As time goes on, we have found ways to do things "faster and easier". But at what cost? The foods we can purchase last for longer periods of time - but only because they are processed with chemicals that have who-knows-what long term effects. Consumer goods from hair bands to sport utility vehicles can be produced with surprising speed and efficiency. Everything from cleaning your kitchen to diapering your child has been made more convenient. But again--at what cost?
My husband and I have taken certain strides to counteract the cost of convenience that this day and age has brought us. While we appreciate innovation and the birth of new ideas and invention, we also embrace the efficacy of "the good old fashioned way". Sometimes, between wading through media influence and not wanting to seem "weird" to our peers, we (and I use that as a general term) shrug off the simple and natural way of doing things and just go with the crowd. But with that, we invite a myriad of toxins and chemicals into our lives and homes - and that scares me.
I also worry about what kind of long-term effects our decisions will have on future generations. Take a look at the cleaners you have in your home. Do you know what every ingredient is or why it's there or what it's there for? What's in the lotion you use? What is in the cleanser you rub into your face every day? What is in the laundry detergent and/or fabric softener that coats the clothes you wear every day? What is in the spray bottle that you used to clean the counter top that you made your last meal on? What are these things doing to the earth? How does all of this manufactured junk effect the soil and the atmosphere? How much crap are we going to keep throwing into landfills?
To be honest, a couple of years ago - I couldn't answer most (or any) of those questions. But now...
I clean my entire house with three things: vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. That's it. Well, I do add essential oils to the vinegar to make it smell good (and for their other natural, beneficial properties). I know exactly what I'm cleaning with and I don't have to hide or lock up my cleaning supplies. My two year old is more than welcome to explore the cleaning cupboard - and explore he does! I love not having to worry about him drinking poisons, because I don't clean with them. And you know what? Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda can tackle every cleaning job in my house. I use them in the kitchen. I use them in the bathroom. I use them everywhere. Vinegar does a fantastic job cutting through grease and dirt and hydrogen peroxide sanitizes. Baking soda is great for those jobs that really need a good scrub. And again - toxin-free. Another HUGE benefit? I am saving TONS of money! I can buy a huge jug of vinegar for just couple of bucks - and that will fill a pretty large spray bottle a few times. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are dirt-cheap too!
I've been making an effort to make foods and meals from scratch - just for the peace of mind of knowing exactly what I'm eating. I'm learning a lot about food and health and my own abilities to provide delicious and healthy meals for my family. Just today, I made my own peanut butter! Guess what's in it? Peanuts. And...that's it! Just toss some peanuts into the ol' food processor and blend away until you have peanut butter. It only took around two or three minutes and then I was dipping my finger into some of the best peanut butter I've ever tasted!
I make my own smoothies with chopped up fruit, blue agave nectar, kefir, and fresh greens.
The other day, I made the best freaking meatballs I've ever tasted.
Here, they are raw - on a baking sheet bound for the oven..
After my son was diagnosed with KP we were told to use a certain kind of lotion to combat it. The lotion is 12% lactic acid and contains who knows what else. It smelled horrible and my son started crying when we would try to use it on his arms and legs. He complained about it stinging/burning (as best he could), so we stopped using it. We weren't super concerned about it, because he has the type of KP that is non-irritating (keratosis pilaris alba). But I would still like for him to have that smooth baby skin all over - without patches of KP. So what to use? My mother in law (who works for a chiropractor/alternative (homeopathic) health practitioner) suggested we try coconut oil. Duh! Why didn't I think of that?! Well guess what? We tried it, and it has worked wonderfully. The entire family now uses organic coconut oil instead of lotion. I love knowing exactly what I am putting on my skin and on my son's skin. It smells great, it moisturizes really well, and coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal. I recently found a "recipe" for some awesome body butter made with coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oil (I plan on using lavender essential oil) that I intend to whip up as soon as I can make a run to the doTERRA office (I just enrolled and I am SO excited to try out some new stuff!) to pick up some lavender. I want to make some and use it on the new baby. ;-)
And, of course, I've been talking a lot about cloth diapering lately. Disposable diapers not only clog up landfills (and will not break down for at least 500 years), but they also contain harmful chemicals. I don't want that junk wrapped up tight against my baby's skin 24/7. Cloth diapering combats both of those issues while also being a sound economical choice. Oh yeah--they'll be washed with my (somewhat) new choice in laundry detergent - a non-toxic, biodegradable detergent that also reduces flammability and does not leave behind residue or other build-up--gotta love Charlie's Soap!
Now, I am not ALL natural. Not by a long shot. You'll still find processed foods in my fridge and cupboard. I have products in my bathroom that are nowhere near as "granola" as this post may make me sound. But I'm working on it! Baby steps. Just trying to work toward a more natural, less toxic life for myself and my family. I hope that more people will start to do their homework and become more aware of what they are putting on and into their bodies.
P.S. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in some natural, non-toxic solutions/remedies for every day issues or replacements for common products, feel free to check out and follow my board: Simple Natural NonToxic.