Sunday, October 23, 2011

What about your bed?

I read these articles lately... and it backs up what I have read elsewhere but hadn't acted on till now.
This is my next priority - to get a safe organic bed and bedding. It's too important as you will see.

The mattress that plays havoc with your hormones

Is your mattress making you sick?

Here's some places I've found to get safe non toxic mattresses and bedding from:

And I'm sure there are others out there. Just be careful that they are quality and sourcing from truly organic places ie US made, wool from sheep organically farmed with no chemicals etc.  I have my eye on a mattress from Cozy Pure so now we just have to save up to get it. I can't wait.  I'll let you know when I do and how it goes!

But I LOVE things that smell nice

Did you know that what you put on your skin or inhale in your lungs goes into your blood and therefore into your brain, your cells, every part of your body?

I had a rude awakening in this whole 'scented' area in my research into chemical free living recently.  I have always been a person that just loved things that smell nice and would go so far as to even smelling the toilet cleaner in the past to ensure I picked one that smelled good!  I loved the thought of living in USA as American girls always smell nice - the scented products over here seem to linger so much more on the skin and all those delectable fruit or vanilla type smells.  On coming to the States in Nov 2009, I immediately took to the Bath and Body Works Stores and loaded up on the sales of beautiful smelling lotions and potions, delighting in the fragrances - I was now like those American girls that smell so good!

Insert rude awakening following my first miscarriage, which as you know, drove me to search everything on my quest to find out about things that had never occurred to me before.  Here's what I discovered about all those fragrances I drowned myself in through the past.

:::  You may say fragrances have been used for centuries and the answer is yes but more recently fragrances have gone synthetic and not so natural, this is the problem. 

::: Synthetic fragrance is man made fragrance and this contains many petroleum based chemicals to start with and also pthalates.  Many of the same chemicals in cigarette smoke are in perfumes and yet there is no regulation in the fragrance industry.

::: Pthalates are plastic softeners that cause serious health problems in humans and animals.  Found in so many things in our lives today, aside from personal products, they are also in anything plastic and vinyl.  They are shown to damage lungs, liver, kidneys and reproductive systems.

::: These chemicals in the fragrances in our laundry detergents, perfumes, makeup, shampoos, lotions and creams etc go directly into our bloodstream - either by direct contact or by breathing them into our lungs. Access through the air to our lungs is the quickest way into the bloodstream which goes to our brains!

      ::: Numerous reports have linked fragrance to conditions such as birth defects, cancer, brain damage, respiratory disorders, chronic skin reactions to name a few.

        ::: Linked to asthma

        ::: The birth defects linked to pthalates are especially bad for baby boys, causing reproductive defects, demasculinization among others.  

        :::  Babies are especially vulnerable,  if they are sucking on anything  plastic, they are ingesting pthalates.

'The National Academy of Sciences reports that 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
But surely, you might say, if there really was a significant health risk created by perfumes and other scented products, the federal government would protect people by attempting to regulate them, right? Guess again. Since the cosmetics industry is self-regulated, it isn't required to register its formulations, test results or consumer complaints with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “The cosmetics manufacturers aren't required to submit safety data to the FDA, so we don't really know what sorts of tests they run,” says Wayne Stevenson of the FDA Cosmetics Registration Section. “When they run tests, they keep the results in their own files. They don't share the information with the FDA.” (source: Emagazine )
More important information courtesy Dherbs
'There are over 600 chemical ingredients that have been linked to cancer or are believed toxic to the reproductive system. Many are used to manufacture perfume and cologne.

In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences grouped fragrances with insecticides, heavy metals, solvents, food additives and certain air pollutants as the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. According to their report, 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxic substances linked to cancer, birth defects and allergic reactions.

Ethanol is a principal chemical in perfume and cologne (and hair spray, shampoo, shaving cream, soap, and nail polisher) that can cause fatigue, irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, and produce a loss of muscular coordination.

Limonene is another principal chemical found in perfume and cologne (and bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and hair spray) that is carcinogenic (cancer-causing). In addition, it can seriously irritate the eyes.

Linalool, also found in perfume and cologne, is a narcotic that causes respiratory disturbances. This chemical contributes to reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression.

Benzyl Acetate is linked to pancreatic cancer, the worst cancer you could develop. Its vapors are irritating to the eyes and the respiratory system. It can also be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects.

Toluene is a solvent that causes headaches and is a reproductive system toxin. It is on the list of chemicals deemed hazardous under Proposition 65.
Toulene is used in many perfumes and colognes on the market today.


There is so much more I can tell you about this... it's a minefield that most people are unaware of.  Go for the safe alternative - pure essential oils.  Pure essential oils are the ONLY option for safe fragrance in everything.

