The process of going green/natural has been one I’ve been on for quite some time. Started with buying organic veggies, and has sprawled to all aspects of my life. While I love it, it can be overwhelming at times. Especially if I try to take on too much at once. Reading labels in and of itself can be a time suck, let alone trying new products, variations and combos of what works just right for my family.
To put it mildly, there are times where I wish I was still blissfully ignorant about all of the millions of chemicals, compounds and constituents in our world today. But I’m not, and I have always read labels. I actually like reading about how or why something works, and what companies say about their products. Anyway, I know better now, and have seen a strikingly HUGE difference in the way we feel when we eat clean, use natural products and incorporate new habits and routines into our daily lives.
Where I notice the most contrast is when I walk down the laundry or cleaning aisle at a store (hello chemicals!). I notice it when I try to enjoy a “cheat” meal (though I don’t like to call them cheat meals). I am keenly aware of side effects from drugs, and how they affect my body. And now I notice it right away when something doesn’t work that is natural, organic, or an easy fix.
Because of this sensitivity, I decided to compile a list of a few cautions for anyone who is looking to go natural.
1. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s without side effects. Red Yeast Rice Supplements were prescribed to me by my doctor for high cholesterol. I was so excited that my general doc prescribed a supplement instead of a drug, that I didn’t even think twice about ordering them, using them and thinking I was good to go…until an hour after having the first pill, when I broke out in hives on my arms. I still didn’t link the two until I took it the next day, and the hives got worse! I figured out what it was immediately after, but the hives took a few days to go away. I urge you to read up on side effects or information about any type of ingredients in the products you’re using.
(And in case you’re wondering, I plan on using Lemongrass essential oil instead. If you want more information about it, click here.)
2. Don’t overload. If you are an all-in type of person, and you’ve cleared out all of the toxic ingredients in your home, and replaced with all new items, that’s great! But beware…with changes come reactions. If you do too much, or all at once, you might not be able to pinpoint if you do have a reaction to something. I don’t know as if I would have been able to pinpoint the cause of my hives as easily if I had just added five, ten or 100 new items to my house.
3. Not all organic ingredients are created equal. I am starting to believe we need a new label designation for “beyond organic” products. Instead of having five to ten symbols to let us know something is GMO free, Sustainably Grown, Grass-fed, Cruelty Free, etc., I think it would be easier to just have one nice little seal to let us know that there isn’t one ounce of bad stuff in the product. Since there is a huge surge in availability of organic stuff, and we’ve all been taught to look for that organic logo, there is a lot of bending of rules that has been happening. Know the companies you like to purchase from. Use apps like Buycott to scan items at the store you’re unsure of, etc. Lead and mercury are organic ingredients, but it doesn’t mean they’re good for you!
4. Be open to new standards. Some products work amazingly well without all of the extra chemicals, and some just don’t. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means that you’ll have to decide what’s more important – a stain that’s a little tougher to get out, a shower a little harder to clean, or taking a little more time to rub that sunscreen in vs. chemicals that work the first time, but we have yet to know side effects, or worse, some that we know are bad and yet are still allowable in the U.S.
5. Stuff doesn’t last as long. Just know it, own it, and USE it before it goes bad!
I’m still trying new products in our house and slowly phasing out a lot of chemicals. I would love to know what products in your home that you can’t live without. For me, organic food is a must. Essential oils are a must. Organic soaps, shampoos, etc are a must. Cleaning products, laundry detergent and dishwasher liquid are on my “to switch” list. Have any recommendations that you can’t live without? Leave a comment!