Things to Know on the Path to a Healthier Lifestyle
I want you to understand 5 important topics that determine whether you are optimizing your home for health.
By understanding these five things, we have found our ‘why’ to embracing a more natural lifestyle on our path to optimal health. Trust me, these five things are learning a little more about and they might just light a fire under your butt! Speaking from personal experience, this information can serve as a catalyst for positive change in your life. Please, when it comes to health, ignorance is not bliss.
We are the gatekeepers of our homes and I am here to help you see that you have a choice. We have some control over our health and wellness, it starts with your choices. We have the ability to choose what products we introduce to our families and loved one. Unfortunately many products, even the "natural" ones, (we will get to this in a little bit) at the grocery store, are filled with hidden toxins that are literally poisonous and harmful to how our body works.
Here are our 5 "must-know" concepts for a healthier home!
1. The first step in transforming to a natural home is knowledge. Knowledge is power!
Use resources to learn about products, ingredients, and chemicals so you can make the decisions for your health and wellness for your family and loved ones. Instead of purchasing things without knowing what’s in them, make informed decisions with your health in mind.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great place to review information about your products, they even have a great post that will help you decode labels to understand the meaning of words found on labels at the store such as: organic, natural, active ingredients, Green Seal, EcoLogo, Fragrance, Scent, Free & Clear, Plant-Based, Non-Toxic, Phosphate-Free, and Volatile Organic Compounds. I found this information really helpful for understanding greenwashing as well.
2. Avoid the ultimate ‘F’ word, FRAGRANCE.
I have become increasingly aware that many products contain the listed ingredient 'fragrance' as simply a broad term category that hides hundreds of toxic chemicals behind that word itself. It’s found in virtually everything scented. When you see ‘fragrance’ on a label of air fresheners, personal care products, or cleaning products, just read it as ‘hidden chemicals.’ This is a major labeling loophole that allows manufacturers to include nearly any ingredient (even toxic ones) in their products under the name ‘fragrance’ without actually listing the chemical! I used to wear lots of perfume and body spray, I am completely disgusted that I used those things for years. I am very grateful I know better now. The EWG reported some great information regarding hidden chemicals in cologne and perfume.
Fragrance is largely considered an umbrella term, and companies are not legally required to list each chemical individually on their labeling. Some of the most common villains hiding in everyday products are: formaldehyde, synthetics, dyes, phthalates, fragrance, parabens, aminophenol, diaminobenzene, phenylenediamine, and petrochemicals. Please be advised: The petrochemicals that many companies use to manufacture their synthetic fragrances are on the EPA's hazardous waste list!
Further, formaldehyde has received quite a bit of attention from the American Cancer Society. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) - which is formed by several large agencies such as the NIH, the CDC, and the FDA - categorizes formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen." If Formaldehyde is a chemical released from tobacco products and is used in the embalming process at the morgue, then why would I want that in my home?
In a 2011 report regarding synthetic fragrances, it was stated that "scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws.1 Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones".
3. Don't be fooled by labels, read the ingredients:
When researching common commercial products I found that there are a plethora of other ingredients that can be harmful to the human body. Beyond what was highlighted in the fragrance section (#2 in this article), here are some additional ingredients to be wary of in store-bought products:
Another thing to be aware of is that many of these chemicals can be listed under other synonym names on labels. From the American Cancer Society: Formaldehyde can be listed on a product label by other names, such as: Formalin, Formic aldehyde, Methanediol, Methanal, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene glycol, Methylene oxide. Other used preservatives that may be used, for example benzylhemiformal may even release formaldehyde too.
Parabens may be in disguise on labels using synonyms: Methyl, Ethyl, Proply, and Butyl.
Beware of greenwashing and label deception! Which brings us to #4...
4. Greenwashing and Label deception
This is another big topic around product labeling. Many of us are searching for healthier alternatives to our unhealthful traditional products. Buyer beware!
