PLASTIC is toxic: 10 Creative Ways to Cut Back

Photo Credit: Homedit

Let’s be educated about PLASTIC. Why is it harmful?

Plastic materials leak toxic chemicals into our products that we consume into our bodies. Plastic packaging on food penetrates toxic chemicals into the food itself, which is then digested into our bodies. Plastic packaging of our beauty and shower products leak toxic chemicals into the products, which then go onto our skin and are absorbed into the body. Plastics are toxic and unhealthy to consume and without even realizing it, we consume hundreds plastic toxins each day.

The Science:

According to Mother Earth Living, “plastics contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with the balance of hormones in the body, and researchers have found that most plastics–even those labeled BPA-free–can leach these chemicals into food. A study by the Endocrine Society found that even low exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can cause significant adverse health effects, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and infertility.”

Challenge Yourself to Cut Back

Here are 10 creative ideas to cut back on your plastic use and improve your personal health and lower your risk for cancer, allergies, and infertility. Start simply and slowly by picking three of these strategies; you don’t have to do it all at once!

1. Buy bed linens made of organic cotton and wool. Avoid fabrics made of polyester, nylon, and vinyl (because they are engineered and made from plastics).

2. Buy a natural shower curtain that doesn’t contain plastic material. When the heat and steam of the shower collide with the plastic fibers, chemicals will be emitted into the air. This is called “offgassing.” Organic hemp or flax-based are good alternatives. (www.rawganique.com has great organic hemp shower curtains! I can’t wait to get one).

3. Store your beauty products in glass or tin containers. (Especially if you are keeping your beauty products in the hot and steamy bathroom, the heat will make the toxins leak into the product, which is then put on your skin or hair).

4. Buy beauty products with little or no packaging (ex: organic bar soap with paper packaging). Or make your own beauty products! Check out some of my DIY Beauty/Hair products here.

5. Store all your food in non-plastic containers. Instead, use metal, tin, or glass. (In my opinion, mason jars are the best for storage!)

6. Use stainless-steal water bottles that are made of food-grade steel. (Klean Kanteen) Avoid plastic water bottles, reusable and disposable.

7. Use metal or bamboo silverware. Avoid plastic utensils because they contain polystyrene which transfer into food.

8. Buy food in bulk and eliminate plastic packaging. (Go crazy in the bulk section at Winco!)

9. Do not microwave leftovers in plastic Tupperware or on a plastic plate. (The best way to re-heat food is on the stove, but if you must use the microwave, put your food on a non-plastic plate!)

10. Always bring your own reusable bags when grocery shopping. If you forgot your reusable bag, always go for PAPER, not plastic.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other creative ways of eliminating plastic? Leave your thoughts; I’d love to hear from you!


Photo Credit: Homedit

Making the Change: Jessie’s Story

An amazing story from one of my readers, Jessie Lohse, who went completely chemical-free in her beauty routine! So inspired! Have a read:

My decision to start going chemical free in my hygiene and beauty routine started about a year ago when a friend made an off handed remark to me. I had been talking to her about a documentary I had recently watched that (once again) confirmed my hunch that eating vegan is the best thing a person could do for their bodies if they did not want major illnesses to be a part of their life. She listened to my comments and then remarked, “Yeah, but we are all going to die of cancer anyways, because of all the chemicals and crap that is in our lotions and stuff”. This concept had never even occurred to me, and thus began my slow movement towards poking around at the truth behind her statement.

The second thing that spurred me was another revelation bestowed by my sister-in-law, who has been fascinated with fertility, childbirth and anything related to maternal and infant health for quite some time. She told me that 24 years old is the peak of a woman’s health for bearing children, and after this age, everything slowly slides into complications. The miracles of modern medicine aside, her comment struck me as a call to start taking my health seriously, because despite the ability to have children in my 30’s and 40’s, the statistical chances of my having a child with mental or physical defects increases as I age.
I was suddenly faced with the reality that cancer and birth defects are within my power to counter act, and if I want to have a healthy, cancer-free body that can bear my future beautiful children into gestational perfection, then I should start right now to make changes in my life that will allow this dream to be a reality.

Of course, this journey is one step at a time, and always begins with a lot of digging and research. YouTube and the blogosphere have been my main educators, along with some personal references and tips. My first steps were obvious: shampoo, conditioner, lotions, face scrubs, moisturizers and body washes all had to be exchanged. Several test methods were done, and I finally landed on baking soda scrub with an apple cider vinegar rinse, Moon Root soap (made of all organic materials) and honey have become the soldiers in my shower caddy. I want to gush about the honey for a second. I have never had terrible acne, but there was always the lingering presence of irritations, red spots, pimples and black heads interrupting what was otherwise fairly decent skin. I switched out my Aveeno face wash and moisturizer (which I had sworn by since I was 16) for local honey and lilac water, and my face has never been so clear! I stayed at my parent’s house last weekend, and had to use their face wash, and immediately I broke out in blemishes. It’s uncanny that the secret to a clear face has been going in my tea all these years.

