Tips to detox your winter
In the winter, the cold weather inspires me to stay indoors and cook more. However, winter habits can also increase our toxic exposures. Consider the tips below to detox your winter tendencies and boost your health’s resiliency!
Be mindful of indoor air contaminants in the kitchen or dining area.
Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and even up to 100 times higher for some pollutants. The EPA estimates that we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors. And probably even more when it’s cold outside!
Since we open windows and doors less during the winter, toxic fumes from the release of indoor materials and from other sources get trapped and accumulate. Consequently, indoor air during the winter can be more polluted, especially in the kitchen where we may be cooking even more.
So, be sure to ventilate when cooking since fumes from combustion can release unhealthy fumes. Consider opportunities to open windows, especially after burning candles, fireplaces, and using products with artificial scents—all of which you should avoid or minimize. (Healthier candles for those very special dinners are made of 100% beeswax candles. Try to use unscented candles. If you can’t resist, look for those scented with 100% natural essential oils.) Air purifiers can reduce toxic exposures too.
Detox what may contaminate your diet
Detox what touches your foods and drinks. Beware that nonstick pots and pans can contaminate food with PFCs, a class of toxic chemicals that are expected to be on our planet for decades. Safer substitutes include cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans. In addition, safer food and beverage containers are made of glass and stainless steel since plastics can contaminate your foods and drinks with hormone-disrupting chemicals.
You can also boost immunity through your diet. Wonderful nutrient-dense diets for the winter include soups and vegetable-rich dishes. My favorite ingredients include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, orange foods (squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots), and other immune-boosting ingredients like garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Organic herbal teas also support immunity, detoxing, and sleep.
Electrical devices—such as kitchen appliances—emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that can burden your body (and children are even more sensitive). You can reduce your exposures by removing unnecessary devices from your kitchen, and isolating where you recharge electronic devices to an area that’s further away from where people will spend a lot of time. Have a cordless phone in the kitchen? It can emit EMFs so consider replacing it with one that uses a landline. Turn wireless devices off when cell service isn’t needed. If you can’t, turn them to airplane mode.
Homemade, nourishing comfort foods are ideal for winter! Incorporating the considerations above will just help your body be even more resilient.
Sophia Ruan Gushée is the author of A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, described as “a great guide for people to reduce their toxic exposures from consumer products” by New York Times bestselling author Frank Lipman MD. A to Z of D-Toxing is on sale at Amazon through December 24, 2015.