NutriSense Blog
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8 Dietitian-Approved Tips for a Healthy Environment 

July 1, 2022
Written by
Team NutriSense
Yumna Farooq

It’s more challenging than ever to find ourselves in a healthy environment, and it’s not all because of air pollution! If you’ve read our post on obesogens, you know that certain chemicals and toxins can also have a harmful effect on you—specifically on your metabolic health.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to avoid these. Toxins, hazardous chemicals, and contaminants are in everything from cleaning products to drinking water.

You can’t change everything about the air outside, but you can change how healthy your surroundings are, specifically, your home environment. In this post, we’ll cover ways you can make your environment healthier, such as quick swaps of products, lifestyle changes, and ways to help your body minimize the impact of harmful toxins to benefit your overall health. 

Read on to find out how to create an environmentally friendly living space, how toxic chemicals can ruin everything from your physical to mental health, and a few lifestyle changes that can help you avoid them.

A Quick Recap on Toxins and Obesogens 

Person organizing glass containers

Since the industrial revolution, and especially over the last few decades, environmental toxins have become a prominent part of our everyday lives and lifestyles.

From toxins in your water supply to chemicals in your veggies and indoor air pollution, they’re everywhere.

Here are a few common ones to watch out for: 

Tips to Reduce Toxin Exposure and Make Your Environment Healthier 

You may think of toxin exposure as something you‘re only getting near a landfill or because of bad water quality and runoff pollution. But you often don’t realize how present these toxins are in your daily life.

As you can tell by now, they’re everywhere, from your water and food to the air you breathe. However, there‘s good news—you can do something to reduce your exposure.

Here are a few tips to effectively reduce how much exposure your body gets to these harmful chemicals.

Invest in an Air Filter 

Bright minimalistic bedroom with air filter

It’s impossible to escape the air you breathe. But investing in an air filter can help clear out or significantly reduce the amount of particulate matter, allergens, and dust mites in your home.

Consider investing in clean air by using a HEPA air filter, at least in your bedroom, where people tend to spend the majority of their hours when at home. And if you can, invest in a HEPA filter for different parts of your house too.

This tip isn’t applicable when you’re outside, of course. But if possible, choose to take routes or spend time in places with cleaner air. For example, get some fresh air in the great outdoors over the weekend.  

And consider wearing a mask if you have to be in a particularly polluted area to prevent health problems that go hand-in-hand with breathing in polluted air.

Filter Your Water 

Another recommendation is to start filtering your water (check out EWG’s tap water database to learn more about the contaminants in the American water supply). The NutriSense Nutrition team recommends using either a whole house water filter or a Berkey water filter. At the very least, avoid tap water.

If you’re in a pinch, buy filtered water from your grocery store (the ones in glass bottles, as you’ll want to avoid plastic, which we explain below). 

Swap Your Pots, Pans, and Food Containers 

Person pouring dry pasta into glass container

Avoid sources of plastic and other materials that contain BPAs, PFAS, and phthalates. This means switching out your pots, pans, and containers.

You’ll want to avoid drinking from plastic bottles or heating/storing your food in plastic to avoid exposure to BPA. Instead, opt for glassware containers. 

Also, use cast iron or stainless steel cookware instead of non-stick/Teflon. PFOA was previously used to make Teflon. And although all Teflon products have been PFOA-free since 2013, the PTFE they replaced it with can still be harmful.  

Switch out Your Conventional Toiletries  

As you know by now, some of these toxins are in daily toiletries like toothpaste. And others, like phthalates, are hidden in makeup.

Instead of opting for the conventional versions of these, use organic, non-toxic cosmetics and personal care products when possible.

Companies like Beauty Counter are a great option to find these. Another option to determine which products are low in these toxins, you can use the EWG’s Skin Deep app. 

Buy Organic Whole Foods Whenever Possible 

Woman holding up organic leafy greens

Like your beauty products and pots, it’s time to ensure that the food you eat is also free of such chemicals. Regular farming practices use lots of herbicides and pesticides, as we’ve discussed. 

To avoid excessively consuming these, you can use the EWG dirty dozen/clean fifteen list. 

The dirty dozen are foods that are sprayed with excessive amounts of herbicides—get these organic if you’re not able to get all your produce organic. 

The clean fifteen is a term used to refer to foods that are safer to consume non-organic. 