I have actually discovered doTERRA essential oils recently and am currently trying them. They are high grade pure essential oils. There's so much I could tell you about that but I'll save that for another post.  I've been so captivated by all the wonderful things essential oils can do for us as well as providing beautiful smells in place of the synthetic ones that have been permeating my world.
Hope this helps and please do delve into this further yourself too.  It's really important for your health and for your family.
So to sum it up... if it smells scented and it's not natural essential oils then stay far far away from it.
Further info for you on pthalates

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Update on my non toxic cleaning


*  I am very happy with 'Dishmate' for cleaning dishes, it cuts grease and smells great.
*  I am not happy with using Castile soap in a dispenser in the kitchen as it doesn't cut grease at all. I'm probably going to swap it and put some 'Dishmate' into the dispenser for cleaning hands as that is far more effective for kitchen use.
* Vinegar isn't working for me to clean greasy sinks etc after cooking with coconut oil etc.  Baking soda works well though so I'll stick with that.
*  I'm still wiping my wooden chopping boards down with vinegar and then peroxide (both mixed with water in a spray bottle).
*  I am going to look for another option as a multipurpose kitchen cleaner as for me, the vinegar doesn't seem to do anything.  When spraying and wiping the benchtops it just seems to sit on the top, make a horrible smell and not achieve much?
* For the dishwasher I'd been using seventh gen powder in the box which was a good price.  Last time they were sold out so I had to try the seventh generation gel liquid and I'm not liking that so much.  Not getting half as good a clean from that. Will get more of the powder next time if it's available.


* I've been using baking soda and vinegar to clean the bowl along with the scrubbing brush. That seems to work ok - the fizzing action makes it seem more effective?  
* On the toilet seat and around I've been using a 7th Generation spray I still had and I like that.  I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with the process of getting powdered baking soda to scrub the seat down etc - it's messy and time consuming - so will probably stick with some kind of natural non toxic spray that I can buy for now.  Maybe it's just psychological but I'm not confident in vinegar's abilities to really disinfect for the toilet.
* I'm still wanting to try essential oils at some stage as I know there are essential oils that naturally disinfect, I would be happy to try them on the toilet seat and around however.
* For me the shower/bath has been a discouragement.  Yes scrubbing baking soda does work for the bath, however I haven't got time or energy for the mess of trying to scrub baking soda all up the walls of the shower etc so have just been using either pure vinegar or a mix of vinegar and water (which is what many books recommend to clean the shower with).  To me, vinegar isn't enough in the shower to remove the scum from soap etc. (We are using all bar soaps now - fairly basic types, no toxins etc.)  Even mixing vinegar with baking soda in the bath doesn't work - just baking soda and elbow grease works.  Makes for hard work.  And I never feel it really gets it clean - which is discouraging from all the work.
To be honest, for the shower, I'm considering buying and trying one of those non toxic solutions around, such as Pink Solution, BioKleen etc., just to make the job quicker as I don't really have time to scrub and scrub when some other product cleans it faster without the exertion of energy that could be best used elsewhere.


Still using soapnuts and they are going well. I admit I do miss having fragranced laundry, but soapnuts do a good job so no complaints.

That's where I'm at right now! Let me know how your greening adventures are going too!


Stainless Steel - is it all the same quality?

I thought that stainless steel was stainless steel but recently read this article which brought to my attention that not all are quality.  Sometimes they are just coated with stainless steel, and then there is the nickel quantity in it - nickel stops it corroding so the more nickel the better.

Did you know stainless steel should not be magnetic?  If it is,  then it isn't quality stainless steel and will corrode, bend in the oven etc.

To sum up, the best stainless steel food grade that you can get is 18/8 or 18/10 standard. (The 8 and the 10 indicate the nickel level and that's the highest available apparently).

So with this in mind I have been searching for a while for stainless steel ovenware.  I had purchased some cookie sheets, but since reading the article linked above, I realise they are cheap and won't last long unfortunately. Anyway.  I did find on overstock some 18/10 muffin pans, cookie sheets and a jelly roll pan so have put my order in. From the reviews on overstock about these, they are hard to come by so really you have to grab them when you see them.  Hopefully they will last me well. I'll let you know!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Safe Shampoo/Conditioner etc

Ok so I felt I have to follow up the last post with some options for you of safe products to use and where to get them:

Aubrey Organics  
I'm currently using their honeysuckle shampoo and conditioner and it's beautiful.  I'm going to try more of theirs also as our local health store has it for a reasonable price.  They have a HUGE range - like probably over 15 different shampoos with matching conditioners.

You can get it from the website linked above or Amazon has it. Here is a link to the Honeysuckle Conditioner on Amazon but just search under Aubrey Organics on Amazon and you'll find more.

