Every smart swap and effort you make will improve your hormones, your health, the environment and the future of generations to come
Even if you’re not interested in having kids, you probably know enough by now to want to optimise your testosterone, given it’s potential to affect just about every other aspect of your health.
According to the research, the harmful effects environmental and lifestyle factors have on testosterone levels, deteriorating semen quality and infertility, makes a compelling argument to take advantage of the season and ongoing lockdowns to start cleaning up.
Because we’re largely ignorant to these everyday exposures, it’s hard to appreciate the accumulative burden they have on us, especially if we consider other influences like genetics, emotional health, obesity and even occupation. And while I could write a thesis on their mechanism of action and far reaching consequences, let me cut to the chase and just tell you what to watch for and what you can do about them!
Food wrappings like aluminium foil, cling film and non-stick baking paper on food. When storing leftovers, cover with an upturned plate instead.
If you’re feeling a bit fancy, use the beeswax coated food wraps you can buy in health food shops and online. They’re really convenient, wipeable and are environmentally friendly.
What home isn’t filled with it from bags, clothes, tupperware, toys, bottled drinks, food containers, plastic cutlery, plates, cups, cooking utensils, chopping boards etc! Most obvious swaps you can make are using glass, wood, paper and cloth to store food, drink from, chop on, stir with, play with, shop with and wear.
Buy food unwrapped/loose when you can.
BPA lined canned food, BPA coated till receipts, aluminium lined cans and tetra pak milk or juice cartons. Biona is a reliable canned food brand that uses BPA free cans.
Take pics/scan your receipts and throw them away.
Opt for food/drinks stored in glass over cans, when that’s possible.
They may look natural, but they're filled with chemicals that fill up the air that you breathe in.
There are 3 things you can do here:
Home cleaning products include bleach, window cleaning spray, detergents and all-surface cleaners etc.
Use bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and or essential oils to clean your oven, windows and disinfect your home. There are plenty of ‘recipes’ to be found online but here’s a simple, all purpose one:
Cook on or in, uncoated, cast iron and stainless steel pans, pots, and casseroles instead.
Use glass, stainless steel or ceramic oven dishes and baking trays.
Personal care products include face washes, shampoos, moisturisers, deodorants, shaving creams.
Keep cleansing/moisturising simple with a little organic virgin coconut oil massaged over the face.
Remove excess with a warm, damp, cotton cloth. The residue will serve to moisturise. Or buy reputable, low toxin products from brands like Disco and Dr Bronner.
For Shampoo and Body wash, try shampoo/soap bars in health shops which are safe and effective like the Belgian brand Indigene.
Use filtered or bottled water (Aquafina is a good brand)
Quit the former, reduce the latter to weekend nights and more if you’re struggling with fertility.
Buy food unwrapped/loose when you can from organic or small, ecologically minded producers.
Swap out for slower prepared meals on lower temperatures. It takes a bit of organisation and thinking ahead. Otherwise a slow cooker can be a great way around it.
Heavy metal exposure includes lead, cadmium, in old paints and mercury.
Warm up your food in the oven.
Keep your phone away from your privados and turn off distracting notifications so you’re less reactive to checking it all the time.
Be careful for water damaged buildings, leaks or cellars.
Avoid coffee and aged foods.
when the day comes, swap your old mattress, as well as its fire retardants and glues, for one made of natural latex, wool or cashmere.
And while it’s not practical or possible to avoid all of them, you now know at the very least what to watch for and have a few tips to reduce your load.
Start small, keep building.
And remember, every smart swap and effort you make will improve your hormones, your health, the environment and the future of generations to come!
Gráinne Harbison is the founder of Good Health Practice and co-founder of Functional Medicine Brussels together with Maya Lombarts. She's a Functional Medicine practitioner, a Naturopath, and a Nutritional Therapist. As you can guess from her name, she's Irish, but calls Brussels home.
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