Support Your Body with Adequate Nutrition 

In a perfect world, we’d never be exposed to harmful chemicals. However, it’s not possible to avoid every single chemical in our environment. 

In fact, “perfect eating” goals can feel really stressful, and stress itself is harmful to your physical and mental wellbeing

Instead, you can support your body through adequate nutrition that helps support your body's natural innate detoxification systems.

Here are some habits you may want to consider: 

Consider Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life

Woman throwing away plastic bottles

Because plastic contains compounds (BPA being the most common example we’ve discussed) that can harm your metabolic and endocrine health over the long term, you probably want to reduce how much plastic you use.  

Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can reduce plastic use in your everyday life:

  • Opt for glass wherever you can. Switch out your plastic containers for glass Tupperware. Avoid buying plastic glasses or cutlery. 
  • One option for plastic-free storage is the brand stasher — they have reusable silicone storage bags for various uses from storage to food prep.
  • Bring your own water bottle whenever you can!
  • If you can’t bring your own water bottle or have to buy water from a store, choose one that’s made of glass or one with a cardboard/paper base. Even though BPA-free water bottles may seem like a better choice, they may be made from other compounds that are still potentially harmful to your metabolic and endocrine health. 
  • Instead of using plastic bags, opt for reusable bags.
  • When buying personal items like toiletries, skincare, or certain home goods, choose brands with recycled or compostable packaging (instead of plastic). 
  • If you’re at a social gathering without proper dishware, opt for paper plates (or ask if those are available). 
  • Many companies now offer plastic-free options for dish detergents in cardboard packaging.

Support Your Body with Nutrients 

In this article, we've explored how to make healthy changes to your environment that reduce the toxic burden your body experiences. 

If you're wondering how nutrition can play a role in supporting your internal detoxification processes, stay tuned for our upcoming article on detoxification. 

We’ll be exploring the many important things we can do daily to improve our detoxification ability, so stay tuned! 

For those that are itching to know more, here’s a deeper dive into what we’ll be covering in that article:

  • The different bodily processes that participate in detoxification.
  • How macronutrients (fats, carbs, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) may help support detoxification.
  • How phytochemicals from foods may influence how detoxification processes work.
  • What antioxidants are and their role in detoxification.
  • The way genetics influence how your body handles toxins. 

Dietitian Hacks for a Healthy Home

Person watering indoor plants

We’ve covered a variety of ways that you can make your home and overall environment healthier. A healthier home means fewer toxins and harmful compounds. 

Feeling overwhelmed by all the suggestions and don't know where to start making healthy changes? Don't worry. We asked our registered dietitian nutritionist, Heather Davis, MS, RDN, LDN, to share a few hacks she uses to maintain a healthy environment. 

So, if you’re confused about where to start, you can start with implementing her tips. 

What Heather Recommends 

Over the years, I’ve gradually made many changes to keep my home environment healthier. I didn’t make all these changes overnight (which can feel overwhelming), but instead worked on a couple at a time. 

It all adds up. 

Here are some strategies I started with.

How I’ve Switched To Non-Toxic Products

Bathroom counter with non toxic soap

First, I incorporated healthier cleaning products made with simple and non-toxic ingredients. I’ve looked for products that the EPA has considered a “safer choice” and sourced some ideas from the independent Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s wealth of resources. Some of my favorites include:

I still think it’s a good idea to wear gloves when using even these safer cleaners, just to protect from skin irritation that exposure to more acidic or alkaline ingredients may cause. 

How I’ve Reduced my Use of Plastic

I've tried to find ways to phase out many plastics I would typically use for food storage. I’ve slowly moved to glass and silicone products or washable cloth bags for bulk items like salt. 

How I’ve Reduced my Exposure to Toxins

Water filter on a table

I also love my Berkey water filter, which removes many contaminants but keeps the minerals in my water and minimizes plastic waste from bottled water. 

I'm a big fan of killing multiple birds with one stone. A great way to reduce some harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are naturally found in many building materials like carpets and glues and may be off-gassing in the indoor environment is with the help of some plants. 

My plants help the space look and feel nicer just because they're plants; they also work for me in filtering things like toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and other compounds I don’t want to breathe in too much. 

Some of the best air-filtering plants include:

  • Snake plant
  • Spider plant
  • Golden pothos
  • Boston fern
  • Peace lily
  • Dracaena
  • Ficus
  • English ivy
  • Areca palm
  • Rubber plant

This is just to name a few! However, remember that not all of these are pet-safe. 

