I’m so excited to be kicking off a new blog series this month- the Healthy Home Challenge!
We’ve been seeing the whole clean home and toxin-free movement take over social media with essential oils and ‘clean’ products. At first, I didn’t buy into the whole “harmful chemical” thing. I didn’t really care if the products in my home were filled with toxins, because, heck, who has the time or money to completely replace everything in the house with a “clean” product?
Well as I started hearing more things in the news, I decided to do my own research. What I’ve found is that it is really difficult to do human studies without a reasonable amount of error (science teacher in me is coming out). But, in my opinion, there are enough studies out there that suggest some of these chemicals may be correlated to health issues that it catches my attention. My take on this is that if it’s not going to harm me to start transitioning to healthier home products, and it may actually benefit me, then why not at least give it a try? This past fall, I started making small changes in our home, and I have been slowly but surely eliminating unnecessary toxins.
Note: I am not a physician or researcher, and these opinions are being shared to discuss my personal journey. Always complete your own research and discuss any lifestyle changes with a physician before making any changes to your lifestyle. Full disclaimer can be found in the bottom of this post.
Introducing The Healthy Home Challenge
If you’re like me, maybe you’re interested in this whole movement to eliminate unnecessary toxins as well, but don’t know where to start. It’s difficult to read through the countless articles online and determine which claims are worth taking to heart. I find it to also be really overwhelming. So this past fall, I decided to view transitioning to a healthier home as a marathon, not a sprint. Making small changes at a time and stop looking at it as an “all or nothing” sort of deal.
I’ve really enjoyed making these small changes, and thought that if I was interested in this movement and also overwhelmed simultaneously, then maybe others out there may have the same dilemma. My hope is that this monthly Healthy Home Challenge bridges that gap for you and helps you take baby steps towards a healthier home. Each month, I’ll share a blog post with research about a particular area, and I’ll also share a challenge to you to start transitioning out of those products! Key word: start. This isn’t an all or nothing deal, okay? Just making small changes is a great way to start making your home a bit healthier.
BPA – why is it so “bad” for you?
This month’s challenge circles around BPA. BPA stands for Bisphenol A and is a chemical found in many hard plastics that we use every day (Brazier). At this point, you’ve probably heard of it since it’s been in the news for several years.
I’ve heard of BPA for years, but really didn’t know if it was THAT bad for you. Then, I recently listened to a podcast by Dr. Natalie Crawford while she interviewed Dr. Lora Shahine about Environmental Toxins, and the interview was a game changer for me. Both physicians in the podcast discuss BPA and what it was initially made for, and spoiler alert: it was originally developed to be used as an artificial estrogen (Crawford). Once I understood why BPA was first developed, I could finally understand why it’s so concerning that it is in so many of our products today.
In addition to the podcast, Medical News Today published an article about the impacts of BPA on human health by chunking the research into bite size, digestible information. According to the article, BPA can be found in a range of products from water bottles, baby bottles, medical devices, household electronic devices, and more (Brazier). Since BPA is an endocrine disrupter, it can imitate the body’s hormones, and it can interfere with the production, secretion, transport, action, function, and elimination of natural hormones (Brazier). Over the years, many studies have linked the possibility that BPA may cause reproductive disorders, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fetal brain development effects, breast and prostate cancer, and asthma (Brazier).
If you’d like to learn more about the timeline of BPA development and phase out, EWG has put together a great article HERE.
Additionally, Harvard Health Publishing recently published an article packed with information about harmful chemicals in plastics, you can read it HERE.
How do we limit our exposure to BPA?
BPA has been so widely used, it is impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to it. However, there are several measures you can take in your daily life to decrease exposure. The EWG recommends avoiding BPA lined cans, limiting packaged foods, and eating more fresh food (EWG). Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has a more thorough list of measures to reduce exposure including buying foods in glass jars, don’t overheat plastics, and even consider types of toys you are purchasing for your children (Moram).
Feeling a little overwhelmed yet? This morning as I was getting ready, I looked around and noticed my face wash, body wash, and makeup are all in plastic containers, none of which indicate if they are BPA free. This is where I want to remind you (and myself) we’re taking baby steps and transitioning to a healthy home is a process. I don’t think it’s reasonable to completely replace everything, but making small, mindful purchases overtime can be beneficial in the long run.
This Month’s Challenge: Transition to Glass Storage Containers
I have decided to choose one area of my life where I can limit BPA exposure easily. For me, that’s transitioning to glass storage containers! The past several weeks, I have slowly started phasing in glass storage containers over plastic, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how easy the switch has been! Although I can’t completely control my food being in plastic (several items I purchase are originally in a plastic bag or container), I feel a little better knowing that while they are stored in my home, they are in glass containers.
The healthy home challenge this month is to transition to storing food in glass over plastic! Over the next few weeks, I challenge you to see if there are ways you can replace plastic containers with glass.
Need some inspiration of what to start storing in glass this month? Here’s a few things I have done:
Pantry Items: I am now storing items such as: whole grain oats, coffee, quinoa, chia seeds, flax seed, lentils, etc. in glass jars. Below are links to a few great finds on Amazon, but I found most of mine at TJ Maxx! I also use mason jars and cleaned glass Rao’s jars to store this pantry items as well. To help me keep track of these items, I have used chalkboard labels to tag my items (although I have to be honest, not sure if these labels are BPA-free… but the food isn’t directly touching it, so it makes me feel a bit better)
Assorted Sizes of Glass Storage Canisters *this link offers the most variety of sizes to choose from
Large Glass Storage Containers with Bamboo Lids *note, does not indicate if they are BPA free, but I’m pretty sure they are. I would email the seller if you are interested in these
Refrigerator: Our fridge used to be filled with plastic containers. Now, I use glassware to store food. The lids of these containers are still plastic, but they are BPA-free. They probably contain other forms of Bisphenol, but this is a start. I also never microwave the lids and I wash them by hand (in the dishwasher they get too hot and can release chemicals). I have linked the sets of glassware with plastic lids that I am currently using, as well as some other options similar to what I currently use. I’ve never used bamboo lids, but the reviews are indicating they’re a great alternative to plastic lids, so I included those as well. If you order these, please let me know what you think!
Packed lunches: This was something I was nervous about. I couldn’t image bringing a heavy glass container to work everyday. But, I also became increasingly bothered by eating my desk lunch out of a plastic container each day. So, I decided to give it a try. My TJ Maxx had several great compartment containers for packed lunches with BPA-free plastic lids, and these options have worked out great. Turns out, I acclimated to the heavier lunch box just fine. Here are some options on Amazon if you can’t find any near you:
Overnight Oats: I have mentioned this before in THIS blog post, but I really love eating my overnight oats in a particular type of mason jar. THESE mason jars are the perfect size for a filling, healthy portion of overnight oats. Ball mason jar lids also indicate they are BPA-free! I purchased my mason jars from Walmart in person, but the Amazon link above works too for easy delivery!
Alright friends, who is excited for this monthly Healthy Home Challenge?! Transitioning to a cleaner home has become a developing passion of mine, and I’m so honored to get to share that with you as well! Tag me in pics of your glass storage containers and I’ll share them on my Instagram!
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I am not a physician or Registered Dietician. Some blog posts discuss healthy eating and exercise, and the purpose is to share my personal journey and experience with diet and fitness. As always, consult a physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.
Crawford, Dr. Natalie. “As a Woman.” As a Woman, https://www.nataliecrawfordmd.com/thepodcast/episode-022-environmental-toxins-and-fertility-with-dr-lora-shahine.