Posts Tagged ‘Homemaking’

Being Fully Present with our Children

Misha Seger Photography

Facebook. Cell Phones. Internet. Texting, Television. Blogs. Email. Pinterest.

We have so many social outlets available to us in our day and age.  And through many of them we can communicate with hundreds of people any time any place, without even leaving the comfort of our home.

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  But lately, I am becoming increasingly aware of how easy it can be to be technically home, but not really be home.  From the moment I awaken to the moment I drop into bed at night, there is a constant pull on my time and emotions to keep up with everything that is going on in the world.  Whether it is checking my email, replying to text messages, catching up with 15 people on Facebook, or making a dozen phone calls, there is a constant source of need and information at my very fingertips.  I could literally spend every waking hour on social media or researching topics of interest in the internet.

But there is a world of entertainment and imagination and exploration within arms reach of me every day, and their names are Jeshuah and Eliana, God’s precious gifts to me. My little ones are growing up before my eyes, and I am missing it by being distracted by the latest piece of news or information.

How did checking social media replace the joys of laughing and learning with our children?  How did browsing a long-lost acquaintance’s profile page online become more interesting than sitting down face-to-face with our little ones for completely devoted, undistracted attention to them?  How have we begun to allow instantly responding to every text message to have precedence over the real-time conversation we are having with our children?

I understand.  Our children are not always a delight to be around.  Being at home with small children can become very lonely.  Our household tasks can become drudgery as we do the same thing day in and day out, wondering if anything we are doing is even making a difference.  Believe me, I know! I know the temptation to escape the mundane and enter a world where there is constantly something new and exciting going on.  I know the desire to feel efficient by multi-tasking and checking email while everyone at the table eats lunch.  I know the longing to be appreciated for more than just wiping snotty noses and dirty bottoms (oh wait, they don’t even appreciate that??) I know the loneliness and irritation of spending all day every day with children whose only language is whining, fussing, and tantrums.

But what I also know is that when I am with my kids, I want to be really with them.  I don’t want to be distracted by texting while I am helping my two-year-old go to the bathroom.  I don’t want to be surfing the web, casually responding with “uh huh” to his questions as he eats his lunch.  I don’t want to be on the phone the whole time we are on a nature walk. I want to be with my kids, in body, mind, and spirit.  I do not want my kids to grow up thinking a screen is more interesting than they are.  Technology is good and can be used tremendously to build God’s Kingdom, but we must learn to be disciplined in our use of it.

So that is why sometimes I intentionally leave my cell phone at home while we go outside.  That is why I make it my goal to limit my internet/computer time to when the kids are napping.  That is why I do not always let myself turn on talk radio to have on in the background while I am playing with my kids. That is why I constantly reassess what I am doing and why I am doing it. Ultimately, I want to be a stay-at-home mom and really be present with my children, despite the plethora of possible distractions available in our own homes now.  I want to play with, teach, love on, and truly engage with my children.

I hear a little voice calling for his mama:-) Naptime is over. Lord, give me grace to practice what I preach!

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A Peek at our Daily Routines

As we have been preparing to go on a low-key version of the GAPS diet, it has become extremely important for me to get organized and stay that way. While I have daily routines posted on my fridge, I find that I do not do well at consistently following them. I tend to decide in the moment whether or not I feel like doing the laundry or baking bread, instead of seeing that it needs to be done, gritting my teeth and just doing it!
But with our desire to live more healthfully, I am finding there are simply not enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. One way I am finding I can combat this is by making goals, prioritizing them, designtaing a specific time to accompish them, and being disciplined about following through.

This has created so much more peace in our home, I always wonder why I allow myself to beome lazy and slack off. I find myself much less anxious throughout the week because I know what needs to be done and when and how to do it. However, it is also important to not allow my schedule to rule our home. When kiddos are having a rough day and need extra loving, I may not get the laundry put away; and that is okay. If someone calls and needs a hand with their errands, I may not get the toys picked up; and that is okay. The goal is to facilitate rest and peace–to have structure and order, to strive to maintain it, and to ultimately desire God’s plan for each day.

