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12 ways to go green for your health

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Eco-friendly health tips

Going green isn't just about saving the planet -- it's about creating a healthier and thus happier lifestyle for the entire world, yourself included. So, go ahead and be a little selfish. Go green for you!

Green Woman

12. Use pure vegetable or antimicrobial soaps over regular bar or liquid soap. If you are super-crafty, make your own!

11. Have you heard the scary news about microwave popcorn? It contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a human carcinogen, in the vapor, according to a study by Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, a professor in the school of public health at SUNY Albany. In the study, the levels were high enough to be of concern to your health. Try stovetop popping in a little oil.

10. When it's time to replace your old vinyl (PVC) shower curtain, replace it with a PVC-free shower curtain or one made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or nylon.

9. Nonstick pans contain chemicals called fluoropolymers that can be released into the air if you cook at high heat, according to tests by the EWG in 2003. To limit exposure, only cook at low or medium temps. Better yet, trade out your toxic pans for some cast-iron ones.

8. If you are in the market for a home or apartment, go for green living! Buildings or homes that have been constructed with sustainable, natural materials and other environmentally friendly systems such as air-quality monitoring, central air-filtration and central water-filtration, can do wonders for your health.

7. You are what you eat — so put down that Ding Dong! Cleanse your system naturally with the foods it really needs. Think fresh organic fruits, veggies and meats.

6. Skip the substitutes. Avoid highly processed and chemical-loaded products such as aspartame that are meant to be replacements for natural products such as sugar. Use of these products can have negative effects on insulin secretion, kidney elimination and can affect your immune system, according to findings by Pittsburgh naturopathic physician Darrell Misak.

5. Natural vitamins and mineralized waters promote good health!

4. You may have felt like you've made a healthy, green leap by switching from vegetable oil to palm oil. But recent findings show that huge swathes of Southeast Asian rainforests are being cut down to make way for palm trees to harvest for that oil. Before you chose an alternative to something you are using, make sure it's really as "green" as you think it is.

3. Seek out organic versions of your favorite coffees and teas, and try to find some that are locally grown at independent farms. You can still get your caffeine fix (though consider cutting back on that, too – for your health!), but enjoy it sans toxic chemicals.

2. Seek out the Fair Trade label. This ensures that the product you are purchasing is certified by the Fair Trade Federation, which is committed to ensuring fair living wages and safe working conditions for farmers. This is good for the health of others, but it will also improve your mental health because you'll know you are doing a good thing!

1. Use unbleached paper products. White paper is bleached with chemicals that can leave behind residues of dioxin, a known carcinogen.

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