Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Steps Have I Taken To Go Green? Replacing conventional items with safer/healthier products.

Before I started this green blog, I really had no idea that:
  • The FDA doesn't regulate cosmetics or personal care products.
  • The cosmetics I put on my face were toxic.
  • The deodorant I used had aluminum in it.
  • The food I ate was filled with chemicals and pesticides.
  • The conventional household cleaners I used were filled with harmful chemicals.
  • The dangers of plastics, non-stick cookware, aspartame, and the list goes on.
  • Lots of items on the store shelves are NOT safe for me or the environment.
Okay, so the first half of my life I've been living in a toxic world!

TIP: I've relied on iherb.com, an online store selling over 10,000 items -many brand name natural products to help me go green. With super low shipping, discounted prices, and extremely fast delivery, this site provides me with my personal care items, green cleaning products, gum, mints, vitamins and more- that I can't get locally. Get $5 off your first time iherb.com order when you use my coupon code CEL445. I hope that by shopping at iherb.com, you will be inspired to make healthier choices too:)

I'm hopeful that my chemical footprint will be less visible for the 2nd half of my life.

It does take self-discipline to keep your wallet closed until you are sure that what you are buying is healthy for you, your family, and the environment. You vote with your dollars. Living simply makes sense.

Questions to ask yourself:
  • Why buy 10 toxic products to clean your house when just 2 natural products will work even better? (These products effect you, your family and your pets!)
  • Why slather your face & body with 10 chemical filled personal care items daily when-a few organic or natural products would treat you like the queen you should be?
  • Why eat unhealthy when eating healthy is readily available?
Here are some specific steps I've taken (see below) to continue my lifelong green journey. Maybe this list will inspire you to make some changes in your own life. Be sure to post a comment and share your story.

PERSONAL CARE ITEMS
DEODORANT: Did you know most deodorants on the store shelves feature aluminum as one of the main ingredients? YES! Read this article to find out the dangers of Aluminum in Deodorant I've since replaced conventional deodorant with a straight DIY baking soda paste OR I use Home Health Herbal Magic.

TOOTHPASTE: Replaced conventional toothpaste with straight baking soda paste or I'll use fluoride-free & SLS-free Xyliwhite Toothpaste.
LOTIONS, OILS AND BUTTER:I use Hand-crafted All Natural Creations Shea Butter Lotion for the face. Pure Unrefined African Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or Kiss My Face C's The Day Moisturizer for body moisturizers. For hand and face moisturizer at bedtime: Certified Organic Jojoba Oil or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

PERFUME: Did you know most perfumes are filled with toxic chemicals? Did you know these toxic chemicals can be a health risk to those who wear it, the air around them, and those in their household? YES! Read this article to learn more.

I avoid perfume and limit the products I use that list fragrance as an ingredient. Instead, I use 100% Natural Vanilla on my pulse points when I want to wear a hint of vanilla. This blend is pre-diluted with jojoba oil so it's ready to use. I enjoy the delicious light aroma and health benefits from wearing natural vanilla oil.

What is so bad about Fragrance?
Are you willing to risk your health for a spritz of perfume?

BAR SOAP: Replaced traditional bar soap (i.e. harmful perfumes, artificial additives, dyes, chemicals) with Fragrance-Free Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar soap.

HAND SOAP:
Replaced anti-bacterial soap with Dr. Bronner's Hemp Almond Castile Soap.
Why? Read about the health risks of using Antibacterial Soap

FACE CLEANSER: Replaced traditional face cleanser with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil .
Yes, the same stuff you use in your kitchen!

MAKEUP REMOVER: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO is a major multi-tasker:)

EXFOLIATOR: Replaced store-bought exfoliator with homemade recipe of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil & finely ground cornmeal.

SHAMPOO: Replaced brand name shampoo with SLS-FREE Giovanni Magnetic Energizing Shampoo . Why? "The vast majority of these products (brand name shampoos) contain toxic chemical compounds like MIT that contribute to cancer, liver disorders and neurological diseases."-SOURCE: http://www.naturalnews.com/003210.html. COSMETICS
Before I buy any cosmetics or personal care products, I first check the ingredients and the safety rating on the Skin Deep database here: www.cosmeticsdatabase.org.

Read my interview with Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry here: Author Interview: Stacy Malkan: Not Just A Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of The Beauty Industry

I signed the petition to congress for safe cosmetics, will you?
Click here to petition to congress for safe cosmetics

MASCARA: Replaced mainstream mascara with mercury-free natural Real Purity Mascara. This is the "purest" mascara on the market today.

EYE PENCIL LINER: Replaced conventional eye liner with Honeybee Gardens Joba Colors eye liner.
My interview with President/CEO of Honeybee Gardens.

FOUNDATION & BLUSH: Replaced liquid foundation with Purely Cosmetics mineral makeup.
Benefits of Mineral Makeup

LIPSTICK: I'm a lip balm girl 99.9% of the time these days but when I do want a splash of color on occasion, I wear a hand-crafted Nature's Brilliance By Sue Shea Butter Lipstick. These are super moisturizing and come in variety of fun colors.

LIP BALM: Since I started making my own lip balm, I'll never go back to store-bought balms! Anyone can make their own balm using this kit. For my recipe, I use only 2 ingredients--EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil) and beeswax- which makes a slick (not waxy) moisturizing balm with just a touch of shine.

LIP GLOSS: I make my own DIY gloss which consists of EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil) and Jojoba Oil.

NAIL POLISH: Replaced toxic nail polish with Honeybee Gardens WaterColors Nail Enamel.
This is a water based non-toxic, odorless, and eco-friendly polish. Yes, odorless!