Now that we are back into our routines, Jeshuah is old enough to have his own little routine, and I find it adorable! Each day goes something like this:

Morning Routine

5:30am–I either shower or make juice
6:00am–Personal devotions and nurse Eliana, put her directly to sleep and pump extra for Jeshuah or to freeze.
6:30am–Jeshuah is usually awake. Daddy takes him to the bathroom and dresses him, then sets him up with some favorite toys and an audio drama/music for independent playtime while we have our devotions. When his music is over, we help him pick up his toys and put them away, then we move that chore from “do” to “done” on the fridge.
7:30am–Breakfast. I set out two otions for Jeshuah of each so that he can choose: cow bib or choo choo bib? snow man bowl or green bowl? Kefir or yogurt? We then sit down to eat our breakfast together. Jeshuah picks a stick from our prayer mug, and we pray for whomever is on the stick.
7:45am–Daddy reads a story from the Big Picture Story Bible
8:00am–Jeshuah plays by himself while I clean up breakfast. Jeshuah clears his own dishes and moves that chore from “do” to “done” for the morning.
8:30am–Nurse and dress Ellie, then she goes down for nap around 9:15.
9:00am–Each day we have a morning activity–either going to a park or to a friend’s to play, or a learning activity from Slow and Steady Get me Ready. We use Eliana’s naptime to spend focused learning time together.
11:30am–Lunch. Jeshuah picks a stick to pray for again. Nurse Ellie.

Afternoon Routine
12:00am–Naptime routine for both kids. For Jeshuah, read books on the potty, then read a couple books and sing songs in his bedroom before nap. Then put Ellie down for her nap. I use the kids’ nap time to first take a daily pause, then prepare dinner and complete my afternoon routines (email, paperwork, budget, laundry, cleaning, etc.)
3:00pm–Nurse Ellie, then down for a nap around 4. Afternoon activity with Jeshuah. Again, this is either errands, playing outside, or a learning activity

Evening Routine

5:00pm–Nurse Ellie
5:15pm–Dinner with daddy! We draw another stick to pray. After dinner, Jeshuah and Daddy play while I feed Eliana and get her ready for bed then clean up dinner.
6:30pm–Bedtime routine. Daddy takes Jeshuah to the bathroom, lets him pick out some jammies, then reads him stories and sings him songs before laying him down for bed.
Each day looks a little different, and the times are a rough estimate of when each activity takes place. But I find it is better to have a goal and aim for it, than to have no goal at all.

For more inspiration on daily routines and a good balance between schedule and flexibility, I love these posts:

Developing a Simple Schedule and Routine

Simplifying the Schedule

Pitfalls of To-Do Lists

Taking a Weekly Planning and Prayer Retreat

Simple, Frugal Chemical-free cleaning that WORKS!

I am extremely excited about April’s “Chemical Elimination” Challenge–Natural CLEANING!

In preparation for the blog post, I have been testing a variety of options in our own home, and I simply cannot wait until April before I give a brief plug for Norwex:-)

In my Chemical Elimination blog post, I will be more thorough, but let me just give you a quick overview of Norwex.

From their website:

“Norwex is committed to radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning to promote health. More than ever we feel the need to emphasize the positive environmental impact of reducing chemical use.”

“In the last 50 years more than 80,000 new chemicals have been produced and introduced into the environment. “Ecology” refers to the way human beings, animals, and other life forms and nature interact and influence each other.

The ecological approach considers that all living species and nature are interdependent, and that there are limitations to what nature can absorb in terms of human activities such as pollution.  Change something here, and the consequences will pop up there.  Radical change — manmade or otherwise — may overwhelm the delicate balance in the environment, resulting in unintended and dramatic negative change.

We must find a way to provide for the needs of the present, without sacrificing the ability of future generations to provide for their needs.  Contributing to the change by becoming part of the Norwex family will result in an improvement in quality of life.

“We strive to improve quality of life rather than standard of living.”

Behind this aim lies the value and beauty of life itself, both for us, and other life forms. 

