Summer is my favorite season. People seem happier, the sun is shining, and there are so many fun things to do outside. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life (and endured many a cold winter), but summer always feels like a fresh start and an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy life!
As the temperature rises, we start using a variety of products on our bodies and our backyards that we don’t typically use in the colder months. A few years ago, I started trying to find healthier alternatives to summer products like sunscreen and bug spray, as most common brands contain a variety of different chemicals and toxins, poisonous substances proven to cause disease. In our modern world, it can be tricky to know what’s actually good for you and what’s not.
Here are some simple, easy ways to reduce your exposure to toxins and have a healthier summer.
Switch to nontoxic sunscreen and bug spray
I don’t know about you, but I burn easily and mosquitoes love me. So, it’s really important that I wear sunscreen and bug spray. But the idea of dousing myself with chemicals isn’t totally appealing. The most common sunscreens and bug sprays on the market contain chemical filters that are poisonous to our health. Take a look at the list of ingredients, and if you can’t pronounce it, then it’s probably not good for you. I’ve found some safe, nontoxic alternatives that work even better! Skeedattle Natural Insect Repellent smells so good and is made with essential oils. And Sun Bum is a great clean brand for sun protection. You can also make your own sunscreen and bug spray if you’re in the mood for a DIY project! If you want more information on sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group has a great 2018 Sunscreen Guide and Bug Repellent Guide.
Use natural bug repellent in the backyard
Backyard BBQs are a highlight of the summer months, but they can also attract some unwanted pests. There are a few ways to keep bugs away without spraying chemicals all over your yard. First, mosquitoes love standing water, so make sure you don’t have any puddles around your patio. Second, if you keep the air moving where you’re hanging out, bugs won’t want to hang around. Prop up a fan if you can. And citronella candles, like this one, are a great alternative to heavy sprays for your yard.
Shop at a farmers market
Buying local not only supports your community, it also helps you avoid harmful chemicals in your food. Pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, and fungicides are all used to grow non-organic fruits and vegetables—they don’t sound appetizing! Plus, these toxins are poisonous to our digestive system, leading to a variety of diseases and health issues. At a farmers market, you can shop for organic, chemical-free produce. Eating fruits and veggies is essential to optimum nutrition, and you’re more likely to absorb all the nutrients and minerals when the produce is chemical-free. Organic farming benefits the soil, the environment, and your body.
Rinse off after swimming in a pool
I love a good day at the pool. But it’s important to rinse off after spending time swimming (unless you’ve been in a salt water pool). Chlorine is a natural element, but our bodies can only handle so much. Research has shown that the risk of developing cancer is 93 percent more likely in people who are exposed to chlorinated water. Taking the time to rinse will minimize the effects of chlorine after swimming in the pool. Also, be sure to rinse your hair too to keep it healthy or wear a swimming cap.
Protect your pets
Our furry friends love the summer weather as much as we do. It’s important to make sure they have enough water and that they never get left in a car when it’s hot out. Also, be sure to test the pavement when taking your pet for a walk. If you can’t comfortably keep your hand on the ground for five seconds, then your pup’s paws will probably burn. We also want to protect them from fleas and bugs (and ticks) too. There are great essential oil products, like this one. You can put a few drops near your pet’s tail and they’ll be all set for the day!
Spend time outside
Inside our homes, the air can become stagnant and is often filled with higher concentrations of pollutants. One of the best ways to enjoy a toxin-free summer is by getting outdoors. Enjoying the fresh air is good for your mind, body, and soul. Sneak in as many walks as you can, read a book outside, and plan gatherings with friends and family in an outdoor space.
I hope these tips will help you enjoy a fun and healthy summer. Here’s to a safe and vibrant summer ahead