The Real Food Guide

10 Things to Toss for Your Health


10-things-to-tossYou’re going to come into contact with items and people that are harmful to your health on a regular basis. You can’t avoid everything — sick co-workers, dirty seats on the bus, plant pollen — but you can still have some control over a healthier lifestyle. By getting rid of the following items, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

1. Old Makeup

It’s understandable that if you spend money on something you want to get the most out of it. However, try to resist the urge to use up that makeup you’ve had sitting around for as long as you can remember. Makeup can go bad and be filled with bacteria that cause infections. You should replace mascara every two to three months, lip gloss every six months and foundation after no more than a year.

2. Air Fresheners

You’ll be better off getting rid of the source of your bad smells than using commercial air fresheners. When you use air fresheners, you’re essentially spraying your home with chemicals. If you’re looking for a natural way to make your home smell nice, combine essential oils with water for a natural scent.

3. Flattened Pillows

Old pillows should be thrown away for numerous reasons. Besides providing poor support for your head, old pillows are also crawling with bacteria and critters — literally. Dust mites, which are part of the spider family, like to accumulate in pillows. Many people are allergic to dust mites, meaning those year-round allergies you think you have could actually be from your pillow. There are differing opinions on how often to replace your pillows, but try to replace them at least every two years.

4. Old Shoes

If you’re an active runner, you know the importance of a good pair of sneakers. When you find a good pair, it’s hard to let go. Just tell yourself it’s for the best. Running sneakers should be replaced every 300-400 miles. After that, they’re too worn down to fully absorb the impact of your foot hitting the ground, putting you more at risk for injury.

5. Nonstick Cookware

While nonstick cookware might seem like a miracle for anyone who’s ever tried to scrub burnt food off an aluminum pan, the magic comes at a cost. Nonstick cookware contains a chemical-based polymer coating — this is what stops the food from sticking. However, when the surface is scratched, or when you heat the pan to over 500 degrees, toxins from that coating start leeching into your food. Yikes!

6. Dirty Contact Cases

Contact lens wearers who don’t regularly replace their cases are more at risk for eye infections. In addition to washing out your case daily and drying it out upside down, you should replace the solution each day for clean lenses. After three months, throw out your case and replace it with a fresh one. Your eyes will thank you.

7. Grimy Kitchen Sponges

Your sponge is not just the dirtiest thing in the kitchen; it might be the dirtiest thing in your entire house. Germs thrive in the damp environment, meaning that item you use to clean your counters and dishes is just spreading the filth around. Switch to a dishtowel instead — because it’s thinner, it’ll dry faster than the sponge. Additionally, it’s easier to remind yourself to replace a dirty dishtowel than a dirty sponge.

8. Antibacterial Soaps

Being clean is good. Constantly using antibacterial soaps is not. You could be contributing to drug-resistant bacteria growing stronger. Overuse of antibiotic soaps has also been linked to the increase in allergies and thyroid dysfunction. Using a mild (antibiotic free!) soap and warm water is just as effective at getting rid of the bad germs as antibacterial soap, without the consequences.

9. Plastic Food Containers

Even with the rise of BPA-free plastic, there’s no guarantee that any plastic you use will be 100 percent safe. Heating up food in plastic containers lets the toxins leak into your food. Even normal wear and tear can be harmful. You’ll be better off getting rid of your plastic food containers and using glass instead.

10. Expired or Unused Medicine

When we’re sick, we tend to stock up on medicine until we feel better. At that point we forget about the drugs until we’re sick again. However, depending on how much time has passed, those drugs won’t help you feel better. Old medicine that’s past its expiration date should be taken to an authorized drug collector who can dispose of the medicine. Avoid throwing away your medicine or flushing the drugs — let the professionals handle it.

Replacing items every few months is a worthwhile sacrifice to make. Your body won’t thank you for using that old cough syrup, and you won’t be happy when the old mascara you use irritates your eyes. In addition to health reasons, you’ll also be more comfortable replacing items every few months, such as getting new running shoes or a new fluffy pillow. You’ll be much happier in the long run if you take the time to rid your life of what’s holding back your health.

Image source: Friendship by Michael


Adrienne is a freelance healthy living writer and foodie. She blogs at Foodie Fitness and can be found tweeting as @foodierx.


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June 25 |

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