As loving parents, we may have different parenting styles, careers and backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: making our children’s health and safety a top priority.
Here are two important ways you can help protect your family from unhealthy toxins and ensure they are eating healthy, nourishing foods.
1. Safeguard your Drinking Water: While the U.S. is fortunate to have accessible drinking water, it’s still vulnerable to dangerous toxins such as industry chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and factory farm runoff. Lead contamination recently started making headlines. And now, the “Erin Brockovich” carcinogen, chromium-6, is yet again another great threat to our health as reported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Use this interactive map to check the water in your area.
What you can do: Add a premium water filter to your next shopping list. Check out EWG’s water filter buying guide here. And, ask your daycares, churches and schools if they have water filters. If not, share this information with them and advocate for one. If you face financial resistance, lead a fundraiser among parents to donate money for a high-performance water filter for your children’s daycare/school.
2. Shop for and Eat “Real,” Fresh Food: The word “real” may seem like a comical description when accompanied with food. Of course, we, as humans, should eat real food. However, food today is highly processed and so far removed from its origin. Why? The food industry has done an exceptional job mastering food convenience and shelf stabilization, but at a cost: our health. Most packaged foods are stripped of vital nutrients and replaced with synthetic, pseudo ingredients along with loads of fat, sugar and salt – a recipe for disaster.
What you can do: Strive to eat whole foods located at the perimeter of the grocery store. Spend the majority of your shopping trip in the produce section. Local and organic produce are best as they help support your local farmers and have less pesticide exposure. Download EWG’s shopper guide to find foods with the highest and lowest pesticide levels.
Try to avoid packaged food aisles filled with sugary cereals, salty snacks and endless sweets. And, if/when you purchase a packaged food, read the ingredients and ensure you recognize them. If you don’t know an ingredient, it’s likely an unhealthy food choice. And, avoid lengthy ingredient lists (i.e., 5 ingredients or less is a good rule of thumb). Need some ideas for the family? Check out 100 Days of Real Food, a great resource for quick, easy and healthy recipe and school lunch ideas.
Along with clean water and healthy food, don’t forget to aim for toxic-free eating utensils and dishes. Avoid plastic dishes and utensils and strive for stainless steel and/or glass water bottles. And most importantly, have fun exploring healthy foods and always remember love is one of the best ingredients!
Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.