream mattress are foam or memory foam. Despite their elaborate marketing phrases, they are made from petrochemicals that off-gas VOCs right in your breathing zone.

I’ve reviewed a product where they claim it is made from the same product as baby oil and therefore it is safe. Baby oil is mineral oil – petrochemical – and shouldn’t be used!

#mustknow Locally made is important, as our strict standards for textiles (and footwear) aren’t applied to imported goods. That is why several years ago, there were many imported mattresses with dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.

What is ideal is a locally made futon that contains natural fibres, eg cotton.

The downside of a futon is that you have to roll it up every day to let it dry, and beat it so it stays plush. The latter is excellent for releasing frustration, however, the reality of doing this every day is unrealistic for most people.

I know many people lean towards natural latex, and whilst this has some benefits, the fact it is so hot to sleep on, to my mind, makes it more prone to mould.

Innerspring mattresses can do odd things to EMF – and there are risks associated for that reason.

There are also lots of organic mattresses, many locally made. However, apart from the hefty price tag, I have heard from many people about how uncomfortable they become over time.

So what to do?

This is where the compromise comes in. Unless you commit to the long term care of a futon, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of each.

What did I do?

I have reduced EMF in my bedroom. I then opted for an innerspring mattress on an oiled (like Livos) futon base.

The mattress had a lot of natural fibres in it, and no topper. There is no memory foam on it at all.

Choosing this was a compromise – but it was the best option for us at the time.

This isn’t an ideal option for everyone.

You have to make an informed choice, and part of it will be considering the EMF. (This is something I check periodically, as things do change.)

Beds and Bedding: Bedding

Bedding includes pillows, doonas/duvets, blankets, sheets, and so on.

Certified organic is a great option – and locally made not only ensures the product conforms to our standards, but also reduces the footprint and “bedding miles” travelled.

Natural fibres are recommended for bedding, and if you have an allergy to house dust mites, silk can be a great option.

#Pillows should be replaced every 2-3 years – more often if you have house dust mite allergies.

There are silk doonas on the market that are great for repelling house dust mites, but also they are meant to be fabulous for the different seasons. (I am yet to try one, but they sound dreamy – excuse the pun.)

While on the topic of replacing things – mattresses should be replaced every 10 years.

If you do have house dust mite allergies, there are fabulous covers you can get for your mattress, pillows and other bedding. Regular maintenance is also important.

With many thoughts to ponder, I will leave it there for now.

o0o

These posts may be of interest:

#beds #bedding #healthychoices #EMF #dustmites

Reading Labels 101

Reading Labels

In this post, we are going to explore reading labels.

Why?, I hear you ask.

Because although I believe we have the right to trust that anything that is available to us has been tested and determined to be safe, the reality is that for many reasons, this is not always the case.

The personal care industry is self-regulated, cleaning products don’t require labelling, medicines list “active ingredients” and excipients (but that may not be everything), and foods are required to list all ingredients, but inadvertent ones are missing (eg phthalates leached from plastic packaging). Trade secrecy also allows manufacturers to not have to list the ingredients in a fragrance – and this can be up to hundreds of ingredients!

My goal here is to provide you with some skills in interpreting the information so that you can make an informed choice.

Reading Labels – Food

reading labels

The reading labels journey starts with this packet of rice milk.

Please note: I am not denigrating a brand, just using this as an example.

Here are some things I wanted to point out  – 

1. The Lactose & Gluten-Free claim – TRUE – but not necessary

Lactose is a sugar found in dairy milk – so “naturally” free from it makes sense.

Gluten is not normally in rice-based products, unless there is a cross-contamination issue.
(An easy way to remember gluten-containing food, thanks to Coeliac Australia, is BROW – barley, rye, oats and wheat.)

2. “Made form at least 83% Australian Ingredients”

#mustknow label reading: ingredients are always listed in descending order. This means that the first on the list is present in the highest amount, and the last on the list is present in the smallest amount.

So, when the second ingredient is sitting at 15%, you know there is quite a bit of water; and that there is equal to or less than 15% of the oil, calcium and salt. I am hazarding a guess here, but that 83% Australian ingredients may in fact be WATER, or at least a large amount of the Australian ingredients is water!

 

Reading Labels – Personal Care Products

reading labels

The #mustknow reading labels rule for food also applies to #personalcare products. In fact it applies to everything.

Expanding this understanding, we will break any ingredients list into thirds.

The first third make up 90-95% of the total ingredients, the second third 5-8% and the final third make up a teensy 1-3% of the total.

This image is of a poster I often use when teaching people this very concept.

This is how some products have 95% certified organic ingredients, but still contain chemicals. Many of the chemicals added (especially fragrances, preservatives, etc) only need to be present in minute quantities.

Once you have your list, either get the Chemical Maze App.

This is one of my favourite resources as it is great for additives in food AND ingredients in personal care and cleaning products, and #bonus was developed by fellow Australian Bill Statham (SOOOO nice to have a locally created mega-useful resource!).

Another great alternative is the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database where you can check out each ingredient.

reading labels

Reading Labels – Cleaning Products

cleaning

Most cleaning products don’t have an ingredients list because they are not required to.

So how do you find out what it is made from?

You need to get your hands on a MSDS or SDS – a Material Safety Data Sheet or a Safety Data Sheet.

Simply do an internet search for the brand, product and MSDS, or contact the manufacturer and ask for one.

Once you have the list, you go off to your Chemical Maze App (this is good for food, personal care and cleaning products) and search away.


There is a lot to reading labels – but this should get you started.

If you would like to chat about it, please join our social media groups and join in the conversation.

Facebook 

#readinglabels #food #personalcare #cleaning