I finally did it! Other than a few cosmetics that I’m using up before replacing with natural alternatives, I am living toxin-free!
Now that I’ve ditched the chemicals from my home and personal care routine (saving money, decluttering, and getting healthier in the process) I can look back to my former self and ask, “What was I thinking?!” It’s like a fog has been lifted and the simple solutions are so crystal clear that my former habits make no sense at all. Perhaps part of that fog was induced by the toxic chemicals that were all around me and are in most households today. Chemicals are everywhere and it seems we’ve simply gotten used to them without giving it much thought. Thankfully the tide is starting to change.
I had three reasons not to bother making the switch from chemicals to natural products:
I thought they wouldn’t work
I thought it would cost me more money
I thought it would be hard to make my own concoctions because I don’t have the patience for DIY.
I’m happy to report that I was dead wrong about all three of those excuses. I save so much time and money not buying products I don’t need. My home is far cleaner, smells better, and the few things I whip up on the weekend (refilling my spray cleaner, or making a face mask for example) take seconds and are a fun part of my routine. It wasn’t that I wanted to use chemicals before, it’s just that I wasn’t aware of what was in the products I was using. I know I wasn’t the only one.
It’s interesting to consider the relatively short span of time that synthetic chemicals have been part of our daily lives. I feel that awareness is on the rise (thank you Internet and documentaries on Netflix) and we will soon look back and shake our heads at the dangerous way of living we once thought was harmless. We’ve passively allowed chemical and pharmaceutical companies to market harmful products to us, naively believing that we, as consumers, would not be harmed, while these companies were really only concerned with profits and selling us more things we didn’t need.
Only a couple of generations ago, using natural products was the norm. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice . . . it got the job done, even before essential oils came along to bring extra germ fighting power to the equation. There wasn’t “organic” food, vs. “pesticide” or even processed food, there was simply natural food grown in nutrient rich soil. And back then they didn’t use products to mask odours or enhance appearance that were riddled with toxic chemicals.
But as the chemical manufacturers started developing more products, along came those television ads and all the options on the store shelves. We loaded up our carts with all the “new and improved” products and then wanted to get all these “essentials” at lower and lower prices. Our toilets and countertops and laundry were not as clean as they should be and harsh, environmentally damaging products were the only answer. Cue the big box stores, filling that need.
What if there was a better way? What if we had a good hard look at what was in those products, found out the truth about the threats to our health, and started using safe, pure, effective natural products instead. This is transformational. It’s also a lot easier than you might think, and you don’t have to sacrifice a clean, fresh smelling home or the beautifying effects of your daily personal care routine. Turning into a “hippy” (to use a term that dates me) is completely optional. Better health, boosted energy and immunity, less stress and a younger, healthier appearance are all side benefits. You can say goodbye to the ridiculously long list of side effects from pharmaceuticals when you turn to safe, effective natural solutions as a first response for the vast majority of day to day health concerns.
Personal Health Hazards
First, let’s brush up on the dangers lurking in those cleaning and personal care products. It’s quite scary. Let’s look at fragrance. This is a term that manufacturers use on labels to hide hundreds of different chemicals that can have harmful effects. Acute effects such as respiratory and skin irritation, headaches, sneezing and watery eyes are obvious signals, but other reactions are more insidious, causing damage that you don’t notice at first. Some ingredients can contribute to long-term health effects such as cancer or hormone disruption. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that 1/3 of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic, and companies do not have to disclose these ingredients if they use the term “fragrance”. Both cleaning products and personal care products (shampoo, body wash, lotion, etc.) are loaded with fragrance. Another obvious source of fragrance is perfume. Once you stop using these chemicals, the smell of perfume is quite offensive. Your sense of smell will return to normal and be able to pick up the unpleasant chemical scent once you’ve eliminated artificial fragrance from the products you use. We are all vulnerable to the harmful effects, but pregnant women, infants and children should take extra care to avoid fragrance.
