Based on culture, education, and experience, we form our view of the world and our health. For some people it means exercise, for others it could be a healthy diet. Dr. Shelly Sethi however says that it’s about a mix of factors that include everything from nutrition to community to environment.
Today I’d like to focus on how our environment affects our health and what we can do to improve it.
While we may hear the term, ‘environment’, and think immediately about nature, it actually has more to do with chemicals. Specifically the chemicals in our air, water, and the products we put on our skin. These chemicals can include heavy metals and a whole host of other things that enter into our bodies and mess with our health and wellbeing. They can even cause illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune disease, and diabetes (yes, you read correctly, diabetes!). It’s time to stop thinking only about what we’re ingesting and start examining our external environment.
The chemicals that we breathe in on the daily can have a huge effect on our health. Think about it, how many of us spend an hour in traffic on the way to and from work every day? We’re literally stewing in smog. These fumes mess with our endocrine system and our pancreas, leaving us with hormonal and thyroid conditions as well as leading to diabetes. The World Health Organization has now officially listed air quality as one of the leading risk factors in developing diabetes.
I highly recommend getting an air purifier for at-home purposes to make sure that the air you’re breathing is pure and nourishing your body.
One of the quickest and easiest places to clean up chemicals in our daily lives is in our water supply. After the Michigan water crisis in which Legionella bacteria and even lead were found in the drinking water, it’s clear that we cannot simply rely on our governments to make responsible choices when it comes to keeping our water supply clean. We need to take this into our own hands. Dr. Sethi recommends a reverse osmosis filter. A Berkey filter is an excellent investment and can help keep chemicals out of your water and clean up your body.
Our Beauty and Personal Hygiene
The next thing that we need to watch out for is the chemicals we put on our skin. Shampoo, mascara, deodorant, moisturizer, we are constantly slathering ourselves in a cocktail of chemicals that often haven’t been studied extensively or haven’t been studied in combination with other chemicals. This can lead to acne, rashes, sores, and other skin conditions.
If you have either developed a disease such as an autoimmune condition or been pregnant, you may have noticed just HOW MANY chemicals are in literally everything we put on our bodies. It’s a huge wake-up call and it pushes us to find healthier options for ourselves.
I recommend checking ingredients and products in a database such as ‘MADEWITH’ that has been approved as clean beauty, and starting to clear through your makeup and skincare to ensure it’s free of harsh chemicals. Remember, you vote with your dollars and through your purchases you force companies to modify and improve ingredients to meet your needs.
With the rise of influencers, has come a huge rise in counterfeit makeup. Many of the celebrity makeup pallets that influencers promote are made in small quantities and sold in boutiques to ensure exclusivity. This has left a gap in the supply and demand of celebrity makeup, that counterfeits have jumped in to fill. It is extremely hard to tell the difference between the fake and the real, and it may even be sold in drug stores. Counterfeit makeup can include ingredients such as mercury, lead, and superglue, so definitely not something you want to put on your face. Make sure you are getting your makeup from a reputable vendor and checking the ingredients.
Dr. Sethi suggests makeup with few ingredients (less is more) and to check in with the websites mentioned above.
For more tips on how to protect yourself from harmful chemicals and promote a healthy environment, check out this episode of ‘The BS We Feed Ourselves’ with Dr. Shelly Sethi.