Hey there friends,
Like most of us out there when I went to make changes in the products we used in our home I reached for brand names that were both advertised, branded and priced like they were a lot "safer." When I say "safer," I'll be honest I'm not sure I always knew what that meant. I just knew and thought there were probably options out there that were better for my long term health.
As I continued to learn more I was really surprised at how well big and small companies were at branding their products as safe. Words like: free & clear, natural, pure, etc. Or, putting ingredients like almonds, coconut, etc. in them to make us think they're made from "clean" ingredients. What's crazy is it works, I mean it worked on me. Think about it like this, there are LOTS of ingredients in most of our products. When they put the word coconut on it are we really supposed to believe that it's at the top of the ingredient list? Probably not. In fact, many companies even the ones that we believe are safe (we can "read" the ingredients, right?) use the term "natural fragances." Did you know that natural fragrances can be almost ANYTHING. It's essentially how the household, skincare and beauty industry can HIDE the stuff they don't want you to see. That's nuts.
So, why do I care about all of this? Why does it matter? I've talked a little bit about Endocrine Disruptors before - why are these important? The endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate all kinds of things: sleep, metabolism, tissue function, reproduction, mood, skin health, etc.
The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things. It's essentially a collection of glands that produce these hormones such as the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries and testicles.
When our hormones are too high or too low this can lead to an imbalance in the body and a whole host of issues and illnesses. Something as simple as acne or more serious concerns such as type II diabetes, reproductive struggles, cancer, etc.
Back to disruptors. So, what are they? Well, they come in the form of chemicals found in products we use everyday and everywhere. According to the NIH, here is what they do:
- They can mimic hormones that occur naturally, producing overstimulation of that hormone.
- They can bind to receptors in our body keeping the naturally occurring hormone from binding. This creates an abnormal response because of how they block the naturally occurring hormones from doing their job.
- They can interfere the way the hormone receptor itself is made or controlled.
These chemicals are in SO MANY PRODUCTS. Even the so called "safe" ones. I have truly felt like it's pandora's box. And, if you're asking yourself why it matters because you've been using these products for this long and "you're fine." I can't answer that. All I can say is that there a host of products out in the world I cannot control at all; therefore if there are some I can it's important that I do.
So, I thought I would share with you all some of the products we swapped and why. Plus, I will throw some in there that we're "working on." Keep in mind, some of these products are hard to find. Sometimes you can find them at Whole Foods or Sprouts but sometimes you'll have to find them online at stores like Thrive Market or Amazon.
Laundry: Know that when you walk down the aisles at the grocery store virtually 99% of what is there is rated a C to an F in terms of skin irritants, carcinogens, respiratory issues, etc. Our favorite thus far has been by a company called Molly's Suds. If you belong to Thrive Market, I find their prices are great much better than Amazon typically. Find it HERE. They have a sport wash and dryer balls as well which is great to both help your extra stinky clothes and soften them.
Kitchen: There is a lot to cover in the kitchen.
- All purpose cleaner: You can check out my blog post HERE or a really great option is a the citrus all-purpose cleaner made by Whole Foods (their brand).
- Dishwasher Detergent: I have yet to find a liquid detergent that is safe. If you're up for powder or pods a great option is by Seventh Generation. What's nice is that you actually find these at your local grocery store typically. If by chance you can't, check out HERE or HERE.
- Dish soap: This is one I have yet to find one that is missing irritants. Seventh Generation makes a "C" grade option that at least is not filled with carcinogens. For now, that's what we're using. However, I'm about to buy THIS by Earth Friendly Products and my fingers are crossed!
- In lieu of plastic wrap try these Bees Wrap, you can find them HERE or HERE.
- Instead of plastic baggies here are some great re-usable options by Re-Zip and Art of Lunch.
- Anyone else get creeped out by how plastic containers erode? Opt for glass or stainless steel instead. The glass ones we use are from OXO and we love them, find them HERE. Need kid friendly stainless steel? Check out HERE, HERE or HERE. All of these are an investment, but trust me it's totally worth it. Not only do that last but they clean SO MUCH EASIER!
- Water Bottles: SO MANY bottles advertise BPA free but in truth is SO much safer to opt for glass, THIS ONE is my favorite! I believe you can also find them at Whole Foods or Bed Bath & Beyond.
Bathroom: Another tough one!
- Personal Care products:
- Shampoo is another saturated market where 99% of what is out there (even ones you think might be safe, aren't so do your research). Our favorites are by two companies: Avalon Organics and Beautycounter. The first two you can find at Whole Foods or Sprouts. Most of Avalon Organics products rate either an EWG Certified or a 1, which is great. See that info HERE. I'm a fan of their Lemon Scent. You can find their products online HERE. Beautycounter also makes great shampoos, they have a basic as well as voluminizing which is great. You can find Beautycounter, HERE.
- Bar Soap: the safest one I have found that you can actually FIND in the store is by Kiss My Face, the scent isn't the best to be honest; however it's easy to get your hands on. It's the Pure Olive Oil Soap. Another option, although not as good is the olive oil soap with lavender. You can find both of them HERE or at Whole Foods or Sprouts. Again, Beautycounter also has a charcoal bar or a body wash which are great options, you can find that HERE.
- Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine makes a great option (I have tried others that either taste awful or I think they're safe and then realize they're not!). The Flouride Free with Spearmint or Peppermint is the one we go with, you can find that in most (if not all grocers) you can also find it HERE. There is a mild amount of toxicity, it rates a 2. But I have really struggled with finding a toothpaste that is much better. So, I will update if I find another :).
- Cleaning: For both toilet both and multi-surface Seventh Generation actually makes pretty safe products, they both rate an A which is great. Be careful not all "scents" are made equal. I would go with the Emerald Cypress & Fir for both. You should be able to find these in your local grocer. If you can't check out HERE or HERE. For whatever reason scent is hard to find so you might have to wait for a sale and stock up or hope you can find it in your local store. Another option for your tub is this homemade cleaner, using your dishsoap and vinegar, I don't use a spray bottle I slather it on but you can find the recipe HERE.
Guys, this is A LOT I know. And there is truly so much more. So, soak all this in. Let me know if you have questions AND please let me know if YOU know of something that you can't live without. Maybe it's a product we should be using or maybe you need some help doing research on it. As always a really great resource is www.ewg.org.