If one day you awoke and decided to ban all chemicals from your life, how bad off would you be? Well, for starters, you probably couldn’t take a shower, wash your face, use deodorant. Or wash your dishes, run a load of laundry, clean the countertops and the floors. You wouldn’t use perfume. Your skin would be cracking without moisturizers. Not to mention your naked face, without makeup. You would have no scented candles or air fresheners. No carpet deodorizers or stain removers. No furniture polish. No bug spray. No sunscreen. And that’s not even touching all the pesticides and preservatives that hide in our food. How would you possibly LIVE?
Living simply doesn’t mean going cold turkey and stressing yourself out about it. It means educating yourself and making simple changes that progress your home in a healthy, natural direction. It’s an ongoing journey in this world of “buy me!” and it takes time to navigate.
One easy way to start is to categorize your life. Educate yourself on, and eliminate known toxins one category at a time.
Category 1: Household cleaners. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know these household chemicals are hazardous to our health and can be downright dangerous. After all, isn’t that what the Mr. Yuk campaign in the 1970s was all about? They handed out stickers to children at school and taught about the dangers of chemicals in the home. Every child went home and labeled their Windex and Clorox, Pledge and Tilex bottles with those frowny green POISON stickers!!!
There are so many alternatives to toxic cleaners, the best of which is JUST PLAIN WATER! Ditch your cleaners in favor of a Norwex rag which removes toxic buildup from the surfaces in your home using only water. If you absolutely, positively must have a disinfectant, try vinegar or essential oils- Young Living has an amazing line of Thieves products that are highly antimicrobial and disinfectant. Lemon essential oil will disinfect almost anything. So you see? That’s EASY!
Category 2: Air fresheners. Again, this one is easy. Throw out all AirWicks (if it has a number for poison control on the package, that should be a good indication that it’s BAD FOR YOU!!!) and PlugIns, Scented candles and FaBreeze. Replace with an essential oil diffuser and your choice of uplifting, energizing oils and blends. Put you favorite oil on a cotton ball in your car. Just a drop or two will fill your drive with aromatic bliss AND mask the fermenting odor coming from the child’s car seat. Haha! :)
Category 3: Laundry. OK, this one is also easy, but it takes a little bit more work. You can actually make your own laundry detergent with a few simple ingredients. Borax (sodium bib orate) is a naturally occurring mineral compound made up of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. It cleans and disinfects by turning water into hydrogen peroxide. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) is made from common salt and limestone or found as natural deposits. It acts as a solvent to remove a range of stains and is often used in detergent mixtures to treat hard water. Baking Soda dissolves dirt and grease while removing stains and odors, such as those cause by perspiration. Fels-Naptha Bar soap or Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap work to eliminate residual stains, especially oil-based ones. Castile soap is made from plant oils. It is not a detergent and contains no SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) or any other sulfates so it does not dry out the skin and is gentle on both skin and clothes. There are (literally) zillions of recipes on the internet. Just pick one to try! As for dryer sheets, there are a million ideas online as well. I highly recommend Norwex wool dryer balls- they fluff your laundry and you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a luxurious scent.
4. Category 4. Toiletries and Cosmetics. I’m not gonna lie. This category may be the hardest to give up, but it is also the most rewarding. THIS is where those amazing little bottles of essential oil come into play. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics. Obviously, you will need SOAP. Hand soap, dish soap, soap for your hair, soap your body, even toothpaste. Unfortunately today, most of the things that pass as soap are actually harsh detergents, chemical cocktails that strip the hair and skin of healthy, natural oils and leaving it damaged and dry. And there are many, MANY options out there to avoid the harsh chemicals. First off, you can make your own soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc from scratch. Homemade toiletries, made purely from plant oils can be the ultimate in luxury!!! But I’m not into messy kitchen projects, and as of this writing, that’s beyond the scope of this blog. Secondly, you can purchase lovely, organic, chemical free products, like the Young Living’s Thieves product line, or Young Living’s amazing line of chem-free hair care, body care, oral care, or anti-aging beauty care products. These can be a bit pricey, but they are so concentrated with essential oils that a little (teensy weeny bit) goes a very long way!
*Don’t be surprised if these products don’t foam and bubble like you’re used to- that foaming action is caused by toxic ingredients that not only irritate your skin, but they soak through the skin into your bloodstream. Yikes!
**Part of the chem-free lifestyle involves shifting to a suds-free paradigm!**
Third, you can make your own toiletries from a few existing (chem-free) items and customize their fragrance and antimicrobial properties with essential oils. YAY! This is where it gets fun! And it’s easy, too. Just start with Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. Castile soap is so-called because it originated in Castile, Spain. It is a “true” soap, not a harsh chemical detergent, composed of plant oils. It’s incredibly versatile in nature and can be used as a major ingredient to make all kinds of things, from beauty products items to cleaning supplies.Dr. Bronner’s comes in several scents, but if you start with unscented baby mild, you can add oils from there. Simply swap out your hand soap and dish soap. In a foaming dispenser, mix castile soap, water and your favorite essential oil. Thieves is antibacterial and great for hand soap, Tea Tree and Lavender are skin toning and great for the face. Castile and coconut milk make a moisturizing shampoo, although there are thousands of other shampoo recipes out there. You just have to experiment with this one. Hair is a finicky thing. Do a little experimentation and research into essential oils and you can make a custom-tailored product for every use!
Category 5: Food– I saved this one for last because (generally) this blog is not about food. And if you are a relatively health conscious individual (which you are, if you’re reading this) you have probably already purged your house of processed food, packaged & canned food and have tried to eat primarily organically grown whole foods. In other words, you need to eat a lot of salad and start cooking with produce. While that may sound daunting, eating clean is actually much easier than living clean. You see, it seems impossible to live without shampoo, or dish soap or laundry detergent. But we CAN live without chicken nuggets, Oreos and Velveeta cheese. You simply don’t buy them. Whatever doesn’t come home from the grocery store, doesn’t get eaten. But when the laundry detergent is low, well, it’s a little more work to make more instead of buying some Tide in a pinch. To start eating clean, just leave a few things out of your grocery cart each week. And try something new from the produce section. Google a recipe and voila. You’ve just made a GIANT step forward in clean eating. Once you get a taste for whole foods, you will never go back. Take it from me, the world’s pickiest eater. Or at least, I used to be!
Sounds daunting? It’s NOT! Just take one step at a time… one CATEGORY at a time, and before you know it, you will be on the road to FREEDOM!!! That’s the Promise Life :)
Need help making some changes? I’m here for you!
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