Ditch your Hidden Household Toxins.
As a naturopath I’m always searching for all round great natural, toxin free products. From the highest grade herbs and best quality supplements for my clients, to the cleanest household products and skincare ranges for myself and most importantly my family. They have to be clean, affordable and seriously effective. A trip to the health food store is never a quick outing. I love exploring new natural products and accessories, studying their ingredients and getting a feel for the companies ethics and standards. Not only am I a natural medicine practitioner, I create organic body & lifestyle products and do lots of organic DIY. So, if I am buying other brands, they have to live up to my quality, clean & green standards.
Now that we have established a little bit about me, why I’m writing this, is because I want to share that love and the work that I do, with you. I love knowing that the products I’m using are non toxic, but also that I’m using quality and clean products around my little ones, you can feel that way too. I will teach you how. There are so many options, the market is jam packed, so lets sift through it together.
My favourite naturopathic principle;
Doctor as Teacher (Doceré)
A naturopath will educate and support patients with personal health management, empower them to take responsibility for their own health. They also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
This is why I am here.
I love all things natural. And I love to educate those around me about their health and wellness. We are surrounded by thousands of chemicals, both natural and man made, it is important to understand what is around us and how we can simply alleviate the toxic burden on our bodies with out taking drastic measures. Baby steps!
Household and environmental chemicals are causing distress to our bodies, and overtime disrupting our immune system and delicate hormonal system leading to multiple symptoms, problems and various diseases.
My ‘a natural life’ blog hopes to teach you how to minimise your; toxic load, preventable symptoms and diseases and assist you to learn how to live more naturally and clean. From your beauty products, domestic products, pantry products, I will cover it all for you – at any point send me any questions, I will happily reply and assist you. Enjoy some of my favourite natural recipes and go-to favourite natural products.
My life is about learning and making the simple changes to better myself and live optimally as well as improve the world we live in.
CUT THE CRAP! 6 household items to ditch immediately to begin your toxic free LIFE.
1. Scented candles || fragrances and paraffin wax, can smell delish, but sorry! Paraffin wax contains toxic benzene and toluene, both known carcinogens when burned. By the way, paraffin is a petroleum waste product that has to be bleached and deodorised first, before it is made into the silky wax that goes into your favourite candle, this process adds another variety of toxic chemicals. Synthetic fragrances can trigger irritability, difficult breathing and even asthma attacks in some people. Many unnatural wicks contain harmful heavy metals such as lead, so think about the fact that your burning these heavy metals in your home and the candle that’s entered your sacred space to fill you with a sense of ambience and pleasure, is actually burdening you, with heavy metals which are on their way seeping into your air ways. Burning these types of candles are totally counterproductive to your health! Keep reading to get to my natural alternatives.
2. Makeup || our skin is a delicate eliminatory system, if you clog it with crap, it cannot breathe and carry out its function of elimination. I know it can be difficult to think about getting rid of your make up collection which has taken you years to collect and move over to natural alternatives but there are some awesome options and your body and mind will thank you for it. Mainstream and upmarket make up products contain a cocktail of toxins, which may cause health issues such as causing havoc to your endocrine system, skin allergies and organ, developmental, and reproductive toxicity. Some of the problematic chemicals include Phthalates, Quaternium-15 and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, Octinoxate and p-Phenylenediamine. Lead is also found in some products mainly due to residuals during the manufacturing stage and they come from mainly color additives. BHA and BHT are commonly used as preservatives in dozens of products, these butylated compounds allow manufacturers to keep their products on our shelves for a longer. The big no-no is Parabens, which many manufacturers are beginning to ditch because of all the negative attention and research that’s circulating about its major health concern. You might have already heard that parabens actually mimic the hormone oestrogen when they are absorbed into our bodies and therefore disrupt our delicate hormonal balance. Lets also not forget carbon black, found in most eye-liners, and Siloxanes, which are used to create a smooth and softened texture. Keep reading to see natural products I suggest to use as alternatives.
If you want to know more, here are 2 fabulous resources to help navigate through toxic vs safe makeups.