Since my house is full of furry critters, I usually opt for some of the safer animal-friendly options from this list, like the spider plant, areca palm, and Boston fern. 

Monitor Your Metabolic Health with NutriSense’s CGM Program 

Understanding what works best for your specific body and how to reach optimal health can be challenging, especially when metabolism-damaging toxins seem to be everywhere. 

You also need to factor in lifestyle habits such as physical activity, sleep, and stress levels. 

Here's where tools like continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can help. While people with diabetes have been using CGMs for years, the CDC recommends checking your glucose levels even if you’re not showing symptoms.

Take our quiz to see how NutriSense’s CGM Program can help you meet your health goals and start your journey towards optimal health. 

Click here to listen to the podcast.
Listen to the full podcast:
8 Dietitian-Approved Tips for a Healthy Environment 
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Are BCAAs Worth It? The Bottom Line on Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Are BCAAs Worth It? The Bottom Line on Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Are BCAAs worth it? This post digs into 30+ years of research to answer this question. The answer may surprise you.

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8
min
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Science Backed Tips for Menopause-Related Weight Gain
Science Backed Tips for Menopause-Related Weight Gain

Menopause can be a difficult journey, so we've compiled some of the most effective, science backed tips to help you with menopause-related weight gain.

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8
min
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Help Dad Stay Healthy this Father's Day
Help Dad Stay Healthy this Father's Day

Father’s Day is around the corner, and whether you’re celebrating your dad, a father figure, or another cherished loved one, helping them take care of their health can be the ultimate gift.

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10
min
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11 Great Low-Carb Snacks to Add to Your Diet [+ 5 Recipes our Dietitians Love]
11 Great Low-Carb Snacks to Add to Your Diet [+ 5 Recipes our Dietitians Love]

Here's a helpful list of some of our favorite low-carb snacks that can help you keep your diet varied and full of healthy nutrients.

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7
min
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Low Glycemic Index Recipe Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy
Low Glycemic Index Recipe Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy

Whether you're looking for low GI summer snacks or healthy sweet treats, this post has got you covered. Here are tasty low glycemic index recipes everyone will enjoy!

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8
min
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Do Grapes Raise Blood Sugar Levels?
Do Grapes Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

Wondering if grapes are safe for people with diabetes to include in their diet? Read on to find out.

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7
min
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The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar

Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?

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11
min
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20 Questions to Ask Your CGM Provider (with Kara Collier)
20 Questions to Ask Your CGM Provider (with Kara Collier)

We sat down with Kara Collier, our co-founder and VP of Health here at NutriSense, to take a closer look at how CGMs work and what you need to know about these devices before using one.

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7
min
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Are Carbs and Sugar the Same? 
Are Carbs and Sugar the Same? 

Are carbs and sugar the same? In this post, we break down the key differences between the two and share the benefits of complex carbohydrates.

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9
min
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Best Recovery Breakfasts to Beat Post-Workout DOMS
Best Recovery Breakfasts to Beat Post-Workout DOMS

Read on to learn more about DOMS, how long it can last, and then pick from our list of the best breakfasts to help beat that post-workout soreness, support muscle building, and encourage fat loss.

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13
min
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7 Plant-Derived Supplements to Help Lower Blood Sugar
7 Plant-Derived Supplements to Help Lower Blood Sugar

When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, not all supplements are created equal. From ginseng to aloe vera, here are some of the best supplements to help avoid high blood sugar and encourage blood sugar control.

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8
min
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Is Bloating After Surgery Normal?
Is Bloating After Surgery Normal?

Bloating that results from a surgery can sometimes be an unexpected part of the recovery process. Is there anything you can do to reduce bloating or prevent it from happening? And what causes this bloating anyway? Read on to find the answer to these questions and much more to help you combat your post-surgery swelling. 

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9
min
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Is Fiber a Carb? 
Is Fiber a Carb? 

Learn why fiber is classified as a carb and how to increase your intake of this health promoting nutrient.

Story
9
min
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Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Parkinson’s Disease 
Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Parkinson’s Disease 

Did you know Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease? Read on to learn what it's like living with PD plus discover treatment options.

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10
min
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An Expert Breaks Down 11 Viral Health Trends
An Expert Breaks Down 11 Viral Health Trends

From rosemary water to dry scooping, should you be trying every new trend that hits TikTok? How can you tell which ones may help and which ones to steer clear of?