Thera Neem Shampoo and Conditioner
The shampoo is very runny but nice and smells good.  The conditioner smells like coconut and I find it makes my hair so nice.

I found this in our local health store but you can get it on Amazon also. Here is a link to
one of the shampoos they have there.

These are just two we have tried so far that I know are safe.  There are many brands in the health stores but beware many of them still have the bad stuff in - I was shocked to discover that actually!   Brands to still avoid are Giovanni and Avalon among others. Don't be fooled by companies jumping on the bandwagon saying natural or organic but still leaving in some of the bad stuff.  Burts Bees does that too - check the labels first.  Especially watch for fragrance as that is one that I find I easily forget about but it is important too, it needs to be essential oil fragranced only ideally.

Other brands  that have shampoo/conditioners that are organic and safe that I've found so far are:  Dr Hauschka,  Living Nature.  As I find more I will post them. I am aware of a ton of other brands I could list for you but many of them still have some of those ingredients as mentioned above so I will only ever recommend ones that are 100% safe.

Brands that are safe will always list their ingredients and often they will tell you what each ingredient is also. That's how it should be and it saves you looking up what each thing actually is.

Do you know what is in your shampoo and therefore your blood?

If you're like I was you blindly assume that if a product is on the shelf at the supermarket and widely advertised, that it must be absolutely safe for the consumer without doubt.... because after all there should be bodies whose main job is to monitor these kind of things.  Well I hate to break that bubble - but it's not true and no one is looking out for you and your family as much as they should be.  Regulations are VERY lax and it's shocking to discover.  It's really driven me to the understanding that I need to watch every little thing that I put in or on my body or have in my home because I am not going to be a guinea pig, which is really the reality of what's going on these days with everything.

So to cut to the chase - what is in your shampoo?

I'm going to pick out the common nasties that you will find in pretty much any shampoo or conditioner out there (excluding organic of course) and tell you how they will harm you.  This list is from Herbal Essences ingredients list but if you check any shampoo you have you will find at least one or more of these in there:

Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate
In clinical studies SLES and SLS are linked to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children, and liver toxicity. The FDA reports that shampoos with SLES and SLS cause eye irritation, scalp irritation, swelling of the hands, face, and armpit; tangled and fuzzy hair.  The cause for alarm is that SLES and SLS are absorbed into the skin each time it is used where it mimics the hormon Oestrogen. Oestrogen has been known to cause many problems from fertility problems to even causing breast cancer in women (Oestrogen levels are known to be involved).

Cocomide MEA
Any product containing DEA, has been proven by the FDA to cause cancer. Because studies showed it caused cancer, many manufacturers pulled the product out of ingredients. However, manufacturers are still using DEA derivatives such as MEA in products. The FDA says Cocamide MEA is the number one product to contain the most DEA. It has yet to be tested, but is still a cause for concern among consumers.

EDTA alters the skin structure making it a penetration enhancer. It enables other chemicals to sink into the skin and reach the bloodstream more easily.  Add to this the fact that hot showers also open the pores to take in whatever is in your shampoo, the PVC fumes in your shower curtain and pesticide residue etc coming through your water supply - it's a toxic cocktail going straight to your blood in all that shower steam.

Propylene Glycol
It is a petroleum derivative that acts as a solvent, surfactant, and wetting agent. It easily penetrates skin and weakens cellular structure and protein structure. It can cause liver, brain, and kidney abnormalities. It is used in anti-freeze and hydraulic fluids. It is one of the primary irritants of skin, even in low concentrations

Parabens mess with our endocrine system.  They mimic the hormone Oestrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” They also accumulate in the body over time.

If it doesn't say essential oil fragranced it is synthetic and therefore you are exposed to pthalates. Phthalates are industrial compounds found in shampoos that enter the body through the skin and wreak havoc on the endocrine system. In fact, phthalates are associated with male obesity, insulin resistance and reduced sperm production among other things.

Ext Violet 2
Also known as Ext D&C Violet 2 is a known cause of tumors and serious skin rashes on lab rats.  Prolonged exposure to the chemical has cause depression, convulsions, coma and death.  It is also a suspect in causing Leukemia.  Even inhaling the vapors can cause absorption into the skin.

Yellow #5
Yellow #5, Coal tar,  is used to control dandruff; however, it is a known cancer causing agent.

Benzyl Alcohol
An external anaglesics, Benzyl alcohol is applied to the skin to help relive pain. There is strong evidence that Benzyl alcohol causes neurotoxicity in humans and is toxic to the organs.

Also known as CPS, it is a silicone based product that adds lubrication, shine, and waterproofs the hair. It is often used in a combination with dimethicone to provide extra strength, shine, and waterproofing. However, CPS clinical studies that when tested on animals, this product produced tumors, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity (damage to the brain and peripheral nervous system), organ toxicity (non-reproductive), and skin irritation.

