Natural Living

Start Small

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.

image1

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.

Uncategorized

A New Idea

I have been bouncing around with the idea of creating a natural living blog for about a year now. Most of my friends and family know I am obsessed with clean beauty and natural living, I guess you could call me crunchy! Natural living is a passion of mine and being a mom has greatly influenced my desire for cleaner and simpler choices in all aspects of life.

Our modern generation has advanced so much in science, medicine and overall making life “easier” for our generation. I do think that making life easier/convenient is great, but to an extent it has cause some unintended side effects for our generation and future generations. The amount of chemicals utilized in our cosmetics, food, and cleaning products today is astonishing. Some of these chemicals are so new, the research data is greatly limited to how they will affect us long term. As I began to educate myself on different chemicals, additives and growing practices, I knew that I would try to bring my family and myself to a more simple approach to food, beauty and lifestyle. With this blog, I hope that I can help others in their natural journey as well. I want to encourage my readers that a natural lifestyle is a process, I am not perfect and probably will never achieve a perfect natural lifestyle. Lets be real… I haven’t quite given up my sweet treats (and honestly I am not ready to give up my sweets) or convenience foods, but for the most part I try to make better choices each day. Hopefully I can help others make simple steps for a cleaner future!

As I get started in this journey, I hope that you enjoy learning with me. If you have questions or suggestions on awesome clean products drop me a comment below!

 

Recipies

Soothing Balm

Sensitive skin is just plain awful. I have suffered from sensitive skin and psoriasis since I was in high school. After college it became more clear that my skin could not handle lotions or detergents with fragrances. I began using unscented products and became a lotion junkie, I was incredibly picky and tried just about every “extra strength”/healing lotion on the market. Nothing really helped, most were a temporary relief.  After I began making my own lotion, I was determined to make a balm that would soothe my psorasis and help my dry cracked nurse hands. I wanted something simple but effective, and I wanted it to include essential oils that could aid in healing and soothing my skin. This recipe is what I have been using for a few years now, although I am constantly tweaking it and trying new oils. Below I have given my foundation recipe that has been the most effective. Surprisingly, when I last saw my Dermatologist she was impressed that my homemade cream has helped my psoriasis so much!

Let’s get to what ingredients are in my healing balm…The healing ingredients are olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils.

  • Olive oil contains Vitamin E which helps restore skin smoothness.
  • Coconut oil contains antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and is very moisturizing for skin.
  • Sunflower oil is high in oleic acids and vitamins A,D, and E.
  • Shea butter is intensely moisturizing for rough skin, as well as high in vitamins A and E.
  • Jojoba oil is actually a liquid plant wax, that closely mimics our own skin sebum.
  • Beeswax contains anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin, it also helps seal in moisture to the skin.

In today’s recipe I used lavender and tee tree essential oils. I usually use frankincense and  lavender, but I was all out of frankincense, so I went for my next best blend! This recipe utilizes a double boiler to melt all the ingredients together. I use a large glass bowl over a small pan with 1-2 inches of water. I let the water come to a boil on medium heat and then place my glass bowl on top, just be sure to use oven mitts and a heat safe glass bowl! Once you make this lotion you will also notice is it “greasy” in texture, but it does settle in your skin nicely after a few minutes. There is no water or emulsifiers in this recipe so it is a true balm not a lotion. Although, once whipped, I find it to work beautifully as a lotion for my dry skin. But if you have more normal or oily skin you may prefer this as a spot treatment on stubborn patches or a hand/foot cream.

Whipped Soothing Balm

  • 1/2c. Olive Oil
  • 1/4c. Coconut Oil
  • 1/2c. Shea Butter
  • 1/2c. Sunflower Oil
  • 1/4c. Jojoba Oil
  • 2tbsp. beeswax pellets
  • 30drops of essential oil (May use one or multiple oils, total drops to equal 30)

Prepare a pan with 1-2inches of water. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Once water is boiling, place the glass bowl on top of the pan. Turn your heat to low, so that the water in the pan remains at a gentle simmer. Stir the ingredients in your bowl frequently, once melted turn off your heat source and remove your bowl (with oven mitts) to cool. Allow ingredients cool for 20mins on the counter, then add essential oils and stir. Next place the bowl in the fridge to complete cooling.  After the mixture firms up in the fridge it is ready to whip. You will know the mixture is ready to whip when you press on the lotion and it resembles room temperature butter (it is firm,but has a slight give and will leave a thumbprint). Use either a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachments. Whip on low for 1 min to loosen the lotion from the sides of the bowl, then whip on med-high for 3-5 minutes until the lotion has become lighter in color and consistency. Store in airtight jars for 3 months at room temperature or 6 months in the fridge.

Natural Living · Recipies

Simple Saturday

As I sit on my couch relaxing, I have my windows open on this beautiful 70 degree day, and both kids are sleeping!!! Shhhh…its a small miracle! I am thinking about where my natural living journey began and where it is now.

 One of the many changes I began to make in our home towards a more natural environment was cutting out candles and conventional air fresheners. When it comes to home care products, many people (myself included at one time) are not aware of the harmful chemicals we are placing in our homes. Home air pollution  comes from harmful chemical cleaners and even simple things as candles and plug in air fresheners. WebMD has an article on how to purify your air and it states, “In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws.” I was shocked when I read this! With this knowledge I knew I could easily cut these chemical filled products out of our home. But what could I use instead? I began to research alternatives to candles and air fresheners, luckily I easily found out there are many alternatives when you utilize essential oils.  Essential oils are made by distillation through water, steam or mechanical process of natural material, resulting in the essential oil. Essential oils can be used to scent your home in multiple ways. My favorite way to utilize essential oils is with a diffuser. The diffuser uses water and essential oils, turning them into a vapor that suspends in the air.  Some of my favorite scents are Lavender, Lemon and Orange, Vanilla and Lemon (smells like a sugar cookie), and germ fighter which is a blend from Plant Therapy. If you do not own a diffuser, an easy alternative is using baking soda mixed with essential oils. The baking soda helps to deodorize, while the essential oils provide a nice light scent. I have included a recipe below.

diffuser

Baking Soda Refresher

  • One small Jar-I prefer a mason Jar
  • 1/2c baking soda
  • 15-20 drops of essential oil
  • coffee filter

Place baking soda in the jar and your essential oil of choice. Cut a coffee filter to cover the jar and secure it with the jar ring. Shake and Enjoy!

Refresh ingredients weekly or as need.