Let’s face it. Being healthy is hard work. The New Year’s resolutions we make and quietly abandon every year are proof of how hard it can be to stick to our intentions. Plus, we’re all busy, so it’s hard to find the time to commit to a lengthy detox or workout plan. However, there are small ways we can each make healthy changes that are as simple as swapping one product for another. In the spirit of easy-to-tackle tasks, here are 10 things you can do this weekend to improve your health—and make your pet healthier, too. Cheers!
1. Throw out cleaning supplies with toxic chemicals.
Many household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can cause respiratory or vision problems and may even lead to cancer. These chemicals can stay in our bodies for long periods of time, eventually showing up in pregnant women and newborns. MindBodyGreen recommends making your own cleaners with baking soda, vinegar, and citrus.
2. Replace perfumes and deodorant sprays with non-toxic essential oils.
Research shows that many perfumes each contain a dozen or more potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. Regulatory agencies don’t require manufacturers to list these chemicals on perfume labels, so most perfumes don’t list ingredients. Remove these sprays to improve your health, which also ensures your pet and other family members won’t breathe toxic perfume fumes.
3. Switch your pet to organic, real-meat treats.
We live by the philosophy that anything that isn’t good enough for human use or consumption isn’t good enough for our pets. The ingredients in most pet treats aren’t fit for people, so look for treats that are made in the USA, organic or natural, and only contain ingredients you can pronounce.
4. Buy an English Ivy, Peace Lily, or other plant to act as an indoor air-purifier.
Between the office, commuting, and binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix, we spend arguably too much of our time indoors. This can lead to stress and anxiety, and indoor areas often contain chemicals that “offgas” from building materials. Improve your mood, boost productivity, and purify indoor air with an English Ivy, Peace Lily, or one of the other indoor plants recommended by Earth911.
5. Ensure your pet’s food is grain-free and is made in the USA.
Dogs and cats should be fed food their bodies are designed to thrive on. Remember, Fido evolved from a wild dog who foraged for food and ate what he caught—prey such as fish, reptiles, mammals, birds, and eggs. Pets’ digestive systems are meant to digest meaty meals. Strive to feed your pet food that mimics these single-source animal proteins from trustworthy sources.
6. Apply mineral-based sunscreens before you go outside.
Sunscreen is great for preventing skin cancer, but many sunscreens are chemical-based formulas that can contain allergens and hormone disruptors, which can cause learning disabilities and various cancers. It’s silly to potentially cause cancer while preventing a different type of cancer, so stick to mineral-based sunscreens and apply every day before you go outside.
7. Opt for a plant-based, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
Look for a natural laundry detergent that is biodegradable, hypoallergenic, plant-based, and fragrance-free. The government doesn’t require ingredient disclosure on cleaning products, so most companies don’t list them. Organic Authority lists a few favorite natural detergents.
8. Give your pet toys that are manufactured in the US.
The recent rslew of dog deaths due to contaminated treats from China gave us quite a scare. The deaths involved edible treats, but we like to stick to American-made products as well. Generally, the US has higher manufacturing and safety standards, which can eliminate unnecessary contaminants.
9. Check the food labels in your pantry.
Packaged foods are convenient and shelf-stable, but they aren’t always the best for us. Pay special attention to the ingredients listed on food labels in your pantry, and try to eliminate foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Brands like KIND, Amy’s, and Late July are some of our favorite healthy snacks.
10. Minimize your use of synthetic beauty products.
The cosmetic industry is self-regulated, which allows companies to include numerous chemicals in their products. 89% of the chemicals in makeup have not been tested by the FDA. We love lipstick as much as the next girl, so we sought out natural beauty alternatives from the likes of Whole Foods and Swanson.