There is a commercial on TV that drives me nuts (actually there are many, but that would be a massive digression). A well dressed, seemingly educated woman walks into her living room greeted by a motion-stimulated burst of fresh tropical fruit. She is instantly aroused into a vacation mode hundreds of miles away, entranced by the complex aroma of fruit, tree, wind and surf. Who wouldn’t want to experience this over and over again throughout the day? I wouldn’t, not like this!!!

Since the end of the Second World War we have seen an unimaginable increase in the creation and sale of chemicals. These substances are sprayed on our plants, our fabrics and our bodies in the name of fresh scent, the abolishment of bacteria and the prevention of pajama fires. Despite clever marketing, the excessive exposure of solvents, phthalates, parabens and other assorted chemical classes have lead to proven increases in various forms of cancer, auto-immune conditions and hormonal disruption, including infertility.

The topic of environmental health is immense and warrants a much larger and fruitful discussion (which you can join me for on January 23rd at OISE, Toronto ( … shameless promotion, I know). As part of THIS series on newly formed habits for 2013, I am looking simply to encourage you to take an inventory of the number and diversity of chemicals used around your home. Chances are you are using classes of chemicals that are not only accumulating within your body, but are equally influential in changing your physiology… and not in the way we would like.

5 tips for reducing the influence of chemicals within your home:

1 part vinegar and 5 parts water will work to clean floors, counter tops, glass and even fruit. Toss the Windex and Mr.Clean. Vinegar is the only thing you need.

Scents are created through the use of phthalates, a powerful class of hormone disrupting chemicals. Toss the Febreeze, Lysol air freshener and those horrific wall squirting plug-ins.

Wash your fruit and vegetables in the vinegar and water combination cited above. Please please please wash your vegetables.

Check out the safety of your cosmetics at This is a great resource to find out whether there is a significant exposure risk associated with your products.

Try playing around with some essential oils. They are cheap, easy to use and available at most health food stores. Add a few drops to your floor washing water and your home will smell like a forest… for real this time.

2013 health goal, day 4: Remove all unnecessary chemical from my home and try that really great vinegar and water trick.

If you are interested in learning more about navigating the environmental side of our health, please join me on January 23rd

Photo credit:  Paul Hocksenar via Compfight