Stearyl alcohol
It also keeps the product from separating into dry and oily parts and to keep the foam down when the product is shaken. It is a strong irritant for the skin and eyes. Studies on animals have shown tumor formation when in contact with high doses.

It helps other ingredients dissolve in mixtures that would not normally dissolve. Studies show that in high doses, it does cause cancer and reproductive problems on animals. In moderate doses, studies show that animals have organ toxicity.

Formaldehyde and Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)

Formaldehyde, a suspected human carcinogen found in various brands of shampoos, can cause headaches and respiratory problems. Formaldehyde may also cause damage to the DNA in some individuals. MIT, which is a biocide, also ends up on the ingredient list of some shampoos, according to the Organic Consumers Association. MIT can damage the nervous system and inhibit the growth and development of specialized neuron extensions, which are responsible for cell communication.


Okay so this is just some of the ingredients, believe me the list goes on.  I dare you to go now and check what's in your shampoo and conditioner... and while you're at it, check other skin products and you'll be surprised what else you find these toxins in that you use all the time.

There's options out there that are just as good without all this so don't feel too overwhelmed.
In my opinion, it's better to err on the side of caution - all these things liked to these ingredients are just too serious to play around with.

I have also read many books regarding this that have said the same things.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review on Skincare and makeup from Gabriel Cosmetics

I've had a crazy few weeks hence the delay in posting this however I still soldier on in eliminating plastics and trying to get our home more non toxic.

I've always loved makeup as I'm sure I've mentioned below and recently finally got replies from my favourite make up company that I've loyally bought makeup from for years now - Bobbi Brown - and they confirmed that my favourite products indeed do have toxic things in them.  No lead or mercury but yes other stuff.  Also Napoleon Perdis replied recently as I have a favourite brilliant irridescent blue eye shadow I've loved of theirs and on seeing the ingredients (which they don't normally disclose) I was shocked.

So in my hunt for non toxic makeup, I have found there's quite a few choices out there BUT you have to still check the ingredients in everything! Don't assume because it's in a healthy store that it will be 100% safe.

Gabriel Cosmetics offer free samples if you contact them, so I got in touch interested to find out more about this brand and see if this is something that can work for me. I was particularly interested in their makeup but they graciously included skin care samples with it as well so I thought I'd let you know how I found them.  Gabriel Cosmetics are 100% safe and if you look on their website they list all their ingredients but also tell you what those things actually are - I appreciated that.

Here's my reviews:

Gabriel Color Moisturising Liquid Foundation:  My new favourite!  LOVE this!  It has great coverage for those wanting to even out skin tone. I found that the 'true beige' colour is my exact skin colour which is pretty amazing so it blends perfectly for me.  I wear it to work and find it lasts ten plus hours pretty well.  So happy I went and ordered a bottle of it.  So happy to find something that works that is safe.

Gabriel Color Blush:  I got this in the colour 'rose' and LOVE it.  Its a beautiful dusky shade that I find I can actually contour a bit with too (just looking again at the website the colour on their isn't overly accurate to what it is but then I realise with different screens etc it's hard for them to get it accurate).  Love it on my cheeks, adds a really pretty colour.  Very happy with this product. They actually don't sample this so I bought the full size and am glad I did.

Gabriel Color Lipstick:  Another one that can't be sampled so I went ahead and bought the full size just going by the colours online.  I got 'clay' colour and again have to say I love it.  It's perfect for everyday use.  It's creamy and lasts well.  Very happy with this lipstick - every bit as good as the huge name brands out there but 100% safer too.

Now the skincare samples:

Seaweed Nourishing Moisturiser:  Ok I liked this so much I bought it before even trying the other samples. Great consistency, great under the makeup.  Just like everything about it.

Red Seaweed Purifying Gel Cleanser:  It's a transparent blue gel and the smell reminds me of a bubble bath I had as a child.  Cleans the skin of makeup well with no tight feeling afterwards. I would buy this.

Red Seaweed Cellular Moisturiser:  I find this light on my skin with a gentle honey fragrance.  Nice product, I would buy this.

Marine Anti-Aging Cream:  Found this a bit too heavy for my skin - the consistency of the actual cream is light but I just found it made my skin oily in parts.

Seaweed Hydrating Mask:  This is a transparent green gel.  It gives a cool feeling on the skin the whole time it's on.  I found it started to feel a bit like a burning sensation and my face went red so I took it off. Not for my particular skin I guess.

Hand and Body Moisturiser:  This had a nice consistency but to be honest I didn't like the smell of this.

Marine Anti-Aging Eye Cream: This is a white gel like cream. It smells ok and feels nice on the skin. I tend to just use moisturiser around my eyes now so probably wouldn't buy this.

