Going to a chemical-free home with natural household and beauty products helped me realize that health has many meanings. Here’s how to go chemical-free, and how going natural can help you on your fitness journey, too. Note: This post contains affiliate links for The Grove Collaborative, which is where most of my natural products come from.
When I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago, I did what most first-time moms do.
I Googled and researched until my head was overwhelmed with advice on what’s best for pregnancy and babies.
I think it’s normal, and healthy to an extent. It’s important for those of us who aren’t obstetricians and pediatricians to really understand the implications of our health choices. Doing all that research is a sure sign of a good mom, in my opinion. It means you care.
Anyway, I did a lot of research. And by research, I mean I read a lot of books and scholarly articles about pregnancy and giving birth.
I was alarmed to find that even small choices made could really harm a baby…or not.
It’s kind of an annoying notion if you look at it that way, really. There’s SO much that goes into the making of a healthy child, and knowing that is overwhelming and stressful.
But the bottom line was this: the more natural you can be before, during, and after a pregnancy, the better for your baby.
I’m not going to go into every detail about what I learned, because it’s just too much. But know that I went all-out learning about how to reduce my chemical exposure during pregnancy, and have continued to reduce my family’s exposure since.
The more you know, the more empowered you are.
I will say that I found out that products I was using in my home and on my body every day were known to be harmful to all humans. (Let’s not even begin to what they could do to a growing baby.)
I’m talking about my cleaning products, my makeup, my soaps and shampoos, my food storage, cooking utensils, and more. So many of the things I was used to using no-questions-asked were either known to be harmful or potentially harmful to the human body.
It’s a little depressing to think about, since so many things are hurtful to our bodies, but I started eliminating “bad” products and now every day I feel a little better about my choices.
Health is More Than Looks
Anyway, learning about the way consumerism has changed and the market for everyday products in America has been eye-opening. Now I carefully consider each product I put in my home and it makes me feel good knowing I’m helping my family be healthier in small ways. That’s all good and well, but on this journey to having a chemical-free home, I realized that I kind of had some double standards regarding health.
You see, I’d been obsessing about moving towards a chemical-free home, but I’d been neglecting taking a closer look at my own nutrition.
Why was I not okay with using harsh chemicals to clean my bathroom once a week, yet I was okay with drinking soda and eating fast food?
Why was I okay with eating a processed frozen meal but totally not okay putting certain brands of makeup on my face?
The point is, going towards a chemical-free home made me realize that unless you’re eating organic, growing your own food, or skipping all processed foods, what’s the point of eliminating other chemicals?
Ugh. That sounds really downer, I know. I’d been trying so hard to be healthier by going chemical-free with non-food items that I’d neglected the other, most important domain: nutrition.
You Can’t Have Everything…But Every Little Thing Counts
Trying to go chemical-free in one area of life is hard enough, but now I’m saying it’s NOT enough? I know. It’s insane. Of course we would all eat organic if we could. Of course we wouldn’t eat processed food if it wasn’t a LOT of work to eat fresh all the time. Or course we would harvest our own foods if we had the time, space, and money.
You don’t need me to tell you that you need to try harder to be healthy.
The point is that there are so many different aspects to being really, truly healthy.
The Number on The Scale Isn’t An Accurate Reflection of Health
If you care about how much you weigh or how you look, shouldn’t you care about your internal and mental health, too? It all goes together – you can’t have one without the other in my opinion.
Plus, let’s be reminded that you can be healthy and muscular even if you have extra weight on your body. Your weight in numbers doesn’t tell you how much of your body is lean muscle mass, water weight, fat, etc. (See my “before” weight loss post and see what a better solution to weighing yourself might be. As it turns out, I have a lot of muscle hidden underneath all of this extra flab!)
What Happens When You Start to Work Towards a Chemical-Free Home
With every new piece of knowledge that you acquire, you acquire a new tool for your health. It can be something that helps you really take a step back and carefully consider every decision that affects it.
I have personally chosen to empower myself with knowledge surrounding the topics of harsh chemicals in everyday products, as well as health and fitness overall. Remember, I became a personal trainer to help stay accountable for my own health. I learned so much about eating and training.
If you embark on a personal journey for information regarding your own health, imagine the possibilities! You will be armed with the tools you need to completely transform your life.
Why It’s Important to Have a Chemical Free Home
Let me start by acknowledging that there’s no such thing as a truly chemical-free home. Chemicals occur in nature and we are really talking about harsh, synthetic chemicals right now. In order to work towards a chemical-free home, there are several areas that we need to examine:
- Beauty/personal care products
- Our cleaning products, including laundry items
- Our toys, furniture, and clothing (think fire retardants)
- Foods – both fresh items and pantry items
- Our packaging and storage items
You’re probably thinking, “Really? Our furniture? Our storage items? What?” I know, it’s a lot! But you would be shocked at what you find out with just a little research.
Chemicals like parabens and phthalates are rampant in these products (read more about those chemicals in this post), although they are merely a couple of the many harmful chemicals that can be found in them. There chemicals are known to have negative effects on hormones and fertility, and are related to incidences of cancer, birth defects, allergies, and more. Luckily, it is possible to lower your risk of these things by working towards a chemical-free home.
How to Have a Chemical-Free Home
So, how do we start moving towards a chemical-free home? My answer: It can be as simple or as big of a change as you want. Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Use the EWG (Environmental Working Group) databases to check on products you are already using.
Use the Skin Deep database and Healthy Cleaning database (there’s also an app for both) to check the rankings on the products you are currently using. Using these databases, you are able to see exactly what risks each product posed and find out which chemicals in each were considered harmful.
Step 2: Use the EWG databases to find healthier alternatives.
In the event that you need to find a healthier replacement for any product, use the EWG to find “A” rated products, or EWG verified products. These are considered safe to use. Luckily, many brands, like Beauty Counter, have moved toward making ALL of their products safer.
Step 3: Ensure that you choose healthier products by having them sent to you.
I don’t have a local health food store – they are all about a thirty minute drive for me. On top of that, my local stores have a very limited selection as far as “natural” products. So to make sure that I don’t buy random products at the drug or grocery store, I have done two things.
Firstly, I have made an Amazon list of all EWG verified products I use, so I can have them sent to me regularly. (This way I don’t forget what’s safe.)
Secondly, I have enlisted The Grove Collaborative to send me new cleaning products and other natural products. I like this because I can make one-time purchases, or I can get a subscription of products sent to me monthly, quarterly, etc. This helps me keep my needed items in stock without any last-minute runs to the grocery/drug store.
Step 4: Stop buying products from the regular store unless you know they are verified/safe.
To do this, you can download the apps from the Environmental Working Group and actually scan products at the store. You’ll get a rating right then and there! This is important to me because occasionally I find a product that looks interesting, new, and claims to be safe at the store. Sometimes, come to find out, it’s not! Unfortunately, not all “green” brands are really safe.
That’s it! I hope that I have helped you understand how to have a chemical-free home. I also hope that you now understand how learning about these things can help you in other areas of your health.
Do you have any favorite safe, “green” products to share with me? Tell me below!