Natural Living10 Steps to a Toxin-free Home March 22, 2017 A few weeks ago, I shared a post on White Buffalo Essentials about toxins in the home and got so many comments and questions! I realized that for me, understanding the dangers in existing products we were using is what started our natural living and oils journey. And I’m still learning and switching products out all the time! I realized from those comments and questions that just like I didn’t for so long, many aren’t aware of the toxins and synthetic chemicals we’re surrounding ourselves with. So I put together a series to share what I’ve learned: 10 STEPS TO A TOXIN-FREE HOME. The series has been running throughout this past week on White Buffalo Essentials, but I decided to do a round-up here as well where all of the information is in one place! DISCLAIMER: I need to say this up front. This is my story, our family’s journey. I’ve spent two years researching products we were using and being shocked at what I found, enough that it has changed so much about how we do life as I’ve shared here before. I am not a scientist and don’t claim to be. Every single fact in here are from multiple studies I’ve found on many different resources over the years. But you need to find the facts for yourself. My goal here is to share what we’ve learned, what’s made the difference for us, and then encourage you to look into it for yourself and your own family. Allow this post to just spur you on your own research journey. Plug what you’re using into the Think Dirty App (tells you what’s in the product and what KNOWN dangers of it are). It’s a great resource to get to the bottom of what you’re using! My goal here, as with every single thing I talk about on the blog, is to share what’s genuine and true about our family, what I feel complete purpose in. And there are only a few things our family is more passionate about than living a natural, full life wherever possible. What many people don’t know is that nearly everything we use in our household is filled with toxins. The average American is exposed to over 80 toxins BEFORE breakfast from the toiletries, etc. that we use. Here’s another toxin fact that stopped me in my tracks: a study found that the average umbilical cord has over 200 toxins in it. Wow, they’re everywhere and our families are just taking it all in. So what’s the big deal with toxins? Y’all, they’re linked to some scary stuff: re-structuring of brain processes, many diseases, and the C-word. Did you know that over 90% of cancers aren’t genetic? As in they’re coming from something we’re exposing our bodies and our families to? Study after study has linked toxins and synthetic chemicals to various types of cancer and yet we aren’t really aware of that. When Chris and I learned more about all of this, we both realized it was time to take back our health, protect our family, and start taking toxins seriously. Our first step was with food we eat, which is a huge thing to tackle. But what it took me awhile to realize is that even though we’d drastically changed our diet, we were still being exposed to a ton through household products. Now, I’m a firm believer that we need to entrust our health and our families to God. We live in a broken world and disease will exist. BUT, I also believe God calls us to live the fullest life possible focused on bringing glory to Him and it’s much harder to do that when you’re constantly sick or not at your best. Going all-natural and toxin-free has made our life fuller. We feel better and we have more room and energy for the things that matter. We want our lives to count and focusing on our health wherever we can allows us to do that. So let’s dive in with 10 practical steps we’ve personally taken to rid our family’s exposure to common household toxins. For many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is filled with dangerous toxins. Over the counter toothpaste and mouthwash include so many harmful chemicals…Aspartame, Tricolsan, Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and even Microbeads (plastic pellets), to name a few. These cause a wide variety of issues. For example, Tricolsan is known to disrupt thyroid functions and hormone levels. The other toxins have been linked to brain damage, lower IQ’s in children, and the list of health problems they can cause literally goes on and on. And we are choosing to put that in our mouths twice a day, every day. Am I the only one that scares? Finding a natural option for these was at the top of my list because you’re literally ingesting some of these chemicals when you use them! I love Young Living’s 100% natural, health-boosting versions of these made from essential oils that work better than any other natural options I’ve tried. Next up is something we all use and likely have no clue it’s a problem. First up, most of us don’t realize that what we put onto our body gets quickly absorbed though our skin and into our bloodstream. We think we’re keeping ourselves well by washing our hands everyday with chemical-filled antibacterial soap because it’s killing germs, but we aren’t even aware of the other dangerous things lurking there! With dish detergent, we’re washing the dishes we feed our family off of with chemicals and even if we rinse, molecules linger on our plates and we’re ingesting it when we use them. The list of toxins and chemicals in these typical products is long, but here are a few common ones: synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde, phthalates, and a lot of other words that are hard to pronounce. So what’s the big deal with those? Toxins found in common dish detergents and dish soaps have been known to have the following risks: increased allergies, hormone and endocrine system disruption, organ system toxicity, and the last one is really fun: carcinogens. To see what specific toxins and risk factors your products have, plug what you’re using into the Think Dirty app – it’ll blow your mind! Choosing a natural alternative is clearly safer, but it doesn’t have to compromise function. Essential oils are strong and powerful, y’all! I love using Thieves dish soap and hand soap because while it’s natural, it’s also is made with Thieves- the best wellness boosting oil around! If this journey has taught me anything, it’s to look into what you’re using, think critically, and find the best option for your family. This step right here is what first introduced me to essential oils. When I first realized what chemicals were in the skincare line I’d been using for ten years, I ran the other direction as fast as I could. One of the main active ingredients (Benzoyl Peroxide) had officially been listed on the national list of carcinogens. Other common toxins found in skincare are formaldehyde, aluminum, parabens, and ethanolamine. Of that list, studies have shown all lead to various types of cancer, as well as hormonal changes and a list of other issues. Your skin is the bodies largest organ and what we put on it gets straight into the bloodstream, y’all. Since I made the shift to using essential oils for my skin, not only do I feel a peace that all I’m being exposed to are God-given natural products, but I’ve also experienced the best skin of my life! I’ve quit wearing foundation for the first time ever because my skin is not only clear, but the tone is totally evened out. There are a lot of different ways you can use oils on your skin, but you can read about the specific combo that worked for me here. As I said above, for several years we tackled the food we ate and started using oils for wellness, but I didn’t understand the issue with using normal toiletries and bath products. As I’ve said, the skin is your body’s biggest organ! So anything lathered onto your skin is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream through your pores. I finally realized that removing toxins and all things “fake” from our diet was great, but didn’t touch the overall toxin issue we had unless we changed over all our body products. Most body products have many of the same scary ingredients I’ve mentioned in skincare lines and even toothpaste! You’re looking at things like parabens, formaldehyde, and aluminum that have been proven in many studies to cause cancer, disrupt your hormones and natural body functions, and that’s just scratching the surface. I’ve worked on transitioning all of our body, hair, and bath products to completely natural options. While we do use some pre-made options and bath products from Young Living and love them, I’ve also started dabbling in making some of my own remedies with essential oils! I’m so excited to dive more into that this year. Up next on my list to try is a great essential oil and completely natural recipe I found for dry shampoo (the one I’ve been using has one of the scariest list of ingredients I’ve seen). Y’all know I’ll share my mixtures as soon as I try them! :The options are endless. But Young Living lotions and bath products are some of my favorite natural versions I’ve tried. Once I understood the history and power of essential oils, any natural product made with them verses other natural ingredients wins out in my book because I’ve found it to work the best. But seriously, throwing out those big box toiletries and going natural was the best decision for us. Laundry detergent and fabric softeners/dryer sheets are some of the most toxic items in your house and we’re wearing them on our skin all day. For awhile, I didn’t understand the issue with these – were washing it out, right? Umm, not so much. Our laundry detergents are filled with chemicals that have been linked to compromised reproduction, skin irritants, hormone disrupters, neurotoxins, and respiratory problems. Studies have shown that plenty of those molecules are clinging to our clothes despite the fact that we’re washing them! 83% of fabric softeners have been given a D or F rating from the Environmental Working Group. They’re made to coat our clothes in a layer of slimy chemicals, which is why they feel softer to the touch. The most common is called Quarternary Ammonium Compounds – Google that one, y’all. Okay so what’s the better option? For awhile, I used a detergent from Target with a “green” label thinking I was all good…but the majority of green label detergents have been tested and found to be hardly different than what I listed above! I now use Thieves detergent. I love the very subtle smell and y’all know I love using thieves wherever I can. It’s not just natural, but it literally boosts our immune systems! I also drop a few drops of Purification oil that literally does what it says in with the detergent. It breaks up molecules and purifies instead of masking. This one is super handy for us…especially when I’m washing questionable baby things. For a fabric softener and static reducer, I use wool dryer balls from Amazon and add 2-3 drops of lavender (or any favorite