Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So You Wanna Be A Hippie

Disclaimer: I work in healthcare so there are certain areas of my life in which chemicals are necessary.  However, there are many more areas, like my home, where they are not, and that is what I am discussing in this post.  My goal is to encourage, not be a jerk so here we go.

I am sort of obsessive about chemicals. It started years ago at work (I'm a nurse in a hospital) and I got pregnant with my first baby and started noticing how much exposure I had to crazy chemicals and radiation.  I just started noticing. Paying attention at work inspired me to pay attention at home and then when I was pregnant with my third baby and there was that whole BPA in plastic blow up,  my chemical obsession spread to plastic and it has been a downward slope into hippiedom from there. Now, day by day, we are trying to live cleaner, simpler lives and it has been worth every bit of change. 

 Living cleanly has the added bonus of protecting the environment in addition to protecting you and your family.  We haven't been careful enough with our garden of eden.  The consequences of our choices are more far reaching than we realize.  It can be discouraging, but don't think it's too late. People say that to me all the time.  They think what's done is done and that's it.  I may have been exposed to a million toxins in my lifetime, but it is important to me to show my kids that they don't have to be.  I want my kids to know that vinegar will clean most anything, and that Dr. Bronner is their friend.  I want them to know that they have a choice and it's not a hard way to live!  It's a journey. I haven't found perfect solutions to all my cleaning and beauty needs but we are getting closer every day.

Now, here's the part where I sound crazy: the government is not going to help us out on this one.  We can pass all the legislation in the world, but companies will always try to make money even if it's at the expense of our health and the government won't necessarily fight that especially if the money made pours into their programs and campaigns.  Now BEFORE YOU FREAK OUT, I am here to help.  Here is a little advice from your pal, Sarah if you choose to get started on this journey.
1. Pay Attention. Read labels.  Half of the ingredients in your cleaning and beauty products will sound like that chemistry test you failed your freshman year of college.  I tell my patients that they should know what medications they're taking and what they're for.  The same is true for us.  What are we exposing ourselves to and why?  The less ingredients, the better. The more recognizable ingredients, the better.

2. Baby Steps. Make small manageable changes.  This doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Think of a place to start.  Like shampoo.  Learn what you can about your shampoo, what's in it, and find one that won't hurt you.  (side note: I tried to switch to baking soda/ apple cider vinegar and it was a huge FAIL so I am still a shampoo girl.  Which brings me to my next point)

3. Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself. Some things you try won't work out for your life and your family. My feeling is, any little bit helps.  If you switch to vinegar for cleaning but you love your mascara and can't ever change no never, that is ok. If your friend goes "poo free" and has luxuriously beautiful hair and you try but your hair turns into the weirdest horse's tail ever, don't worry about it!

4. Just Chill. Do yourself a favor and don't compare yourself to others.  You'll either end up feeling "holier than thou" or inferior and depressed.  Just focus on your home and your life.  Do what works for you and find a way to talk about it without sounding too crazy or preachy because people will ask. Trust me.  A little humility goes a long way. Hearts and minds, friends, hearts and minds.

5. Find a Motivator. Give yourself an inspiration image to motivate you.  Mine changes.  Sometimes, it's my grandma who has had cancerous tumors twice in the past few years.  Sometimes, it's my kids and their beautiful glowing purity. Sometimes, it's the ocean that I am so blessed to live near.  Sometimes, it's my husband and that I want us to grow old together and be the best versions of ourselves throughout our lives.  

That's all I've got for now.  I will post things on the subject from time to time since it's something that is important to me that I also happen to enjoy.  How about you?  Are you making changes along these lines?  Do you have any tips to add?  

OH!   One more thing...Here are a few resources I frequently use that will hopefully help you too.


The Honest Life This is Jessica Alba's book on clean living.  I got the kindle version because I refer to the clickable links.  There is a ton of helpful information in this book.  I love it!

Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) This site has excellent consumer guides with a simple scoring system to let you know how your everyday products score on the consumer safety spectrum.  There is even an app that can help you in your shopping.  Their skin-deep guide to cosmetics is awesome.  You just type in your product and they tell you the score and which particular ingredients may be the red flags.  I love it. 

Going Green With a Bronner Mom (lisa.drbronner.com) Lisa Bronner is the granddaughter of the very eccentric Dr. Bronner who is famous for his pure castile soaps.  Her site has a lot of great tips on cleaning with natural products and the many ways her family's line of soap can be used for you and your home.


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