Look for fragrance in the following products:
Lotions and serums, shampoos and conditioners, scented candles, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, household cleaners, cosmetics, air fresheners (including those that say they contain “essential oils”), deodorant, soap, perfume/cologne, sunscreen, baby wipes and other personal care products.
Other toxins to avoid for personal health:
Now that we’ve covered fragrance, let’s think about the other items that have harmful chemicals in them.
Pesticides in non-organic produce (including very scary glyphosate), formaldehyde and other chemicals in nail polish, stain blockers and fire retardants in clothing and furniture, Teflon cookware, BPA cans, and plastic food packaging, mildew-resistant shower curtains, and electronics (including EMF radiation).
We’re expecting an awful lot from our livers and detoxification pathways when we consider the compound effect of all these chemicals, not to mention any processed foods or pharmaceutical drugs we are consuming. We can’t just detox our way out of this.
Think this toxic soup is bad for your own health? How about the cumulative effect of all these chemicals being introduced to our water supplies as we shower, wash dishes and flush the toilet. Harm to fish and other marine life is increasing as we pollute the water with the runoff of these products, along with all the plastic packaging that is disposed and ends up in the oceans. Detergents, disinfectants and other cleaning agents break down into chemicals that cause hormone disruption in fish, threatening their reproductive abilities. Phosphates from cleaners contribute to overgrowth of algae, depleting the oxygen supply and killing off fish and other organisms.
The plastic bottles used to package cleaning products are another concern. Due to the cancer causing chemicals in PVC (vinyl), it is so hazardous that it is rejected from most recycling centres. Less than 1% of PVC is recycled each year, leading to the heaps of solid waste in the landfills.
Time for a change?
To be honest, I don’t think I would have made the switch as quickly or as completely if it weren’t for dōTERRA making it so easy. Prior to that, I had spent years dabbling in “both worlds”, trying to buy natural products whenever I could, finding they didn’t work as well as synthetic versions, and defeatedly returning to the bleaches and cleaning sprays from the grocery aisle, annoyed at having wasted my money. I wasn’t a fan of the smell of vinegar and I didn’t have a variety of essential oils or the knowledge of how to use them to incorporate them into my messy attempts at DIY cleaning scrubs, hair conditioners, and other failed projects.
So I was sceptical when I heard about using essential oils to go toxin-free. It wasn’t clear to me how this would work and it didn’t seem possible for there to be so many different uses for the oils. It was a gradual learning process, but the very first step was getting the Home Essentials kit that came with a diffuser. Once I had these tools, any type of scented candle or room spray was no longer needed. I loved how it was actually killing the pathogens in the air and not just creating a masking effect. I felt more clear headed, positive and healthy, and I knew I was onto something significant.
It took a little more time to start learning how to use dōTERRA for all the day to day health issues, but I was determined to use my natural apothecary exclusively and stop switching back and forth. I loved using Deep Blue for pain (it works so quickly!) and the stress relieving properties of Lavender and Balance truly changed my life after years of chronic stress, adrenal fatigue and burnout.
I started using a drop of Lemon essential oil in my water every day to help detox and cleanse internally, and then I tried the Lifelong Vitality supplements and was blown away by the boost to my energy, strength, and mental clarity, while finding it also melted away my anxiety and dramatically reduced my hair loss, which had become a serious concern.
So would I ever return to chemical products from the store shelves for my health care, personal care or cleaning products? The idea is preposterous. There is simply no turning back. I’ve found a better way that allows me to feel my best and know that I’m not only not causing harm to the environment, I’m supporting a company that does so much good for people around the world. Being a conscious consumer while reaping all the benefits to my wellness is simply a game changer that I will never consider reversing.
To hear more about how and why I made the switch to toxin-free living, I think you’ll enjoy this interview I did on the Chronic Wellness radio show on CHLY.
If you feel called to make this type of switch yourself and want to know what I recommend, feel free to get in touch. I’d love to help you on your natural wellness journey.