• Think dirty app
3. Aluminium deodorant || you might already know this, so bravo!! Yes they work, they stop you sweating, they make you smell clean and fresh (when your not☺). You are also spraying yourself with cocktail of aluminium and other toxins, such as Parabens, Triclosan, Steareths, TEA and DEA, all of which are being absorbed by your integumentary system (your skin- yes another one of its functions… absorption!) and therefore these toxins are ending up in your blood stream. Did you know excessive aluminium within the body is a component and risk factor linked to Alzheimer’s disease? But what if you’re a smelly or sweaty one and you CAN’T use natural deodorants. You feel you have no choice?! I used to feel the same. Trust me, after a while, stick with it, apply the natural ones often and frequently through out the day. The more you use them, over time the less smelly and sweaty you will be! The less toxic you are, the less smelly you are! See a few of my favourites below. I have tried many with no luck and these are now my stock standards in my bathroom and handbag.
4. Laundry detergent and fabric softeners || whilst we all love the smell of that CLEAN washing smell, initially that smell is so refreshing and makes you feel crispy clean and alive, this lasts only a few moments until you get one of those chemical headaches or a slight head spin. Harsh cleansers and surfactants contain toxins such as, petroleum distillates, Hello… linked to cancer and lung damage. Also fragrances, bleach and 1-4,dioxane. Stabilisers such as polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide, known to be linked to eye and lung irritation and also dermatitis. Brighteners, including naphthotriazolystilbenes benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbene disulfonate, and more, which have been also linked to developmental and reproductive disorders, but the worst part is that all of these chemicals remain on your garments to give your clothes the ‘appearance’ of looking brighter by absorbing UV light, its all an illusion… and whilst doing this they are likely to come into contact with your skin and therefor absorbed into your body. Our environment is also suffering harshly due to Phosphates, which help the clothes come out clean in hard water but cause streams and waterways to diminish due to the algae blooms, they are damaging natures delicate ecosystems. Most products containing Phosphates have switched to ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) by most cleaning companies and used in its place, the problem is that it still is not very biodegradable. Whilst fabric softeners smell great, remember if you can smell it, its most likely synthetic and those molecules are toxic! 1 2
5. Body wash || for most of us our shower or bath is a sacred place. I know there are times when a beautiful hot shower and washing off a busy and tiring day has never felt more rejuvenating and grounding. The products I use in my shower are carefully selected. There is such a high competitive market when it comes to body washes its some times hard to choose. Look for products that avoid chemicals such as Parabens – popular preservative for keeping bacteria growth at check, effective in this regard but remember they mimic oestrogen and build up can be a risk factor for hormonal conditions and even oestrogen dominant cancers. Avoid synthetic colors and fragrances (if the ‘fragrance’ is not listed in depth, beware!) Phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), Formaldehyde and Toluene whilst they give the product their shelf life and ‘sensory feel’, either creating bubbles or a foamy constituency, as well as assisting the soap to dissolve in water, they are common endocrine disruptors and should be avoided wherever possible. Your shower, your choice, choose natural! See healthier options below.