The next phase was switching out my make-up. This is where the well-written and thoroughly helpful All of Everything blog saved my life. Kelsey’s recipes for foundation, eye shadow and lotion ideas (unrefined coconut oil for the face and body) helped me clear out years of make-up hoarding, and now I have four jars that contain the various elements of my beauty routine (plus some holistic and natural mascara and cover up from a local co-op). My counter has never been so pretty and tidy!

The next steps are in process right now. I am switching from regular toothpaste (apparently event Toms of Maine has fluoride in it, which unnecessarily strips the enamel from your teeth) to a homemade tooth paste, switching from a pill birth control to the Fertility Awareness Method (which is hormone free, and tracks your fertility cycle naturally) and slowly using up our chemical house-hold cleaner and replacing them with more gentle cleansers that aren’t bad for my lungs to breathe in, and my skin to absorb! And of course, the never-ending challenge of finding the nutritional balance in my life that allows me to soak up all the goodness of fruits, veggies and whole grains while still allowing me to come up with creative ways to have pizza.

It helps me through all of these challenges and frustrations to keep thinking of my skin as what it is: the biggest organ on my body. What I put on my skin, it literally “eats” by absorbing it. So, if I wouldn’t put it in my mouth, why would it go on my skin? Also, through this process I have come to feel an incredible sense of empowerment. By taking health matters into my own hands, I am literally taking myself off the grid for multimillion-dollar company’s marketing ploys. I don’t “need” Dove shampoo and Maybeline in my life to be happy, and I certainly don’t need them to be healthy! Once you start digging and looking for other routes, you will uncover a whole host of other health anarchists who are looking for a better way of living as well. I would urge anyone I know to start making these changes, as they feel comfortable. While we are on this earth, we deserve to have impeccable health; it is just a matter of hunting it down and making it yours. Don’t be surprised to find that most of your answers are standing post in your cupboards right now.

What a beautifully written, empowering story that re-confirms how important it is to be aware of what you are putting in and on your body. Thank you so much, Jessie, for sharing your inspiring story with us! If any of you other readers out there have a story like this, even if it’s just a small story, I would absolutely love to hear it!

A Chemical-Free Body Lotion

So for those of you who are making the switch to go chemical-free in your beauty routine, you may be wondering, “What is the best alternative to store-bought body lotion?”

Well the answer is… COCONUT OIL!

Any organic coconut oil will do the trick. Just make sure it’s 100% pure. The great thing about using coconut oil as lotion is that it is 100% natural, moisturizes your skin, and lasts forever! I bought a small jar of Dr.  Organic Coconut Oil and it lasted me months! Every time I get out of the shower, I just scoop a little (dime-size) of coconut oil and spread it all over my body. I love the feeling of it on my legs and arms. It takes a little bit to soak in, so don’t put your clothes on right away! Otherwise, your clothes might get a little oily.

If you live in a cold climate, your coconut oil will probably be solid and firm. But as you rub it into your skin, it will soften and soak in. If you live in a warm climate, your coconut oil will be liquid. Solid or liquid, it works exactly the same.

I use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut oil and I absolutely love it. I love all their products, so if you want other organic, chemical-free products, I would highly suggest any of their products. You can get their products online here, or you can buy them at your local organic store.

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This mason jar of Organic Coconut oil is about $10.00. It may seem expensive when you are buying it, but I promise you, it’s worth it! It will last so long, it leaves a wonderful, coconut smell on your skin, and it’s ten billion times better for your skin than lotion composed of chemicals.

I would stay away from using Coconut Oil on your face, because it might cause your skin to break out. The skin on your body and the skin on your face are very different, so we have to treat them differently!

ENJOY! And please, don’t forget to tell me what you think!

Going Chemical-Free

The CHEMICAL-FREE life-style. Hippie, you say? Ah, no. Healthy.

I am a firm believer that we should be living the healthiest lives we can. We’re on the same team as our bodies (sorry, but you’re stuck with the one you’ve got). We’ve gotta do everything we can to love ourselves– body, mind, and soul.
Alright, so, why go chemical-free? Well, first of all, do you know how many chemicals are in each of the beauty products you use every day? And do you know what long-lasting side-effects these chemicals have?
Take a look at this chart from Natural Healthy Concepts. It shows the health issues linked to the toxic chemicals we are putting on our bodies every day. This chart blew my mind the first time I saw it.

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Now take a look at this picture! Look how many chemicals each product has and what the effects are!

harmful+chemicals+cosmetics

Mind blown? Well, this was enough to get me interested in this topic. I had NO IDEA I was using so many chemicals on my body each day. I trusted the beauty industry… I thought they were on my side, caring about the health of my skin and hair. But as I started doing more research, I really don’t think these companies could possibly care about my well-being, as a consumer. They know what chemicals I’m putting on my body with their products… and they know the effects of these chemicals. They just want my money.

Here is a top 12 list of chemicals that you want to AVOID in your beauty products! If you see these chemicals in your products, PLEASE find a replacement product that does not contain this. These are NOT good for your body.

