All day long we see article after article about all of the nasty chemicals in foods, our homes and our kid's stuff. We wonder just how on earth is it possible to escape it?! Unfortunately, toxins and nasty chemicals will always be around us as there are some things that are simply out of our control. However there are additional measures, some super easy, that we can take to rid our lives of some of those nasty things that can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, infertility and most often, cancer.
It's all about finding the balance to do what you can while accepting that you'll never be perfect at the green living game. But knowing that you were proactive to live healthier and provide a healthier home for your family is one thing that you can be proud of years down the road.
1. Switch all skin care and beauty products. Okay so maybe there is that one brand of eye shadow that you can just can't live without -- okay then. But if you want to nix toxins, skin care products are a great first step. Switch to lotions and washes that are paraben, phthalate, sulfate, chlorine, petroleum and synthetic fragrance free. Choose items that are plant based and have essential oils for fragrance. There are numerous makeup companies out there that carry completely natural makeup, or you can simply start by using face powder that is talc free. (Don't think it's a big deal? Johnson and Johnson's is now responsible for paying a family over $70 million in damages after research proved that the victim died of ovarian cancer caused by talc in their baby powder that she used for years- these ingredients ARE a big deal).
2. Ditch the plastic. Ditch as much plastic as you can in your home, particularly plastic that is for food. Don't use tupperware; switch to glass products. Ditch plastic cups and switch to glass. It's healthier, prettier and will likely hold up longer. I still purge in this area regularly.
3. Don't cook from the box. Sure there will be days where this may be much more unavoidable and I'm pretty sure that even the crunchiest of moms cooks from a box every now and then. However choosing fresh food to prepare eliminates tons of artificial ingredients that are awful in the long run for our health.
4. Throw out air fresheners, plug ins and the like. Some places can get away with a small plug in if it's a large business where people come and go. However in your home, where you're confined with closed windows and small proximity, artificial air fresheners are a very bad idea. Did you know that the air within our home is much more dangerous than the air we breathe outside? It's because of all of the items in our home that off gas or produce their own chemical smell (like a plug in). Switch to essential oil diffusers, homemade beeswax candles, and many other things.
5. Allow indoor plants into your home that serve a purpose. I won't lie, I suck at keeping most plants alive and I hardly have the room. However research shows that many plants are good at cleaning the air and some specifically help handle formaldehyde which is one of the most common carcinogens found in all of our homes because it's used in so many manufactured things. Plants like a Boston Fern, English Ivy and even small palm trees can clean the air. For more info visit this link. You can also use a Himalayan Salt Lamp to do the trick (coming soon to my home).
6. Ditch the store bought cleaners. There are SO many different cleaners out there that are laced with the most toxic and deadly ingredients. While sure we may want to do a good bleach clean after everyone in our home has the flu (if that makes you feel better) but cleaning with these items regularly is awful. There are SO many good and natural cleaning solutions. It's cheaper and healthier to make your own cleaners or to search for the best plant based ones that you can fine. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and hydrogen peroxide in another and spray one on top of the other and you have yourself a natural disinfectant!
7. Choose organic if you can. Choosing an item labeled "natural" doesn't always mean anything because there are no guidelines or standards that are required for a product to have that label. However anything that is USDA certified organic is completely organic and much better for you. Produce is the place to start if your budget allows for some organic items, as it is the dirtiest of all. Not only do you rid your food of pesticides and toxins, but organic produce has recently been proven to contain a higher value of nutrients and antioxidants.
While it may be quite an adjustment to do all of these things at once, it's definitely doable to make these switches if you start slowly and with just a few things. I recommend nixing the chemicals for cleaning and for skin care first and then go from there.
Trying to rid your life of toxins is a learning process and if you're really into, a never ending learning process. It is important to realize that you can never remove all of the nasty ingredients in your life and in some cases you may want to just enjoy that bag of Oreos (or you may get lazy for a few months). Part of this process is accepting that you can't be perfect and that it is okay.
Do the best you can do each day to live a healthier lifestyle so you can live a longer, much more fulfilled life. Provide the best home you can for your family that is full of natural things, wholesome food and most importantly, lots of love.