I’m a wife, mom, and home business owner, who is committed to getting all of the toxic chemicals out of my home. I was raised with a fairly healthful lifestyle and always gravitated towards a more natural, clean way of living, opting for dye-free and unscented versions of toiletries and household products. Over the past decade and change, I’ve slowly modified my life to incorporate more healthful eating and holistic healing. My ridiculously sensitive skin and a digestive system riddled with challenges from a dairy allergy to IBS haven’t really given me much of a choice in the matter, since I don’t really see being miserable as a viable option for a life worth living.
I went dairy-free in 2002 after an elimination diet revealed sensitivities to wheat and sugar and a full blown allergy to cow’s milk. I've been gluten free off and on and done a boatload of research on the topic after a family member was diagnosed with celiac disease. After watching a documentary/horror film on American food production, my husband and I committed to sourcing our produce and meat from local, organic farmers and avoiding GMO foods as much as possible. I am also a label reader from way back (food allergies and other dietary restrictions necessitate hyper-awareness of the hidden ingredient kind), but only recently did I decided to go beyond checking for dairy in my food and fragrances or dyes in my skin products and start asking myself, “what the heck is in this stuff?” Nearly every package in the supermarket has a novel-length ingredient list riddled with such mystery items as modified food starch, preservatives with acronyms in lieu of names, artificial this and that, and unpronounceable chemicals with more syllables than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
The recent birth of my son renewed my commitment to knowing exactly what was in everything I put in and on my family, and with knowledge sometimes comes vast disappointment. Even so-called natural products are chock full of cryptic-sounding components. I couldn’t pronounce more than half of the ingredients in even products with buzzwords like “natural,” “simple,” or “hypoallergenic.” What are poloxamer 184, butylene glycol, PEG-20 glyceryl laurate, ceteth-20, laureth-23, disodium phosphate and butylcarbamate? These are just the first half of the ingredients on a bottle of clear, “simple” liquid eye-makeup remover. Iodopropynyl- what?! I made a decision that is rapidly transforming my life. If I can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go in my body. At the very least, I should take the time to find out what it is before I ingest it (or apply it topically since we might as well be eating everything we put on our skin). One good thing usually leads to another and I decided to get the chemical nastiness out of our household cleaners, too.
It turns out that some of the scary sounding ingredients in these products are plant-derived, but even those have been synthesized, chemically-isolated, and molecularly-altered in so many ways that they would be totally unrecognizable to the original plant. But wait, doesn’t the FDA promise that these things are safe? The not-so-quick answer is…sort of. The FDA process has become tainted by special interest groups lining the pockets of the beaurocracy to achieve their individual profit goals, limited-scope testing, and decreasing budgets. I know, I know…I sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist, but this is the capitalist machine at work. Whether you believe in the sanctity of the FDA or not, who can argue with having just a little extra awareness when it comes to our health?
(NOTE: Plant-derived is actually a good thing when it is done right. The same friend I mention below also introduced me to life-changing dōTERRA essential oils, the only Certified Therapeutic Grade oils on the market. These oils are 100% pure, undiluted plant extracts with a myriad of health benefits. You will notice my recommendations for these oils in all of my recipes. Don't take my word for it, read more at http://www.mydoterra.com/greengoddess/essentialdefinitions.html or contact me for information on how to incorporate these amazing tools into your family's life.)
So, how did I get started making my own products? When a friend gave me a truly simple recipe for making my own deodorant and explained how commercial antiperspirants contribute to breast cancer, I decided to try it. Just 3-4 ingredients from my own pantry later, I had a deodorant/antiperspirant that was truly dye and perfume free (add CPTG essential oils for scent and other benefits), worked better than any commercial product out there, left my underarms really soft and didn’t make a mess of my clothes. Even better, this stuff is incredibly cheap to make! Next, I decided that my tiny infant son, who had already had a battery of health problems, deserved some truly natural baby shampoo and I was on my way to a cleaner life.
What exactly is my definition of clean living? The ideal that I aspire to is the removal of all chemicals, pesticides, hormones, additives, genetically modified (GMO), unnatural junk from my life and that of my family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop shaving my underarms and move to a commune anytime soon (a totally viable life choice, just not for me) but I am sick and tired (sometimes quite literally) of all the unpronounceable crap in the stuff I put in and on my body. I’m just a regular girl juggling a family and a business, who wants something better for herself and those she loves. The road to detoxifying my life hasn’t always been a smooth one, even most of the time, but it is always worth the bumpy ride.
I decided to share my journey with the world via this blog and chronicle my adventures and challenges in the world of DIY complete with recipes for everything from making your own baby and beauty products to replacing your household cleaners, laundry detergents, and even pet products with safe, easy, inexpensive alternatives that you can feel good about using around your family. I’ll also explore everything from homeopathic and holistic medicine, juicing, nutrition, and fitness to babies and breast feeding, essential oils, green gardening, and more. Follow along as my life and medicine cabinet transform and try out some of the recipes for yourself. Change is scary, even for this natural mama, but the best things in life are often not easy. It will be a messy road fraught with experimentation and a lot of trial and error. In the end, I hope to have truly cleaned house and painted my life green.
*There are many brands, both less expensive and more costly than dōTERRA, of essential oils on the market. In my experience using many of these brands, the dōTERRA oils are of the highest quality. Each oil is sourced organically from the parent plant’s country and region of origin (and/or region best suited for cultivation) and distilled with the highest standards of purity and safety. There is currently no regulatory purity rating system in place for essential oils. In order to ensure the highest product standards, dōTERRA registered its own trademark, Certified Therapeutic Grade™. This is currently the highest rating for purity and safety of essential oils in the world, and only dōTERRA offers oils of this grade. The dōTERRA oils are the only essential oils on the market suitable for internal use.
**The information contained in this website is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. If in doubt, please consult your healthcare professional before using any of the ingredients or suggestions in our blog. The author makes a concerted effort to list any possible allergens contained in the recipes on this site, but everybody is unique. If you know you have or think you may have an allergy or sensitivity to any ingredient, please be responsible and do your own research prior to use and/or consult your doctor.
Comments, concerns, corrections, critiques, opinions, questions, requests, suggestions? I love it when you communicate with me!
Heather Hurst is an educator, freelance author, and stay-home mom on a personal journey towards a more natural, less toxic life. Take a gander at the About page for more information on Heather and the Going "Green Goddess" project.
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