Growing up, my mom was always a bit of a health nut, but she had little knowledge of how toxins could affect our health. At the time, no one did. Now that we know better though, we can do better.
Have you started living more toxin-free yet?
I have always been a healthier eater, made time for exercise and did my best to take care of myself. After having kids and then dealing with a health scare, I started to implement toxin-free changes into my lifestyle. I'm sure you've heard the saying "Your health is your greatest wealth", well it has become somewhat of a mantra for me over the last few years. I began by looking at what I could do differently based on my priorities. My health & my family's health topped the list, which is why I started this journey. I'm not perfect or finished by any means, but I believe it's all about progress over perfection!
Chemicals are in everything. Our household products, personal care products, furniture, cookware, the air inside our homes – this list goes on. It can be overwhelming and easier just to throw in the towel before you even begin. But, as I said, it's not about changing everything all at once and if you adopt the mindset of a 'work in progress' you will probably see how little choices can add up over time.
Today I'm sharing a few easy ideas to help get you started! Before you dive in, it's essential to be aware of 'greenwashing' - you've probably heard of it before, but basically it's when brands or companies market their products as 'natural', 'organic' or 'green' when they aren't. Many of these terms are not regulated, and they can therefore get away with it. I like to use the Environmental Working Group for product reference– they are a non-profit organization that tests ingredients and products on a scale of 1-10 for toxicity (ewg.org) They also have an app you can download called Healthy Living.
Personal Care: I'm starting with this one because it's my passion and my business! My goal is to educate others on using safer skincare & beauty, to advocate for stricter safety regulations within the industry and to offer a better solution (that works!) WHY? Chemicals like parabens, phthalates, fragrance, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulphate are a few ingredients that you may find on your products labels. The average woman uses 12 products a day, adding up to hundreds of chemicals a day. Yes, these are in small amounts, but when you think about your exposure over the years and take into account bio-accumulation (when chemicals stay inside your body and levels increase over time), it adds up. Science states that environmental factors (including skin care products) are a contributing factor in our increasingly high numbers of cancers, fertility issues, hormone disruption, allergies, depression, weight gain and more. With all of this information, it was a no-brainer choice for me to swap to safer. Four years ago, I started using safer skincare, makeup, shampoo, body lotions, deodorant and soaps. I switched over my kid's body wash, hair products and lotions. I changed to cleaner versions of the products my husband uses too. Now, it's one less thing I have to worry about!
Plastics: This is a big one! When it comes to food; packaging, storage and heating, you should avoid plastic. WHY? It's made up of chemicals like BPS, phthalates, dioxins and others that are slowly released over time and leach into your food. No thanks! Not to mention ALL the single-use plastic like bags and straws and cups that are littering our oceans and hurting the wildlife. I love using glass jars for storage, and I have been using beeswax wraps in place of plastic food wrap. We also have a handful of reusable snack bags we love as well.
Cookware Choices: Did you know that non-stick and aluminium cookware is toxic? They contain a chemical known as PFOA or C8 that has been linked to significant health issues. This chemical is known to stay in the environment and our bodies for a long time. These chemicals leach out into our food and our air when heated, causing all sorts of health concerns like neurotoxicity, liver inflammation, weakened immune systems, cancer and more. Best choices are Cast Iron (my fave), stainless steel, glass or copper.
Ditch Fragrance: Fragrance (or perfume) is a blanket term that encompasses hundreds of different kinds of chemicals. These are a class of chemicals which are used in a vast variety of products including food packaging, children's toys, paints, cosmetics, etc. You've heard me mention this one a few times already as something to avoid due to the health concerns they are linked to like hormone disruption, fertility concerns and reproductive health. So… skip the synthetic air freshener, plug-ins, paraffin candles, linen sprays, laundry detergent/dryer sheets and anything you put on your skin with fragrance. Instead, opt for products that use essential oils to 'scent' their products. There are lots of great DIY recipes out there for making your own room sprays or hand soaps too. Don't forget to check your labels; even products that are marketed as 'unscented' often include fragrance in the ingredients list.
Buy Organic: This seems like an obvious one, right? Pesticides in the food we eat play a significant role in your health. When you buy organic, you are lessening your exposure to these chemicals. Unfortunately, merely washing your food (although it's still important to do so) will not remove the pesticides. Use the current dirty dozen list by EWG to choose which fruits and veggies to buy organic vs traditional if you can't afford to buy everything organic. Don't forget about grains ( e.g. high levels of the pesticide glysophates has been found in oats and oat products like instant oatmeal and cereals) When you are able, it's also important to purchase organic dairy and grass-fed meats to avoid xenoestrogens.
My hope with sharing this information with you is not to scare you, but to inform you! Remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. Start with baby steps. The next time you run out of a product, try replacing it with something with less harmful ingredients, DIY or think about if you need it at all. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to living healthier & happier.
If you are curious about the products I use or are ready to swap your skincare & makeup to safer, check out my website www.beautycounter.com/en-ca/jasmineschacher or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your new customer promo code!