oil) to them! They are a 100% natural way to get softer, static free clothes that you can personalize to your own scent. Plus they speed up drying time. We already do a good bit of laundry over here, but this 37-week pregnant mama sure is thankful to have a safe option that’ll soon be clothing her new baby! Lots of little boy’s laundry happening over here this week and from now on, we’ll be washing two kids’ hardworking clothes. I love for our house to smell good. And with a Great Dane running around, that isn’t always the easiest! For years, I’ve depended on scented candles burning around the clock and canned air fresheners to mask any scents that might be lingering. I’m going to split those two up over the next two categories since my substitute for each is a little different. Synthetic fragrances are likely the most common type of chemical in your house and what I didn’t know for years is that they emit HUNDREDS of harmful chemicals when used that have been found in studies to be carcinogens, respiratory and endocrine disrupters, and reproductive toxicants….even when used at very low levels. Now I realize that when I spray a can of air freshener, I’m very literally polluting our indoor air. We’re breathing it in and even after the scent seems gone, particles still linger all around us clinging to fabrics and surfaces. It wasn’t hard for me to say NO MORE to these when I really looked into it! As a substitute, I’ve created my own spray air freshener. I keep it pre-mixed to make it easy using this amber glass bottle from Whimsy and Wellness (custom label). While my mixture varies, Purification is always there because it breaks up molecules and purifies the air, not just masking scents. I usually add a citrus/sweet scent to it (my personal preference) like Grapefruit. You can adjust the amount of oil depending on how strong you want the scent to be. I’ve found for me that 20 drops of purification and 10 or so of grapefruit work well (remember this is a big bottle and you’ll have it to use for quite awhile!). I fill the rest with water and shake each time before spraying. This is the first thing that truly gets rid of the dog scent in our home and it’s 100% natural…works better AND isn’t harming us? That I can get behind. This one was a hard pill for me to swallow, y’all. I’ve had a long love affair with candles. I love their sweet smelling scents and those flickering flames. As each new season approaches, my favorite thing is to run to Target and pick up a new seasonal candle…gets me so in the mood and fills our home with wonderful scents. Well, sadly y’all, that isn’t all it’s filling it with. Just like with the air freshener post, synthetic fragrances found in candles are no joke. In addition to the scary things those fragrances can lead to, the main ingredient in most conventional candles is Paraffin. It is very literally a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry and releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. The fumes are similar to those released from a Diesel engine and are as dangerous as second hand cigarette smoke. The list of toxic chemicals found in the Paraffin mixture is looooong and they’re all up there on the carcinogen scale, not to mention all of the other bodily functions they disrupt. Here’s the kicker: multiple studies have found that burning a scented candle for an hour is equivalent to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. Talk about stopping me in my tracks! Even though it was a sad habit to break in some ways, I immediately threw out my candle stock when I heard that one. So the good news? Diffusing essential oils is 100% natural, is actually health boosting, and has unlimited scent possibilities! Our diffusers run all day and night and I change up my mixtures based on what’s going on. Sometimes it’s just because it smells pretty (though those combos are good for you too). Often it’s thieves and other wellness mixtures to tackle whatever we’re dealing with. I haven’t met a diffuser combo yet I don’t love! And the best part, it spreads throughout your home and we’ve noticed we can actually smell it instead of barely getting whiffs of those dangerous candles that never seemed to work well enough! So throw out those candles, y’all, and crank that diffuser on high. Most popular household cleaners are dangerously toxic…just take a look at the warning labels. Some of the most common and dangerous chemicals found in most cleaning products are 2-butoxethanol (can contribute to sore throat, pulmonary edema, and even severe liver and kidney damage), ammonia (triggers asthma and chronic bronchitis), and chlorine (respiratory and hormone disruptive). This one is hard because as a mama, I want my house first and foremost to be safe for my babies. But a part of that is ridding the house of germs and keeping it clean! So where can those two things meet without exposing my family to chemicals that are significantly worse than the germs they’re cleaning? I have fallen in love with Thieves cleaner! Not just because it’s safe from all of these chemicals and is made from Thieves oil, which boosts wellness rather than compromising it. BUT it also works better than any cleaner I’ve found! There are many resources out there about Thieves and its’ power to kill bacteria, but this is one I love. And nothing cleans my house as well. For example, I couldn’t find anything that cleaned the grime off of our stove and one