Environmental Wellness: How Fit Is Your Home?

img_8951The recent purchase of a gorgeous fern got me to thinking about the environmental wellness in my home.

Environmental wellness (EW) supports and promotes healthy living. It is the quality of the habitat at home, school, the community, and pretty much every space you encounter.

The way you interact with nature and the personal environment can either create harmony with the earth and the environment or do harm to both.

Consider the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food and the beverages you consume. Environmental Wellness bolsters wellness by striving to limit our exposure to hazards that are physical, chemical, and biological in our environment.

Your home is sacred. If you have children in your home, studies and research show that your child’s development can be impacted by daily exposure to harmful elements.  Adults and children exposed to lead-based, which was banned in the U.S. in 1978 (but is still around), can result in lead poisoning. However,  it’s not limited to paint.  Lead sometimes can also be found in:

Soil. Lead particles from leaded gasoline or paint settle on soil and can last years. Lead-contaminated soil is still a major problem around highways and in some urban settings. Some soil close to walls of older houses contains lead.

Household dust. Household dust can contain lead from lead paint chips or from contaminated soil brought in from outside.

Pottery. Glazes found on some ceramics, china and porcelain can contain lead that can leach into food served or stored in the pottery.

Toys. Lead is sometimes found in toys and other products produced abroad.
Cosmetics. Tiro, an eye cosmetic from Nigeria, has been linked to lead poisoning.

Herbal or folk remedies. Lead poisoning has been linked to greta and azarcon, traditional Hispanic medicines, as well as some from India, China and other countries.

Mexican candy. Tamarind, an ingredient used in some candies made in Mexico, might contain lead.

Lead bullets. Time spent at firing ranges can lead to exposure.

Occupations. People are exposed to lead and can bring it home on their clothes when they work in auto repair, mining, pipe fitting, battery manufacturing, painting, construction and certain other fields.

Source:  Mayo Clinic

You can eat organic food, do yoga, practice meditation, manage your stress, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink water, complete all your annual doctor visits, but the environment in your home or even work can still damage you and your family’s health.

I am not paranoid and don’t want to get you there either. I’m merely pointing out factors that you may not have considered in your home that can impact your well-being.

So.  With that said, other common environmental contaminants that can railroad your health and wellness in your home are:

*Invisible Killers!  They are tasteless, colorless, and odorless.

What’s the takeaway?

As you would do maintenance on your body, you should do the same for your home.  Here are few ideas:

  • Wood burning fireplaces – Two words: 1. wood quality 2. cleaning  Here’s a link with excellent tips. 
  • With regards to Bedbugs, personally, I NEVER sit on my bed or bedroom furniture with street clothes, but here’s an official list from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on how to protect your home from those nasty critters.
  • Invest in a carbon monoxide detector(s).  If it operates on batteries, make sure you replace the batteries yearly, as with your smoke detectors.
  • To minimize the concentration of VOC’s, try to use non-toxic products for your home such as the 27 recipes on this list.
  • Replace the air filters in your home.  Depending on variables such as pets, home location (city vs. suburban), the number of residents, smokers, non-smokers, primary home versus vacation home, etc… the vents may need to be changed more frequently.
  • Take note of where your fresh produce is coming from.  Try to buy produce grown in the U.S. To combat costs, try to tailor your use to seasonal fruit and vegetables.  You can also start your own garden, which is a great way to prevent ingesting pesticides. If space is limited, check out vertical gardens; they are very cool. Pinterest has a plethora of ideas too!
  • I once was heavily into burning incense and candles but, for the past 5 years or so, I’ve fallen in love using essential oils with a diffuser. The quality of incense varies, and the dust from them got on my nerves.  Also forgetting to blow out candles was dangerous.
    • The diffuser is cleaner (if you clean them) and is ideal for meditation, sleeping, the office, and even older kids’ rooms.  No flame. No smoke. No dust. I enjoy the flexibility of combining oils to help to relieve congestion and to relax at bedtimes.

When I purchased this fern, I was awed by its beauty and was undecided about where to place it, but I knew I wanted it.  My initial plan was to try out the fern in different areas.  The first test was the entryway foyer, where the plant sat overnight.