From a health point of view, it is equally important to radically reduce the use of household chemicals.  Research and information on the health effects of chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use. “Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to everyday have never been assessed for their impact on human health.”

The harm chemicals have on humans is extensive.  Chemicals found in the average home are linked to many serious diseases such as allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities.  Many today believe that the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to “modern” diseases such as asthma and allergies.”

Norwex allows you to clean and disinfect your entire home with the use of simply a microfiber cloth and water! Check out their website for their full line of products and how this amazing technology works!  You really have to see it to believe it.

On Tuesday at 7pm, we are having a Norwex party at our home.  If you are in the QC  area and are curious, please contact me–I would love to have you come!  There will be light snacks and Christina will be demonstrating how Norwex works…by cleaning parts of my home!!

If you are already familiar with Norwex and are eager to purchase more of their amazing product, check out my consultant’s websiteyou can place an order on-line through me or her!

I cannot say enough good things about Norwex. It will truly revolutionize the way you clean, and you will never have to stock your cupboards with sprays, solutions, detergents, and chemicals to clean your home with again!

March Chemical Elimination: Deodorant

In an effort to progressively rid our home of harmful toxins and chemicals, March’s goal is to replace one of our personal care products, deodorant, with a natural, safe alternative.

Most of us wouldn’t think of the personal care products we use on a regular basis as harmful, let alone toxic.  But the sad truth is, these products do not undergo the same testing as food and medicine do, and do not have the same requirements of safety since they make no health claims. Deodorants, like most personal care products on the market, contain a handful of harmful ingredients. Most deodorants on the market contain aluminum, a toxic metal which can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked with mental illness such as Ahlziemer’s Disease and autism.  Many deodorants contain parabens, a toxic petroleum derivative.  For more reading on harmful chemicals to avoid when shopping for deodorant, click here.

Although it can be discouraging and overwhelming to learn of the presence of so many harmful ingredients in the products we use and love every day, the purpose of this post is to encourage you with finding other, safer options.

Because each of us has different body chemistry, personal care products vary in their effectiveness.  That es why one deodorant may not work for you, but it may work for your spouse.  It is also why it usually takes some trial and error to find what works for you.

Following are a wide range of options to replace toxic forms of deodorant with natural, safe alternatives.  I have included both products available in the store and homemaking options.  If I have tried any of the options, I will include a personal review in italics.  But again, keep in mind that each person is different, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  Be inspired by how many different options you have, and don’t give up!

Safe Alternatives to Anti-Perspirant:

Meleleuca offers safe, aluminum free options.  This option did not work for me. I have friends who love it, though!

Tom’s of Maine has safe, though pricey, alternatives.  Look carefully at ingredients, though, as some contain aluminum.  They can be found in most stores.  This option did not keep me odor-free, either!

Homemade Deodorant Recipes

We use this recipe from PassionateHomemaking.com with some variations. I am eager for my husband to try it after his current bar runs out. We are going to try this method of putting it in his old stick.

Mix in a small bowl:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil, partially melted
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and stir it with a spoon.  Allow coconut oil to set up, stirring occasionally to ensure equal distribution.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

-Zinc oxide is a natural anti-perspirant.  Including it in your homemade deodorant will most likely help relieve any odor.  For a simple recipe as well as a plethora of variations, For a simple recipe to make your own, click here. I am excited to try this one, too.

Homemade Deodorant Spray

(From MomsAWARE.org)

Make a baking soda spray by blending 3 tsp. baking soda with 1 c. water in a spray bottle. Add 3-5 drops tea tree oil for added protection.

This is what I used and worked fine until after the birth of my daughter.  My hormones must have changed, because suddenly, for the first time in my life…I am very sweaty! This no longer cuts it for me.  But if it works for you, simply spray some on your hands, rub it under arms, and allow it to dry. I added the tea tree oil.

Queen of Hungary Water

(This can also be used as a toner and as hair care!)