1) Suflates (anything that has a form of sulfate in the name, SLS, Sodium Laureth (Lauryl) Sulfate)
2) Silicones (anything that ends in –zane, -xane, -cone, or –conol)
3) Parabens (anything that ends in –paraben) sidenote: 75%-90% of cosmetics use parabens. Parabens penetrate into the human skin very easily. Studies show that parabens are linked to infertility in males and breast cancer.
4) FD&C Colors
5) PEGs
6) Pthalates
7) Mineral Oil
8) Petroleums
9) Alcohol in Hair Products
10) Nano-Particles in make-up (nanoparticles go straight through the skin into your bloodstream).

Can you pronounce the name it? If you can’t, it’s most likely not good for you. Go to the EWG Data Base… type in the name of the chemical or product and it will tell you the toxicity ratings. (Top 12 chemicals: Credit, Alex Raye)

Now, I want to challenge you! Look through the products you’re using right now. Do you see any of these chemicals in them? My guess is you probably will find the majority of these chemicals in your products.

If you are interested in going chemical-free or simply going chemical-LESS, I want to encourage you to GO FOR IT! Honestly, it’s SO easy. I created this blog to give everyone my homemade récipes to make your own beauty products… and get away from chemicals! I can tell you that since I have gone chemical-free, my skin and hair have never felt better. My roommates think I’m crazy because I’m always playing with my hair and bragging about how soft it is. And I keep saying, “Wow! I can brush my hair and it doesn’t get oily!” Well, it’s because I stopped using shampoo and conditioner that contain all of those chemicals. You can read all about my homemade shampoos and conditioners in DIY Beauty and Hair.
I am not a scientist or a doctor. But I have done research about these chemicals and the toxicity ratings of products. Go to the EWG’s Skin Deep Data Base if you want to know the toxicity ratings of your products! This is one of the best websites I’ve found! I love it.

Let’s be educated consumers! And let’s embark on this life journey in the healthiest way we can!

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

diy dishwasher

Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

  • 3 cups Borax
  • 3 cups Baking Soda

Mix the Borax and Baking Soda together. Store in a large mason jar or plastic container and put under sink (or cupboard that is near your dishwasher).

What to do: Put 2 tablespoons of homemade dishwasher detergent into your dishwasher’s detergent compartment and run dishwasher normally.

Why does this work?

Borax = natural disinfectant

Baking Soda = natural disinfectant

Why is this a good option?

  • Cheap
  • Chemical-Free
  • Other detergents emit chlorine gas (this homemade detergent does not!)
  • Sanitizer
  • Stain Remover
  • Water Softener
  • Eco-Friendly!

Hints:

  1. Borax sells under the name 20 Mule Team. You can find this on the laundry aisle!
  2. Label the mason jar or storing container of detergent with ingredients.
  3. Keep detergent out of reach of children and pets.

Going Chemical-Free

The CHEMICAL-FREE life-style. Hippie, you say? Ah, no. Healthy.

A few months ago, I began researching this topic. I talked to some of my friends who no longer used shampoo or conditioner. I heard the never-eat-processed-food-or-you-will-die protests. And as a college student living in Eugene, Oregon (where it is now 5 cents for a bag at every store), I thought I had heard everything there is to hear about living an eco-friendly life-style. Well, it’s true. I was very educated about how to be friendly to our environment, but I didn’t know that I was being unfriendly to my hair, skin, and body by using beauty and hair products that contain toxic chemicals.

My whole life, I used the typical Wal-Mart brand shampoo and conditioner. And I never bought expensive make-up because, oh man, it was so-freaking expensive. However, the last few years, I had extremely terrible acne on my forehead, so I started using Bare Minerals liquid moisturizer and powder on my face to cover it up. Yeah… that didn’t help. Now that I’ve learned what chemicals are in Bare Minerals, I’m sure it made it worse. Whoever told me Bare Minerals was good for your skin, is a big-fat liar! (Sorry, no offense.)

I recently graduated from college and thought it would be a good time to do some research on the topic. And let me tell you, I was NOT expecting that my personal hygiene life-style would change as dramatically as it has. I have thrown away all my shampoo, conditioner, make-up, deodorant, hair spray, dry shampoo, shaving cream, lip gloss, sunscreen, and lotions. I have made my own powder foundation (wow, it’s amazing!), perfume/body spray, dry shampoo, hand soap, body wash, and make-up setting spray. On top of that, I have stopped using store-bought shampoo and conditioner. I cannot tell you how much better my SKIN and HAIR feel. My hair has never been so soft and it does not get greasy!! What!? I didn’t know that was possible!

I have also made the switch to only shopping at Organic Food Grocery Stores. Not only is the food safer and healthier, but I think it tastes better too. 🙂 I used to think that Trader Joe’s or other local organic stores were extremely more expensive. But I’ve done some comparing… and I’ve come to the conclusion that the prices are VERY close. It’s worth it.

Switching to a chemical-free life-style is a drastic change, but OH MY GOODNESS, it’s so EASY. I am a firm believer that we should be living the healthiest lives we can. We’re on the same team as our bodies (sorry, but you’re stuck with the one you’ve got). We’ve gotta do everything we can to love ourselves– body and mind.