6. Moisturiser || I have never been much of a moisturiser fan, I never knew why. Maybe because the skin has the natural ability to produce moisture itself, this is a natural regulatory feedback mechanism that we all obtain. As we age, we loose this natural ability and you might find your skin to be dry. However, the more you moisturize, the less moisture your skin cells will manufacture. For example, some people that suffer from oily, congested skin, one of their issues is that they wash their face too frequently thinking that this will combat the oil and sebum production, where as in fact it is the opposite. The messages sent to the brain from the skin is that the facial skin has no moisture (dry due to washing) therefore the skin needs to produce more moisture/oil to balance this. The bodies natural feedback mechanism becomes impaired. If you are choosing a moisturiser, avoid Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), a preservative and stabilizer. DMDM Hydantoin, a type of formaldehyde-releasing preservative, which can be found in 20 percent of all cosmetics and personal care products (Environmental Working Group), it is a common irritant to eyes, skin and mucous membranes. This is often found in fake tans as well. Of course fragrances and parfums, they are lab made imitations of natural plant molecules, not in their natural form and it is difficult for the body to recognize and process them due to their unrecognisable chemical structure. Though sweet strawberry, coconuty, chocolatey, musky, powdery scented moisturizers, feel great initially, have you thought about what ingredients are used to make them smell so good? You can tell the difference between a natural and synthetic fragrance, the synthetic fragrance is over-powering and lasts a decent while on the skin. This is why they are in such high demand, however they’re not healthy. The synthetic vs. natural aroma market is one of my favourite topics! Exciting things to come! You can count on synthetic fragrances to contain diethyl phthalate, or in simpler terms, endocrine disruptors and toxic to organ systems. Their absorption into your environment reduces the quality of the air you’re breathing and can cause respiratory allergies and asthma. Also beware of Parabens, which we have already been through, Retinyl Palmitate, a form Vitamin A increases skin sensitivity to light, and Triethanolamine (TEA). TEA is a highly alkaline substance that’s used to balance the pH of moisturizers to inhibit bacterial overgrowth by creating an inhospitable environment for growth. It is considered moderately dangerous and should be avoided long-term, according to the Dermatology Review as it is toxic to the immune system and can cause skin and respiratory irritation. Also, it is considered safe for animals and organisms, however manufacturing plants release high levels of TEA into the waterways after production, which is altering the pH of rivers and streams, and the delicate balance of this ecosystem is affected, resulting in toxic shock to the fish, plants and other marine life.
Let them IN!!!
My favourite natural alternatives…
1. Candles || Ecoya Lemongrass and Ginger scented candle. This candle in the Ecoya range is my favourite. This candle in their range uses natural essential oils instead of fragrances. Its aroma is subtle and far from overpowering, its delicious and warming nature is so inviting and grounding on so many levels. The Salus range of candles also use only natural essential oils, free from toxic fragrances, and uses soy wax so you can be certain no nasties are released into your environment. Ylang ylang, is my favourite from Salus if you want something more light and sweet. Soy bases vegetable wax used (non GMO) and cotton wick (lead free) these really are a much better option than conventional candles.
Another beautiful alterative to synthetic candles are candles made from beeswax. Beeswax candles actually assist with detoxifying your air and environment by emit negative ions, which help balance and reduce positively charged ions in the air. To put this health benefit into perspective, all your electronics and appliances emit positive ions into your environment, even walking across static carpet. Indoor areas are higher in positive ions than outside, whilst they are a fact of life, the health concern is that they can carry dust, pollen and even mould particles so anything that can balance out positive ions in the environment is beneficial for your health.
2. Makeup || I am not a big makeup wearer even though I have a massive makeup collection. Even with every colour and shade, I always go for a natural look. A light touch of bronzer is my only daily ritual. I have two favourite brands. The Inika range, a brand that I love and support. Designed by two mamas, desperately needing to detox their toxic products for their own health, created an eco make up brand for women and their products are just amazing! I’ve had the pleasure of receiving amazing training from the top experts on the team at Inika and their products are of such high quality and feel and look beautiful when on, you can do so much with the colours when utilizing the full range. My favourites include the Inika bronzer powder, charcoal eyeliner, which is very soft and smooth just like what you are used to with commercial brands, but naturally. When your on the run, sometimes you just need a little touch of face bronzer to give yourself that glow, a little on the cheeks, and your good to go. My savior when I don’t have all the time in the world for morning rituals with 3 little boys under 5 years old. They have an incredible range of eye shadows as well, which blend beautifully. Whisper and Pink Fetish are my favourite natural tones. If I’m feeling more outgoing and brave or have an event, I add a touch or brightness, either Copper crush (gold tone) or Burnt sienna (warm pink). Another of my favourite bronzers is the Dr Hauschka liquid bronzer.
3. Deodorant || If you want something fresh and zesty go for Weleda Citrus Deodorant, I keep this in the bathroom and then I carry a roll on in my bag for the day. I absolutely love the Euphoria Argan Roll On Organic Deodorant from Lariese. This deodorant is naturally scented with Bergamot Calibrian, Rose Geranium, Organic Mandarin and Neroli Essential Oils to provide a soft fragrance, designed to suit women and men alike, this was the first deodorant to actually work that I tried out of the natural options many many years ago and I am still the biggest fan. It is also Certified Organic. My Agent Nateur N°4 deodorant (Rose) smells amazing with Sandalwood and Rose. It contains gentle, food-grade ingredients, including Organic Coconut Oil, Beeswax, and Sunflower Butter so fabulous for the most sensitive skin, even after shaving. It goes on smoothly and I love the delicate soft scent. I use it straight after the shower when still slightly damp to get a creamy effect.