Originally used in Europe as a perfume, Queen of Hungary Water is revered for its many healing properties and is widely known as a cure-all.  It can be used as a toner, astringent, a deodorant, a hair rinse, and can even be ingested to help soothe a sour stomach, among other things.  Here is my recipe, but you can really use whatever herbs you have on hand:

Combine in a large Mason jar:

3 TB. Peppermint leaves

2 TB Comfrey leaves

2 Tbs chamomile

4 TB Rose leaves

2 Tbs Lavender leaves

2 Tbs Nettles

3 TB Calendula/Marigold

1 TB Lemon zest

1 TB dried rosemary

1 TB dried sage

Cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and place in fresh, clean bottle.

To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 1c. total extra liquid (I used witch hazel extract).  Add several drops of essential oil, if using. Stores indefinitely.

That list of herbs may look intimidating, but most of them can be found at your local health food store, or you can place an order at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Or you can ask me for a sample size, and I can mail you one for a small price.

I hope one of these options works for you and your family! I, for one, am glad I have found something that works and saves us from chemical exposure while also saving us money!

2012 Monthly Goals for Chemical Elimination in Our Home

Becoming aware of how toxic our modern world is can be extremely frightening and overwhelming.  We can have the desire to implement change, but the very magnitude of the task is daunting.  It is helpful to not try and tackle everything at once, but to go slowly, taking baby steps as it were towards a less toxic, more chemical free lifestyle.

That is why I am excited to announce my 2012 monthly goals for detoxifying our home.  Naturally Simple Solutions will be doing a series over the next 12 months to equip you to eliminate chemicals from your home.   Ideally, I will have already worked out the kink with each category before I post them each month and will have some first-hand examples, recipes, pictures, sources, etc. to share.  My desire is to make the transition from chemical to natural as pain-free and simple as possible!  Here is a rough outline of each month’s feature, although it may be changed or rearranged as needed. You may note that the order does not seem to necessarily reflect a scale of more to less dangerous substances.  That is because I will have a newborn in January and will begin the year with chemicals we have already eliminated in our home, to make things more manageable for me:-)

January – Dishwashing Soap

February – Personal Care – Moisturizer, Make up, Skin care

March –  Personal Care – Deodorant

April – Household Cleaners

May – Pest/Weed Control, Personal Bug Repellent

June – Personal Care – Toothpaste, Mouthwash

July – Personal Care -Soap, Shaving Cream, Aftershave, Sun screen

August – Personal Care – Shampoo & Conditioner

September – Laundry Soap

October – Medicine Cabinet

November – Safe Drinking Water

December – Home/Personal Fragrances

Anyone have suggestions for things I am missing? I can easily combine some personal care items into one month, etc, but I am drawing a blank on other household chemicals I may be missing, so please offer suggestions!

Toxic Talk Tuesday – Naturally Clean Bathrooms

To continue in our series of Toxic Talk Tuesdays, we join Chris and Andrea Fabry once again for Chris Fabry Live!  We have already explored the laundry, the kitchen, and personal care products.

The first thing the Fabrys did on their program was a chemical awareness quiz.  While they only had time for a few questions on air, I have pulled all 15 questions from Andrea’s website, Moms AWARE. For more detailed information on each answer, visit her site and take the quiz!

