Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy This Summer


With Memorial Day this weekend, the joys of summer are now official! Yay! I love summer most of all. But the season is not without its risks. Here are my top 10 tips for staying healthy during the most wonderful season of the year.

1. Avoid firecrackers. Seriously, they stink up the air, disrupt a good night’s sleep, burn people’s fingers, and might just poke your eye out.

2. Keep your pool secure and kids safe. Unfortunately, more kids die from drowning than from guns. Don’t let anyone dive in shallow water or play stupid games that put anyone at risk. Keep a fence around any pool, and keep it closed and locked. Also, make sure you wear flip-flops in public showers, and at public pools and swimming holes. Apparently MRSA is rampant these days and starting to infect people’s feet.

3. Get some sun, but not too much. Many sunscreens are toxic for your body and for the environment—especially when worn at the beach (sunscreens pollute and poison coral reefs and marine life). And we all need our vitamin D and our sun therapy. I like to go out in the morning from 9 to 10:30, then again after 3. That way, I don’t usually need sunscreen. When you absolutely must use it, one of the least toxic brands on the market, according to the Environmental Working Group is Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, available at my store. If you are going to be out at all during midday, wear a hat and long sleeves—or, as Japanese women traditionally do, carry a pretty parasol!

4. Limit the number of funnel cakes you eat. Better yet, share freely. I don’t know about you, but for my family, summer is festival time. And it’s hard not to eat all the yummy crap that’s always around. If like me you must take a taste, share it with as many people as possible, so you don’t eat the whole thing and then feel sick and disgusted with yourself afterwards.

5. Check for ticks. Even though spring and fall are the peak tick times, in the summer, the little guys will still get ya. Make certain you and your family check one another daily, all over, to make sure ticks haven’t latched on anywhere. If you find one, drown it in a jar of rubbing alcohol.

6. Don’t spray anything, anywhere, unless it’s with the hose. Avoid all chemical bug sprays, pesticides, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. There are so many things wrong and unhealthy with them that you can’t even imagine. To keep mosquitoes at bay, remove any standing water, and create a habitat for bats. To fertilize lawns and gardens, use compost.

7. Take a vacation. People who take vacations are healthier and live longer than people who don’t. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. In fact, camping can be rather fun and low-cost. Just do it.

8. Go to a farmer’s market and eat what’s fresh. You always read that to be healthy you have to eat your fruits and vegetables. Now you have no excuse. Find your local farmer’s market and buy direct from the farmers: fresh, local, in season, and (hopefully) organic, or at least chemical-free. It will be hard to go back to eating supermarket stuff after you get used to the delicious taste of fresh and local organic fruits and vegetables.

9. Turn off the air-conditioning. This is just a pet peeve of mine. I personally don’t care for air-conditioning (although it comes in handy at work). So many times people just turn it on even though the air is fresh and clean and sweet if you just open the window. Opening up windows keeps fresh air circulating in your house and also saves energy and money.

10. Move it. How many times do we need to be told to exercise? Obviously, many, many times. Summertime is the best time, though, to get our bodies moving. Ride bikes (wear helmets), go for walks, swim, play games outside with your kids. Whatever it takes, get it done. You will feel healthier and happier as a result!


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12 Responses to Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy This Summer

  1. Meghan May 20, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    These are great tips. I really want to do the bat houses.
    I would also suggest growing your own vegetables. Even if you only have room for a couple of tomatoes or herbs. Its a great feeling to walk out on the back porch and grab a couple of tomatoes for a sandwich at lunch time. Its also a great lesson for children.
    I planted four cherry tomatoes in a rope handled tub on my back porch which faces south. Make sure you put holes in the bottom of the tub for drainage.
    I also planted herb seeds in a couple of porch railing planters. Once everything starts to come in I could make my own spaghetti sauce. Yummy.

  2. cw May 20, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    I agree, and I really avoid the chemicals. Didn’t know that the sunscreens were damaging coral reefs.. wow- disturbing. I do however disagree with your fertilizer thing. There is precautions though. Test your soil, don’t just throw stuff out, and only amend what is needed- which may not be anything and yes, that can be done with compost in many ways. Stop trying for that golf course lawn,,, all that extra feeding & things run off and pollute waterways. Things that kill bad bugs also kill good bugs which makes things worse and also takes out a food group for others i.e. birds.
    my issue with chemical is at odds though with fire ant. Where you live you may not have them but down here in the south.. bad news and you really can’t just let them take over and they do. Invasive ( like so many other things brought in and disregarded- don’t get me started on that one) so there are no natural controls. I use fire ant killer although more often then not they take kill some- but those that survive just move a few feet and start right up again. Black ants usually take over the old fire ant sight so apparently the toxicity is restricted to a certain degree. ANY HELP?

  3. db May 20, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    Get a diagnosis of melanoma and you’ll wear sunscreen even when you sleep!

  4. Mary May 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Easy to say when you live in the northeast, but turning off the a/c just isn’t going to happen when you live in the deep south!

  5. Amanda May 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    The biggest health risk at my house this summer may turn out to be my husband’s homemade mint icecream. There are only four ingredients (cream, 1/2 and 1/2, sugar, and mint leaves–all organic of course), but man does it go down easy!

  6. Sam May 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    thanks for the information on sunscreen! i run a lot so i always make sure i lather on a lot of ultra sweatproof sunblock, and even afterwards, i still put some on for the rest of the day, but after reading this post, i’m going to do some research, and look into healthier sunscreens for the body and environment. thanks!

  7. Salli Jo May 21, 2009 at 11:38 am #
    Cedar Oil is natural and non-toxic. This is good stuff! I have used Cedarcide products on my pets and yard and the ticks and fleas stayed away. You may want to try the Ant Mound Drench for fire ants. They also make and sell bat habitats.

  8. Michele May 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    I am blue eyed, fair skinned, blonde, and have had many sunburns growing up and spending summers swimming. Last summer I discovered that Organic Coconut Oil is a natural sunblock. I spent hours gardening in the sun and did not get burned. The oil is amazing and my old age dry skin is beginning to improve. I use the oil every night on my face before going to bed too. You can find the oil in most health food stores and it is pure enough to cook with.

  9. Anonymous May 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    One thing is missing from your list- keeping coolers clean. So many people rely on them all summer long and it’s super important to thoroughly wash them in between uses.

  10. Claude May 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    This winter I purchased a red worm farm to make faster compost year long. I am planting a veggie garden..keeping it organic, started heirlooms from seed inside..but perhaps the two things that we are feeling really good about are: Used milky spore on the lawn to kill grubs (the food stuff of voles/moles) and after 2 years it has multiplied enough to really make a difference in the mole population.
    AND this is the first time that I used corn gluetin on my lawn in early
    spring–it is so thick and, since it keeps seeds from germinating…soon, no more dandy ‘lions’ 🙂

  11. Jen June 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi Maria,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and like it a lot; I’m helping a friend see what’s out there in terms of lifestyle/cooking blogs. She just started a blog about her experiences cooking fresh, gourmet and organic ( ) I’ll tell her about you and increase the readership. Thanks for blogging – it’s good to see an active viral community in the cooking arts : )–Jen

  12. Betsey June 22, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Going to put this arctile to good use now.

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