Protect Your Health: Become a Conscious Consumer

After watching the video series, The Truth About Cancer, I am reminded how important it is for each of us to take charge of our health. If we do not, the powerful organizations currently in charge of our environment, our food, and our medical care will continue to lead us down a path that promotes disease not wellness. The most important thing we can do to get well and stay healthy is to become a conscious consumer. The grocery store is an important part of this quest.

I sometimes take my phone into the grocery store and check the ratings of the food products I buy with Fooducate—an app on my phone that rates food for its caloric count and ingredients. (Never thought I would do this.) I began reading labels on foods and beverages many years ago. Now I ask questions about the products I put on my body—cosmetics, soaps, and creams. I also buy home cleaning and laundry products that use natural ingredients instead of toxic chemicals. Most natural products work as well or better than popular brands.

Eating real food, as opposed to eating something processed in a factory with little nutritional value and filled with harmful substances, will give the food industry a powerful message—I want to buy food that is healthy for me. Science is proving that processed foods are one of the leading causes of chronic inflammation and disease. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Effortless Healing, a typical American gets 95 percent of his/her calories from processed foods. We can rectify this imbalance with a commitment to make food our medicine.

When we stop buying personal and home care products that are filled with toxic chemicals (some are scientifically proven carcinogens), the industries producing these products will be forced to change. By asking questions in health food stores as well as reading labels and product reviews, we will be able to make informed choices in order to reduce the toxicity within our bodies and homes. Blood and urine tests confirm that the toxicity outside of us finds its way into our bodies.

Does being a conscious consumer take some effort? Yes it does, but aren’t you worth it? Here are a few basics to help you make wise choices in a grocery store:

Food: High fructose corn syrup and chemical sweeteners are harmful to your health. Reduce your sugar intake and use healthier sugar choices (Stevia, honey, 100% maple syrup, and sucrose) sparingly. Reduce processed foods (chips, crackers, condiments, cookies, canned foods, cereals, etc.), and you will reduce your sugar and omega-6 fat intake. Add more omega-3 fats found in fish oil, grass-fed beef, flax seed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and leafy vegetables into your diet, and you will bring your omega-6 and omega-3 fats back into balance (1 to 1 instead of 40 to 1). Most important, place more fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) into your shopping cart along with fish, meat and poultry from healthy sources (free range, no hormones and no antibiotics). Replace sweetened sodas, juices and teas with purified water most of the time.

Personal Care Products: I once heard an expert say, “Do not put any substance on your body that you would not put in your mouth.” I try to follow that rule when possible. I mostly buy products that are plant based with essential oils and minerals. Here are a few chemicals to avoid: BHA and BHT, formaldehyde, parabens, petrolatum, and siloxanes. Health food stores and the Internet are filled with healthier alternatives to chemically laden personal products.

Laundry and Cleaning Products: Synthetic laundry detergents often contain petrochemicals, phenols phthalates, benzene, chlorine and phosphates, and these ingredients may not be listed on the label. Consider buying natural alternatives. Biokleen chlorine-free oxygen bleach powder can replace Clorox. Natural cleaning supplies are a healthy alternative to these chemicals: perchloroethylene in spot removers and carpet and upholstery cleaners; triclosan in most liquid dishwashing detergents and antibacterial hand soaps; ammonia in kitchen, bathroom and glass cleaners; and chlorine in scoring powders, toilet bowl cleaners and mildew removers. Chronic exposure to these toxins can compromise your health. Why take the chance when many natural alternatives are available.

As a conscious consumer, you will read food labels to know what you are eating. Sugar, salt and fat count as well as their sources will be important to you. When you see too many unrecognizable ingredients in a product, you might leave it on the shelf. The more you shop for whole foods like fruits and vegetables and well-sourced meats, fish and poultry, the more your body will be able to heal itself and maintain physical vitality.

To avoid over exposure to the chemicals in personal and home care products buy the natural options available on the market. If you are curious about these products, just visit a health food store, do research on the Internet or ask someone who is knowledgeable.

Your diet and exposure to chemicals may be sabotaging your health. With small changes in your shopping habits, you can become part of a growing demand for healthy foods and beverages as well as safe personal and home products. Radiant wellness is just a shopping trip away!

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