So, it's a new year with new resolutions and I've seen tons of advice out there for saving money, losing weight and so on. I thought I would share some of my own goals to help others out there (not that I believe I have a large blog following) but more because I care about people and I care about people being healthy. There's a huge following to going green, but what about going natural? We are exposed to tons of toxins on a regular basis and don't even think about how we are poisoning our bodies on a regular basis... here's a few of the biggest hitters that I have changed in our lives, some that also help to save money...
From my research - and don't trust me check it out for yourself. The information is out there. Things to rid my house of for a healthier family:
Beauty products (for a complete list of things to avoid check out http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-ingredients-to-ban-from-your-bathroom.html and Dr. Mercola's list of Toxins to Avoid)
Pesticides on your food
All natural cleaning - Did you know you can clean your entire house with white vinegar and baking soda? Use a little olive oil and lemon juice for furniture polish or water and pure essential oil....
I clean bathrooms and kitchen sinks with baking soda. Mix a little baking soda with soap for the tub... (baking soda costs next to nothing).
White vinegar can remove mold and deodorize.
I also use white vinegar to mop floors (mix a little with hot water and wash away. I use this mixture to sanitize all of Bubby's toys. Why use bleach which is toxic and expensive when I can use natural white vinegar??
Clean glass with water(I do have a special glass cleaning cloth similar to a shammy that works great).
Check out http://www.care2.com/greenliving to see how to make a chemical free cleaning kit. Why spend all the money on household cleaners? If you can't use it while you're pregnant why should you use it at all. This has been one of my biggest goals is to get rid of all the chemicals in our house. JR and I still disagree about bathroom cleaner because it takes a little more elbow grease to do the cleaning but I don't have to run a fan and keep the baby out until the smell goes away. And even if the smell goes away are you still breathing in fumes??...
I no longer buy fabric softener or dryer sheets. I couldn't use them when Lincoln was little because it would irritate his skin. So I now use my homemade laundry soap instead of buying the expensive Dreft. You can find all kinds of recipes out there. Make your own laundry soap
I put half a cup of white vinegar in the place of fabric softener in the wash (this whitens and softens clothes). There's not much of a smell and I use a couple drops of essential oils on a cloth in the drier if I want a subtle fragrance (I love lavender).
You can also make your own essential oils if you don't want to buy them. I know they're expensive but a little goes a long way.
Artificial fragrances. I look for soy candles, no longer use plug in air fresheners. If I want my entire house to smell good I put water in the crockpot with a sliced orange, cinnamon sticks and let simmer throughout the day(you can come up with any number of great smelling remedies here). Or a few drops of essential oils on a double boiler will work too.
Deodorants - the active ingredient Aluminum is a know leading cause of Alzheimers and Parabens are also toxic to our bodies. I've started buying aluminum free deodorants and have found some recipes to make my own now. check it out - Alzheimers
Beauty products - again don't trust me but do a little research. I've started using natural oils in the place of synthetic lotions. Avacado oil, Almond oil or even Vitamin E oil are good substitues and very comparative in costs, especially since you use less and my skin feels great, even for these dry months. Again, if you shouldn't use it while you're pregnant why would you use it at all? I buy a basic soap cleanser, right now I have a huge thing of Cetaphil but once I'm done I'm going to try to find something more natural. For a body scrub or exfoliant I just mix some white or brown sugar with my wash for an inexpensive scrub. For acne I no longer use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acide, just a little raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar as a toner at night will do (Braggs also has a recipe on the back for an all natural energy boost drink). I am still behind on finding better shampoo and body soap and once we've finished what we've got I'm going to switch. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is the foaming agent found in many products and should be avoided. As I phase things out of our house I will give you my recommendations on what I've found to work well.
Plastics - we've all been hearing it for a while and it won't take much to find out why you should avoid using plastic. Have we gotten rid of all plastic? No. I do look for BPA free, avoid using it in the microwave and need to start washing them by hand instead of the dishwasher. When at home I put Lincoln's food in glass but the daycare won't allow me to bring glass containers from home (kinda silly since you can take store bought food in glass... but I have to pick my battles there).
Pesticides. There is a list of food that you should buy organic because they absorb more pesticides than others. I buy all organic for Lincoln's baby food and what I can find at Sams organic. We're still working on finding cost effective ways to do this one because some of my favorites (colored bell peppers) are already expensive enough. Anything with thin skin like apples, pears, berries, peppers, lettuce, spinach and root vegetables I try to buy organic. Things with thick skins I tend to buy what is cheapest.
Artificial sweeteners... Ugh. If you don't already have a feeling these are bad then you should. Avoid these at all costs. I believe you are better off healthwise of having sugar than you are of having artificial sweeteners. The myth that you are healthier with 0 calories is a shame. Diet soft drinks should be banned. There are healthy alternative such as Stevia, a plant based 0 calorie sweetener. It has a little bit of a bitter taste but if you're using the pink stuff you're probably used to us. There's also NuStevia which doesn't have the bitter taste. I Carry packets in my purse, keep them in my car in case I or a friend ever needs one. Go ahead just type in artificial sweetener in your search window and read the warnings.... Aspertame also called sweet poison
And last but not least baby products: Make your own baby wipes. Yes, no more questioning what that smell in baby wipes is and if it is safe. Although I still have to take packaged wipes to school for him at home I can use my own. Again, there are ton of recipes out there for them and you can make your own reusable cloth wipes or just use cheap and readily available paper towels. My favorite solutions so far is 2 c water, 1 tbs baby shampoo or wash, 4 drops essential tea tree oil and 8 drops essential lavender oil. It smells great and works great. I keep it in a spray bottle and just spray if on a wipe as I need it. If you like your wipes warm keep them in some water only in the wipe warmer and then spray on the solution as you need it. You can make soap free solutions too. You can also make your own diaper rash ointment.
This is also my favorite site for making my own baby stuff. Burp clothes, slings, shoes and much more.... Make Your Own Baby Stuff
Enjoy and remember that change happens one step at a time.
My only weight loss recommendation is the Flat Belly Diet. I know I just had a baby (LoL, almost a year ago) but I'm down to my pre-baby weight after 6 weeks of eating on this plan (plus a few extra calories since I'm still breastfeeding). That's a total of 13 lbs now lost over 6 weeks. Yea for me!