CLEAN UP YOUR HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

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Anything that makes contact with our skin ends up inside our body, and everything that goes into our body has to be processed and expelled.

Manmade chemicals are foreign to the human body and thus require huge amounts of energy to deal with. Because our immune system is expending energy getting rid of these chemicals to protect our vital organs, it has less time to do its other daily chores such as fighting bugs, viruses, allergens, and clearing out old cellular debris. It is therefore no coincidence that cases of allergies linked to food, animals, dust, plants, and grasses are on the increase.

As I have written before, a weakened immune system switches on any genetic weaknesses you may have. On a personal level, my weakened immune system upset my hormonal balance causing digestive pain, anxiety, skin issues and PCOS. “Cleaning up” the household and beauty products I use has played an integral role in healing all the issues mentioned above.

Can you pronounce all the ingredients of your toothpaste? Hand soap? Shampoo? Deodorant? If you can’t, throw it out! It’s hideous for your health and terrible for our environment. Chemical exposure causes huge amounts of disruption to your body, stress levels, sleep patterns and general health. People can experience anything from low energy levels, eczema and asthma to hormonal imbalances, weight issues and mood disorders. Children are particularly at risk, so please choose wisely for them.

As always we need to think holistically – so food, movement and mindfulness practises are massively important in bringing better health. For tips on how to better these areas of your life read here and here.

Here are three places to start “cleaning up”:

TOOTHPASTE

Home-made options

  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda
  • A mix of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil (google search exact measurements)

Store bought options

  • Look for natural and/or organic brands that are free from sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), fluoride, sorbitol, parabens, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone, phthalates, artificial sweeteners, petrochemicals and colourants (and free from any other ingredients you can’t pronounce)
  • Look for the ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’ certification
  • I like Green People and Toms

DEODORANT

This one is super important. We are supposed to sweat – it is one of the major ways we get rid of our toxins. Antiperspirant deodorant contains a mix of chemicals to stop you from sweating, meaning that those toxins have nowhere to go but back into your body. For women this is most often stored in the fatty breast tissue. Antiperspirant deodorant is linked to breast cancer – PLEASE stop using it!

Home-made options

  • A mix of coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder or organic corn starch powder and your choice of essential oils (google search exact measurements)

Store bought options

  • Look for natural and/or organic brands that are free from aluminum, zinc salts, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, triclosan, talc, steareth-n, silica, silicones and dyes (and free from any other ingredients you can’t pronounce)
  • Look for the ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’ certification
  • I like Aubrey Organics

SOAP

Home-made options

  • A mix of coconut oil, olive oil, lye and your choice of essential oils  (google search exact measurements)

Store bought options

  • Look for natural and/or organic brands that are free from ammonia, chlorine, glycol solvents, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, artificial colorants, phosphates or petroleum distillates (and free from any other ingredients you can’t pronounce)
  • Look for the ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’ certification
  • I like Dr Bronners and Oliva

Once you’ve cleaned up these three then move on to your shampoo and conditioner, body moisturiser and perfume. After that you can look into your face creams, sunscreens and all your household cleaning products.

Making these choices will not only have you feeling better, but they will also be helping to better care and support the people sourcing, manufacturing and selling these items…and don’t forget about the positive impact they will also have on the environment and animal welfare. Good choices!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOOSING NATURAL CANDLES

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Choosing the right type of candle is yet another way to help clean up in your home, your health and the environment. Candles can be a huge source of indoor pollution and thus another totally unnecessary toxic product around the average home.

WHAT’S WRONG?:

Most candles are made from paraffin wax (a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or oil shale). When heated, this wax creates carcinogens (benzene and toluene) similar to those fumes that diesel cars emit. Wicks often contain lead (America is the only country with regulations against the use of lead), and the dyes used to colour the candles can also be chemically derived, adding to the cocktail of fumes entering your home (and body).

These toxins, heavy metals and chemicals are incredibly harmful to our health and our environment. They produce toxic petrol-carbon soot, which can blacken walls, furniture and ceilings, so you can only imagine what they might do to your health – breathing issues, allergies, hormone disruption, behavioural problems, learning difficulties and numerous other health problems.

