When it comes to our mental and physical health, we often focus on what we should eat, how much we should exercise, and how much we should meditate – and forget to take a good look at where we spend most of our time: our homes. In this week’s blog and podcast, I speak with Marilee Nelson, founder of Branch Basics, about how the hidden toxins in our home can affect our mental and physical wellbeing, how to keep our living spaces free of toxic chemicals and products, how to protect our brains and bodies outside of the home and more!
As Marilee points out, products with harmful chemicals like pesticides and artificial fragrances in our homes can harm our health. Even small amounts can affect us, including many of the ingredients in supposedly non-toxic products! There is little regulation regarding cleaning supplies, and many do not even have a full ingredient list. We do not even understand how many of these chemicals affect our health over the short and long term (Marilee describes the impact of these chemicals in detail on the Branch Basics YouTube channel, if you are interested in learning more).
Many toxic chemicals in our homes and food can affect our mood, concentration, focus, and anxiety levels. They can also contribute to learning difficulties and behavioral issues, especially in children. Pesticides in cleaning products and insect sprays, for example, have been linked to learning difficulties in children, while many artificial fragrances, which linger in the fabric of our clothes and living spaces, are neurotoxic and carcinogenic. In fact, fragrance chemicals can contribute to health issues like asthma, which is the no. 1 chronic illness in children!
Many of us live in these “toxic chemical soups”, with cleaning products emitting toxic particles in low levels even when we are not using them, impacting the quality of our air supply at home. Just removing these toxic cleaning chemicals from our living spaces can dramatically improve our health and wellbeing, which is why Marilee recommends:
- Getting rid of all pesticides, such as roach spray or DEET.
- Getting rid of all toxic cleaning products. Until you have new, safer cleaning products, you can keep the old ones in a sealed container in your garage or basement, or just out of your immediate air supply.
- Getting natural non-toxic replacements. This is why Marilee founded Branch Basics, a company the creates 100% non-toxic, safe, allergen-free cleaning products that not only work wonderfully and last for months, but will leave you feel clean and toxin-free from the outside in! Get 15% off their Starter Kit with the code DRLEAF at checkout, which includes Starter Kit, Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost and Laundry Kit.
- Doing a deep clean. Branch Basics has some great deep cleaning tips and techniques.
- Opening the windows several times a day to improve air circulation and removing any remaining toxic chemical fumes.
Since we regularly go places where we can’t control toxic chemical use, like hotels and offices, protecting our homes gives us a safe haven where we can renew, regenerate and restore our minds and bodies so we can go out and be in the world. When it comes to environmental toxins, the most important thing is to reduce our total impact and let our bodies take care of the rest.
For more on toxic chemicals, their impact on our mental and physical health, and how to make your home safer, listen to my podcast with Marilee (episode #202), and check out the Branch Basics website.
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2:15 Why Marilee started Branch Basics
7:00 How the toxic chemicals in our home can harm us
11:44 How to remove the toxic chemicals from your home
16:55 What is Branch Basics?
22:30 How common toxins in our home can cause mental health issues
29:45 How toxins in our home affect our physical health
32:40 How toxic chemicals affect our environment
34:00 How to protect yourself outside the home
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