Green up your home

by Dr. Uzelac

Making your home more "green" does not mean you need to spend big bucks on home improvements, expensive solar panels, fancy furniture.  There are many ways you can get yourself healthier and more relaxed at your own home, without spending too much. It is just a different mindset, and I will try to explain it further and give you some ideas to get you started. And than....sky is the limit!

Why not FEEL as on vacation every single day without going anywhere!? By taking the steps, you will do something truly good for you, your family and our beautiful planet.

Here are my 10 green ideas to get you started : transform your home into relaxing and well balanced environment, while saving energy, spending less and getting more. 

1) Feel like on vacation, EVERY day.

Think deep what your happy place is? Top of the mountain? Seaside? Hammock on the beach? With some details you can make your home remind you of that place every time you set your step in. Put a coral or sea shells next to your toothbrush or on night stand, play relaxing wave sounds through the house, or sounds of forrest and bird chirping, diffuse essential oils which fragrance can remind you of that place. Open the window to get a fresh air in.

 

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2) Put some green plants.

Place a nice green plant next to your computer, or in front of your router. It will hide those cords and give it more natural look, already making you feel better.

3) Adjust The Lighting.

Light plays important role in our health. Natural light improves the mood, and different spectrums of light can worsen or improve it. Phototherapy has been used years to treat many problems like: mood changes, seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, skin disorders etc.


Chromotherapy is a method which uses different colors to balance you out. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe the body has 7 "chakras", which according to them are 'spiritual centers', and are located along the spine. Each of the chakras is associated with a single color of the visible light spectrum, along with a function and organ or bodily system. According to this view, the chakras can become imbalanced and result in physical diseases, but application of the appropriate color can allegedly correct such imbalances.


So change your lightbulbs to LED: you will save energy and lower your NIPSCO bill while feeling better due to more natural lighting in the house. You can get LED lights in different colors and use according to your mood.

 

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4) All those TV screens, do you REALLY need them?

Think about NOT putting that TV in your bedroom. Or living room for that matter.

By not having TV in the bedroom, your quality of sleep will improve: melatonin production will not be diminished (screen white light can disrupt it). Melatonin makes us sleepy and regulates our circadian rhythm. Also, you will get less electromagnetic radiation from it, which is substantial since you  spend 6-8 hours on average laying in your bed not really moving away from TV electromagnetic field. And last but not least, you  simply may get bored because there is nothing to stare at.

By not having TV in your living room, you will stimulate conversation between family members, reaching harmony much faster.

Removing the TV from your kitchen will get you to pay more attention on what you cook and enjoy the art of preparing food. By looking at your cooking ingredients, your mind will give you a feeling of satiety and you may not feel as hungry.

By removing the TV from dining room (this one is a biggie) you will chew your food better and swallow it slower, since you will pay more attention to your plate, therefore gain less weight, and eat more balanced.

5) Use Feng Shui principles in your home.

Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. Feng means wind and Shui is water. Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy. Read more here.

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6) Get rid of plastic.

Plastics usually contain chemicals like: BPA (bisphenol A), PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and TBBPA (tetrabromobisphenol) which all alter hormone expression and are known as endocrine disrupting compounds. Also, some chemicals are made of monomers, which have known mutation-inducing and cancer-causing qualities. Also, other plastic compounds contain toxic metals. So try to use reusable water bottles, get a filter for your water, and learn to read recycling labels:
Avoid any plastic designated #3, #6 and #7.
Plastics that are relatively safe are #1, #2, #4, and #5. 

 

 

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7) Change cleaning products.

Cleaning the house with products that contain ammonia and other chemicals is not really going to clean your house no matter how nice and fresh it smells afterwards. On contrary, it will pollute it and may even make you sick. If wondering what to use instead - just remember what your grandmother used for cleaning: baking soda and vinegar will simply and very effectively do the job.

So there you go - you are saving money and getting yourself healthier. If you, on the other hand, want to shop for healthy cleaning products, look for: Seventh generation, Biokleen, Ecover, Mrs Meyers, etc. Check here for rating of the cleaning products.

Make your own laundry detergent! This one is fast and easy and it simply -works! Avoid the chemicals from major laundry brands that can cause/worsen your eczema or irritate your skin. Click here to get my recipe for "do it yourself laundry detergent"

8) Use low VOC materials

By using materials with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) you will improve your indoor air quality and avoid inhaling toxic evaporations. VOC are organic chemicals that have high vapor pressure at normal room temperatures (like: benzene, formaldehide and acetone). Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. Harmful VOCs typically have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult.

 

9) Get low flow shower heads

Who doesn't like a loooooooooong shower. That per se can improve your mood, so I have nothing against it. However, by using low flow shower heads, you will preserve water and still enjoy your shower just as much. And you will also like your water bill.

10) Diffuse the essential oils.

Diffusers and essential oils can be cheap to buy and they also last long.

Use eucalyptus, clove, orange peel or peppermint oil as your antibacterial, anti parasite prevention through the whole house. 

Lavender oil, for example,  has relaxing, hypotensive and sedative effect, and also is used as muscle relaxant, antiseptic, headache reliever, and even a flavor booster when cooking.

On the other hand, olfactory sense (smell) is the first one we aquire as babies, and our deep memories can be connected to smells we experienced through life.

When you diffuse the oils through your house, you will  relax and easily reach a happy state of mind. Smell can evoke happy childhood memories, vacation adventures you had and also bring out the warmth and positivity you carry inside. 

Every time I smell the lavender, it instantly brings back the memory of hugging my child and spending summer with family. Well, that is what I call "warm and fuzzy" feeling.

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