In recent years, we’ve advocated for free health care, we’ve witnessed a massive movement towards ‘eating clean’ and we’ve stopped smoking cigarettes in public places, all in the name of illness prevention. But, if you want a shot at living to be 100 years old, take a look at this list of everyday things you didn’t realize are terrible for you.
We see you out there, trying to live a healthy, active lifestyle. You try your best to eat well, exercise, buy paraben-free beauty products, etc. If this sounds like you, congrats! But you’re not exactly out of the woods yet. Despite your best efforts, there are a whole whack of things you are probably doing every single day that are having astoundingly negative effects on your overall health and wellness.
According to an article by Tom O’Donnell in the New Yorker, every minute you spend sitting shaves minutes off your life. The average person spends their entire workday sitting in front of a computer screen, and regular exercise at the end of the day can’t counteract the negative effects. O’Donnell refers to “sitting as the new smoking. The only difference is that smoking looks cool and is a great way to meet people.” He suggests you switch to a standing desk immediately.
Purell may be quick and easy, or it may actually your worst enemy. Most hand sanitizers contain triclosan, which kills the good bacteria making you more susceptible to viruses and illness. Triclosan also weakens the immune system, which worsens allergy symptoms. Trust us, take the few extra seconds for traditional soap and water.
Though these accessories are the focus of so many fabulous outfits, but strutting around in heels over four inches is re-aligning your whole body, for the worse. Heels over four inches high put you at risk for bone and nerve damage in the foot, which is every bit as painful as it sounds. They increase wear and tear on your poor little knees and could cause of premature arthritis. Worst of all, they cause your ankles to bend forwards, decreasing circulation in lower legs resulting in, cue horror music, spider veins. Take care of your toesies and leave the stilettos at home.
The Environmental Working Group releases an annual list of the ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and veggies you really don’t want to consume unless you’re buying them organic. Bananas rarely make it onto the list, primarily because of their notoriously thick skin that’s peeled off before digging in. Turns out, that skin isn’t as thick as you think. The fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides used to spray the fruits leach into the soil where they grow and are ingested by you every time you enjoy a bite of that most phallic of all fruits. Exposure to these toxins can result in kidney failure, skin conditions and other horrible ailments you’d much rather avoid.
Where has all the homo gone? You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything full-fat in the dairy section, everyone’s gone skinny, and what a shame. The nutrients in milk are fat-soluble, which means that your body absorbs them better when they are accompanied by healthy fats. Skim milk is nothing more than empty calories. And if that’s not bad enough, skim milk contains powdered milk, which is made with oxidized cholesterol, which is a substance that contributes to arterial plaque. For the sake of your heart, go homo or go home.
Excessive cell phone use
It’s no secret that cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation. Scientists have proven that there is a correlation between the amount of time a man spends on his cell phone with lower quality sperm. Studies have also shown that kids who have been exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy and early childhood are 50% more likely to have behavioural problems. If that doesn’t inspire you to sleep with your phone across the room, scientists in Israel discovered that after exposing a cow eyeball to cell phone radiation for extended periods of time results in the formation of tiny bubbles aka the precursors to cataracts.
Being awoken every morning by a disturbingly shrill alarm is the worst moment of everyone’s morning, but did you ever consider the effects it has on your health? As soon as your body registers the alarm, the adrenaline gets going and your blood pressure rises. When you are awoken during your deepest cycle of sleep, the disorientation in the brain is as severe as when you are drunk. Getting up and out in this state causes extreme bodily stress which can result in trouble sleeping and even depression. We suggest trying out Sleep Cycle, an iPhone app that wakes you up gently during your lightest sleep cycle.
If you like pina coladas, we’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but the average rendition of this summertime favourite contains more calories than a Big Mac. If you’ve got the self-control to stay away from the new A&W’s that just opened at the corner of your street because you’re avoiding clogged arteries, you should think twice before chugging back those fruity margaritas at the end of a long workday. Not to mention that many people claim sugary drinks cause a much worse hangover the next morning.
Wearing clothes fresh from the dry-cleaner
Dry cleaners use a chemical known as PERC (short for perchloroethylene, if you were wondering). If you’re thinking of going into dry cleaning professionally, consider that long-term exposure to PERC can cause leukemia, permanent damage to the liver and kidneys and/or respiratory failure. If you have your clothes dry-cleaned regularly, consider that short-term exposure can result in eye and respiratory irritation, nausea and in extreme cases, difficulty walking and speaking. Want to avoid these symptoms? Try out a green dry cleaner, which use alternatives to PERC. At the very least, air before you wear.
Many nail polishes, especially cheaper brands, contain a toxic trio of chemicals. The first is a hardening agent called formaldehyde, which is also used to embalm corpses (yikes). The second is toluene, which is a solvent that allows the polish to evenly distribute over the nail and adds the pleasant scent of paint thinner. The third is plasticizer dibutyl phthalate, which is a plasticizer that adds flexibility and sheen to your manicure. The toxic trio pose the greatest risk to those who work in salons, as their exposure levels are high. For us average folks, exposure to these chemicals is commonly linked to problems associated with reproduction and the endocrine system. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice this colourful form of self-expression, just stick to all-natural, non-toxic nail polish brands whose list of ingredients doesn’t include the toxic trinity.
Which of these everyday things that are terrible for you do use? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.