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8
min
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Does Eating Too Much Sugar Affect Your Skin?
Does Eating Too Much Sugar Affect Your Skin?

As great as sugar tastes, including too much of it in your diet can lead to certain health problems. Read on to learn more about the role sugar plays in keeping your skin healthy.

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9
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14 Health and Nutrition Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians
14 Health and Nutrition Podcasts Recommended by Dietitians

Read on to see which podcasts our dietitians recommend if you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and health.

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7
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Does Nicotine Affect Blood Glucose?
Does Nicotine Affect Blood Glucose?

Nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that can affect your health in various ways. Read our article to learn how it impacts blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

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9
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Why Everyone, Including Healthy People Should Use CGMs
Why Everyone, Including Healthy People Should Use CGMs

CGMs are now an excellent tool for anyone who wants to optimize their metabolic health. Read on to find out more about the benefits CGMs can have for healthy people!

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10
min
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Why Do People Need to Lose Weight Before Bariatric Surgery?
Why Do People Need to Lose Weight Before Bariatric Surgery?

Although bariatric surgery can be an effective way to lose weight and improve health for people who are obese, it’s a major decision. Find out what lifestyle changes you need to make before going under the knife.

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8
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Favorite Grilling Recipes
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Favorite Grilling Recipes

Excited to fire up the grill this summer? Read on to learn if grilling is healthy for you plus check out the NutriSense Nutrition Team's favorite grilling recipes for the season.

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9
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How a Healthy Gut Improves Blood Sugar
How a Healthy Gut Improves Blood Sugar

Did you know that your gut health can impact your blood glucose levels? Explore ways to improve your gut health for optimal glucose levels.

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8
min
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Living With Autoimmune Conditions: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living With Autoimmune Conditions: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that can cause swelling and joint pain. Learn more about how it develops and how other health conditions affect its onset.

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10
min
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13 Best Weight Loss Apps to Consider
13 Best Weight Loss Apps to Consider

We’ve hand-picked the best weight loss apps available. Here are the thirteen best weight loss apps.

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8
min
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What is Red Light Therapy?
What is Red Light Therapy?

An emerging treatment, red light therapy promises to prevent and treat the signs of aging and other skin issues. Read on to find out more.

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9
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Diets People are Most Likely to Give Up On [+Tips to Stick with Them]
Diets People are Most Likely to Give Up On [+Tips to Stick with Them]

Struggling to stick with a health-promoting diet? Here’s how to make it enjoyable so you can reap the benefits.

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85
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Kara Collier on Optimal Health Through Blood Sugar Regulation
Kara Collier on Optimal Health Through Blood Sugar Regulation

VP of Health and co-founder of NutriSense Kara Collier discusses reaching optimal health through blood sugar regulation, what a continuous glucose monitor is, and who might benefit from using it.

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16
min
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How to Turn Your Idea into a 120 Person Team with Dan Zavorotny
How to Turn Your Idea into a 120 Person Team with Dan Zavorotny

In this episode of Zero to CEO, Jason Sherman talks to Dan Zavorotny about how to turn your idea into a 120 person team in 2.5 years.

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7
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A Breakdown of Body Mass Index (BMI)
A Breakdown of Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index is a term you may have seen tossed around quite a bit in the health world. You may know that it’s a way to measure body fat, but with so many new tests for measuring overall fitness and health, is BMI still reliable?

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8
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Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day
Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day

If you're watching your glucose levels, traditional BBQ staples may not be the best choice. Here are some recipes that will help you enjoy a Memorial Day meal without a blood sugar spike.

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8
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Taking Mental Health Online: Tips & Tools for Self-Care
Taking Mental Health Online: Tips & Tools for Self-Care

Mental health has a significant impact on your overall health; here are tips, tools, and apps to improve your mental wellbeing.

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8
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Can You Check Your Blood Sugar at Home Without a Meter
Can You Check Your Blood Sugar at Home Without a Meter

Living with diabetes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels regulated. Learn if you can check your blood sugar at home without a meter.

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10
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Sunscreen for all Skin Types
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Sunscreen for all Skin Types

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to make sure you have the tools you need to protect yourself from sunburn and sun damage. But how do you choose the right one for adequate sun protection?

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8
min
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Japanese Water Therapy & Weight Loss: What’s the Deal? 
Japanese Water Therapy & Weight Loss: What’s the Deal? 

Learn how Japanese water therapy can help with weight loss, energy levels, and detoxification.