So you have decided to take a natural approach to life. Congrats!! Welcome to the ride. You may be asking yourself “now what?” And wondering where to start.
The truth is, you just need to start where you are. You may feel the need to just throw everything out, but don’t try to change everything all at once. It can be very overwhelming. Make a list of things you want to do more naturally. Prioritize your list. Choose an area you want to improve on the most. Here are some ideas:
toxin-free cleaning products
make healthier meals and choose healthier foods
ditch OTC medications for natural remedies
switch to non toxic bake and cookware
toxin-free soaps and shampoo, etc.
toxin-free and pollinator friendly pest control
ditch artificial scents
use clean cosmetics
safer laundry products
get away from disposable products
make some of your own natural products
If you still are unsure where to start, ask yourself why you want to start this journey? Do you want to feel better? Improve your health? Or concern for the health of a family member? Leave a smaller footprint on the planet? Get outside more? That can help you narrow your focus.
Once you know what you want to improve first, research and read as much as you can so you can make the best choices for your family. I have found there is always room for growth here, so don’t stop learning and adjusting. Science is never settled.
Next, set some realistic goals for yourself. You can get as fancy or minimal about this. Some things I actually made spreadsheets for. When I started cloth diapering my husband was more concerned with if it would save us money, given a single diaper could be $20+. So I made a spreadsheet to show how much we would be saving over 2+ years of diapering, plus potentially how much we would get back from selling the diapers once we were done with them. Other areas I was not concerned about savings as it was a health decision. For something like natural remedies, I was more concerned with effectiveness than cost.
Once you have comfortably tackled one area, move to the next one on your list. Research that and make decisions. You are the boss, so go at a pace that is sustainable for you and your family.
Next week I will share how to eat organically on a budget.
Are you an Amazon Prime member? If so, each year, Amazon has Prime Day with special deals for Prime Members. There is typically a limited quantity or limited time, so don’t delay in snagging a deal if you see one you like.
Here are some deals that are natural products or products for kids. Follow this post or keep coming back as I will continue to add items as I find them. Happy shopping!
American 🇺🇸 adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day 🍫 which is more than 3 times the recommended amount for women and in total equates to roughly 60 lbs of sugar annually. 🍩🍭😳
🌭 1 in 10 Americans have Type 2 Diabetes (more than 34 million adults).
🍬 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes.
🍟 This year 1.8 million Americans will be or already have been diagnosed with cancer and of that amount 276,480 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
🍦 30.3 million Americans have heart disease and every year about 647,000 Americans die from it.
🌮 There’s a reason you can eat 7 tacos from Taco Bell without feeling full.
🍔 There’s a reason you can eat 2 burgers & a large fry from Mc Donald’s without feeling full.
🥞🍕🥙There’s a reason why you can sit down for a meal at Arby’s or Wendy’s and then thirty minutes later feel like you need to eat again.
All of those foods are loaded with processed sugar and (by design, to keep you coming back!) and because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full when you’ve eaten. Can you say, repeat customers?
Refined sugars also cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to sky rocket and when blood sugar levels are too high that can lead to serious health problems.
Having too much sugar in your blood for extended periods of time can damage the vessels that supply blood to your organs; that can lead to health complications such as increased risk of cancer, inflammation, kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, problems with vision, nerves & more.
It’s important that parents are monitoring how much candy/sugar their children are exposed to, especially since having too much sugar can affect your immune system.
Sugar interfers with the body’s ability to fight disease and bacteria and yeast can feed on sugar which can increase the risk of illness and infections.
That’s not what we want to see happen when we are literally heading into the colder months of the year! This is the time to be nurturing and supporting our immune system, not crashing it!
Check out this brief video of Dr. Bradford Weeks, who explains what the best foods are for preventing cancer.
As well as this video of Dr. David Jockers who explains the relationship between sugar and insulin, and how that can lead to chronic disease.
Wondering what an anti-cancer diet looks like? Here Mike Rangers explains:
How much sugar do you think you’re consuming? A healthy amount, or too much? 🍰
I just made some of this today and it smells so wonderful! I felt like I was at a spa, even though I had 4 young children (3 in diapers) running around me all morning.
