By now I’m sure it is no secret that what we use on an everyday basis in our house really matters. We spend a lot of time here, and whether that time is spent awake or asleep, we are still exposed to everything floating around in our space. Nowadays it is so easy to bring pesky chemicals into our home, and often we don’t even realise we are doing it. However the truth is that chemicals are certainly not our friend. They are too-far from natural, and are completely foreign to our bodies and the environment. Today I’d like to bring awareness to a handful of the common culprits frequently used in the average household.
I get it, we all (I think) like to have a clean home. A clean and tidy space has been proven to promote happiness and the reduction of stress, although something we all need to consider is the products we use in order to put the sparkle back into our space. Take a look under your kitchen sink and notice what you find. Often there is everything from dishwashing powder/liquid, rise aid, disinfectant for the bench tops, stove and oven, floor cleaner, window cleaner, and almost all will be labelled with warnings of the potential of toxic exposure. These chemicals are often ingested, due to eating off of plates and cutlery that has been washed in them, inhaled from spray bottles during use and absorbed through the skin when exposed to them. Again, these substances are not natural and many have been linked to birth defects, cancer, allergies, skin reactions, brain fog and so much more! Often a rule of thumb is if you can't pronounce an ingredient it's not natural. The great news is that it's so easy to make your own cleaning products with affordable ingredients, such as lemons, bi-carb soda, vinegar and essential oils, and if getting crafty isn't your jam, then you can find some great au-natural cleaning products at your local health food store.
Teflon + Non-Stick Pans;
Recently we made the switch and invested in a couple of cast-iron pans. To be honest, it took me quite a while to make the switch in this area as non-stick pans are so convenient, and cast-iron pans take a little more effort to look after. However the more I learn about non-stick cooking equipment, the more I am reminded that they don't need to have a place in the kitchen, and not everything has to be super convenient! There are some less-than desirable materials to be cooking with and teflon and non stick surfaces is one of them - with use resulting in toxic off-gassing, not to mention the material which doesn't ever break down (sorry, environment). Making the switch to cast iron pans may be more expensive but they truely are an investment and will last you a lifetime (hopefully - if you take care of them)!
Plastic Cooking Utensils;
Plastic and heat aren't friends. This is also reference to plastic lunch boxes, water bottles and food packaging which are commonly present with BPA, a chemical added to many commercial products that is linked to a whole host of health issues. Again, these cooking utensils are something super toxic when heated, which is what happens during their use. For cooking look into using only metal or wooden utensils.
Alfoil, Baking Paper + Glad Wrap;
These three are a common staple in many kitchens, and I get it - they are oh-so convenient. Although the thing I've recently learnt about convenience in the kitchen is that it's over-rated. This is because convenience often means more unnecessary waste...hence the over-use of disposables such as those mentioned above. Alfoil, baking paper and glad wrap become especially hazardous when heated - which is often what they are used for when baking, cooking or storing warm foods. Baking paper is generally always bleached with toxic chemicals, however you can find brilliant alternatives at health food stores. My favourite brand is If You Care. Investing in a small collection of glass or eco friendly containers and lunch boxes is a brilliant way to reduce the use of glad wrap and alfoil in the kitchen. I also hang onto all of my old jars from finished jams, sauerkraut or honey and store left over goods in there. Who said containers have to be horizontal?! When it comes to greasing trays, I love to use butter, and another great alternative to glad wrap is bees wax or silicone wraps. Bees wax wraps can even be made in your own home!
Candles + Air Fresheners;
We have an obsession with smelly things. It seems as though everywhere we go, everything has to smell of fairy floss and candy. Perfume, air fresheners, candles and linen sprays, just to name a few, are often made with toxic fragrances that are then inhaled. Although luckily for us there are natural scents, like essential oils, that can be harnessed straight from mama nature that actually have therapeutic benefits, too! We really don't need to be exposing ourselves to these toxins, as many are proven to negatively impact many areas of our health, including our endocrine system, which is responsible for taking care of our beautiful hormones. If you love the ambience of candles, try natural bees wax candles made with essential oils. Alternatively, you could also try using an oil burner filled with your favourite scents.
As they say...knowledge is power, and when it comes to our health, I feel as though we all need to know the potential impacts of the products we are spending our money on and bringing into our home. I personally feel that our homes are made to be our sanctuaries. It is the place that we relax and recharge, and I wonder how we can possibly to this adequately with the exposure to so many unnatural things. Remember you are spending your money on these products, and doing so means you are sending the message that you believe in whatever that product stands for. I understand this information may come across a little overwhelming, and at one point in time I have had all of these things hanging around my home! But if you start slowly, and upgrade when you are ready, little by little you can work to create a healthier home. Or a haven of health...as we like to call it ;)
Love and Wellness,