So if you don’t fancy inhaling all of this inside your home when you light your lovely scented candles, then follow these tips below:

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CANDLES: 

  • Candles should be made with 100% natural ingredients (ingredients you can pronounce and recognise). Ideally their ingredients are sourced from sustainable and renewable annual crops from long-established farms. This way you know you are supporting not only the health of the planet, but also those hard working humans who are doing their best to keep things green.
  • Candles should be made from soy (GM free) or bees wax (ethically sourced) – these also have a much longer burning time than petroleum candles
  • Candles should be scented with natural essential oils – these are health enhancing and a beautiful way to cleanse and bring a lovely feel to your home. Choose lavender for calming, citrus for uplifting, rose for comfort.
  • Candles should state they are petroleum and chemical free. Wicks should be made from natural products such as cotton, paper or hemp.
  • Natural candles are more expensive but for obvious but very good reasons – natural ingredients are more expensive to source, require more attention and time due to their temperamental nature and are often produced by people paying fair wages and against testing on animals.

The Soy Candle Company is my favourite brand, they tick all the boxes and more! Their candles have divine mood enhancing scents, burn cleanly and last much longer than regular candles (you can even use the leftover scented wax as a moisturiser!). They are beautifully packaged and presented too so look gorgeous in your home or make a perfect gift!

ORIGINS: OUR ROOTS, OUR PLANET, OUR FUTURE

“Four years, 19 countries, and 24 experts in anthropology, medicine, ecology, and health have exposed the roots of our DNA and how to prevent the modern world from making you sick.” – well.org

This film is informative, thought provoking and well-substantiated. It addresses many of the issues I have written on and am passionate about. I highly recommend you view it while it’s still free to watch.

‘Origins’ addresses the importance of getting back to nature with how we eat, move and exist. It looks into how many unneccessary modern illnesses suffered by humans of all ages are triggered and the multiple different ways they are made worse. These include over-prescribed medical drugs, our disconnect and disrespect of nature, over-sanitised modern living, the glorification of “busy”, and our inability to slow down and tune in to ourselves.

Enjoy “rare access to 38 of the world’s most respected authorities – from Harvard-Trained physicians to natural beauty experts to heads of sustainability councils to board-certified nutritionists and others.” – Origins Deep Dive

 

 

HOUSE PLANTS HEAL US!

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I love filling my house with a variety of indoor plants – not only do they look great, but they also bring with them a raft of other benefits. Our houses are becoming increasingly toxic with electromagnetic pollution from laptops, mobile phones, televisions and microwaves, not to mention chemical-laden cleaning products, paints, glues, detergents, scents, carpets and so on. These invisible toxins pollute the indoor air we breathe and contribute to many unnecessary ailments by challenging our respiratory and detoxification systems. It is sad to learn that indoor pollution has been ranked as one of the world’s greatest public health risks. This is not great news for us, but even more at risk are our children whose sensitive systems are already battling far more man-made pollutants than we ever did.

Intuitively we seek nature to restore our senses and recharge our batteries so it really is a no-brainer – the best and most natural way to cleanse our inside air and boost our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health: fill the house and workspace with plants. If you’re not already bringing the outdoors in, then now really is the time!

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Mother nature kicks butt yet again!

All plants produce oxygen – the most essential chemical without which we cannot live – and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air, but there are specific species that offer all manner of different healing and balancing properties such as:

  • eliminating significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene – the top three volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • filtering contaminants such as cigarette smoke, allergens and electromagnetic pollution (particularly cactus)
  • offering powerful medicinal benefits
  • dehumidifying and softening the air
  • decreasing dust
  • keeping air temperatures down
  • reduce airborne mould and bacteria

…which in turn help us:

  • fight colds
  • reduce headaches (particularly gerbera daisies and lilies)
  • relieve pain
  • clear congestion (particularly eucalyptus)
  •  fight viral infections and eye and fungal diseases (by balancing humidity levels)
  • reduce stress and anxiety levels and systolic blood pressure
  • reduce drowsiness and sharpen our minds and reaction times
  • speed up hospital patients recovery time from illness and surgery
  • create a sense of calm and well-being
  • improve sleep (particularly gerbera daisies) – you are 10,000 times more sensitive to chemical and electrical pollution when you are sleeping so absolutely keep a plants near your bed!
  • help heal dry, cut or burnt skin (particularly aloe vera)
  • help prevent and build tolerances to allergies when exposed to young children

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My Top Nine Household Plants!

1) Boston Fern

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  • Said to be the best air humidifier and air purifier, especially great at clearing formaldehyde from the air

2) Spider Plant

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  • Purifies the air rapidly
  • Clears benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene from the air (solvents used in leather, rubber and printing industries)

3) Christmas Cactus

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  • Great for cleaning the air of electromagnetic pollution
  • Place them in your lounge or work space where you have computers, heavy lighting, TVs, telephones and so on.