1 ½ cups water
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender oil Combine in spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray in the air to disinfect. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-whatever!
If you want bonus points, you can up the water (roughly 1/2 – 3/4 cups for every 20 drops of essential oils) and add 20 drops of orange oil, lemon oil and/or eucalyptus oil. These oils also have antiseptic and disinfectant properties. I added the orange oil to the above and wow! Love it!
Making your own allows you to avoid the toxic chemicals found in common disinfectants.
When my kids get sick, I want to reach for the Lysol spray, just as my mom did and as the marketers of Lysol tell me I should. But is it safe?
The Wiki page on Lysol states this:
The active ingredient in many of the Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride. This ingredient is highly toxic to fish (LC50 = 280 μg ai/L), very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates (LC50 = 5.9 μg ai/L), moderately toxic to birds (LD50 = 136 mg/kg-bw), and slightly toxic (“safe”) to mammals (LD50 = 430 mg/kg-bw).
The former main chemical ingredient wass cresol, which does have toxicity at some levels. This version is still available commercially. Breathing high levels over a short period of time can cause irritation to the nose and throat. I experience this every time I spray Lysol. And though there is known toxicity at “high” levels, small exposure over a long period of time has not been studied.
In addition, there are other chemicals including Glycol Ethers, O-phenylphenol, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid that all have health concerns. It is also important to note that Lysol’s formula is considered proprietary, thus the ingredients list may not be fully disclosed. Wonder what else is in there? Possibly phthalates since fragrances are used and these 2 typically go hand-in-hand, but again show knows?
Does this sound like something you want to spray all over your house, furniture, doorknobs, bathroom, nursery, toys, etc? I think I will pass, too.
Daycares overuse Lysol. When my kids were smaller, the thought of my children mouthing toys that have been sprayed so heavily with Lysol there was a film on them made me cringe, of course so did the thought of them mouthing the same toy 11 other babies just mouthed. Ah, the joys of daycare!
Bottom line: really occassional use my have no harmful effects at all (but then again, cummulative exposure has not been studied and chemicals surround most of us every day). Aside from health concerns, there are environmental concerns, like the toxicity to fish, aquadic invertebretes and birds. Concerned parents do have choices. Vote with your wallet! Don’t buy Lysol spray or any Lysol product until their products are reformulated and are truly non-toxic. Vinegar and water will disinfect a toy just as well, without the weird film and chemicals. Not to mention it’s much cheaper. You can also make your own disinfectant spray in seconds! I love it and am much happier with it than Lysol. Is smells so fresh – like a spa – and has no chemicals in it! It disinfects and it is something I actually want to smell!
My son had several bouts of cradle cap as an infant. I really didn’t want to have to buy a special shampoo, as the natural ones are very expensive. My cousin’s daughter also had a bad case and her pediatrician recommended Head and Shoulders (eek!) and no way was I using that on myself, let alone my child. So did a little research and discovered something I already had in my pantry would clear it up – extra virgin olive oil.
1. Rub a small amount of EVOO on the affected area. Should saturate the area, but should not be dripping.
2. Let sit for about 30 minutes to let the EVOO soften the scales. If it is a severe case, you can even let on overnight.
3. Gently comb out the flakes with a fine tooth comb. Be very careful if you have a young infant since their skin is so tender. If you have a newborn, you can use the soft comb from the hospital to gently soften and brush away the flakes. You may want to have a washcloth handy to wipe the flakes off of the comb as you go.
4. Shampoo as normal.
I am surprised at how effective this is, and so inexpensive. Typically one application got it all. On some occasions where his cradle cap was bad and I didn’t let it sit long enough, I had to repeat the process the next night.
Alternative: try organic virgin coconut oil instead. Worked just as well and smelled great! The last time he had a patch I used coconut oil and it has not been back since. Not sure if it was related, but it was not as bad as it had previously been either.
