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Ditch The Harmful Chemicals and Embrace Natural Alternatives

On our journey to wellness, my husband and I said goodbye to many common household solutions, homecare remedies and person care products – in search of healthier, safer, natural alternatives.

Many of the household cleaning products, beauty and skin care products we use each day contain thousands of dangerous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, bleach, Ammonia, parabens, fragrance, formaldehyde, just to name just a few. Toxins that are known to have negative effects on our organs, immune system, respiratory system, hormones and some proven to be carcinogenic. Even many over the counter homecare remedies contain a never ending list of ingredients, many of which the average person cannot even pronounce and most of us are not fully aware of the potential short term and long term effects they may have on our health and well-being.

Over the years, my husband and I have learned to live more simply and do without many of the harmful products we were programmed to believe we could not live without (the power of marketing, right?). Overall it wasn’t easy making this lifestyle change but we knew in the end it would be beneficial for us and our growing family. The more we educated ourselves on the harmful chemicals and the potential effects on our physical and mental state we knew we were on the right track.

Washing dishes, my hands would get red, irritated and blotchy till it got to the point where I couldn’t wash dishes without wearing gloves. I convinced myself that it was because my skin was EXTRA sensitive, but once I changed my dish soap from the “green stuff” to a natural alternative, my hands were fine – no more gloves! In the winter, my face would breakout with the occasional dry patch. I just thought it was a product of our harsh Canadian winters, but once I switched out my beauty products to safer alternatives – no more dry patches! Ditching the chemicals and questionable ingredients for natural alternatives, has been amazing for our families’ health and well-being. Change is hard but without it – we stay the same!

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about eating well and moving often. There are so many reasons why we need to be concerned about the hazardous chemicals and toxins we encounter all around us every day, being absorbed through our skin and inhaled into our bodies. Did you know there are substantially more chemicals in perfume or cologne than in cigarette smoke? It’s no surprise why my eyes used to get irritated every morning after applying perfume. Once I stopped wearing perfume – that all went away, but whenever I encounter anyone who went a little trigger happy with the perfume bottle – the irritation returns.

We may not be able to control our work or school environments but our homes should be the place total wellness begins.

But just because a product says its “natural” does not mean the product is free of additives, artificial ingredients, chemicals or even synthetic “fragrance”. Reading the ingredient list and not just the marketing claims is extremely important, as regulations around the term “natural” are not as stringent as you may think. Becoming an informed shopper and understanding what it is you are truly buying and not just blindly accepting the advertised claims on the product is a great practice. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research and ask a ton of questions!

There are so many household solutions, homecare remedies, beauty and skin care products that can be made at home using ingredients that are easy to find and safe! Making them from scratch allows you to have total control over the ingredients and can save you a ton of money. Over the years, my husband and I have experimented with a variety of homemade natural alternatives listed below. Many of which include the benefits of essential oils – which have become a large part of living a healthier lifestyle in our household!

HOUSEHOLD SOLUTIONS: natural alternatives using ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil and lemon oil to keep our home clean and protected. Items such as an all-purpose cleaner, deodorizer spray and air-purification solutions and more!

PERSONAL CARE: beauty and skin care alternatives such as incentive and daily moisturizers, exfoliate, dry shampoo, cuticle treatment, eyebrow and eyelash serum are easy to make using ingredients such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, castor oil, cacao powder, coconut oil, flax seeds. Many of my homemade beauty products are made with common everyday kitchen staples and are totally edible!

HOMECARE REMEDIES: natural healing alternatives free of harmful synthetics and ingredients that cannot be pronounced including acne remedies, headache relief, aromatherapy, digestive aids and even pain relief from burns and cuts – using a variety of essential oils which have the power to relieve symptoms, as well as restore, support and maintain good health – naturally!

We have made a conscious effort to ensure that the majority of the products we use each day are gentle on the body and the environment. In most cases they can even be ingested without harm. Can you say the same about the common everyday products in your cabinets?

On our journey to whole-life wellness we have been diligent in searching out companies that share the same values in quality and purity and produce products that were worthy of our hard earned dollars. The majority of superior, natural products available on the shelves or online come with a hefty price tag and on that note; NOT all essential oils are created equal. Essential oils are available almost everywhere nowadays and some are cheaper than others.

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts (harvested from farm-grown and wild crafted plants, herbs and trees) obtained by careful steam distillation, cold pressing or resin tapping. So it makes sense that if plants are grown with pesticides or herbicides and/or if they are not distilled properly or mixed with tons of fillers – they will not be of high therapeutic grade quality.

Did you know that a bottle of an essential oil with only 5% of the actual plant oil can still be labeled “pure” even though the remaining 95% is fillers or additives?

Young Living is a world leader in essential oils and dedicates significant resources to providing the purest, most authentic essential oils possible. Purity starts from the ground up, which is why the sourcing of premium botanicals is so important and the quality control around the Young Living owned farms as well as their partner farms including sustainably sourcing rare botanicals and partnering with sources that produce essential oils and ingredients that are ethical. If you are interested in learning more about the restorative properties of essential oils and the good health they support, contact me and I would be happy to provide more info.

Guided Wellness Tips: If you are looking for ways on how to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins at home – it may be overwhelming and hard to know just where to begin. Here are some Tips that worked for our family:

STEP 1: Live More Simply.
Consider what you actually use on the daily and what you can live without. There are likely many household products, homecare remedies and personal care items that you rarely use. You may have multiple brands of the same product – do you need his and her shaving creams, multiple bottles of shampoo all those body lotions? Are you really using all of the household cleaners under your sink? Could a good all-purpose cleaner replace a few of them?

STEP 2: Rip the Band-Aid.
Now that you have taken inventory and removed the products, you rarely use (or multiple versions of the same product) why not take it one-step further. Get rid of the harmful products that are only doing you and your family harm. Start with items including synthetic fragrance like scented candles, harmful air fresheners. Next the cleaning products with hazard symbols and dangerous chemicals. Consider your deodorant, sunscreen and lotion, which you apply each day on your skin. Look through your medicine cabinet and responsibly dispose of those over the counter homecare remedies that have a long list of ingredients and side effects longer than the list of benefits. Don’t second guess it, just do it!

STEP 3: Look for Healthier, Safer Alternatives.
The good news is that you don’t have to say goodbye to all the products you got rid of. There are so many options when it comes to finding a natural alternatives but as mentioned above, proceed with caution and look at the ingredient list not just the marketing on the label. A good rule of thumb is to look at the list of ingredients. If it seems there are way, too many ingredients for that type of product and many are hard to pronounce – chances are it may not be as natural as it claims. Likely, there is a better alternative out there and if you have trouble finding one – try making your own!

STEP 4: Consider DIY Natural Alternatives. 
Save the environment, time and money by making your own natural alternatives using natural ingredients including essential oils. Using only a handful of easy to find ingredients, you can make a wind range of common household products. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Guided Wellness to be the first to receive DIY Natural Alternatives direct to your inbox! 

If going natural sounds overwhelming and you cant bear to think of throwing away any of your “trusted” products – trust me it gets better. Change is always hard at first but it gets easier and you will come to love the new products or DIY solutions even better than that “other stuff” but you’ll never know unless you take that first step. The quicker you make the change the quicker you will start reaping the benefits.

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