I still have an exfoliator sample to try but wanted to post this while I have a few moments so you have an idea of what this is like.

I also have a couple of other brands I'm trying out right now and will review them soon too.
Overall I am very impressed with Gabriel Cosmetics. One thing that impressed me also was that the person who is the creator is the one that emailled me back (Gabriel - unless I am mistaken!?) and I thought that was really cool that the creator is involved in his products at all levels. Great customer service there too by the way.

Just to clarify they didn't ask me to review their products and I have no part in their company... just posting how I found their stuff to help others choose... in the same way I'm posting on other brands/products I find good in my search to live a chemical free life. Hope this helps!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So What Skincare and Makeup Is Safe To Use?

Still devastated to get rid of my makeup - I'm a real makeup junkie - I love it as a creative, it's just fun to use and I've really refined it over the years to exactly what I love.  However on writing to one of my all time fav brands Bobbi Brown and getting no responses and finding nothing online I can only assume that they are no divulging their ingredients for a reason.  So I can only assume that they are full of the same toxic chemicals that everything else is. Gutted.

Being accepted for a new job that requires professional makeup I had to really get to it and research safe alternatives that are going to work for me in this new job.  As far as skincare is concerned I'm still using cold pressed extra virgin organic coconut oil for my skin - around my eyes etc. It is fantastic. I love the glow of my skin after and in saying that it's not an oily glow,  my skin looks really healthy.

I was surprised how many options there are out there for safe non toxic makeup.  I will put some links below for you with one warning - you STILL need to check the ingredients and don't just assume they are all safe.  I discovered recently that Bare Escentuals/Minerals that I thought was safe actually has bismuth in it which is questionable and you can actually get mineral products in other brands that don't include that.

An ideal scenario is that you will find products also packaged in something other than plastic ie glass or stainless steel, bamboo or wood or something like that.   Though that isn't always available so that is your choice.  My hope would be that the plastic container they provide it in is at least BPA free.  If you're not sure, probably best to ask or to avoid.  I noticed Suncoat do their lipsticks in bamboo containers which is cool. 

You will notice all of these listed above will give you a complete ingredient listing for every product which is fantastic.  If you're in doubt google any things that you don't know what they are. That's what I did and you start to get a good idea of what's good etc as you're searching for the right product.

I will review the products I purchase as I try them in aims of finding the perfect collection once more but this time with makeup that is non toxic to me and my family.  One less thing to have to worry about.

So far I have purchased from Gabriel Cosmetics:  Lipstick and Blush and really happy with both.  Very nice professional products.  They do have plastic packaging as I thought of that after purchasing them.  I probably should ask them about that.

I have purchased a Dr Hauschka volume mascara which I'm still waiting for it to arrive in the mail.  I actually want to try the Living Nature thickening one also as I have seen good reviews online about that one too. I really like the thick black look in mascara so am more picky because of that. 

I got a sample of nvey makeups corrector - which seems to be ok.  I also purchased a Terra Firma Eye Gel as my all time favourite product before was Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Gel Eyeliner and I was desperately trying to find something to substitute it with.  I think this is the product.  It doesn't last as long as Bobbi's but I can put a few coats on and it goes on quite black.  This product is completely non toxic so no worries about putting that on my eyes at all. So far, happy!

I have some Bare Escentuals foundation and warmth left which I am using just for now till I have money to get better. Bare Escentuals is certainly better than the standard foundations out there but ideally I don't want to use that either.  I will only use it on the days I work and also I have some bare escentuals eyeshadows I use for now too but will replace.

I'm excited that there are so many good options out there and I can only see that industry as getting bigger and bigger as more women make the shift from toxic to non toxic in their makeup.

Some of you may think brands like Origins are safe - but sadly even though they cut out the parabens they have other nasty stuff in their products. I had some, read the ingredients list and had to part with it.  I didn't expect it to come from them. But then remember that they are owned by Estee Lauder who also own my fav Bobbi Brown and others.  Another brand Burts Bees - some of their products are ok - you just have to read the ingredients list and get familiar with stuff that is safe or not.  Remember to watch out for the word fragrance too - as that means pthalates which are really dangerous.  Their packaging is all plastic too which isn't ideal.

Hope that helps! Love to know if any of you have any experience with any of the brands I've mentioned for natural non toxic or any other brands.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Next Project: Eating Chemical Free

So now onto the pantry with this.  I've been reading in yet more books lately about the dangers of GM foods on the human body so have decided I am going to try to eliminate them completely from my diet.  The easiest way to do that is to buy local from farmers that don't use pesticides/herbicides/fungicides etc and to buy food that has the USDA Certified Organic symbol on it as that also tells you it is not GM sourced.

