In the hustle and bustle of life we are taught in the western world to value convenience and artificial over nature and I have to say, I’ve just not found that to support health or happiness. Do your own research and I’m not saying I perfectly execute on all of these swaps, but it gets easier every year with the rising cost of things and as I approach retirement.
This list is based on conversations with a scientist and breast cancer survivor who in turn did their own research on the most toxic things in our homes and how to swap out alternatives for a low tox lifestyle.
1. Plastic food containers, water bottles, and plastic wrap
This was a top thing that my friend said she changed – plastic containers!
Many plastic containers are made from chemicals such as phthalates, which can interfere with the body’s endocrine system to produce adverse developmental, reproductive and neurological effects in humans and since the plastic breaks down over time it can cause the release of these dangerous chemicals into your food.
Swap your containers and water bottles for glass and stainless steel and try beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap. I have been using THESE Beeswax Food Wraps from Body Honour here in Nova Scotia on my glass containers and bowls. Shannon, the owner, also sells cute cloth pads, stainless steel straws, and other great swap out options to help you make the switch from plastic.
2. Nonstick pans
Another friend who had breast cancer (in remission thankfully) told me the first thing she changed was all the pans she cooks with! Non-stick pans are the most popular cookware and also the most controversial. According to the Environmental Working Group, nonstick coatings can “reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 3-5 minutes, releasing 15 toxic gases and chemicals, including two carcinogens.” There are non-stick pans that ARE non-toxic you just have to do your research. I found that a Cast Iron pan to be the most “green or non-toxic” we have THIS Cast Iron Pan, just read into how to properly take care of them!
3. Air fresheners
Like cleaning products, air fresheners help keep our homes nice, but a study by the University of California at Berkeley found that when used excessively or in unventilated area they release toxic levels of pollutants. We actually make our own and it’s super simple. Just add 20-25 drops of your favorite essential oils to a glass spray bottle and fill with water and a 1 tsp of witch hazel to help the oils incorporate into the water.
My favorite oil combos depend on the room. In the kitchen, rosemary and lemon are fabulous. In the bedroom, try lavender, vetiver, and cedarwood on your linens for a soothing scent that will help you drift off. In the bathroom, a citrus blend of wild orange, grapefruit, and lime is really fresh. Finally in the living room and office, I really like wild orange and sandalwood or spearmint, lemon, and lavender. Super simple and it smells so fresh and is safe for everyone.
4. Perfumes and Candles
A quick google search and you’ll find this- Environmental Protection Agency found that potentially hazardous chemicals can commonly be found in fragrances. Causing some major side affects. Look for natural alternatives. And most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned. In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. YIKES!! So look for candles made from vegetable (soy) wax. And a lead-free wick. And no fragrance. Instead, try diffusing for a fresh aroma and added water vapor to the air.
Diffusing pure essential oil is a quick way to get a burst of freshness to help cleanse indoor air while being more environmentally sound and less expensive than candles or plug-ins.
For a comparison on what diffusers I like best, check out this former blog post and my favorite diffuser blend depends on the room but here are some ideas. I love that I’m not locked into one aroma, either, and can switch it up depending on my mood or need.
5. Fabric softeners
Softeners work by coating your clothes with a thin layer of potentially toxic chemicals, such as ammonium salts. These can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and headaches. I have been using THESE Wool Dryer Balls and have been completely happy with the results. In a pinch, I’ve used an old pair of wool socks just balled up and they’ve been pretty good, also. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oils to the wool balls and you’ve got a natural alternative that won’t leave a residue on your clothes or in your washer and dryer! If you want a real aromatic booster to your laundry without the artificial scent and synthetic residue, try a combo of epsom salts and your favorite essential oils at a ratio of 2 cups salts to 30 drops of oil (s). I add mine to a jar with a scoop and leave in the laundry room for quick convenience. You can use white vinegar in the Laundry room as a natural fabric softener. … A half-cup of white vinegar when added to the final rinse is inexpensive and will soften fabrics without a residue.
6. Personal Care Products
One of the ingredients found in a lot of deodorants is aluminum. The Food and Drug Administration does require a warning label on all antiperspirants. Questions have been raised about aluminum in deodorants if they contribute to breast cancer (studies are in-conclusive). But that is enough of a reason for me to look for all natural deodorant and NOT antiperspirant. THIS deodorant smells lovely and it really works and is available in Greek Orange + Douglas Fir or Balance aromas.
Haircare products are another area of high chemicals and the thought of it simply resting on my scalp and wafting even more chemicals into my lungs every time I toss my hair just makes me sick to think of it. Go green with simple products containing ingredients you recognize or make your own for a heck of a lot less.
Sunscreen has been on people’s radar for a little while due to the oxybenzone published research and I’m glad to have found a really clean alternative in the doTERRA Sun line with really luxurious ingredients like shea butter and carrot seed oil.
7. Cleaning Products
This one seems obvious but when I started cleaning using baking soda and vinegar and some essential oils almost 30 yrs ago, people thought I was crazy. I couldn’t imagine putting my new little babes bottom in a bathtub I had cleaned with harsh chemicals. I pretty much DIY all my cleaning solutions with the onGuard cleaner concentrate but if you prefer a quick simple solution, the abode line of cleaning products is fantastic and smells of an herbal-citrus aroma that is fresh and vibrant. It’s anti- bacterial and anti-microbial and you’re going to love the results, too! You can see more of the cleaning products I use HERE.
I hope this has helped you start to think of what’s around you and nudge you into considering how simple and effective little changes can be to your health and the health of your family.
Until next time!
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