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Resolve to improve your health


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File Photo Swapping out harsh chemicals used in cleaning your home for safer organic or natural options is a good step in improving your health.

Did the holidays take their toll on you? If you are like most Americans you gained weight this holiday season and if you are like 48 percent of Americans you are resolving to lose weight this year.

That is a great resolution to make, but what about the other health issues beyond weight? This year, rather than just resolving to stick to a budget, read more, and of course lose weight, resolve to improve your health inside and out.

A few ideas to get you started are:

• Home products. Do you use harsh chemicals to clean, wash the dishes and do the laundry? Swap them out with safer organic or natural options. These are widely available at most grocery stores and the price is very close to the chemical laden options. Start with your laundry soap and wash your sheets, you spend a third of your life there.

• Bath and Body. We are exposed to nearly 200 chemicals in our products from our typical morning routines. The skin is the largest organ in the body making absorption of these chemicals very high. Start by swapping out a few easy items from your daily routine, like your toothpaste or deodorant. If your products claim they are "natural" or safe, check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website to see where they rank with a chemical safety score.

• Make Up. Just like our bath and body products there are many harsh chemicals in our makeup, nail polish and perfumes. Start by swapping out some simple items like nail polish or a lipstick.

• In the Kitchen. A bit more costly but simple swap is moving to glass containers for foods. If you tend to have leftovers, storing them in glass containers is much safer than plastic. Especially if you will be reheating them the next day. The toxic chemicals in plastic (like BPA's) leach out into your food making that delicious healthy dinner from last night not so yummy the next day.

• Swap your closet. Many stain free and wrinkle free clothing are made so by adding harsh chemicals to the material. While this may be a very convenient item to have they usually contain formaldehyde which is not so convenient for your body to deal with.

With all of the claims on health and wellness products on the market it can be hard to know what to choose. If you are serious about making the switch to living a cleaner and healthier life spend some time studying up on the issue. If you don't have the time to dedicate to this, ask a friend to help. If you each tackle a topic you can get a few great solutions for each area you wish to improve. If you are still struggling it might be time to consider hiring your own certified health coach.

There is an overwhelming amount of changes you can make in your life and home to reduce the amount of chemicals you and your family are exposed to. It can be time consuming and costly to do them all but if you just pick one or two areas to focus on you will start to improve your health. Little by little you will be improving your overall health rather than becoming more toxic!

If you pick a few each month by this time next year you can have made enough small changes to address all aspects of the home and body.

Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness in Marysville. She can be reached online at


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