I've subscribed recently to Dr Mercola's emails and gaining really good information on all this.  Here is a link to further information on GM foods and how to avoid them.

These are my goals for the next year:

*  Not to eat any GM food at all ie especially anything corn based or soy based as they are the biggest  GM industries affected

* To only drink filtered tap water and not bottled water  (water or anything in plastic leaches the chemicals from the plastic into the water and then into your body and they build up in body and cause sicknesses. Also bottled water have been proven to be just tap water most of the time.  Also unfiltered tap water has pesticides etc  in it so definitely needs filtering)

* To not eat anything out of a can unless it is enamel lined (cans are lined with BPA which is really serious)

* To not eat any fish - I don't eat much anyway but apparently the mercury levels in all fish is now very high along with other pollutants, thanks to all the stuff in the environment

*  To avoid pesticides/herbicides/fungicides (build up in your blood and cause diseases etc_

* To avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and especially fructose (it gets metabolised by your liver the same way alcohol does - puts on weight quickly and also causes same diseases of liver alcohol does)

* To try to avoid any food in plastic as much as possible.  So I'll try to buy everything in glass or fresh - I realise this is near impossible in today's world but I will try as much as I can all the same.  (The plastics leach into the food)

* To ensure all dairy, eggs, meats are all from grass fed, non gm, no hormones or antiobiotic animals

* To avoid all artificial sweeteners in anything

* Avoid and watch out for MSG in foods or brominated flour

It sounds crazy that it's come to this, to have to avoid so much to stay healthy but after reading all the research and proven links with all this stuff - it is enough to challenge me to do this.  Quality of life is more important than missing out on some processed or preprepared food etc.  Let's see how it goes.

I've discovered a local fast food type place called Chipotle are committed to green and only use local produce and grass fed meat  so that will be my one place that I am safe to go to.  Also a place in town called The Gastro Pub serves local produce and meats in their meals - so I have two places if we want to eat out!

I'm really getting into coconut too after reading the book 'The Coconut Oil Miracle' by Bruce Fyfe and right now am trying out coconut rice.  Coconut oil is fantastic and the only safe oil to cook with but I won't go into all that now.  We have got rid of all oils in the house now except for this and olive oil and it's working out just fine. The coconut oil doesn't put a flavour in your food. Just make sure you get cold pressed extra virgin organic.

This is my plan, it means I have less fast access to food but I'm okay with it.  I'm committed to getting back to whatever it takes to ensure a healthy life as much as possible.  It's amazing what we really don't need too.

Would love to know if anyone else is doing this also out there!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Books Reviewed On This Topic

As you know I have been reading TONS of books on this whole topic.  I just finished another one today and blogged a review on it.  I often pull out key things that stood out to me in those reviews that may be of interest to you and to avoid too much repetition.

I recommend that you check out these reviews and read some of these books for yourself as they really are full of amazing information!

My Book Review Blog is here

Thanks again for walking this journey with me!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Just wanted to write an update on how things are going as we de-chemicalize our home!

Things I have done to date:

* Removed all toxic cleaning products. Am using all natural things - mostly vinegar, baking soda and peroxide.

* Removed all Triclosan.  We now use natural organic soap in the bathroom and a mix of castile soap and water in the kitchen.  )Triclosan takes a couple of weeks to fully get out of the body).  I want to make up that antibacterial at some stage but for now we have an alcohol based one which is safe so will use that.

* Removed all Teflon.  This meant I had to get rid of my Oneida saute pan we use every day, two other cheapo coated frypans, muffin tin, baking trays.  I found a really nice stainless steel saute pan with a lid, the same size for $19 at Walmart which I was so happy about to replace that.  I have yet to find replacements for the muffin tin and baking trays for cookies.  Not sure how easy it will be to find them in stainless steel but I will find them!

I've removed all the plastic chopping boards and replaced it with one bamboo board for vegetables and fruit and one bamboo board for meat.  This seems to be working really well so far.  I went through my utensils and have got rid of nearly all the plastics there.  The only ones left are a couple are stainless steel with plastic handles (well they maybe rubber - not sure) and the spatulas.  I'm not sure what to do about spatulas.  I have a silicone one and the another one.  I think I will ultimately try to find a wooden handled one with a safe rubber top perhaps?  I have mixed feelings on silicone to be honest.  I got a set of bamboo utensils from Bed Bath and Beyond which was really cheap and that has been great so far.

All our kitchen dishes etc are all either glass, ceramic or stainless steel so that is really good!  I need to find a good stainless steel dish rack. I was looking online last night and many of them have a plastic drain rack! So I'll keep looking to find the right one.

