But first, the Basics.
To make this easier, I’m going to break this down into parts: Home, Beauty, and maybe we will add one more just for the Babies.
For some years now I have made the switch to a more clean non-toxic life – everything from food, products and people. When you remove toxic from your life, you truly become more balanced from the inside out. Detoxifying your life can be overwhelming when thinking about where to begin. However the results can be so good for your mind, body and soul. Think Marie Kondo, but going beyond your home. I’m talking about your fridge, your relationships, your cleaning products and so on. Organizing is key when going through this process and one of our Miami Moms Blog contributors Vanessa just wrote about some great Spring organization tips which is a great place to start.
Where it began
This all started many years ago when our family lost a dog to a tumor. All my life, we’ve always grown up with 2 or 3 dogs. Most, if not all of them, started to develop tumors at some point. I started to wonder why and felt that the one common denominator they all shared was the food. Could it all be connected? We buy these bags of dog food, think it’s healthy and just blame it on their old age. As a result, we started cooking their food.
I then started to think about people and so many who suffer from cancer for example. I realize there are a lot of factors, even genetics in some cases. But still, we don’t have the answers we seek. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say to me, “He has cancer, and nobody knows why. He ate healthy, never smoked, barely drank.”
It drove me to take a hard look at what we were putting in and on our bodies. From there, it was an avalanche. I started listening to my body, realizing my moods, really digging into the root of everything… even my dare I say, IBS. I became curious. What products was I using? Were they clean? Why did I always feel bloated? I began to think about the millions of sweat glands on my body. What seeps into my pores? Have you ever thought about how many times you lick your lips unconsciously while wearing some lip gloss? What might you be ingesting?
The Journey to Nontoxic
Consequently, I began my shift into non-toxic, starting with the people around me. By removing any negative toxicity around me, I started to feel more balanced. It was that simple. Next, my food. I began going vegan/plant-based. I began by cutting out dairy and meats (this coming from a person who savored a charcuterie plate and red wine for dinner and on occasion ate steak tartare from Le Bouchon – if you know me and my family, you know). Finally my cosmetics, bath products and home products took the turn. You name it – mascara, body lotions, soaps, laundry detergent, hand soap, floor cleaner, whatever was in a bottle or jar became nontoxic at home.
It’s kind of like Marie Kondo’ing your life. Suddenly, business relationships and friendships flourished. My skin cleared up and started to glow. What do you know, it was much more than just a green juice to detox my life.
Understanding the Toxicity
As a brief idea, manufacturers are free to put just about anything they want into cosmetics including everything from deodorant to mouthwashes. A manufacturer-controlled safety committee called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel reviews how safe (or not) these ingredients are. Shockingly, 89% of the 10,5000 ingredients used haven’t been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution.
Here is something to think about. Take a look around your bathroom. While it may be clean, are your shampoos, lotions, make up, lip balm, blush, foundations, deodorants, etc.? The EWG, found that ingredients certified by the US government as “known or probable carcinogens” exist in 1 of every 120 cosmetic products on the market. On average, 1 of of every 13 of you reading this, are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens through use of your everyday personal care products. This isn’t just about makeup or women, this applies to men as well. Their deodorants, shaving creams, hair care products etc. Think about this, in 2018 the U.S. was considered the most valuable beauty and personal care market in the world, generating approximately 89.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenue that year.
Have you ever been browsing and seen “no phthalates” labeled on the bottle? It became extremely marketable to put this on the label. Because, this is a group of industrial chemicals that are linked to birth defects and used in many cosmetic products. Sounds crazy, but when I was feeling in my baby’s mouth for new teeth – I can tell you I felt a lot better knowing my polish was nontoxic. P.S. Phthalates are not listed as ingredients on product labels and they can only be detected through laboratory analysis. The European Union (EU) has banned 2 of the most toxic phthalates (DBP and DEHP) from cosmetics products sold but the US remains unregulated.
Making the shift
The shopping part can be a misconception with people arguing that “green products are pricier” or “being vegan is more expensive.” It’s not actually, if you know what you’re looking for. However, detoxifying is a learning process. Trying to get my carnivore husband who once owned a BBQ to shift to plant-based, well, we are still working on it. But he has grown fond of my celery-lemon-apple juice.
Back to products.
An easy place to start is one we Moms know all too well, Target. They carry a lot of great products that are an easy way to begin the shift to “cleaner” cleaning products. If you’re browsing online, you can search their “natural cleaners” category. For example, both Method and Seventh Generation list all of their ingredients on their labels so you know what you’re buying and able to research it. (To paint you a picture, there are some 80,000 chemicals in common use and still some that could have unknown toxic effects.). And you can cross check anything on the apps mentioned above. Is it a trend or here to stay? Well, ever wondered why lately you see your everyday products with labeling like: “powered by plants,” “plant-based ingredients?”
A Starting Place
Now more than ever, there is tons of research and information available on the internet but to simplify, let’s start with some basics to help you start detoxifying.
- Try to look for products that are EWG Certified. This will help guide you through what is “clean” with a very easy rating system. For new mamas that want to know a bit more about everything from wipes to lotions, check here.
- Download the Think Dirty app. Start by scanning products under your sink, in your shower, your makeup case – even your diaper bag. It will breakdown the ingredients, which ones are deemed safe or not, and explain why. When you come across a red 7, 8, 9 or 10… you’ll begin to question whether you want to keep using that “clean” deodorant or rub that lotion all over your baby’s butt.
- Don’t buy the label. Just because it says “clean” or “organic” doesn’t mean that all the ingredients are. Be wary of things that say “natural.” It takes a minute to understand it, and it’s a learning process but once you do, you’ll be shopping clean and nontoxic without a second thought.