Making it Easy: Switching to a Non-toxic Lifestyle
For many of us, if we aren't already doing it, we at least know in the back of our minds that eating real foods from nature is the best way to go. Study after study has proven it, and with documentaries like Fed Up and Forks over Knives, it's pretty clear what food can do to our bodies, both for good and for bad.
When Reaghan was born I became obsessed with learning about whole foods and non toxic living. Anytime I embark on a new-to-me concept like this, I go all in, and try to absorb as much as I possibly can. Of course, the more I learned, the more our family changed and grew. Now, I wouldn't think twice about checking labels for ingredients, and because of this, have many brands I know I can trust.
Sadly though, I wasn't able to say the same for a lot of other areas of my life. While at the time we were transitioning our food to healthier options, we were also transitioning the way we treated illness in our family. We stopped burning candles and used essential oils instead. Next came how we cleaned our house, then personal care products. While I was able to find safer products for many of these areas, others were a struggle.
That's why I want to share some of the knowledge I've gained over the years with you so that you can make the best decision for your family and hopefully become a little more educated on safety for the products we use every day!
I'll be tackling five main categories you can take action on:
health and sickness
This is the biggest area in my opinion, that we need to look into. If you were just getting started on this journey to non toxic living, I'd recommend you start here. What we put in our bodies has such a huge impact on our health, and with so many differing views on what healthy and not healthy foods are, it can be really confusing/overwhelming to make a change that lasts.
What you can do:
- Instead of using margarine that is full of vegetable oils and artificial ingredients, switch to a pure brand with only one ingredient on the label, and from grass-fed cows. We love Kerrygold butter and swear you'll never go back to anything else, it's so delicious! For a great dairy free butter alternative, I love Fourth and Heart ghee.
- Instead of a fluffy white or whole wheat bread, try a heartier bread like Dave's Killer bread for some added nutrients.
- Cut out vegetable oils and switch to good healthy fats like above mentioned butter/ghee or coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil for dressings. If you aren't a fan of the coconut flavor in coconut oil, make sure to buy refined.
- Eat seasonal produce as much as possible, as it is the healthiest and least expensive produce on the market at any given time. If you are wondering what produce to buy organic, and which you can buy conventionally, check out the clean fifteen/dirty dozen lists. These lists as well as seasonal produce lists are in the resource section of the Seasonal Meal Planner.
- Look for sugar content per serving size on labels before purchasing. The recommended daily intake is currently 25 grams, which still seems rather high to me, but you know my diet lately hasn't had much or any sugar in it. Try to get your sugar intake from fiber-rich and low-glycemic sources like apples and berries, rather than sodas or sweets. With added sugar in almost everything these days, make sure to read your labels and look for brands that don't add sugar. Seriously, check every label, sugar hides in the most unlikely places! TIP: if you are out shopping look for the "Whole30 approved" symbol on packages, so you know there's no sugar in the ingredient list! I know Whole Foods label Whole30 compliant products, but if you know of other stores who do this, let me know!
- Most of all, eat a diet high in vegetables, protein and healthy fats. The recommendation would be to have a protein, carb and fat at every meal, keeping you satiated and giving you lasting energy until the next meal.
- Here's a list of some of my favorite food brands: Rao's tomato sauce, Bob's Red Mill, Enjoy Life, Aidells, RXbar, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and drinks, Coconut Secret coconut aminos, Wild planet canned tuna and salmon, La Croix, Applegate, Primal Kitchen, Vital Proteins.
Want more on this topic? Read this blog post I wrote on 10 healthy food switches to make
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry. What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. We deserve so much better, and fortunately Beautycounter is doing something about it. They are advocating in Washington for real change in the regulation laws, while also providing the solution through their high performing and safe products.
What you can do:
- download the healthy living app and scan the products in your home for safety.
- Scan the Never List below and make sure none of your skincare or beauty products have any of these ingredients.
- Email me for a personal safer skincare consultation. We can walk through your skin type, daily and weekly routines, and tailor a plan for you to switch over to safer skincare. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
How many of you spritz perfume on your body every morning? Fragrance is now being called the new second hand smoke. I know for me, I have a legit allergic reaction when I come in contact with fragrances in the form of candles burning or perfumes in stores or on people. It's crazy how once we cut something out, anytime we come in contact with it again, we are so strongly affected. Fragrance pops up in everything so make sure to check labels! I recently discovered my favorite conditioner had fragrance in it. I was so sad!
Not only this, but researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health published a study in 2013 that detected lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals in many popular brands of lipsticks and lip glosses commonly found in drugstores and department stores. The study also noted that children are especially susceptible to heavy metal accumulation and should not play with make up. Think of all the young girls that apply make up daily as mama is getting ready for the day? I know Reaghan has.
