For the first 30 years of my life, I made a LOT of unhealthy product choices. I know this, because making healthy choices when it came to buying food, cosmetics, and personal care products never was even a blip on my radar.
Part of my problem was that I naively thought that products sold in America were safe. (Hel-LO! Did I ever stop to even contemplate the tobacco industry!?)
The other part of my problem was that I just didn’t stop to think about my health. Because of my healthy youth, I had the luxury of not needing to think about what I consumed.
My wake-up call came when my husband and I began talking about starting a family – I knew I wanted and needed a healthy body for nurturing our future children. So I began making healthy changes – sometimes these changes were minor. Other times the changes were major.
- Throwing all of my cosmetics in my trash can and replacing them with safe products? I consider that a major change.
- Starting to buy one safe soap or hair product each month felt like a gradual, painless process.
- I began thinking about what I was eating and drinking. I stopped buying processed foods and soda pop.
Very simply, I began being a mindful consumer. I knew what I was choosing to buy. I knew what I was putting in and on my body.
Mending past mistakes
I can’t erase 30 years of unhealthy product choices. You can’t erase your unhealthy choices, either. But I’m trying to reverse any negative effects by making healthy choices. You can, too.
When making healthy vs. unhealthy choices, I can’t help but think of smoking. Once a smoker chooses to stop smoking, the health benefits are both immediate and gradual:
According to the American Lung Association, “Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops to a normal level.
“Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
“Two to three months after quitting, your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.
“One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease. One year after quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
“ Five to fifteen years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s and your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.
“Ten years after quitting, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker’s, your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker’s, and your risk of getting cervical cancer or cancer of the larynx, kidney or pancreas decreases.
“Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.”
While making unhealthy product choices is not as hazardous to your health as smoking, it’s encouraging to see how quickly the human body can begin to heal once healthy choices are established.
Think about what you put in and on your body. Start making healthy choices and reap the benefits.
If you’ve given up a lifetime of unhealthy product choices, what health benefits have you noticed?
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