I still also need to get rid of the plastic magnetic clips and try to find stainless steel ones.  I'm also now trying to buy food only in glass or in ceramic coated cans only to avoid the BPAs in the plastic. I read the other day that canned tomatoes are the worst because the acidity causes the BPA to leach even more? Or something like that.  Ultimately I want to bottle my own.

We still have a big plastic rubbish bin too which I need to replace with probably stainless steel. I'm guessing wicker probably isn't that hygenic?  The stainless steel ones are expensive though so will have to wait for that one.

Today I returned some things and was able to get a stainless steel large colander. I'm excited about this as this will replace the cheap plastic one we have been using to rinse the fruit etc and hold the fruit in the fridge with.

We already have a water filter on the kitchen tap that is a carbon one so that works well.

Our Dining Table chairs are upholstered and so right now we are sitting on them with a towel over them. I know this isn't great because the problem is they leach out the flame retardant into the dust/air and we breathe it in.  For now we'll have to deal with that and I'm trying to keep the house as dust free as possible.

We are using natural organic soap samples we got from a fair last year right now. We know these are pure and they are really good.  We have ditched all shampoos, conditioners, lotions, moisturisers - EVERYTHING.  Even all my makeup :-(  That was a REALLY hard decision to make as I love my makeup and really had it down to some fantastic favourites after years of trying different stuff. Still, I checked out the ingredients and they aren't safe so they can't stay around here. I'm not risking anything.  We got a pure shampoo from a local health store which I checked the ingredients first and there is nothing bad in it. I was shocked when looking as even in the health store many of the shampoos still had bad stuff in!!!  It's working so far. We had tried another one but it wasn't great - it was a sample size so fortunately didn't last too long!  I find my hair gets greasier now I'm detoxing and maybe it's just part of the process? I'm not sure. But I do find that rinsing my hair in apple cidar vinegar is REALLY good! It makes my hair really nice afterwards.

I did try coconut oil on my hair but didn't do the right thing with it on researching afterwards. I shampooed my hair with it.  It made my hair really greasy.  However I found out later that it's best used as a treatment on your hair and it needs to be warmed.  So I will probably do that again.  Again I find the apple cider vinegar really cuts out the grease when getting it out again.

On the topic of Coconut Oil, I am now using this as my facial moisturiser and it's great!  I use it day and night.  I've always had combination skin and would have thought coconut oil would cause a breakout and was expecting it to be honest, but not at all! My skin looks great! Very healthy!  I'll let you know more after I've been using it longer - I think it's been around a week so far!

I read the other day that toilet paper has BPA in it, along with paper towels and tissues!  It's scary how much we really do marinate in BPAs all day!  Apparently the recycled papers are no better - in fact are probably worse because newspaper ink has BPA in it and newspapers are recycled with the other papers to make the recycled paper.  So, here is my proposition:  I am looking into trying cloth wipes, I know it sounds gross however on thinking about it, it's no different that using cloth wipes for diapering - which I plan to use - and there are methods for it not to be too gross.  I researched it online and you would be surprised how many people are actually doing this now so I am definitely not alone.  Apparently you get lots of cloths (try to get organic cotton or unbleached cotton, otherwise wash a lot before use to get the chemicals out of the fabric first) and have a container of cloths by the toilet.  Then you have a pot/bin with a lid on the other side.  I read lots of different ways to do this so this isn't the only way but I'll probably put baking soda and maybe water in the bottom and will wash every second day.  I have yet to test this though so we'll see how it goes.  I'm just waiting for the organic wipes I got online really cheap to arrive so I can start this.  We will always have toilet paper however for guests and I'm not sure if my husband is up to doing this at this stage.  Still as far as I'm concerned the less BPAs I'm in contact with right now the better for our child.

Our shower curtain is already a fabric safe one - so I'm glad about that. PVC ones are the worst - basically if you can smell it - get rid of it!

With makeup, fortunately I have some Bare Minerals makeup - not much left though. I'm researching that at the moment as I really need a mascara and eyeliner and lip gloss that are non toxic, they are my daily essentials!  I'm probably not going to continue using Bare Minerals only because they are not completely safe, but while I search I have that as a back up if I need makeup.  I actually have just been going without as I'm home most of the time right now anyway.  There are options out there and as soon as I get a job I'll get it so I have makeup to wear to work.

I do eventually want to get a carbon filter for the shower/bath water also particularly to get out any of the herbicide atrazine.

I took all the stash of Laundry Detergents back to where I got them from today actually.  I am currently using a brand called Ecos that I found at Sams Club recently.  It has nothing bad in it and is scented only with Lavender Essential Oil. It's doing a good job cleaning the clothes.  I still have my soap nuts to try also.

I found dryer sheets stashed away and have got rid of them.  Now I know the smell is bad (Pthalates which disrupt hormones) it has changed everything for me as I used to LOVE all those laundry smells.

