WHY AVOID TOXIC CHEMICALS?
When my second son was born I did what most moms do to keep my house clean. I sprayed Lysol to sanitize surfaces, used bleach on my whites and mopped the floor with a fresh pine scent. I loved the carpet powder that I could vacuum up. It made the whole house smell fresh. However, when my youngest son developed allergies and eczema, I began to question my choices. He would sneeze when I used the cleaners and they often irritated his eyes.
Household cleaners were not the only thing I had to change. After a long journey of homeopathic doctors, research and trial and error, I discovered my son also had a sensitivity to chemicals in our food. Sadly, chemicals are everywhere and we cannot completely avoid them. But there are ways to remove a lot of them from our homes. After removing chemicals from our diet and home, my son’s behavior improved drastically. The whole family is now healthier. Because of our clean diet, we are hardly ever sick and everyone is calmer.
This is THE REASON for my desire to share information and recipes with all of you. Even though I feel that the change in food has been the most significant benefit for our health, household cleaners and personal care products make a huge difference as well. I cannot express all of the changes I made in this small blog post but here are ten I found to be the most significant.
1. Skincare Products
Cleansers, lotions, creams and many facial products can be packed with chemicals. Go for natural or organic products. If those are too hard to find or too expensive, try making your own! There is a complete do-it-yourself skin care routine on this blog, if you want to make it yourself. You can also purchase a professional skin care line with better ingredients through our SHOP.
Our skin is our biggest organ and is just as important as the rest of our body! You should be able to understand most of the ingredients in your skin care products. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients, many times it is full of chemicals. Normally, an aloe or oil based product (vs. a water based product) is better for your skin, as it will contain more nutrients.
2. Your Deodorant
There are many hidden chemicals in our deodorant these days. It is best to find deodorants that are made with natural ingredients. If you love DIY you can try to make your own. Finding a natural deodorant, that works can be a frustrating process, but it is worth it.
3. Processed Foods
This one is the most challenging, since we are surrounded by processed foods. It seems as if the majority of the foods at the grocery stores and at restaurants are either packed with preservatives or unhealthy additives. For that reason, we start every day with a delicious smoothie. It is an easy way to pack in a bunch of nutrient, vitamin packed foods without actually making a full blown meal. The shake recipe I have shared on my blog is not just for kids. Our entire family enjoys it every morning. I have yet to find a protein shake powder mix that is healthy. With this recipe you do not need one! Try it out and see what you think: Delicious Green Smoothie.
Also, read your food labels! A good place to start is to make sure these four ingredients are NOT in your food choices (even if it says organic): Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Aspartame (or similar fake sugars). This is a great stepping stone for going all natural.
4. Cleaning Products
Cleaning products were, sadly, one of the last things I changed. I thought it was okay to have burning eyes and be sneezing or coughing after cleaning my bathroom or kitchen floors. As I said, my son had the same reaction to those harsh cleaners. Thankfully, making your own natural household cleaners is so easy! Not to mention way cheaper. Here is a DIY scrub recipe that I love: Tub and Surface Scrub.
I found that once I reduced the amount of dairy my family consumed, we all felt better. When I do use diary, I only buy organic and make sure it is free of hormones such as rBGH (Recombinant bovine growth hormone). There are so many alternatives to dairy out there, such as almond milk. I have yet to find an almond milk that is completely free of additives, but I am still searching. I do love yogurt so I buy that organic and hormone free as well.
This one was really tough for me! I love my perfumes but after learning they have no real regulations on these beautiful smelling products I began looking for more natural perfumes. The majority of chemicals in most commercial fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas, known as petrochemicals. These fragrances are allowed to be up to 100% synthetic. Forget smelling like flowers! It’s just chemicals. Companies are allowed to withhold ingredients to protect trade secrets, so who knows what’s lurking in our fragrances. I am still researching the best natural perfumes so stayed tuned for information on that!
In the meantime, if you want to try making your own perfume with essential oils, you should check out this BLOG POST. Making your own perfume can be tricky because we all have pretty specific likes and dislikes about the scent on our skin. But this formula allows you to be creative and use the scents that you like best.
7. Fertilizers and Pesticides
Many use these products to keep our lawns, gardens and flowers looking beautiful. But they are so harmful to our health and the environment. We have been conditioned to think that these chemicals are the only way to make our lawns green and flowers and gardens growing perfectly. But organic gardening methods are not that difficult and actually work better in many cases, not to mention they are better for our health! Check with your local gardening center for organic fertilizers and alternative options.
Since we are talking about gardens, let’s dive into produce! Each year the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) releases its annual dirty dozen list — a list of foods that contain a number of different pesticide residues and show high concentrations of pesticides. Here are the foods you should buy organic if you can:
THE DIRTY DOZEN:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Imported Snap Peas
Buying organic is better for your health. Additionally, using a safe fruit and vegetable spray is very helpful, especially if you are not able to buy organic. You can make your own fruit and vegetable spray, it is so easy. Get the free recipe HERE!
9. Hair Products
There are many hidden chemicals in our hair products as well. Parabens, phthalates, perfumes, and the list goes on and on. Many of these additives are so unnecessary. Check your labels to make sure your hair products are at least free from parabens and phthalates. It may be easier to find better products at your local beauty supply store. This is important for your children’s hair products as well.
I love candles! I had to do some research on alternatives because I want a lovely smelling home, just not at the price of breathing in chemicals. Candles, like everything else, have many hidden chemicals. Even though some of candles smell amazing and can be so romantic. Nonetheless, it can be harmful to you and your families health. Pure beeswax candles are a great alternative. They burn longer, are non-toxic and eliminate free radicals from the air.
The best approach I have found to moving towards a cleaner lifestyle is to take it one step at a time. Otherwise, it can be a little overwhelming. I first started with food, then skin care products. These were the hardest to switch. However, the benefits are definitely worth it!