In my Facebook Group, I’ve been sharing some thoughts on the importance of really understanding your why for living a healthy and green lifestyle. Because everyone has different goals, limitations, and worldview, each family will make different decisions about what’s right for them in each moment. Relying on someone else’s why may help for the short-term, but without really getting clear on your why, chances are you won’t put in the effort, time, or money to make a change.
I wanted to share my own why and how it’s evolved to help inspire you to think of your own. Fair warning, this is going to get pretty personal at “Ah-Ha Moment #2”.
Why I Started my Home Detox
My first step towards detoxing my home was switching to green cleaners. I was studying environmental engineering and I became concerned about what we were putting down our drains and into our waterways. I also started prioritizing organic food because I was concerned about pesticides in our soils and water.
In the beginning, my why was focused on the planet – partly because I was legitimately concerned about the environment, but also because I knew that whatever harm we did to it would come back and bite us in the ass. Part good Samaritan, part self-absorbed. I’m OK with that. In fact, I believe the more we can connect our impact on the earth to our own survival, the more we’ll be willing to change… but I digress.
Around this time, after starting to truly understand our impact on the environment, I also had a couple of personal health epiphanies that would prove to change my life.
Ah-Ha Moment #1
On somewhat of a dare, I took up triathlons in university.
At some point in my training, I developed what was diagnosed as “exercise- and cold-induced asthma”. I was prescribed inhalers, which I used when I trained and raced. But I didn’t want to be dependent on medications to be active, so I started looking into alternatives. I ended up seeing a naturopath who greatly helped with my symptoms. And what I think is thanks to my ongoing lifestyle and healthy home strategies, I am happy to say that I haven’t used a puffer since.
This really got me thinking about the band-aid solution vs the long-term fix approach to medicine and our health, and jump-started my affinity towards naturopathic medicine and how I treat my body in general.
Ah-Ha Moment #2
Ever since middle school, I got used to the fact that every couple of months I would have to miss school for a day or two. I’d be curled up in the fetal position, with a combination of heating pads, vomiting, and Advil. Yup, my periods were that terrible. But it seemed like a rite of passage. Something that wasn’t normal, but also not uncommon. I thought it was just the way it was for me.
Well, come university there was no way I could risk being out of commission for exams. So, I was prescribed the birth control pill to manage my symptoms. It worked like a charm. No more debilitating cramps, and my period came like clockwork. I wondered why I didn’t do it sooner.
But after my experience with the naturopath and my asthma diagnosis, I started doing a bit more research, and recognized that I didn’t want to be on synthetic hormones for the long-term.
So eventually I quit the pill, and my periods went back to being haywire. I started working with a naturopath again, this time on hormone regulation strategies. I knew I wanted to get my hormones in check not only to prevent debilitating cramps, but also to help my body sort itself out before I wanted to get pregnant.
My symptoms drastically improved. Then, after I had my first baby, they improved even further – it’s like pregnancy and childbirth hit a reset button on my hormones, and I haven’t had cramps in over 6 years.
Were hormone disrupting chemicals responsible for my out-of-whack hormones? I have no idea. Was I exposed to mould as a child, which manifested as mild asthma later in life? Who knows. But studies are showing that these sorts of connections exist and are increasing.
Through my “ah-ha” moments, I discovered that what we often consider as “normal” health concerns really don’t have to be normal. And the more I learn about the causes of less-than-perfect health, the more concerned I get about the products we put on our bodies and use in our homes.
My why is a complicated one. And now it revolves heavily around my children, and their generation in general. But I also want to be healthy to be able to enjoy life. And since I can’t unlearn what I’ve learned about the impact on our health of toxins and toxics in our homes, my focus has shifted significantly towards creating a healthier home for me and my family.
My why has evolved over time. And now with children, it’s a bit more complex. But I am clear on what’s important to me, what I’m willing to put the time in to accomplish, and what I’m willing to let slide. Your why might (and probably will) change over time too. And that’s OK. But it’s a good idea to pause and reflect every now and then to get clear on your why. Doing so will make it a lot easier to decide what investments in time, money, or energy you’re willing to make to achieve your healthy or green living goals.
I’ve created numerous resources to help you create lasting healthy changes in your home, regardless of your Why. From asthma & allergies to preconception and pregnancy I’ve got you covered. Check them out here.