4) Snake Plant

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  • Filters out formaldehyde and absorbs nitrogen oxides
  • Very resilient (tolerate low light and needs few waterings)

5) Aloe

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  • Clears formaldehyde and benzene from the air – found in chemical cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues, personal care products and paints so keep this plant in your bathroom or bedroom
  • When applied topically it is wonderful at healing and soothing burns, cuts, psoriasis, bug bites and dry skin.

6) Chrysanthemum

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  • Filters benzene (found in glue, paint, plastics, detergents) and  ammonia (found in solvents and cleaners)

7) Bamboo Palm

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  • Filters the top three VOCs and great air humidifier
  • A good choice for placing around furniture that could leaching out formaldehyde

8) Peace Lilly

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  • Excellent at removing the main three VOCs
  • Removes mould spores from the air so great for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms

9) Gerbera Daisy

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  • Great at removing benzene
  • Absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen overnight, which makes for a much better sleep so keep this near your bed!

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The scientific proof is all there, even NASA’s BioHome is filled with common houseplants to purify the air and “absorb chemical pollutants resulting from synthetic materials in the living area”!  So take yourself off to your local plant nursery and help yourself and all the people around you live happier, longer, more creative and stimulating lives with the beautiful sights and pleasant aromas that house plants bring.

CLEAN OUT THE TOXINS!

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We all know about the hazards of making poor eating choices yet how many of us think about what’s in the products we use to clean the house, ourselves, loved ones and our animals? Remember ANYTHING that makes contact with our skin ends up inside our body and EVERYTHING that goes into our body has to be processed and expelled…so it makes sense that we should only come into contact with natural familiar products that can deal with efficiently and safely.

Man-made chemicals can be found in thousands of products around the home: cleaning and washing detergents, beauty products, toilet paper, plastic food and drink containers and packaging, ingredients added to processed foods as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides sprayed on produce and so on. Chemical exposure causes huge amounts of disruption to your body, stress levels, sleep patterns and general health. People can experience anything from low energy levels, eczema and asthma to hormonal imbalances, weight issues and mood disorders. Children are particularly at risk.

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FOOD

  • Buy fresh organic spray free meat, fish (wild), fruit, veg, nuts, seeds wherever possible
  • Buy produce without plastic packaging
  • Avoid produce in aluminium cans/tins – especially tomatoes which quickly corrode the tin lining thus seeping in aluminium
  • Avoid cooking with aluminium pots and pans
  • Rinse and pat dry all fruit and veg before eating
  • Use a good quality veg and fruit wash or make your own (juice of 1 lemon, 2 TBSP white vinegar, 1 C water – keep in a spray bottle)

Following the above tips will help you avoid disrupting your endocrine system – the system that influences almost every cell, organ and function in our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism. Particularly harmful are the  ‘obesogens’ which mimic the fat making hormone eostrogen  – so the more we have of this the fatter we will become (not to mention the hormonal disturbances too).

WATER

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be lucky enough to be able to drink fresh clean water straight form the tap! If you’re not so fortunate try the below tips

  • A whole house water filter. An NSF certified water filter will remove harsh chlorine byproducts so drinking and bathing water will be toxin free.
  • Find natural water sources near to you. Try this great website: http://www.findaspring.com/locate/
  • Following that, you want to buy good quality well sourced mineral water bottled in glass
  • Drink from a steel drink bottle – avoid bottles made from plastic, aluminium and polycarbonate

HOUSEHOLD CLEANING

Household cleaners and detergents are a major source of chemical exposure for many people. If you or those around you are suffering from reoccurring health issues related to skin, breathing, digestion, energy and mood, you absolutely MUST look into the cleaning products used around your house. Mainstream cleaners and some ‘Green’ cleaners are packed full of toxic substances that will disrupt  all sorts of natural processes in your body. Children suffer even greater – so please look into this if you have kiddies about the house.

TOP 10 INGREDIENTS YOU MUST AVOID

Phosphates – kill marine life once they exit our water system

Ammonia – irritates the nose and throat and irritates the skin. Can disrupt liver and kidney function

Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) – cause respiratory problems such as asthma and wheezing

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE’s) – cause reproductive defects, liver and kidney damage

Phthalates – cause sperm damage and reproductive defects in boys

Ethanolamines – cause dermatitis

TOP 10 NATURAL CLEANERS

Baking soda

Lemon juice

White vinegar

Vodka

Liquid castille soap (Dr Bronner’s)

Hydrogen peroxide

Egg shells – check this out!

Borax

Microfiber cloths

Organic essential oils

This short video has some great tips for how to clean your floors, windows, surfaces, mould, silver, red wine stains, unblock your drain, clean your laundry whites to name a few!