When I first started researching a natural lifestyle, I quickly became overwhelmed. I started to have these moments of “How in the world are these ingredients ok?”, “How am I going to afford this change?”, “Do I have to throw out everything?” The sticker shock for natural products can scare people away very quickly. But trust me in this, PLEASE do not going throwing out your products right away! Look at natural living as a journey, everyone is at different stages and we all had to start somewhere. When you finish a product, look for something better to replace it. If you really feel like you need to make immediate changes for your health, start with two or three items of top priority. When beginning to replace items and searching the internet to decide what products are better than others, I became overwhelmed and fell into the “greenwashing” traps. Natural on the label, doesn’t always mean clean or organic.
I searched plenty of blogs and online resources when I began my natural lifestyle, and by far my all time favorite site for choosing and comparing products is The Environmental Working Group. Their Skin Deep database allows you to search for your product by brand name and then it rates the ingredients on a 1-10 scale of hazard. One being the lowest hazard and up to ten with the highest hazard. It also lists available data on scientific studies for specific ingredients. I generally try to stick to an overall rating of 1-3 on the new products that I buy. Sometimes when searching for a company or product, it is not yet on the database. When that happens there is a Build Your Own Report at the top of the page so you can input the ingredients and “build a score” for that product. I have done this multiple times and it has saved me from buying products that were marketed “natural”, but in reality I would of been a victim of greenwashed marketing.
The EWG also has a Food Score Database and a Healthy Cleaning Guide. All three guides are on their website and their newly revamped Healthy Living App. When your out and about and you remember you need something, you can easily scan a product barcode and find where it rates on the scale. This has been a huge benefit when I am looking at new products because I often feel overwhelmed at my options. This App combining the databases has become my go to guide!
Here are some screen shots from the app, to show you some content and how easy it is to use!
I also want to talk about a new initiative the EWG has implemented within the last year two. The EWG Verified seal. When this was announced I was beyond excited! This seal means that a company’s products rate from 1-3 on their hazard score, the companys must apply for the seal themselves and provide all ingredient lists of the products they wish to verify. The verification is to aid consumers in making healthier choices for themselves and families, it is also giving accountability and responsibility to health living brands. The verified products and companies have been my go to purchases these last few months, and the list of products and companies is quickly growing! The list can be accessed from the Healthy Living App or here.
I hope that this information on the EWG resources can aid your transition to a more natural life! And remember do not be afraid to start with small changes, natural living is a journey!
*all images and screen shots are from http://www.ewg.org and the healthy living app.