Living a Toxic Free Lifestyle - A "How To Stay Free of Chemicals" Guide by Lifestyle Blogger Heather Burnette
It Takes 26 Seconds for Chemicals to Enter Your Blood Stream -- But You Can Keep Your Body Free of Harmful Toxins. Here's How...
Photos & text by Heather Burnette (aka @freeastheflowerscasc)
Living a toxic-free lifestyle is something you hear about more often than not nowadays. Whether it’s something you’re considering, or a lifestyle you’re already living, these tips can be helpful for the toxic-free beginner, vet, or anyone in between.
Knowing where to start can be a daunting task. If you’re already aware of the harm chemicals are doing to your health, then you’re further along than most. If you’re reading this based on the fact that you’re just curious, here’s some facts that you might find interesting:
- It only takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in dozens of products found in the typical home to enter your bloodstream.
- There are 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States alone and 11,000 of those are banned in Europe and Japan.
- The average person is exposed to over 200 chemicals before they even leave the house. Most of these are found in the bathroom from ingredients in soaps, shampoos, perfumes, body lotions, deodorants, toothpastes, and conditioners. These harmful synthetic ingredients are applied directly to your skin (your body’s largest organ!) Potential side effects of using these chemicals include: feeling tired, foggy thinking, inflammation, toxicity induced depression, and pain.
- Under the ingredient “fragrance,” there could be up to 4,000 other unlisted chemicals. Fragrance ingredients are often exempted from the disclosure requirements that apply to other chemicals, like those used in cosmetics products like perfumes and lipsticks.
- According to the CDC, 85% of all disease is due to environmental factors. Only five to 10 percent of cancer is genetic. Cancer will affect one in two men, one in three women, and one in 330 children. Before the Industrial Revolution, cancer affected one in 8,000.
In the beginning stages of our toxic free journey, I read facts like the ones listed above, and it was enough for me to know that I was making the right decision for myself and my family. My fiancé and I dove in head first. Here are ten ways we suggest so you can start making the shift to a toxic-free lifestyle:
- Download the app Think Dirty (iOS) or Skin Deep (Android) and start scanning the products you use every day. Become familiar with their rating scale. Zero is the best, 10 is the worst. We personally will not buy any item listed over a three.
- Become familiar with EWG.org. This is an excellent place to find information on products that are safe for you to use. If an item you’re currently using isn’t listed in your app, you can search individual ingredients on EWG’s website. Here, you can also find food scores, which are great if you’re considering switching to organic foods. Which brings me to my next point...
- Not only do our personal care products contain harmful chemicals, the foods we put into our bodies contain them as well. Pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, MSGs, BHAs, etc...all toxins to our bodies that are causing negative side-effects. The app Food Scores can help you on your grocery trips.
- Keep your app open while you shop. It will take a bit to find new products that you love as much as the old ones, but scanning them into your app will make life a whole lot easier.
- Taking baby steps is key. While you may be tempted to toss out everything right away, it can get spendy to do it all at once. If you’re in a place where you can do that, then do it! Dive on in. If not, slowly start replacing the old products as they run out with the new toxic-free products.
- Don’t forget to reuse or recycle. At first, I felt a little guilty for getting rid of so many things we spent money on, but having the confidence that we were making the right decision was helpful. Recycling or reusing the containers made me feel better too. Check out this article on Green Goo's blog, "The Glampeur’s Guide to Spicing it Up (+ Tips For How to Reuse Your Tins)!"
- Remind yourself that your decision to make this switch is going to benefit you in a huge way. Find the support of family and/or friends, and encourage them to make the switch with you. If the support is not there, know that you are making the right decision for you and your family. Your health will thank you!
- Find groups on facebook for suggestions on products. There are tons of communities on the internet who are on this journey with you, and most of them are more than willing to help or be there for support if you need it.
- Educate yourself. The more you learn, the more confident you’ll be in your decision to make the switch. There are so many articles with incredible amounts of information that I never would have thought to read before this journey. Reading the facts proves to me that the decision to switch was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. EWG.org has some great articles to read if you’re needing a place to start.
- If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, flip your products over and read the ingredients. If there’s more ingredients that you can’t read or pronounce than there are ones you can, then it’s time to toss it. What attracted me to Green Goo is that I was able to identify all of the ingredients they have listed on their products. Be aware of green washers! There are many companies that we’ve grown to love and support based on their claims to be natural or safe, but make sure you’re looking them up in your app to be sure. You’ll be surprised at what companies are leading you to believe.
So many of us struggle with health issues on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be incredible to feel better just by making the switch to toxin-free personal care products, cleaning products, and organic foods? While the price of these things may be a little more spendy, I can almost guarantee the cost is lower than medical bills that could incur later on in life. Preventive maintenance now should be a priority to get us all feeling 100%!
Everyone has to start somewhere, and I hope this will be the day you stop testing the water with your toes and make the decision to dive on in! I promise you won’t regret this decision.