I have yet to get rid of the plastic buckets, brush and shovel and also I have this washing hamper sorter that I love and was sad to realise it's plastic - in fact I think it's the worst plastic of all - PVC as well.  I've been looking at options and they are all really expensive so I don't know what I'll do about that yet.

I also have to replace all the plastic coated dryer frames, plastic coathangers and hooks too :-(  Hoping I can find substitutes that aren't too expensive.

I have replaced plastic containers with some baskets I found - so my onions now have a wicker basket which actually looks really nice!

I also went through all our food.  I pulled out the canned tomatoes and are giving them away. I have since found the enamel lined cans of tomato which will do for now. It is expensive to buy them that way though so I think I'll need to learn to bottle sooner rather than later!

I found an organic tomato ketchup in a glass bottle at the local health store so we have that now.  I went through all our supplies and got rid of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup (following watching a lecture on youtube by the University Of California about how bad it is - same effect on your body as alcohol because your body converts HFCS into ethanol).  I also found products with MSG (monosodium glutamate) in! I was horrified as this is banned in NZ and Australia so didn't realise to even look for that here, but it is in lots of food! A spinach dip we had even had it in!

I was disappointed to find our bottle of Lea and Perrins had HFCS in, as did our Aunt Jemima's maple syrup!  So it's cleared now.  We have some canned food I'll get rid of then won't replace with cans anyway once done.

I was pleased to find out that IKEA furniture is fairly green and eco friendly. We have IKEA furniture in our room so we don't have to worry too much about that fortunately. The big issue is our bed, knowing it has flame retardants and probably stain protection and who knows what else.  I have a washed cotton mattress protector on it (washed to remove formeldahyde in new products) and our sheets are washed so many times now I'm sure they are safe.  Our pillows and comforter are still questionable however.  Mine probably not so bad as it's from IKEA but my husband has synthetic ones.

I have found a company that do safe non toxic bedding so will buy from them as soon as we have the money.  They are called Cozy Pure.  I like the idea of their pillow the La Noodle and the Kapok so I will let you know when I get those to review them for you.

I also discovered those packets of scented things in our drawers - that used to smell so amazing to me. I have taken them out and will give them away.  Also I have removed all the candles in our house. Apparently the only safe candles are soy candles or beeswax candles.

I will eventually get a new rubbish bin for our bedroom but for now we have an IKEA one which is made of safe plastic.

I also moved our alarm clock to a dresser on the other side of the room. I have heard many times that having devices like that by your bed at night isn't good as it stimulates your mind stopping you getting into that really deep restful sleep.

We have a sofa that is probably some kind of pvc or vinyl which also has flame retardants and also probably stain protectant - so it is leaching all sorts of chemicals into our environment. I'm not sure what to do about that right now to be honest.  Well, we need to sell it and get something organic as soon as we can but it's a big step because we bought this together because we really love it and I don't know how my husband will deal with this either.

My mother in law bought us a wooden rocking chair recently so I sit on that most of the time now. I cover it with a blanket as I'm not sure what the paint is on it yet.  Sometimes I sit on the couch but I sit on a blanket.

Really the living room is full of stuff as the TV is plastic too and leaches BPAs and flame retardants too. I'm just trying to keep it dust free as thats where all this goes.  Maybe when we move in the near future we can deal with this once and for all. I don't think we can ever do anything about the tv though, well there are safer ones so maybe one day we can buy one.

Our apartment is just a one bedroom so because we have been collecting baby stuff etc, it is getting really cramped in here and I have a lot of tubs of stuff stacked by a wall in the living room. This isn't good either as those plastic tubs leach BPAs into the air also.  We have no where else to put them right now and since this is hopefully a temporary living arrangement that will change in the next few months, we will deal with it.

I'm hoping to remember to take my reusable bags in whenever we shop now... hmmm not sure how that will go but I really want to get in the habit. So far I always forget.  My husband and I both drink from stainless steel water bottles too. I got him another one today from TJMaxx really cheap as he needs more than one.

So there we go!  I'm  learning quickly if something is scented, it is bad most of the time. I'm learning to avoid plastic and to watch out for HFCS.  We're eating more coconut in our diet, we use coconut oil (the healthiest oil there is and the only one you should ever cook with) and I'm looking into coconut flour.  I'm also looking into getting glucose instead of sugar as the body metabolises that better since it's more naturally occuring.  Speaking of sugar my husband found 'Cactus Honey Powder' today in an Asian market and it's pure honey from cactus! Some of them are agave apparently but this one is honey. We are delighted as it tastes delicious too.

That's my update! Thanks for reading this! It's a process but I know it's going to be worth it in the end.
Let me know how you're doing with your efforts too! Love learning more on this topic! I still have a pile of books to read too!