The world is shifting and it’s apparent in marketing everywhere. Chipotle is exclusively GMO-free, my local Costco has an entire organic section and even MacDonald’s started putting fresh fruit in the kids meals in 2015. People are starting to understand that the ingredients of food and everyday home products are changing. The internet is making information about pesticides, hormones, and corresponding skyrocketing cancer rates available to every Joe Shmoe with a smart phone.
Maybe you’ve been noticing and starting to wonder if you should or could be doing more. Maybe you’re pregnant for the first time and realizing that your decisions are now effecting another person who is relying on you to be healthy. (That’s what caused me to change.) Maybe you’re chronically ill or have just been diagnosed with something serious and you want to do everything you can to aid your body in healing itself. Maybe you’re healthy now and want to take some proactive steps to keep yourself that way.
There is so much information out there and it’s extremely overwhelming. It’s also extremely contradictory at times. Here’s a doozy for you. It wasn’t until 1994 that tobacco manufacturers were required to print a warning on their labels and advertising.
Fast forward to today and it’s common knowledge that just being around someone who is smoking could be harmful to your health. How is a person supposed to navigate this craziness? If cigarettes were safe (and doctor recommended!) merely 30 years ago, what are we currently putting in/on our bodies that may be deemed extremely hazardous 30 years from now?!
“But Kim, there’s too much to learn and so many changes to make. Gluten free, antibiotic free, sugar free, paraben free… I just want to throw my hands up in the air. Why bother? Does it even make a difference?” I’ve heard my friends lament and I’ve said those things myself at times. Once you start down that rabbit hole, it’s difficult not to get discouraged and feel that everything you eat, or clean your floors with, or wash your hair with could be causing damage.
When I started down this path of healthy living, I knew that I needed to start small. I tend to dive into things and burn myself out but this change needed to last and it needed to be manageable. I began by Googling what the most harmful products are in a home and considering which ones I could change without too much expense or hassle. These are the 3 areas that I came up with:
- Synthetic fragrances
- Heated plastic
Think about everything you encounter in a day that smells good. Off the top of my head I come up with perfume, candles, air fresheners, dryer sheets, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, hand soap, cleaning agents, and even trash bags. I hate to break it to you but if a product has fragrance listed in the ingredients, it is most likely doing you more harm than good. The chemicals that create the scent have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and have been linked to cancer, diabetes and obesity (just to name a few).
Thankfully, there are fragrance free and unscented options for almost everything now and that’s fairly new. It’s not difficult to make this switch and I’d be willing to bet that once you clear them from your life, when you do come across them the scent will no longer be good but rather very offensive and may cause a headache. I will admit that my husband wasn’t thrilled when I did this in our home but I introduced essential oils at the same time which more than made up for the changes. I use oils in a diffuser to make our entire house smell delicious and they’re added to all of our homemade products like hand soap and laundry detergent. I use them as perfume and put drops on our dryer balls so our clothes still have a fresh scent. My husband even started making his own beard oil and it smells so good that he’s constantly being asked about it.
Next on our list is plastic. Oh, plastic. This is a difficult one. As a mom of 3 littles, we used to have a LOT of plastic in our house: toys upon toys, baggies, cups, saran wrap, highchair trays, and even fleece footie pajamas (look it up). Now plastic at room temperature still isn’t great for you but heated plastic is terrible because it causes the dangerous chemicals to leach even more into your skin or food. This is why we’ve switched to a lot of stainless steel items for eating and glass tupperware for food storage.
One major source of heated plastic is surprisingly not in the kitchen but rather the bathroom. Your shower curtain/liner could be letting off some serious toxic fumes every time you get in a hot shower or run a bath for your kids. Fabric and cotton options are widely available now and won’t break the bank like some other healthy living changes can do.
The last item is deodorant. People joke with me all the time that they’d use organic products if they worked like their unhealthy counterparts and it’s tough to disagree. It has definitely been a process of trial and error in my house to swap out personal hygiene products for homemade versions that yield the same results as store bought items.
Below is my tried and true recipe for deodorant that actually works:
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup bentonite clay
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
10-15 drops of Ylang Ylang pure essential oil
10-15 drops of Tea Tree pure essential oil
The Ylang Ylang has a nice floral scent plus, along with the Tea Tree, it contains antimicrobial properties that can aid in destroying the bacteria on your skin that causes body odor. Warm the coconut oil until it’s soft enough to stir, mix in the rest of the ingredients and pour into a glass jar with a lid. Let it cool which will allow it to harden and apply as needed.
So those were my three big changes. That wasn’t too bad, was it? The key to healthy living is to make a few swaps at a time. Try not to get discouraged. Each small change is a win because all of these assaults on our bodies are cumulative. You will not be able to remove everything that’s harmful from your life but that’s ok. We can still choose to be good stewards of our bodies, make the changes that we can and trust God with the rest.
Comment below and let me know if you made any of these changes or others that launched you into your new healthy way of life.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a health care professional. I encourage all readers to do their own research and speak to a trusted physician before making any significant changes to their health or lifestyle.