  1. According to a 2008 American Association of poison control Center COSMETICS/PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS were the top cause of poisoning of children under age 5. More information at this website.
  2. The manufactorer of NON-STICK COOKWARE warns against using it near birds because it “can damage a bird’s lungs with alarming speed.”  More information at this website.
  3. When purchased new, A VINYL SHOWER CURTAIN emits well over 14 compounds, 7 of which are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Hazardous Air Pollutants.  These hazardous compounds include methylene chloride, methyl alcohol, toluene, and phenol. It will diminish indoor air quality for one month after purchasing.  More information at this website as well as this source.  Alternatives can be found here.
  4. The chemical phenylenediamine, or coal tar, is permitted in only one type of consumer product and must carry a warning that it presents “an acute, severe hazard to health with the possibility of permanent injury; i.e., impaired sight, including blindness.”  That product is HAIR DYE.  More information at this website.
  5. Triclosan, one of the primary ingredients in antibacterial soaps, is classified by the U.S. government as a PESTICIDE.  More information at this website. (You can make your own antibacterial soaps without triclosan, though! Using castile soap and an antibacterial essential oil such as tea tree oil.  A recipe can be found here.)
  6. Petroleum distillates are petrochemicals that have been distilled in a refinery and then refined further. Consumer products containing petroleum distillates include motor oil, furniture polish, lighter fluid, and BABY OIL.  More information at this website. (For a safer alternative, simply use coconut oil or kefir)
  7. More than 90 percent of pharmaceuticals are manufactured with CHLORINE.  More information at this website.
  8. Polyisobutylene, or butyl rubber, is used in sealants, lubricants, caulking agents, and adhesives. It is also commonly used in CHEWING GUM.  More information at this website.
  9. Dr. Harvey Wiley, the “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act,” advised against using aluminum in food products, saying it is “universally acknowledged as a poison in all countries.” Aluminum is commonly found in all of these products: ANTACIDS, FOOD ADDITIVES, COSMETICS, AND BUFFERED ASPIRIN. More information at this website as well as here. (Aluminium is also found in baking soda. Look for aluminum free!)
  10. Bisphenol A (BPA), commonly found in canned goods, plastics, personal care products, and dental sealants, was first introduced as a SYNTHETIC ESTROGEN. More information at this website.
  11. Which consumer product has this ingredient list on its label: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Yellow 10 and Orange 4? JOHNSON’S BABY SHAMPOO. More information at this website.  (I rarely use soap on my baby it is unneccessary and dries their skin, but when the need occurs, I use Dr. Bronner’s pure liquid castile Baby Mild.)
  12. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies this as an indoor air pollutant, saying it “may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.” FRAGRANCE. More information at this website.
  13. Dioxins, by-products of industrial processing and known teratogens (substances capable of interfering with the development of a fetus) and carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer), are commonly found in BLEACHED COFFEE FILTERS. More information at this website. Find unbleached filters in your local grocery store.
  14. World War I brought the advent of chemical warfare. Along with mustard gas, CHLORINE was used as a choking agent, attacking the nose, throat, and lungs to cause “dry land drowning.” More information at this website.
  15. According to the National Capital Poison Center, MOUTHWASH can poison a small child. More information at this website.
EPA Children’s Home Tour States:
“Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a disinfectant to kill germs, and it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this product is? Chlorine bleach.”
All of this information can be overwhelming and cause us to live in fear.  But that is not the goal of this broadcast or this post! “The idea is not to be afraid, the idea is to be aware, and there is a very big difference.” Awareness enables us to come up with solutions. Knowledge can empower us to make wiser choices.
When we study the delightful creation that God has given us, we become aware of so many natural, workable solutions to all of these issues.  It can cause us to worship our amazing God even more!
For an example, we look at the road runner.  These little birds can go 17 MPH as they skirt across the road between cars.  He does not run in fear, though the cars are much bigger and going much faster than he is, he runs with awareness.  That is how we want to be as we live our lives.  We do not want to live in fear of our knowledge. We want our increased knowledge and awareness to empower us to make better choices.
Bathroom: Pathogens and Plumbing
Ventilation is extremely important in bathrooms and any indoor environment.

Plumbing brings with it the potential for mold.  Know that mold is very serious.  If you see it on the wall, it is extremely serious. If it is a shower surface issue, it can be dealt with.

Mold is like a dandelion.  If you pick a dandelion, the chances of the seeds scattering and spreading are very high. So you may eliminate one dandelion, but chances are, seeds have already scattered to the wind and spread further.
Mold is the same way. It is made up of microscopic spores. 20,000,000 micron mold spores fit on a postage stamp. Do not be casual about finding mold or water damage in a bathroom. In order to grow, mold needs moisture and darkness.
Most people treat mold with bleach.  However, bleach does not kill mold.  It kills mold spores, but it does not kill the micotoxins.  Bleach can actually simply spread the mold further and make it more absorb-able into our systems.
Hydrogen Peroxide and tea tree oil are much more effective.
Natural Bathroom Cleaning Options:
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
Add pine, tea tree oil, lemon or lime to vinegar to help ease the odor.
Remember, always buy 100% pure essential oils.  These are pricey, but they last a very, very long time. You can put three drops into your washing machine and that is all you need.
Antimicrobial essential oils: grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil
Avoid using bleach.  Think about bleach like you would a pesticide.  Pesticides kill insects and are harmful to humans.  Avoid the use of it and use these alternatives instead!