The next morning when I walked downstairs, I was tired and sleepy eyed but the vibrant beauty of the plant breathed life, joy, and love into my heart and soul, which brings me to the final point of this post.  Protect your wellness at home by giving thoughtful consideration to what you value.  Instead of filling your home with a lot of meaningless clutter, find a select few objects that absolutely warm your heart.

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Peace and light!

🙂

 

 

 


In The Name of Wellness: Why Your Words Matter

The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word and behavior affects our greater health and well-being.  And we, in turn are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually.  -Greg Anderson

While ironing a shirt for work (do people still iron?) you mentally drift. The tip of the iron touches your left hand. Ouch! It burned your skin. There is strong possibility that the burn will leave a permanent mark. Years later, you can recount the story of your injury.

Words leave scars too. >>>>>>>>

While visiting my bestie in Texas, I bought an authentic pair of cowboy boots. I wore them for the first time today. As I slid them on, I was reminded why I purchased them–good quality leather, comfort, and stylish. Looking in the mirror, I thought, Damn girl, you’ve got big feet. ‘Dem boots look big as hell!

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Sipping on a green smoothie and reflecting on the boots.

Mentally, I traveled back to my awkward and gawky pre-teen years when my lanky arms and boney legs were disproportioned. My family would remind me daily that I had BIG feet. Mom would make me wear specific shoes that were orthopedically sound but ugly as hell.

Double time to today. My mom’s words have clung to the inner parts of my psyche, resurfacing without solicitation at the opportune time and trying to steal my joy.

Yup, the red boots look super-sized! I could have got them in black. Black looks smaller. Women with big feet probably shouldn’t wear bright colors…right? The truth is, does anyone really give a damn? Even if they do care, what does it matter?  My personality is vibrant, and so are my color choices in clothes, sometimes shoes, and everything else. I bought the red because they are me and I loved them. I adore them just as much today.

When I wear the boots today, someone might glance at my feet and think, damn, she’s got some big ass feet!! And if they do believe that, what changes? Nothing! The world continues to evolve. I look the same….fabulous! I feel the same…marvelous! Worse case scenario, someone thinks I have big feet, and it’s true. Hehe!

The truth; the reality is that someone will always have an opinion about you.  You do not have power over the thoughts of others.

You do, however; have the POWER to govern your own thoughts and it is YOUR thoughts that matter most.  Incessant chatter is the term Michael A. Singer uses in, the untethered soul. You have the choice to become crippled by your thoughts, but you also have the option to acknowledge the notions and to move on.   Once you are paralyzed, you start to miss out on the abundance of pleasures life has to offer you.

If I had listened to the inimical chatter in my head this morning, I wouldn’t have worn my boots.  I would have missed out on the joy of high stepping with my eclectic Jersey swag through the streets of Gwinnett County. Although I wasn’t dressed up, I felt special wearing my Ariat cowboy boots.

I don’t know if anyone took note of my boots, but if they did, it might have been because it seems stilettos are more popular than cowboy boots in Georgia or merely because they thought my footwear was cool.

Anyways, I have to points here. First, to remind you that words matter. When speaking to children, know that everything you say is heard by them. Repeated messages hang around and take up mental space and can influence the child’s behavior well into adulthood.

And second, to encourage you to try something that you’ve wanted to but are afraid to do. It can be something small like wearing a brighter color nail polish, applying for the next promotion at work, taking a dance class, getting your first tattoo, or something else.  Just do it!

 

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I couldn’t resist jumping around in my boots. 🙂

Wellness is more than exercising and eating well.  If you search wellness, you will find many definitions.  My favorite definition of wellness is:

…the experience of living life with  high levels of awareness, conscious choice, self-acceptance, interconnectedness, love, meaning, and purpose… living consciously in ways that improve your health and well-being.    – Michael Arloski

Make each day count!

Smooches!


Why My Son Wants To Help His Grandmother

“Grandchildren complete life’s circle of love.”

 

For the fall semester, my 14-year-old has a freshman health class.  Tailor’s class is learning about the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes.  Nothing is more convincing than graphic images that show the deterioration of the human body.

fullsizeoutput_2354After dinner today he knocked on his grandmom’s bedroom door.

“Grandmom, can I show you something?”

She agreed.

The Top 40: Scariest Anti-Smoking Commercials [Part three] video undoubtedly left an unshakeable impression on Tailor. So much that he shared it with his grandmother.

