You may have heard claims like cell phones causing brain tumors, sunscreens causing cancer, and fruits and vegetables being loaded with harmful pesticides. With all of these scary claims about things we use on a daily basis, it is easy to worry that we will never feel safe. However, I try and remind myself of the positives, like the fact that people nowadays live longer than ever before, so we must be doing something right! With that being said, unfortunately there are some harmful ingredients that are in products that we use every day. Knowledge is power, and just a few simple shifts in your everyday life can greatly impact you, your family, and even your pet’s, health over time. Here are 5 easy ways to make your life less toxic:
1.) Change up your water bottle
Switching to a glass water bottle will not only impact your health, but it will also benefit the environment AND save you money in the long run! You have probably heard of the chemical “BPA” which stands for bisphenol-A. BPA is found in plastic, like water bottles, and can leach into your water. Over time, drinking water that is exposed to low levels of BPA can make a great impact on our health. Studies have found links between BPA and breast cancer, prostate cancer, neurological disorders, infertility, and heart disease just to name a few. Luckily, many products have become BPA free, but they can still release BPS, another harmful chemical, which even in small amounts, can mimic estrogen in your body and can change the way your endocrine system functions.
By switching to a glass water bottle, you won’t have to worry about any of these things! They are also super easy to clean, and by sticking with the same bottle, you will save money AND the environment by not buying countless disposable bottles.
The bottle I use can be found here.
2.) Switch to a natural deodorant
Contrary to what some may think, anti-perspirants do not STOP the sweating process. Instead, they contain aluminum which blocks the eccrine sweat glands up. The problem is, these compounds get absorbed in our body and can be detrimental to our health in the long-term. Just like parabens, another common ingredient found in deodorant, they can mimic estrogen in our body, changing the way our endocrine system functions. Other common ingredients found in deodorant such as silica, triclosan, talc and steareth-n, have all been linked to cancer.
For very little money, you can switch to a natural deodorant and do your health a big favor. Now I do have to say that natural deodorants do work a bit differently than what you may be used to, so it may take a bit of time to find one that works best for you. Your body will need time to adjust to using a natural deodorant, especially if you were used to using an anti-perspirant and the pores in your armpits have been blocked daily for a long time. Your pits will basically need some time for the pores to open up again so that your body can start sweating naturally again. So know that it will take time, but that it will be so worth it for your well-being.
I personally love Crystal Essence and have found it to be the longest lasting during the day. Other natural deodorants, many of which carry male and female products, include: Jason, Kopari, Schmidt’s, Tarte, Ursa Major, ThinkSport, Toms, Everyone and Native.
3.) Use non-toxic cleaning products in your home
You use cleaning products to, well, clean, but many brand name cleaning supplies surprisingly contain toxic chemicals that can be very dangerous to our health (and our pet’s health!). Many cleaning ingredients can be highly irritating to our eyes, skin and respiratory system, can cause chemical burns, and have even been associated with cancer in the long-term. You want a clean house, but is it really worth putting your health at risk too? Studies are looking at long-term exposure to ingredients in everyday cleaning products and links to infertility, breast cancer, birth defects.
I spent a good deal of time learning about the dangers of household cleaning products and eliminating them from our home and replacing them with more natural alternatives. One product I love is called Branch Basics (click here for more info). The two women who created this company have personal stories on how household cleaning products negatively impacted their lives and how they decided to make a company of their own that made products that were safe for humans and pets, plant & mineral based, free of harmful preservatives, biodegradable, not tested on animals and non-GMO. I bought the “Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost” which is all of their products, but you can buy them individually too! A quick Google search can also teach you ways to clean your home with natural ingredients that you may already have, like essential oils, baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap to name a few. Below are a couple of quick and easy recipes that you can use to make your own cleaner:
All Purpose Cleaner and Deodorizer
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 quart warm water
Mix ingredients together in a bucket and use with a clean sponge or towel to clean countertops, stainless steel sinks, appliances, and the refrigerator.
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons castille soap
- 30 drops tea tree oil
- 20 drops orange/lemon/or grapefruit essential oil
- 16oz spray bottle
Pour water and baking soda into the bottle, shake to combine. Add castille soap and essential oils and gently shake again to mix solution. Spray onto tub, tile, toilet, sink, and floor to clean. Best if you let sit for a minute before wiping with a clean sponge or towel.
*Sidenote, but most natural cleaning products can be used as laundry detergent as well. What we wear and how we wash our clothes matters too!
4.) Use non-toxic soaps and lotions
Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs 60% of the products that we put onto it. With this being said, we should be extra careful of things like soap and lotion that most of us probably slather on without giving a second thought.
Sadly, cosmetics and personal-care products are not very regulated and labeling such as “natural” and “organic” does not necessarily mean anything. In fact, many products who claim to be natural and organic still contain dangerous ingredients, many of which have been linked to things such as reproductive toxicity, irregular periods, allergies, hormone disruption, tumor growth, and certain cancers.. The regulations for the cosmetic and personal-care industry are sadly very limited, and thus products are being sold that are not good for our health. When shopping for natural skincare, some things to look for include:
- Products that are free of any of the ingredients listed here
- Not tested on animals
- No synthetic colors or fragrances
- Products that are sustainably and ethically sourced
- Do not contain parabéns
- Organic BUT know that The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is the only true organic standard for skin care products so look for that labeling.
The Environmental Workers Group has tested and rated over 70,000 products to make to take the guesswork out of whether products are safe for consumers to use or not. When in doubt about a product, check out their website for a rating and a review before you decide to purchase!
5.) Cut out toxic people in your life
The cheapest, but perhaps the most difficult, way to live a less-toxic life is by cutting people who no longer server your soul out of it. Have you ever had those friends that are so draining and spending time with them is more exhausting than it is fun? Life is short, and it’s a waste to spend time with people who don’t uplift us. Sometimes you just need to cut the cord on relationships that drain you, but in the end you will be more fulfilled and happy from doing so. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health!