4. Laundry Products || my go to’s, which feel and smell the most similar to conventional options, with out all the nasties, is Abode Natural Laundry Liquid – Lavender & Mint and Abode Fabric Softener – Comfort. They are thick liquids with a great scent. The most natural and extremely cost effective option, is the Soap Berries. When boiled or mixed through water they produce a natural soap-like foam. Naturally, they contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients, such a good option for those with sensitive skin or problem type skin conditions that have a low tolerance for aromatherapy oils or mainstream products. For general housecleaning as well, just boil the soapberry shells for fifteen minutes, cool and use that the liquid, natural soap! The high level of saponins (responsible for creating the foam) is contained within the shells and is an excellent cleanser. There are many great brands that you can find.
If you want to get creative, and love bulk, I have a great DIY soap recipe for you! Keep your eyes out for it. You will be able to add your own essential oils if you wish. Or you can simply use this quick natural alternative → Add 2 Tablespoon Dr Bronners Sal Suds + 1/4 cup Baking Soda or Washing Soda into your machine and viola… Clean clothes!
5. Body wash || Dr Bronner Lavender Castile soap; I absolutely love everything Dr Bronners, especially as my go to for my shower and for absolutely EVERYTHING around the house. Not only is it a fantastic body wash for myself, but my man loves it, the kids love it, my dogs get bathed with it and its used all around the house as well. Amazing for cleaning make up brushes, jewelry, as shaving cream, removing dirty fingerprints off the couches, even as laundry liquid when I have run out before I can stock up again. Castile soap has so many benefits and uses! When you feel like going all out I would recommend the Dr Hauschka Rose Nurture Body Wash, which has a new divine creamy formula (they have other scents as well; citrus, almond and more). I love the bio-dynamic principles that encompass the Dr Hauschka product range. This body wash combines natural plant oils and Quince Seed extract, and is cleansing with out being drying. Weleda Almond Body Wash is perfect for sensitive skin. This is a gentle, soap-free formula, which helps to regulate the skin’s moisture balance, made out of natural Almond oil. Weleda also overlap on some of the same principles as Dr Hauschka. All of these options can be used on your children too.
6. Moisturiser || Coconut oil, what don’t I use it for? It’s my moisturizer, make up remover, hair treatment, hand cream, nappy rash cream, in between the toes of active sweaty little feet cream to avoid fungal conditions, cooking oil, mouth wash, need I say more. Also, the almighty Weleda Skin food, I make sure I never run out of this little gem, there is always a spare in my house, even though it takes ages to get through. This super thick and oily moisturiser feels amazing as it slowly absorbs into your skin. I use it at night! It also has so many other uses; a face mask, makeup primer under mineral powder, eye cream to reduce puffiness, a protective balm around nose and lips in cold weather, hand and nail/cuticle conditioner, barrier cream for eco fake tanning, any problem areas and as a split end treatment.
There you are! Thanks for reading, hope this gets you off to a great start in swapping over some of your household products, if not all, and gives you a glimpse into choosing healthier options. Inevitably you will feel healthier, and be healthier. Enjoy!
Here are a few other great resources || always strive to educate yourself and grow your own knowledge || Knowledge is power.
• Environmental Working Group – EWG.org
• Cosmetic database https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.Wq3geSN7HMI
• Laundry product database https://www.ewg.org/guides/subcategories/47-LaundryDetergentGeneralPurpose#.Wq3hgyN7HMI
• Good guide
• ThinkDirty App (iphone)
- Steinemann, A et al 2011 “Chemical emissions from residential dryer vents during use of fragranced laundry products,” Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-011-0156-1
- University of Washington 2008, “Toxic Chemicals Found in Common Scented Laundry Products, Air Fresheners,” Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134438.htm