The following simple tips to replace the multitude of chemicals that fill the environment and our bodies. I do not tell you this to create fear. Fear is as toxic as any harmful chemical out there. My purpose is to empower you. To make you aware that there are effective options out there and to share those options with you. I want you to know that that you have a great deal of power to effect change with your choices. You choose to accept the chemicals in your products by buying them. If you don’t stop buying products with toxic chemicals in them, the companies will stop making them. By changing a few simple things, you can make a world of difference. In fact, you already have been. That is why there are so many natural alternatives popping up on the market – because of your choices.
Begin with one thing … just choose one thing from the list below and try it out. It is our tendency to want to change everything in one fell swoop. We begin to worry about our health and well being and truly and sincerely want to make changes. We pledge to “clean up our act”. The beginning of a New Year is a notorious time for wanting to “change” and “be better”. But by taking on too much, we end up in overwhelm and not accomplishing anything. Look back to how many times you pledged to do things and how hard you tried only to end up in old habits. It’s much easier to create a new habit by focussing only on one thing at a time.
Choose the easiest one. We tend to want to challenge ourselves. We feel that if it’s too easy, it’s not effective. That just isn’t true. Anything you choose to do for your betterment will be effective. In fact, it’s much easier to shift something in your life when it is easy and enjoyable. So, you see, the easy thing becomes the most impactful one. Choose the one that appeals to you the most and have fun with it.
Here’s the list (I will continue to update it as I become aware of more things):
- 1/3 bottle of vinegar mixed with distilled water makes a great alternative to more expensive and toxic chemical cleaners.
- Splash a little vinegar in your washing machine for clothes that are much softer than any fabric softener out there.
- A 1/4 cup (or even less) of vinegar in a full cup of water makes a hair rinse that will have locks tangle free and clean of shampoo residue.
- Before you call a plumber, pour some baking soda and vinegar in a clog and wait for a while – I’ve seen large clogs get easily flushed with these natural products and a little patience.
THE TRUTH ABOUT BAKING SODA
- Baking soda works amazing on whitening sinks and tubs and cleaning toilets. PLEASE NOTE: Baking Soda, as you are likely aware absorbs scents – this is why we keep it in our fridges to keep it smelling fresh. The downside to this is that when it is processed with chemicals or kept in supermarket aisles with the cleaning detergents, it picks up the scents of these chemicals. That defeats the purpose of using it. It is possible to find “clean” baking soda but it’s getting harder. If you need something that does what baking soda does but can’t find an uncontaminated batch, try a loofa sponge with hot water – or if you’re worried about scratching – just try hot water or steam and a rag.
WHITEN WITHOUT BLEACH
- Lemon is better than bleach. Use your leftover lemon wedge to clean your counter with – you’ll be amazed at how white it gets even the most stubborn of stains – like blueberry or beets. You’ll want to rinse well with hot water afterwards because the lemon can be a little sticky.
PERFUME IN UNEXPECTED PLACES
- Grocery stores are starting to pump chemical fragrances into the store to get you to buy more. You can let your store know that you will not shop there if they do that.
- You can also ask your local stores and your place of employment to implement a scent/fragrance free policy.
CLEAN CLOTHES WITHOUT CHEMICALS
- Soap nuts make excellent alternatives to the heavily chemical laden laundry products. They are dried seed pods from a tree – you can’t get any more natural than that. They make the water in your washing machine alkaline so that the dirt lifts off. I’ve seen it work cumulatively – meaning that over several washes stains continue to fade. They are the best thing I’ve found so far. They also work in the dishwasher.
- STATIC CLING: Wool Balls keep your clothes static free and they help your clothes dry faster – which can save on energy bills. Or simply wash your cotton clothes separately from your synthetics. That alone can eliminate static cling.
TRADE IN HARMFUL HAND SANITIZERS FOR MORE EFFECTIVE SIMPLE SOAP
- Choose unscented or naturally scented soaps. You don’t need perfume or chemicals in your hand soap. There are lots of natural alternatives to chemically laden drugstore soap. Look at the ingredients – if you don’t recognize them – they won’t be good for your skin. I found one that is made with pure olive oil only (with some naturally scented options). Some people feel that they need hand sanitizers to reduce bacteria but after speaking to my public health department I discovered that simple soap actually does a much better job at getting your hands “cleaner”. Hand sanitizer is full of chemicals and alcohol which dries and ages your hands – and it doesn’t do what you are being led to believe that it does. It is also extremely dangerous for children.
KKEP IT REAL WHEN YOU DISH IT OUT
- Use real dishes instead of plastic and give up plastic straws and use reusable stainless steel or glass ones. Or sip your smoothies straight from the cup – your smoothie moustache can be a visible sign that you’re choosing to protect the environment and it can easily be wiped clean.
COSMICALLY BETTER COSMETICS
- Use natural cosmetics or go “no makeup” like Alicia Keys and me : ) You’re so much more beautiful beneath the coverings.
Something that you can do in addition to beginning with one small change in your life is to let us know that you support a legislation that will require hospitals, doctors office and other health care spaces to be chemical/perfume free, by signing our petition. With the help of our local Federal Government office, we are currently working on creating that petition and I will include it here when it is ready. I didn’t want to hold up publishing this list while I waited for that.
“The high prevalence of asthma and its adverse effects on health and productivity argue strongly for greater consideration of the air we breathe in our health care centres. Hospital environments free from artificial scents should become a uniform policy, promoting the safety of patients, staff and visitors alike. As education and promotion programs have some effect on this practice, these programs too ought to be part of our accreditation standards.”
(THIS IS A LIVING BLOG POST – it will continue to change and evolve as more information comes to light.)
1st Edition: January 1, 2017