Simple health tip: Remove those shoes!!!

shoes off matScenario: You come home from picking up the kids from school, after walking the dog, visiting the grocery store and stopping for a fill-up at the gas station.  You’ve trudged though gas, grass and “goo” all along the way, but you run into the house (with bags of groceries flung over your shoulders to get them to the freezer before the ice cream melts!) and don’t remove your shoes before you get to the kitchen.

Have you ever thought about what is on your shoes?

The fact of the matter is, your shoes encounter a lot more than you’d ever want to know… chemicals, pesticides, toxins and lead that rest on every inch of the ground where we walk.  And when you don’t remove your shoes everything you walked through becomes embedded in your carpets or rugs and transfers to your floors, and THEN it literally becomes airborne so you ALSO inhale those same contaminants that were once a part of your shoes!

Another scary fact:  studies have shown that wearing shoes indoors is a larger source of children’s pesticide exposure than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables!

Time to remove those shoes at the door… and it’s okay to ask your guests to do the same!  What is tolerable for your “soles” is not tolerable for your health or your most “beloved souls”!

The greenest lawn, the green way.

Not long ago I talked about an encounter with a TruGreen (ChemLawn) truck and feeling as though we were going to be asphyxiated as we drove by the chemical spray being applied to a neighborhood lawn.
lawn-water
I simultaneously felt a sense of guilt that I used to have a lawn service and those same chemicals were once sprayed on my yard.  I still gasp at the thought.  Those chemicals are pollutants that contaminate ground and surface water, as well as pose a threat to wildlife and beneficial insects.  Plus they create serious health risks for humans, with children being the most vulnerable.

But those precious little feet can still have a healthy, green lawn. And if you just adopt some simple practices, you can have a nice, clear conscience too:

  • Go easy on the watering – lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week.  And if mother nature is helping (via rain), even less frequently. Too many shallow waterings also bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn faster.
  • Don’t “mow low” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short.  Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
  • Don’t “ bag it” – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act like mulch to hold moisture, but if you do have a bagging mower, consider composting the clippings.kids-in-grass
  • Consider timing – don’t mow in the heat of the day (grass loses moisture) and water in the early morning or evenings to prevent evaporation.
  • Water wisely – actually water the lawn (not sidewalks and drives!), use timers or pay attention not to overwater and prevent waste.
  • If you must control a few weeds – use white vinegar in a spray bottle and spot treat.
  • Go crazy – sell your lawn mower and buy a push mower (although my husband’s not “buying that one” just yet!).
  • Skip the fertilizers – even the organic kind. Honestly, do you really need them?

I think all we really want is a lawn that is healthy and green… a place where our kids can run, play and roll around without worry, and a sense that we aren’t doing more harm than good “in pursuit of the most pristine lawn on the block”.  I assure you, your kids don’t care about that, but the environment surely does.

Welcome to our home… so take off your shoes… NOW!

Well, wouldn’t that be the greeting of all greetings when you arrive at my house, but the more I learn, the more I realize this needs to become a new mantra in our home.

I never really thought about all of the horrible things that our shoes encounter (besides our stinky feet!).  Living in the seasonally leafy or snowy and often FREEZING climate in Cleveland my biggest concern was just tracking in dirt and “ick” and salt, but there is much more concern than just dirtyin’ up the joint… chemicals, toxins, pesticides, lead and just all kinds of things we don’t want to come in contact with are the issue.

Case in point… you were just at the gas station for a fill-up… or you trudge across a lawn just sprayed with chemical fertilizer… and DON’T remove your shoes… ugh.  Ugly picture.

I think about all of the time our kids spend playing on the floor, all of the time we ALL spend playing on the floor, and it can actually be like rolling around in a chemical dump if we aren’t careful.  Plus, when they get dragged into our home, these contaminants also become airborne so we actually inhale them too.  Top that off with a study I read about… it said that wearing shoes indoors was a larger source of children’s pesticide exposure than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables!  Okay, I’m convinced!

This weekend we are celebrating both of our kids’ birthdays with our families, and often times, when someone has asked, “do you need me to take off my shoes” I have been timid (yea, ME?  Timid?!) and said “no, you don’t need to” because I assume that question means they really don’t want to.  But this needs to change.

This time I will be parking a large rug right by the front door and hopefully that will avoid the question because it’s already suggesting the “answer!” Maybe, when I make my first million I can be like Tom Cruise and have slippers for everyone at the door.

I know the party is on a Sunday, but for now… come on in, take off your shoes and hope that you left your “holey” (holy?) socks at home!