By guest blogger Katherine Petrunia, The Pampered Baby
For the past few years I have been trying to remove as many chemicals from our home and go as natural as possible. And I’ll be honest, it is a process, but one that is totally worth it. I started by rethinking the foods we eat and the products that get used a lot. Things like laundry detergent, cleaning products, and personal products such as diaper cream, bath wash, and makeup have been replaced and I’m slowly kicking more to the curb as I find natural options that work.
I get it, for some this may be a little on the crunchy side. Call me a granola girl, but I’ve adopted a way more ‘buyer beware’ approach when it comes to the food my family eats and the products we buy. This is especially true when it comes to my kids. Just because something says ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ doesn’t guarantee it’s quality- you have to read the ingredients and learn a little bit about what to look out for before you can be convinced that the product in your hand lives up to it’s claims. A lot of products use clever marketing jargon to grab our attention, when really they’re just as bad as the brands we’re trying to replace. Some products I’ve replaced with different brands, while others I have found homemade options that work great; this is true for both food items and household products.
Like I said, I get most upset when it comes to products for babies and kids. They don’t know any better and have no choice; they rely on us to make decisions for them, and tricking parents into thinking that a product is safe and natural when it isn’t is downright crappy. If you suffer from allergies, have sensitive skin, are prone to headaches, or suffer from other chronic or mysterious ailments, instead of looking in your medicine cabinet for the answer, you should take a look at the products you use everyday and the food you eat (who hasn’t heard the saying, you are what you eat?). What you find out might scare you, but the good news is that there’s an easy fix. If going the homemade route isn’t for you, there are plenty of great options out there worth a try. If you’re interested in trying to go more natural and chemical free in your home, I’ve provided some simple tips below to help get you started.
5 Tips to Try Going Natural
- Start by looking at the label.This applies to the food you eat and the products you buy. Look in your cupboards and pick a few items you use everyday- a go- to snack, a cleaning product, etc- and look at the ingredients list. When you stop recognizing things and/ or can’t pronounce them, that’s usually a good indicator that they fall under the ‘baddie’ category. In foods, look for artificial anything, common GMO ingredients such as soy, corn, and nuts, preservatives, dyes, and high- fructose corn syrup for starters. When it comes to household products, look for ingredients such as sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, parfum, and parabens. There are others to keep an eye out for, but these are some commonly found ingredients that might have you re- thinking purchases next time you’re at the grocery store!
- Do some research. Depending what your end goal is- do you want to have more energy, help sooth a health concern, or just embrace a more natural lifestyle as a whole?- you can figure out what area to address first. If you already eat pretty healthy, trying to put your home on a chemical cleanse may be the best place to start. Conversely, if you are guilty of snacking on processed foods and pop, rethinking the food you eat might be the better choice. Once you know where you want to start, have a look online for some ideas to try; look up some recipes that swap out unhealthy ingredients for nutrient- packed ones, or make a grocery list of cleaning ingredients to stock up on. There’s nothing wrong with baby steps and taking it slow as you make adjustments.
- Pick one thing to focus on at a time. It can be overwhelming trying to do everything at once, so pick one or a few things to focus on at any one time. Like I said, food was one of the first major overhauls I did, followed by commonly used products like laundry detergent and cleaning products. Once you start getting used to the changes and gain confidence, the process will become easier and easier. There are plenty of great resources online to help you jump- start your efforts, and Pinterest has been my go- to source for most of the chemical- free cleaners I now make at home. It’s also choc- full of great recipe ideas if you need some culinary inspiration (Malika always has good ideas too!).
- Make a shopping list – Once you know what you’d like to focus on, write down the items that you want to try and need to stock up on. Sometimes you may suffer sticker shock when it comes to quality products that are natural/ organic, etc, but I have found that in the long run, the cost balances out with better health, among other benefits. If you start to notice certain items popping up a lot in your research, it’s a good idea to buy them in bulk if it’s an option. For food, non- perishables and things that can be canned/ frozen are good to stock up on when you find them on sale, especially if it is a staple item (in our house, gluten- free and dairy-free, organic, and non- GMO items are always on our shopping list; these items tend to be more expensive and I’m always scouring flyers for them going on sale). The same applies to household items. Common replacements for chemical cleaners include baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and castile soap (notice how a lot of those items are edible? You can stock your pantry and your cleaning cupboard with some of the same items). If you would rather purchase cleaners than make them, do some research into reputable brands that live up to their claims..
- Don’t be afraid of some trial and error. Whether you’re testing out a new recipe or trying out chemical- free cleaners, this is important to remember. The first time you try a recipe that’s a healthier version of one you’re used to, or you try out a snack that’s got less sugar or salt, you will probably notice a difference. But over time, you’ll adjust to this healthier selection of food. I find gluten and dairy- free recipes can be tough to adjust to, since they can turn out quite differently that ones that use traditional ingredients, but I make minor changes each time until I am happy with the result; the extra effort does pay off, I promise. As for cleaning, I have been pleasantly surprised with how well something as simple as baking soda and vinegar work and how many applications this combo has. Many of the store- bought brands I have tried out use essential oils for scent and I find them a lovely alternative to the heavily- scented big brand options. There are also a lot of scent- free options which are perfect for people with sensitivities. Natural cleaners – store bought or homemade-won’t be loaded with the chemical boosts that we’ve grown accustomed, but that doesn’t mean your dishes and laundry won’t come out fresh and clean.
I hope these tips are helpful and will encourage you to try going more natural in your home!
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[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””] Katherine Petrunia is the founder of The Pampered Baby, a blog focused on Moms and families featuring recipes, DIY, fashion, events, and giveaways among others. She is passionate about exploring healthy and natural options from the foods we eat to the products used in our homes and is a supporter of buying local. You can find TPB on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. [/one_half]