I started this post in January, but never got around to finishing it. At that time, I was thinking about how New Years is a mental motivator for change for many of us, and how I'd been making changes in our home around that time. Here is what I've been working on this year.
1. Remove as much plastic as possible from our home and replace it with glass or certified BPA-free plastic, because of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A. Also limit our consumption of canned foods, because the linings of the cans produced by most companies presently contain BPA. I've been looking for canned foods that state that the linings do not contain BPA. I have not found any safe stewed tomato products in cans, so I've switched to bottled.
2. I'm making my own salad dressing, because bottled salad dressings most often use soy oil, which causes all sorts of problems - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy#Health_risks, and because they can contain a lot of a sugar.
3. I've been reading the labels of all processed foods closely (including bread and cheese!) and avoiding foods containing soy (often identified as "vegetable oil," or "soy lethicin," because of this: http://www.utne.com/2007-07-01/Science-Technology/The-Dark-Side-of-Soy.aspx
4. I have ditched our Teflon or otherwise chemically coated pans because of this: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=124363. I've replaced our pans with good old cast iron pans, and I've seasoned them well http://www.wikihow.com/Season-Cast-Iron-Cookware, and I'm told that over time they will become the best non-stick surfaces ever. As a bonus, I read that small amounts of the iron from your pans will leech into your food, and improve iron levels in your body: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast-iron_cookware#Health_effects
5. I know use only earth friendly cleaners in our home. Not only are they cheaper and better for the planet, there are a large number of chemicals included in air fresheners and cleaning products that are suspected of causing human health problems - http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/household/indoor_air_poll.htm.
6. We have drastically reduced the amount of wheat products in our diet, and when we eat wheat, it is whole grain only. Learn about the ugly truths of white flour here: http://www.womenfitness.net/ugly_truths.htm
7. I am happy and proud to report that I no longer drink bottled water. I have swtiched myself to tap water, which we keep in a pitcher in the fridge, there is a water cooler at work, and I avoid buying bottled drinks when I am out. Here's a report on the effects of buying bottled water: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2007/02/01/suzuki-water.html
8. We are working on switching to hormone-free meats and dairy. Farm animals are often treated with hormones to make them grow faster and produce more milk. Hormone additives in the foods we eat can cause endocrine disorders, such as Type II Diabetes, and are suspected risk factors in the development of various types of cancer. As an important bonus, most farms that do not use hormones also raise their animals humanely. For more information, visit: http://healthlibrary.epnet.com/GetContent.aspx?token=9076b2c9-0730-4f1a-b6fa-5a462bb0a011&chunkiid=90869