Cleaning up our act

So we’ve recently realized that there are large amounts of toxins in A LOT of the toiletries and cleaning products in the average American’s home. Here’s the blog post I found about this subject: http://veggie-kids.blogspot.com/2011/11/toxic-beauty-products.html

We have switched to all natural/organic supplies! After reading the labels, we threw out most of our toiletries and cleaning supplies and got new ones. The unopened ones we actually gave away in our family Christmas, white elephant exchange. They were popular items! Who wouldn’t want a bag full of Clorox wipes, Crest toothpaste, Comet Cleaner, and hand soap for Christmas? It’s a practical gift.

But anyway, we’ve discovered that toiletries in natural form are slightly more expensive, but not too hard to find. We like the Yes To brand, as well as Burt’s Bees and Jason. We have found that Hyvee and Target carry such products, as well as Whole Foods (but sadly, the nearest Whole Foods is 2 hours away). One thing that was tough to find was Fluoride-free toothpaste, but we found some! (Did you know fluoride is bad for you?)

As far as cleaning products, I have done a lot of research and discovered that all you need to clean your home is a few cheap, natural ingredients: club soda, castille soap, borax, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil. For more information on homemade cleaners, check out http://greenlivingideas.com/2008/04/27/natural-cleaning-recipes/.

Now I can clean the shower without gagging and coughing on chemical fumes! It’s also good for the environment, and I think, cheaper than using commercial stuff. I cleaned all my floors, the entire bathroom, AND the kitchen counter with just one cup of club soda and a tablespoon of castille soap. The total cost was probably 50 cents!

Natural/organic makeup has been the hardest to find. I got powder foundation and mascara at Target, tinted moisturizer at Walgreens, and blush and eye shadow online at www.iHerb.com. It’s a great website for finding natural products, including food items. We’re considering buying some groceries off of iHerb since, it’s cheaper than the stores BUT that’s for pre-packaged things. I haven’t compared bulk bin items.

So we’re going grocery shopping tonight! We’ll be trying some new grains we haven’t had before, such as barley, quinoa, and lentils. I am excited as our grocery list is 80% produce and bulk grains and about 95% items that only contain one or a few ingredients. The holidays were difficult! We stayed away from meat, but the dairy temptations were everywhere, as were the unhealthy “beige food” options. Now that the holidays are over, we’ll be better off with our healthy eating.

Here are some tips I learned from my lovely sister-in-law on healthy living/cooking:

Flax – You can susbstitute flax and water for an egg in most baking recipes. Here’s a link to see how to do this: http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2011/10/how-to-make-a-flax-egg-for-vegan-baking-the-right-way/

BPA in cans – We hear all this talk about BPA free plastics and the push to use these. But apparently almost all cans used in canned goods have BPA in the lining. Yikes! So far, the only brand without BPA is Eden Foods. You can find them at Whole Foods or online. Learn more about Eden Foods here: http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=178

Nutritional Yeast – It is used as a substitute for parmesan cheese in vegan recipes and has a nutty flavor. You can find it in the bulk bin section or packaged near the flours and grains in the health food section.

LABELS – Read the labels on all the items you buy. Almost everything contains high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. That’s why I’m trying to stick to eating primarily foods in their simplest forms that haven’t been processed. Make your own sauces and salad dressings to avoid all the extra gunk you can’t pronounce on the label.

Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Equal are just as bad for you as processed sugar. Try using REAL maple syrup, organic honey, or date syrup to sweeten baked goods or snacks.

Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet? How about cutting out drinking pop? Or making salad once a week? Or cutting back on meat and dairy? You can have a healthier life just by taking baby steps to eating better!

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