wipe with this takes it right away. I keep mine pre-mixed now in this cute Whimsy and Wellness bottle to make it super handy and easy. We use it on all surfaces and literally just buy this one bottle to clean our whole house! You can clean all surfaces in your home with this product. One of these bottles ($22) lasts me at least six months and we use it daily. Many kids bath products, creams, lotions, etc. contain the exact same scary and damaging ingredients I mentioned in the previous posts, but I had to break this one out separately for one key reason: they’re proven to have a more damaging effect on developing children than they do for us adults! As I’ve said, skin is our biggest organ, making absorption into the bloodstream rapid. A baby’s skin is three times thinner than an adults skin and that thickens as they age. Young children are much more vulnerable to toxic exposure from these chemicals because more is absorbed into their skin. Their developing organs and reproductive systems are damaged and effected even more than ours are by toxins they’re exposed to. Learning this has made me work hard on switching over all products Rosie is exposed to. Young Living has an awesome line of kids toiletries that are amazing and an entire line of kids oils! I love them because they’re formulated with kids and their skin in mind, but I also use all of our oils on her as well. So far, we’ve been able to address every issue she has faced with natural, wellness boosting oils that I’m happy are being absorbed into her little body! A lot of you have asked about safety with kids. The only thing I do differently for her is dillute an oil a bit more than I would for myself. Considering their skin is thinner than ours and these oils are powerful, so I mix it with coconut oil a bit more than I would for myself and then rub right on! But the kids oils come pre-diluted, which is why I love them. You can rub them straight on (I would still dilute slightly for babies 2 and under). I love this old picture of Rosie eating what is still her favorite food – boo bays! This step really took me by surprise and was the last of these that I transitioned for our family! It’s so important for me considering how much fruit and veggies we consume…they’re this girls favorite and all of our nutrition depends on them. Toxic herbicides are widely used in America to mass-produce produce for us to consume. These herbicides have been found to destroy your good gut bacteria that’s so important for our overall health and they cause lots and lots of trouble for your endocrine health. That system being disrupted in our bodies can affect so much of how we function. These herbicides, when consumed, also reduce the nutrients in the plant that we require for survival. The most common form of herbicide used is Roundup. It’s sprayed on everything and ends up in our air and water, not just on the produce. Much of our produce today is “Roundup Ready,” meaning it’s been genetically modified to withstand the Roundup that kills weeds and pests. So how can we minimize exposure to all of this? GMO’s have been something we’re tackling for awhile, so buy organic and non-GMO, y’all! But I’ve recently learned that even organic veggies and fruits need to be washed (not just with water). While what they’re exposed to is less scary, there are still things lingering there that are better not to ingest. I’ve become dependent on YL’s fruit and veggie wash. It’s made of essential oils and breaks down all of these scary chemicals, giving me so much peace about what we’re eating. Going toxin-free and finding natural solutions to address all of my family and household needs has been the best decision we ever made! This journey has been life-giving and we haven’t looked back. A huge part I didn’t expect was the amazing team and community that would come along with that! My passion is seeing other families embark on the same natural journey and learning with others as we go is such a blessing. Over the last few years, I have tried what feels like every natural product out there! For us, Young Living products have worked the best or we wouldn’t have used them for two years and I wouldn’t be promoting them! I’ve really cut back on anything sponsored that I do because for me, it has to be so true to how our family functions for me to share it with y’all. This one is, y’all and I’d love to have you on my oily team as we go through life together and figure out how to make the best, most natural decisions for our families! Today through Saturday night at midnight, sign up to join our team and get $20 OFF your Premium Starter Kit (sent via Paypal rebate after purchase) that already comes with: *10 Everyday Oils to address a wide variety of needs *A bonus bottle of Stress Away (the best emotion-boosting blend!) *Samples of Ningxia Red (energy-boosting nutrition drink) and other oils *Diffuser of your choice *Membership in our team’s awesome facebook groups to learn a ton! *An oil reference app The Premium Starter Kit is a huge value and gives you a wide variety of oils to start trying! Come join us, y’all! Essential oils are the oldest, most ancient form of medicine. They were put here by God in plants to help us and embracing them has changed it all for me and so many others. E-mail me with any questions! And if you haven’t already seen it, you can read our natural journey story by clicking here and find out more about the PSK and signing up here.