NAIL POLISH REMOVER: Replaced conventional remover with safer no-smell Odorless Nail Polish Remover.


FOOD, DRINK & GUM:
I eat & drink organic whenever I can. Why? Click here to learn the benefits of eating organic
"Chemical pesticides or herbicides to control weeds and pests find their way into our bloodstream through our water and food supply, in the air we breathe and by being absorbed through our skin."-Source http://www.sprig.com/7_Everyday_Environmental_Causes_of_Breast_Cancer/page/2

TABLE SALT: I no longer use conventional table salt. Instead I use either Miracle Krystal Salt
or pink Himalayan Crystal Salt.
OILS: I use EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to cook with and have incorporated EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) into my diet. It's great on stove-top popcorn!

A NOTE ABOUT SODA-->Not only does soda contain aspartame, the so-called sweet poison but it contains other harmful components. Knowing this, I cannot sit down and enjoy a soda.
Instead, I will continue to enjoy my water flavoring it up with a slice of lime or lemon.
Health benefits of lime
Health benefits of lemon

GUM: I've been a major gum chewer all my life so I was determined to find a healthy replacement than what is found on the store shelves. I found aspartame-free Spry Gum which is naturally sweetened with Xylitol. Read this article to find out the health risks of aspartame.

LAUNDRY
Replaced traditional detergent with SOAP NUTS/Laundry Berries, which I sell here on my blog (see right hand side).

Why?
"When we clean our clothing with chlorinated laundry detergent and bleach, inhalation can irritate or damage the lungs and upper airway. Your healthy alternative is to launder your clothes in baking soda or natural detergent. Brighten those whites with borax or non-chlorine bleach. When you stick to the natural stuff, you will not only get truly clean clothes but also help save the environment from degradation."--SOURCE: http://health.yahoo.com/experts/drmao/7141/clean-clothes-and-the-toxins-they-hide/

More about laundry detergent:
source: http://www.sprig.com/7_Everyday_Environmental_Causes_of_Breast_Cancer/page/2
"A class of chemicals called alkylphenols make these products create suds and stabilize the other ingredients. The problem with these chemicals (such as nonoxynol, octoxynol, or nonylphenol ethoxylate) is not only is direct contact risky, but they aren't biodegradable so they can be found in your drinking water and in the air. The danger: A 1994 study published in the medical journal Endocrinology found that these chemicals actually mimic your body's natural estrogen in the body so they can stimulate cell or tumor growth."

CLOTH BAGS:
I created a one-of-a-kind Take A Walk On The Green Side Tote Bag that I take with me when I shop. Makes a great gift or treat yourself to one.

KITCHEN

COOKWARE-->>Replaced non-stick cookware with stainless steel. Why? Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, the chemical name for the coating on non-stick cookware can be toxic to humans.

POPCORN-Replaced microwave popcorn with stainless steel stove-top popper-> Why? A chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The EPA has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.”


PLASTICS-> Replaced plastic storage containers with Pyrex glass storage sets
Why? Source:http://www.sprig.com/7_Everyday_Environmental_Causes_of_Breast_Cancer
"Bisphenol-A, a chemical used to make plastic stable but also leaches out of the plastic and into the food or drinks you ingest. The danger: "Sustained exposure over time can effect your estrogen system to disrupt your normal hormone function of your breast cells to possibly feed and promote cancer," says Janet Gray, Ph.D., director of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center at Vassar College."

SPORTS BOTTLES-->Replaced plastic sports bottles with stainless steel bottles. Why? Plastic bottles contain a number of chemicals, some of which are unhealthy. Use Code 2468 to receive 8% off your order here.

CANNED FOODS-> Limiting my canned food intake. Why? Many canned foods are lined with a plastic coating made from BPA, which can leach into the food. BPA (bisphenol-A,) is an endocrine-disrupting chemical.

CLEANING SOLUTIONS
"Rid your home of toxic chemicals. They harm adults as well as children. There's more to the danger than ingesting poisons: your skin absorbs them, and your lungs inhale the fumes. Your liver and fat cells store them."--SOURCE:
http://www.non-toxic.info/

DISH SOAP:
Dish soap =Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid.
Automatic dishwasher detergent= Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel.
My fave dish towels = Flour Sack Towels.

DUSTING FURNITURE:
Instead of using Pledge, simply dust with a slightly damp (or dry) reusable microfiber wonder cloth. However, if you feel you can't live without a dusting solution, use this HOMEMADE SOLUTION>> 1/4 cup lemon juice mixed with tbs. of olive oil. NOTE: If you have leftover solution, store it in the fridge.

WINDOW CLEANER:
HOMEMADE SOLUTION->>Mix 1 quart warm water with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Store in a spray bottle.

TOILET BOWL:
HOMEMADE SOLUTION>>baking soda. Simply scrub with baking soda. OR for stain removal, use 1/4 cup borax and let sit for 30 minutes- then scrub and flush.

I want to hear from my readers! Be sure to post a comment to let me know what YOU are doing in your life. How are you going green? What products or homemade recipes have you found that you love?

2 comments:

Will said...

Wow! What a post, Celeste. So much information, even for someone interested in it all like me. I noticed you even linked to one of my articles, so thanks for that too!

You mention non-stick cookware. I wrote on this also, (linked below), and always tell people if you can only make one change in your life, throw out the non-stick pans. It is that important. Keep up the good fight!

-Will

Acacia said...

Gaiam is a nice source to me to buy best of personal care products.