These are things I knew in the back of my mind, but without knowing the facts, failed to do much about it in my daily life. I honestly didn't know if there was much a solution for finding non-toxic makeup that also performed the way I was used to. Fortunately, there is a solution!
What you can do:
- Join my Safer Skincare newsletter to download a FREE checklist for making swapping personal care products easy.
- Want to learn more about safer beauty and skincare and help educate your friends while giving Beautycounter products a try? Host an FB social with me and earn FREE and 50% off products to get you started on your safer skincare journey. Email me to book a social at email@example.com (You must not already be working with another consultant.)
- Become a Beautycounter consultant. Seriously, we need more voices educating on this topic so the market moves in the direction of cleaner products. Remember how it was once a beating to buy for a gluten or dairy free diet? Now brands have heard the market demands and grocery stores and food companies are following suit with better options. We can do this with the beauty industry too!
According to this article, indoor air can be 2 to 200 times more polluted than outdoor air. From this article: "Now you’re probably thinking, how could my Swiffer-swept, Windex-washed home be more polluted than the outdoor air filled with car exhaust and factory fumes? The truth is that many of the things we have in our homes – cleaning products, pest-control sprays, candles, laundry detergents, new carpet, and more – are filled with harmful chemicals that take a relentless toll on our immune systems."
I don't know about you, but I didn't think twice about home air pollution and the affect my cleaning supplies were having on the toxicity of our home. This is an area we majorly need to grow in, but thankfully companies like Branch Basics (referral link) are leading the way to educate and making it easier to clean up our homes.
What you can do:
Find companies that actually have pure ingredients. Use the healthy living app that you downloaded earlier to scan products for safety. Tons of companies market themselves as safe, but really aren't. I love Branch Basics (referral link) because of their mission and integrity. I have partnered with this brand in the past, and after they found out that their concentrate came back with some less than clean component, they didn't hesitate to be completely honest with their customers, followers and affiliates and pull their concentrate from the market. After a long run of testing, they finally released their new, just as affective and even more pure concentrate. We love using the concentrate for laundry, in the dishwasher, as hand soap, and household cleaner.
Something I've also been recently trying is Norwex and I'm loving it! I can't wait to dig in more with their products since I've heard so many good things. If you want to switch to non toxic cleaning and ditch the supplies altogether, Norex is the way to go, since they are made to work only with water. The technology of it is pretty cool and founded in science. Contact Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any help transitioning to Norwex products!
Some quick switches:
- laundry: get rid of dryer sheets and switch to wool balls, reusable dryer sheets or nothing at all. Use branch basics concentrate as a detergent and oxygen boost for stain removal.
- counters and spot cleaning: make up a bottle of household cleaner with the BB concentrate and for deep cleaning, use the Norwex enviro-cloth. These cloths are infused with silver which is a natural antibiotic and antiviral. And all you need to use the cloth is hot water!
- dishwasher: use a teaspoon of BB concentrate as your detergent, no streak free or other products needed.
- windows/mirrors: get rid of your streak free cleaner and switch to Norwex window cloths. They work like magic with just water and leave no streaks or lint behind!
Health & Sickness
I have seen so much progress in my family's health since switching to natural methods for handling sickness. We still keep Motrin and baby/kids Tylenol on hand for the times when they are really needed, but over the years we have found many natural ways for treating illness that quite frankly, have worked 10x better than any over the counter medicine we've ever tried. We've thrown away a lot of OTC medicines that just didn't work!
What you can do:
- headaches: put a drop of peppermint essential oil in the palm of your hand and breathe in. Also dilute with carrier oil and rub on temples.
- tummy aches: Dilute 2 drops of lemon and peppermint essential oil and rub on stomach area. Also breathe in the peppermint like mentioned above.
- stomach bug/food poisoning: take some detox herbs (check your local natural health store), bentonite clay or activated charcoal. The AC and clay will absorb toxins and eliminate them, but these do not make you need to go to the bathroom.
- immune support: daily Vitamin D (with K2), probiotic and fish oil, warm lemon water every morning.
- sinus infections or colds: Up Vit. D, add in vit. C, up fish oil, take silver, probiotics, bone broth, cut any dairy, grains and sugar, and take elderberry syrup once an hour until symptoms disappear.
- sleep help: diffuse 2-3 drops each of lavendar and cedarwood at night as you go to bed. You can also make up a roller ball with these two oils and roll on your big toe before bed. This saved my life when I was nursing Everett! Anytime I'd wake in the middle of the night I would apply to my toe and fall fast asleep immediately, no tossing or turning!
Note: Make sure you do your research about essential oil dilution and kiddos. Their little bodies can't take the same oils or same amounts as adult bodies can.
That was a doozy guys! I hope it was helpful. Have you started transitioning to a non toxic lifestyle? What benefits have you seen? Or maybe you are brand new to this information, and if so, what area will you tackle first?
(some affiliate links used, all brands are companies I have paid for and love, and who I know you will love too!)