Last week, he shared the video with me.  I sat and watched Part two and three. The video is striking and disturbing.  If you are a parent, watch the video and show it to your children. If you know a smoker, share it with them too.

My son is concerend about his grandmother’s health. She is 84 years-old.

For 68 lasting years, tobacco has infiltrated every aspect of her body.

He hears her deep and continuous cough… the loud rattling echoing from her lungs. My son notices her shortness of breath after only a few steps.  He wants to extend her life.

She quietly sat and watched the seven and half minute video. Below is their post-viewing chat.

My Mom:  Thank you for letting me look at the video Tailor.

Tailor:  Do you think the video will change the way you feel about smoking?

My Mom:  It’s not that easy to quit.  You have cravings…

She said goodnight to everyone and went to her room.

Tailor sat on the computer to look up strategies on how to help a smoker quit.  Monday, he’ll try one approach:  asking her to walk with him after dinner.

He knows there is a good possibility that she will shoot him down, but hubby and I encouraged him to try anyway.

In the shadow of observing the two, I realized how badly my son wants to convince his grandmother to quit smoking.  Just maybe he can do something that no one else has been able to do.

When the world says, “Give up.”

HOPE whispers, “Try one more time.”

 

Additional Reading

Smoking Facts

Youth Product Tobacco Use

How Cigarettes Damage Your Body

Tobacco Threatens Us All

 

 


Here Is What I Found In My Bottled Water!

This tall glass of water looks refreshing, right?

Well, it’s not.  Pardon my language but it’s bullshit!   Don’t be hoodwinked by the appearance of anything.

If I come across as annoyed.  I am.

One sip and I knew I screwed up.  Big time!  Sweeter than fruit juice.  Like really disgusting.   The artificial sweetener left a repugnant after taste. It was late in the evening and I was upstairs in the bedroom all ready to chill, but that didn’t stop me from racing downstairs half naked to examine the label.

If you are new to Lexa’s Journal, about two months ago, I moved over 700 miles away from what has been home to me for 50 years.  I’m becoming acquainted with the grocery stores in my new home town. Successfully finding my favorite brands is tricky. The store didn’t have my favorite brand, so I settled (too quickly) on the store brand.

I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses.  Too quickly scanning the label resulted in a major faux pas.  I mistakenly saw all zeros under the Nutritional Facts, so I missed the 10mg of sodium (per serving).

Four (4) servings per bottle are 40mg of sodium!

Water should NOT contain sodium. But that’s not what literally irked me.  Keep reading.


What freaked me out was the list of ingredients.   The content is supposed to be water!! Ha!!

Nine ingredients in a bottle of flavored water is unacceptable!!

Gimmie a break!  By the way, it’s peach flavored.  Do you see peaches anywhere in the ingredient list?  Nope!  Ugh!!

  1. Carbonated Water
  2. Citric Acid
  3. Malic Acid
  4. Potassium Citrate
  5. Potassium Benzoate (Preservative)
  6. Sucralose
  7. Acesulfame Potassium
  8. Natural Flavor
  9. Neotame

Most of the ingredients are additives that enhance the flavor.  It’s the flavor of Sucralose that set off my taste buds’ bells and whistles!!   Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. Search the net and you will find plenty of articles debating the facts and opinions about the safety and risk of artificial sweeteners. I’m not interested.

I don’t want any forms of artificial sweeteners in anything I consume, especially my water.  So if I can’t find my receipts to return the muck, I’ll take the loss and trash the remaining three bottles.

Sometimes late evening (after dinner), I enjoy sipping sparkling water from a large wine glass.  It’s a mental thing (substitute for wine) but it works for me.

Below is the label from the brand of sparkling water that I usually drink. Look at the difference in the labels. There are only two ingredients and… there is no sodium in the water. Of course, the “natural flavor” isn’t defined but I’ll still take this over nasty muck with nine ingredients.

The point of this post is to encourage you to stay diligent; read the both the nutritional and ingredient labels.  Oh and, if you wear reading glasses, carry them with you.

When you eliminate specific elements from your diet and you unknowingly consume it, in most cases, you will know.  You will either taste it or, if you pay close attention, you will notice that your body will adversely respond.  You may experience bloating, an upset stomach, a headache or something else.  In my situation, the strong and phony taste of sugar captured my attention.

To anyone in the path of a hurricane or who have already been impacted by one, I’m praying for you all.  Stay safe.

Peace and love.