The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) recently tested a variety of kids’ juices and packages fruits. They found more than 85% exceeded California’s Proposition 65 right to know law for lead levels, meaning the lead levels in these products are high enough to warrant a warning label to consumers.
What’s disheartening is that lead was found in conventional and organic selections tested, and no one brand seemed to be safer across the board. For the products below the Prop 65 max level, it would be interesting to know where the manufacturers source their produce from for these products.
Lead is naturally occurring in soil and is possibly the reason why lead is being found in juice. However, more research is needed to determine if these are coming from isolated orchards or if this is some by product of the manufacturing process.
It’s important to note that there are NO SAFE amounts of lead. Lead is known to cause irreversible brain damage.
ELF has contacted the manufactures and they all have been warned to come into compliance within 60 days or a suit will be filed.
What can you do?
Juice is not needed in your child’s diet. It’s best if they get their nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables. Offer plenty of water. I totally understand that sometimes you just want a little flavor, so squeeze your own juice, or choose a product that did not exceed the exceed Prop 65’s levels and be sure to dilute it with water.
We only have juice in our house as a special treat, and then the kids get it watered down. Juice is very sugary, yes natural sugar in the 100% juices, but still very sugary. And sugar leads to cavities which is the main reason we avoid juice, not to mention it’s expensive and offers little nutritional value. Your kids will live without a daily jolt of juice. My kids typically prefer ice water over even sweet tea, they also get milk.
I never really thought about what was in my sunscreen until I had kids. Before my daughter was born, I was just beginning to learn about all the harmful chemicals in soap , shampoo, etc. So when it was time for us to take our yearly family beach trip, I sought out a safe sunscreen. Then I had to do the leg work myself, but didn’t really know what to look for either.
Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group came to the rescue 4 years ago with their Safer Sunscreen Guide. Every year, new research is available, shifting the list around a bit. This year, research shows that vitamin A may speed up the development of cancer. See their whole list of surprising facts about sunscreen.
And you definitely will not find the widely used and available Baby Blanket, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Panama Jack or Neutrogena anywhere near the top of the list, in fact, you will find these at the bottom of the list. Blue Lizard and Bull Frog are middle of the road. These chemicals sunscreens contain ingredients that are possible carcinogens. To me, it does not make any sense to slather on something that may cause cancer in an effort to protect yourself from something (the sun) that may cause cancer.
Non-nanoparticle zinc oxide based sunscreens are deemed to be the safest and most effective sunscreens available today. Zinc oxide is all natural offering sun protection without the harmful chemicals. And like other skin care products, you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients and it should be free of PEG compounds, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and any other active ingredient other than zinc oxide (or possibly titanium dioxide).
This year, EWG tested 500 sunscreens and can only recommend 39 of them for safety and effectiveness. That’s 8%. Pretty lame.
Going green really is not a big deal and in some ways can make your life easier and can save you money! Here are some very simple things we can all do to go green and eat smart.
1. Plant a garden
2. Compost food scraps
3. Buy local, if not available, then organic foods whenever possible
4. Join a farm co-op
5. Go meatless at least one meal a week (i.e. Meatless Monday). We’ve done this with great success and even look forward to it now. We are a meat and potatoes family, so if we can do it, anyone can!
6. Buy foods that are in season
7. Use glass storage containers and baby bottles to avoid plastic – definitely avoid polycarbonate (BPA), Styrofoam and PVC plastic. Sometimes plastic can’t be avoided. Be sure you choose safer options.
8. Do not cook in any type of plastic (includes rewarming in the microwave) even if it is label microwave safe
9. Buy in bulk and freeze or share what you can’t use
10. Getting take out? Bring your own container to reduce on waste. Great way to carry home leftovers when dining out too
11. Don’t use Teflon coated pans
12. Avoid artficial sweetners, flavors and colors
13. Avoid MSG and high fructose corn syrup 14. Avoid processed foods, opt for fresh or frozen whenever possible
15. Avoid canned foods – most are lined with BPA which leaches into food (exception is Eden Foods, all but canned tomatoes are BPA free. Pomi tomatoes are boxed and BPA-free. Other BPA-free tomato options can be found here.)