Cleansers

Any non-toxic cleaners you use in other parts of the home can also be used in the bathroom. White vinegar (diluted or full strength) is the best all-around cleaner and can be used to clean tubs, toilets, floors, and even mirrors.

For added protection against mold and mildew, add several drops of tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) to the white vinegar.

For those who find the smell of tea tree oil or white vinegar offensive, consider adding cinnamon essential oil or pine essential oil to the diluted vinegar. Lime also helps soften the odor.

An odorless option is 25 drops of GSE blended with 1 c. water. Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and use as you would white vinegar. No rinsing required.

Options for cleaning the toilet:
  • Pour 1 c. borax into the toilet. Let sit overnight. Clean with toilet brush in the morning.
  • Pour 1/2 c. white vinegar into bowl. Add 1/2 c. baking soda. As the vinegar neutralizes the soda, a fizz is created, which aids in the cleaning process.
  • Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and allow to sit until next use.
  • Spray vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and scrub out
  • Use tea tree oil to clean the floor around the base of the toilet

Recipes from Moms AWARE:

Antibacterial Hand Soap

Conventional antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a synthetic antimicrobial agent used in a wide variety of household and personal care products.

A simple alternative begins with a hand soap pump bottle. This can be reused or purchased new. Fill with a mixture of 1 c. filtered water and 3 tbsp. liquid Castile soap. If refilling a foaming soap dispenser, use less Castile soap. To extend the shelf life, add 3 drops grapefruit seed extract. You can also add several drops of lemon or lavender essential oil.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves
Place a handful each of dried lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint in a 1/2 gallon glass jar. Pack them in tightly. Pour raw organic apple cider vinegar over the herbs, covering them to within 4 inches of the top. Cover jar tightly and set in a cool, dark place for 3-6 weeks. Shake jar daily or several times a week.

After the allotted time, strain. Pour strained vinegar into spray bottles. Dilute if desired.

This can also be spritzed into the air of a sickroom. Be sure to avoid eyes and mouth.

Drain Cleaners

Plungers or plumber’s snakes are often needed for clogged drains. For minor backups, pour 1 c. washing soda into water around drain. Water should go down. If not, try adding 1 c. white vinegar. Use washing soda weekly to keep drains flowing freely.

The transition from chemicals to naturally occurring cleaning solutions can be overwhelming and we can obsess over it easily.  Andrea encourages that at first, as you are learning all these things, you will obsess at first, but the more you learn, the more you strive to have a healthy mindset and balance as you incorporate these things into your life, the more natural it will become to think in this way and it will be less overwhelming. Take a step at a time and do what you can! Every little bit helps.

Further Reading and Resources:

Toxic Talk Tuesday: Personal Care

We use products on our bodies and hair every day without giving it a second thought.  We figure if it’s on a shelf at the store, it must be okay to use. Why would it be harmful?  Chris and Andrea Fabry welcome us into their studio again for the third installment of Toxic Talk Tuesdays.  This time the topic is Personal Care.  Andrea, with her wealth of knowledge and experience, challenges many of the assumptions we have about personal care products and their safety, explains certain components that are particularly harmful, and gives us natural, safe (and frugal!) alternatives. Again, this post will be a conglomeration of direct quotes, paraphrases, and my own input.  For the complete broadcast, find the link below.