Consider this quote directly from the FDA regarding soap:
The laws and regulations that FDA enforces do not have definitions for “natural” or “organic.” The same requirements apply to your product no matter whether the ingredients are plant, animal, mineral, or synthetic. It’s important not to assume that using only ingredients from plants will make your products safe. To learn more, see “‘Organic’ Cosmetics” and “Product Testing.”
Clearly find ourselves in a fuzzy area regarding buzzwords like “natural” or “organic”. If we are looking for products without harmful chemicals, and the product manufacturers are held to very little standards, then the average consumer is left to suffer. Consider that many of the most popular "natural" and “organic” products can still contain some the ingredients above that we should try to avoid.
Again, for further clarification and to make life easier, visit the EWG site where they break down the ingredients and list whether there are known health risks associated with them. If you need help searching for cosmetic products or ingredients, search the skin deep portion of the EWG site. This website is an invaluable resource!
5. Consider bioaccumulation in the body:
Bioccumulation is the process in which our bodies accumulate toxins faster than they can eliminate them.
Many chemicals in the environment are deemed safe in small quantities or for single use. However, consider that this does not take a longitudinal view over time and fails to recognize repeated uses of certain ingredients. It is the repetitive use that potentially put us at the greatest harm. Think about all the repeated exposures from products with sources of unknown ingredients year after year. This is why utilizing resources and products whose ingredients are well-defined and easy to understand are very important.
Although we may not be able to remove all exposure, at least we can go forward making informed decisions. Again, ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to health.
Consider that toxic chemicals are believed to damage our immune system and alter our endocrine function. The endocrine system plays a major role in growth, metabolism, and reproductive health. The EWG reported on Endocrine Disruptors, which is certainly worth a read for a better understanding.
When attempting to reduce the toxins in our life, it is imperative to allow yourself to learn gradually. You are likely not going to be successful at all 5 of these all at once. It will take time and patience along with a indomitable will to learn.
Remember, you do not have to do this alone. You can always reach out to contact me for help switching to a more natural lifestyle. Please consider my journey to using essential oils as a means to remove toxins from my life.
For those who are curious as to how we simplified our ability to follow all 5 concepts above, it actually was really simple. We use essential oils and make many of our own products from scratch.
Please, do not be intimidated by this! We have had excellent feedback from our post on easy homemade products as a super simple way to start to paying attention to all 5 areas described above!
The essential oils company we chose was Young Living Essential Oils. We have grown to trust this company due to their overall product quality and their veracious devotion to their Seed to Seal promise. The Seed to Seal promise assures you that Young Living owns every part of the essential oil manufacturing process from seed, to plant, to distillation, to bottling. My husband and I have personally visited their farms in Mona, Utah several times and you will see pictures of us all over the site that were taking at various Young Living facilities.
There is no other company that provides this much transparency about their process! Trust me, we have called and messaged other leading manufacturers of essential oils to ask where their farms are located so that we can take a visit and guess what... THE OTHER COMPANIES EITHER DID NOT ALLOW US TO VISIT OR DID NOT KNOW WHERE THEIR OWN FARMS WERE LOCATED! This is very important as most essential oils on the market are fragrance grade whereas Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade. This is an important distinction, do not take it lightly!
As always, if you are new to essential oils and do not have any of your own, consider a premium starter kit from Young Living. This is widely regarded as the simplest way to get started with essential oils. When signing up for your first kit, you will have the opportunity to choose one of our leaders. This is an important step as they will provide you with ongoing support for the lifetime of your Young Living journey at no added cost to you! You can do this simply by visiting the our team page and selecting the individual you would like as your direct upline.
Further, by signing up as a member you will also receive tons of additional promotions such as saving 24% off retail pricing on future purchases of Young Living products.
If you have not done so already, please subscribe below for the latest updates, offers, and promotions exclusive to our essential oil community!
My vision for Essentially Well LLC is to create a reliable community for essential oils education and generate a discussion around natural health and wellness. The goal is to control the ingredients in your home, not the other way around! You will find many homemade recipes and ideas on this blog that utilize essential oils. Please consider consulting a healthcare provider and review our disclaimer when utilizing this content. Thank you for your support!
-"The Oil Sister"
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