An Oily Approach: Toxin Free Living – Is it Possible?

I’ve always believed in the saying “we are what we eat”.  I knew that the quality of the food I was putting on my family table was of the utmost importance.  For 30 plus years I’ve focused on nutritious, organic, non-processed foods … long before the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s phenomena was even an option.  But are we also what we inhale or what we put on our skin?

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An internal nudge that I could no longer ignore prompted me to explore this further and look at the rest of my home environment, not just the food.  Things like my household cleaners and personal care products.  I realize that you don’t know what you don’t know, but for me it was more like I knew, but didn’t really want to know.   What did I know?  That all these products I was using in my home and on my body were filled with toxins that could have long term effects on my health. Why didn’t I really want to know?  Because it meant change and let’s face it, I’m a little lazy.

Now you can certainly find thousands of articles and blog posts about all the nasty chemicals in our everyday products that disrupt hormones, create an over- reaction in our immune system, have an impact on our ability to control our weight and wreak havoc on all our body systems.  I won’t be going into what all those different chemicals are, you can simply Google that to learn more about what you’re exposing yourself to each day.  Simply put, the average person can be exposed to up to 300 chemicals daily just by cooking, cleaning, washing and drying their clothes, washing their hair, brushing their teeth, applying their makeup, deodorant, lotions, and the like.  Unfortunately, beliefs held by consumers are that if products are in stores, all the chemicals used to make them must automatically be safe because regulators have vetted them and that is simply just not true.  A good place to start learning about whether a particular product you’re using is hazardous to your health is to go the Environmental Working Group website at www.ewg.org.  They have an extensive data base that can educate you on all the toxins lurking in various products.

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Making changes like this can seem very daunting.  But for me the reality was that I started to feel like a hypocrite.  For years I was so interested in what I was putting in the mouths of my children, but didn’t consider what I was putting on them.  I was all about holistic health, but didn’t think twice about what I was inhaling when I was cleaning my house or what my skin was absorbing when putting on my makeup. Luckily finding better alternatives ended up being way easier than I anticipated.

I realized that I had taken the first step towards this about 3 years back when I introduced essential oils into my home.  Specifically, Young Living oils because of their high quality and purity.  These small bottles of liquid gold are the key ingredient in what has become my DIY arsenal of home and personal care products.  Little by little I began replacing things like store bought foaming hand soap with a homemade version using Thieves essential oil, unscented castile soap and distilled water. The more I searched, the more I found that there are so many ways to clean my home using natural alternatives like essential oils, vinegar and baking soda, that work way better than store bought cleaners.  Knowing the scary facts about the personal care and beauty industry, I began to explore making my own deodorant, face serum, lotion, insect repellent and sunscreen.  These homemade products are safe, effective and cheap.

You may be thinking that you’re way too busy to start making your own products, and sometimes I am too.  That’s when you have to do your research and find non-toxic alternatives that you can purchase.  I was lucky – I was already a Young Living member, getting 24% off all of my purchases, so I didn’t have to look far to discover all of the chemical free household and personal care products they offer in addition to their essential oils.  Then just last month something magical happened … at least for me it was.  To know me is to know that I love makeup.  But I had not found a chemical free makeup line that was even remotely satisfactory.  I had come to the conclusion that it was not possible to get toxin free makeup that applies well, gives good coverage and lasts all day.  But here’s when the magic happened.  Young Living announced a chemical free mineral makeup line in June.  Admittedly, I was skeptical at first because I was never a fan of mineral makeup.  Truly this makeup is awesome!  I have ditched all my other makeup and use this exclusively.  Now all they need to come out with is non-toxic hair color and nail polish … hint, hint Young Living.

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Now you may not have the incentive to make all these changes, but every single change you do make will make a difference.  Bottom line is, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice safety to gain ease.  Are there still chemicals and toxins in my life? Of course there are.  But over time I’m building a lifestyle that reduces the impact of these toxins by being more aware of where they are coming from and changing some simple daily habits.  It’s easier than you think!

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