Andrea states that our personal care products are an unseen danger.  “The packaging is very attractive, the scents are great, it just looks and smells so smooth, and yet it’s not what it seems. It’s not what we want to believe that it is.  And the reason is, there is so much we don’t know. It’s not that we know something and then are ignoring it, we really don’t know and the more you study what is in these products the more you understand it’s probably not a good risk for us because most chemicals are made up of petroleum. Would you put gasoline on your hair knowingly? Or on your skin? Why does this matter? 60% of any chemical will go through 5 layers of skin into the bloodstream.

90% of the chemicals we have on the labels of shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, etc. have never been tested for health. This is because cosmetics are not claiming to cure any disease or make a health impact, so they do not fall under the same legislation as drugs do.

Toxicant of the Day: Phthalates. A derivative of petroleum. Endocrine disruptors, even in small amounts.  Wikipedia states “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severeattention deficit disordercognitive and brain development problems.”

Phthalates are a chemical prevalent in plastics. But it is also used in shampoos, lotions, and skin care products to preserve the fragrance. This is not listed on labels, it is simply under “fragrance.” The ingredient “fragrance” can include all sorts of neurotoxins, but it is not subject to the same health and safety testing as are drugs to prove its safety.  95% of fragrances are derived from petroleum, a known neurotoxin.  If nothing else, look for products that say “fragrance free.”

Our bodies can become conditioned to the chemicals on the market so that we do not immediately feel their negative effects.  However, this does not mean they are not having a negative effect.  These chemicals whittle down the receptors in our nose, which is directly connected to the brain.  As we breathe these substances in, we are burning down and disrupting our ability to smell, and this is also affecting brain development.  This is why our ability to smell decreases with age.  If you remove the chemicals, our receptors can restore themselves.

Closing thought: All of this information can be overwhelming, but simply do the best you can with what you know. Anything is better than nothing!

Recipe of the Day:

Queen of Hungary Water

  • 6 small handfuls lemon balm
  • 5 small handfuls calendula flowers
  • 4 small handfuls rose petals
  • 3 small handfuls comfrey
  • 1 small handful rosemary, lemon peel, and sage

(Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these herbs; feel free to use what you have.)

Place herbs in a gallon glass jar. (You can halve this recipe for a 1/2 gallon jar.) Cover the herbs completely in raw organic apple cider vinegar. Screw on lid tightly. Let sit for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar several times a week.

Strain the mixture. Combine remaining liquid with equal parts witch hazel extract. Rose water may also be used.

Dab on face and massage into skin. Queen of Hungary water also makes an excellent rinse for hair. Can be stored indefinitely.

This makes an excellent gift!  Many of these ingredients can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs

Practical Tips:

  • As a shampoo or to relieve dandruff, massage baking soda/washing soda/rhassoul clay into your scalp. Rinse with raw apple cider vinegar/coffee grounds/lemon juice. Rhassoul clay is a mineral and has been used for centuries and has wonderful antioxidant qualities. When adding a mineral to your hair, it needs to be balanced back out with an acid. For more information on its many uses, read here.
  • Baking soda or bentonite clay in combination with an essential oil can be used to brush your teeth. Recipes here and here.
  • Natural dandruff control: Dandruff is an external result of an internal condition, so make sure you’re getting proper nurients.  To treat the irritation, tea tree oil is antifungal. Combine with what you’re using and massage into skin.  You can also use grape fruit seed extract. Dead sea salt baths are great for excema.
  • Soap is overrated.  Suds are overrated. Babies don’t actually even need soap, and many days we don’t need it either, but if you want to use something, use pure castile soap or rhassoul clay.
  • Baking Soda neutralizes acid.  Use baking soda as a deodorant. Mix baking soda, water, and a drop of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray under arms.  Another recipe using zinc oxide and witch hazel can be found here.
  • Use raw apple cider vinegar as a skin toner! Then moisurize with kefir. (Health Benefits of Kefir or How to Make Kefir.
  • After chlorine swimming, get a pure vitamin C spray and spray your skin and it will neutralize the chlorine. Or bathe in a vitamin C powder. This can be found at your local health food store or here.

For further information 

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Laundry Care

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Naturally Clean Kitchens

momsAWARE

 

Minimalist Beauty

Chris Fabry Live! September 20 broadcast