• Delia Laas

Livin' the green life


A happy New Year hello, so I know it's February already but this is my first post of the year, so it's still a new year hello in my book! I love the start of a new year, it is full of new possibilities and renewed hope. This is the time to take that step and start your fertility diet, new exercise regime or wellness practice, whatever it may be, I hope you start your action plan and set your intentions for the year ahead. Wishing you all the best for 2021 and may this be your year!


Today I am going to chat about how I embraced a non-toxic, chemical free lifestyle and why this is important to your fertility.


Harmful chemicals are everywhere, in the food we eat, the products we use in our homes, personal care products, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the list goes on and on! Many of these harmful chemicals are referred to as endocrine-disruptors such as BPA, phthalates and plastics, these have been linked to infertility in men and women and has also been linked to miscarriage. The good news is the moment you start limiting your exposure to these chemicals, the levels of these toxins start dropping in your body. So I started detoxing my lifestyle of all chemical products and toxic fertility harming chemicals.


Plastic

Plastic, what a convenient product, but at what cost? Plastic contains many harmful chemicals such as BPA, which stands for Bisphenol A, it compromises egg quality and interferes with hormonal systems aka endocrine-disruptor. BPA can be found in most plastic items and containers, even the receipts you receive from the shop are coated in a plastic substance containing BPA. Be aware that most hard and durable plastic contains BPA, such as reusable plastic containers. When you microwave these containers, wash them in hot water or use harsh detergents, it damages the plastic and then the BPA starts to leach into the food or drink it comes into contact with. Also be careful of products labelled "BPA free" as the replacement chemicals can be just as harmful! Scary stuff.....here's how I limited my exposure to BPA and other harmful chemicals.

  • I got rid of all plastic food storage containers and all plastic cooking utensils in my kitchen. I started using glass bowls and bottles for food storage and replaced my plastic utensils with wood, bamboo or metal.

  • I was mindful of not purchasing food in plastic containers, if possible, and opted for glass or a box instead.

  • Stopped using plastic baggies and plastic wrap - great for the environment too, yay!

  • Stopped handling receipts from the stores, and if I did, I immediately washed my hands.

  • Stopped eating tinned foods, as the plastic lining in the cans contains BPA.

  • Washed all hard plastic items that I couldn't replace such as my blender and water filtration jug with cool water and a very mild detergent.

Phthalates

These are endocrine-disruptors, which is mainly used in soft plastics and "fragrance" aka "parfum". Phthalates reduce fertility in men and women, they have a negative effect on egg quality and can negatively impact a growing fetus when you are pregnant. Please be aware that many products will claim to be "Phthalate free" but please read the ingredients label, if it contains "fragrance" or "parfum", it contains phthalates. I have seen so many beauty products claiming to be natural and chemical free then it has "fragrance" or "parfum" as an ingredient. Make sure you check the ingredients labels of all your household cleaners, your washing powder and fabric softener, your shampoo & conditioner, body wash, soap, your liquid hand soap, moisturisers, lotions, deodorant and of course your perfume would fall into this category too, how totally freaking crap, I absolutely love my perfume :( it's basically any personal or homecare product you use. Get rid of all your products that contain phthalates or "fragrance" or "parfum", replace them with products that are "phthalate free" or have been fragranced with a natural ingredients such as essential oils. Please be aware that phthalates can also be found in your food too due to the processing and storage of these foods such as all processed and packaged foods. Also avoid dairy and fatty meats, as the fat seems to absorb these nasties even more. Please also steer clear from soft plastic products made from PVC or Vinyl such as your shower curtain (replace it with a fabric one), your yoga mat (look for one made from natural fibers) and raincoats to name but a few.


Parabens

Another.....surprise, surprise....endocrine disrupter. Parabens are preservatives found in cosmetics, personal care products and food. They are very bad for your eggs and have been linked to diminished ovarian reserve. Use "Paraben free" products and be sure to look out for any ingredients ending in -paraben such as propyl-paraben, methylparaben, ethyl-paraben.


Sodium laureth sulfate

Anyone who has ever had a Brazilian hair treatment knows all about sulfates, and how they are strictly forbidden if you want your treatment to last. Sulfates are not the most toxic of chemicals, but they are chemicals nonetheless and they have allegedly been linked to reproductive issues and cancer, but there is no concrete links as yet. But I would still look for products that are SLS and SLES free.


Triclosan

This ingredient is found in most "anti-bacterial" products. It is also a endocrine disruptor and it is especially damaging to male sperm. Steer clear of all anti-bacterial products like soaps, waterless hand cleaner, household detergents etc. Especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic people are using everything anti-bacterial, be wise and read the ingredients list!


Nail polish and polish remover

I know right, if you are feeling upset about this one, I totally feel you. I live to have pretty nails and toes! Unfortunately nail polish contains phthalates and has been linked to early miscarriage, the fumes are absolutely toxic and should be avoided, so going to the nail salon is not really an option anymore. But do not fret, there are some nasty free products available, I will blog about these soon. As for the nail polish remover, ensure you do not use acetone, it has been linked to miscarriage, so no more "soak-offs" with acetone ladies, rather opt for "acetone free" polish removers.


Hair dye

Get ready to embrace the grey! Hair dyes contain all sorts of chemicals, there has been no solid link between hair colour and miscarriage, but when you are pregnant your Gynae will recommend that you do not colour your hair, so that has to mean something right? You can always opt for some natural hair colours, most of them are Henna based (side note, if you ever intend on visiting your hairdresser again, perhaps just mention to them you are thinking of using Henna before you do so) or find an organic hair salon to tame your tresses.


Sunscreen

Living in sunny South Africa and especially in Ballito, Kwazulu-Natal, sunscreen is an absolute must and a part of our daily lives. Be sure to use only zinc oxide or titanium oxide based sunscreens, these are fertility friendly and they do not harm the fish or coral reefs when you swim in the ocean.


Pesticides

They are everywhere! In the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and even in our homes! Avoid exposure to pesticides as much as possible. They really harm fertility by delaying conception, harming embryos and causing miscarriage. Limit your consumption by eating organic, drinking filtered water, leaving your shoes at the door of your home (this way you don't track them inside) and do not use pesticides in and around your home, rather try organic or homemade remedies to treat pests.


Non-stick pots and pans

The lovely non-stick coating you find on some pots and pans contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or AKA per-fluorinated Chemicals (PFCs), these chemicals have been linked to infertility in men and women. Please be especially careful if the non-stick coating has started to peel in some areas of the pot or pan, this allows the chemicals to leach into your food ever more, discard them immediately!!!! There are some "PFOA free" non-stick brands available but if you would like to be on the safe side, opt for stainless or cast iron.


What else I did to limit my exposure to these nasty chemicals:


  • Stopped using plastic containers and purchasing food and drinks in plastic packaging as much as possible. Sorry I can't express this enough.

  • I replaced all of my cosmetics, personal care, grooming and household cleaning products with 100% natural, non-toxic products, plus these are much better for the environment too, yay! I will blog about all the great options available! PS: Don't forget about your toothpaste!

  • Ate mainly organic and eliminated diary and fatty meats from my diet.

For more info on all these nasty chemicals and fertility and the actual science behind all this, refer to the book "It starts with the egg" by Rebecca Fett, it is an absolutely wealth of information.


Other very useful resources are the Think Dirty app and The Environmental Group's app Healthy Living, both available at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.


Till next time, stay green everyone xoxo

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