A Few of My Favorite Things

Detox your environment with a few of my favorites.

Some weeks I have so much to say I must pick one.  Other weeks I really have to meditate on what I want to talk about.  It’s not that I have run out of things to say; I just want to give you something that matters to you.  I’m a few days late on this one.  I talk a lot of detoxing your life, and I thought this post I would share with you some of my favorite products or methods for cleaning out the toxins in your environment.

My focus when choosing products is to first go to the ingredient list.  I want to make sure I’m using certified organic products first and foremost.  Pesticides wreak havoc on our hormones.  Balancing hormones is key to keeping the delicate balance of hormones required to be healthy.  I also like to research the companies who make products to gain a better understanding of their mission and position on toxins and health.  There are companies out there that are driven to help restore the earth and our health.

Essential Oils

I absolutely love using essential oils.  Essential oils are derived from plants.  They are the essence of the plant that help the plant to survive and thrive.  The compounds contained in this essence provide them with the ability to keep animals and insects from eating them, prevent other invading plants species from growing too closely, protect from viruses and bacteria, and attract pollinators to reproduce. When we distill these compounds for our own use, we obtain the benefits of these compounds.  Many oils have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-septic, and anti-parasitic properties for us as well.  They also provide benefits beyond those necessary for the plant.  Essential oils have been shown to assist in balancing hormones, reducing stress, calming skin conditions, maintaining blood sugar, improving circulation and cellular health, and the list goes on.

The medicinal compounds in plants provided the basis for synthetic drug manufacturing; however, the oils, when used properly, are much safer with fewer, if any side effects.  Unlike pharmaceutical drugs and toxic cleaning and personal care products, they can be synthesized and eliminated by the body.  They don’t build up in our organs and tissues, adding to our toxic burden.

When reading labels, look for organic or wild-crafted essential oils rather than fragrance or perfume in the ingredients.  Fragrance and perfumes are synthetic and generally not safe.  They are xenoestrogens and endocrine disruptors that tax the thyroid and other organs.

I use essential oils to make as many of my products as possible.  I make all my personal care products except shampoo and bar soap.  I haven’t been able to master shampoo yet.  It takes a lot of trial and error to get the right ph balance.  Bar soap is next on my list of endeavors.  That takes time and patience, and safety gear, more than anything.  I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap as the basis for my face washes and laundry care.  For laundry, we use a tablespoon of castile soap with tea tree oil for each load.  Our clothes come out clean and soft.

Personal Care
Face washes need to be tailored to skin type.  Essential oils have different properties.  Some are soothing, calming, balancing, moistening or drying.  Some, the citrus oils, are photosensitive and should not be applied to skin within 12 hours of sun exposure.  I have found frankincense, chamomile and lavender to be neutral.  Organic, virgin coconut oil is a great all-over moisturizer.  Yep, straight out of the jar.  I used it every day in Mexico after showering and I came home after three weeks with the most beautiful skin I’ve ever had.  You can create clay masks, using the appropriate clay for your skin type.  Fruit and vegetable masks are great too.  Remember, the healing properties of the plant are transferred to you.

For makeup, I have found Juice Organics and 100% Pure to be safe and gentle.  I no longer use makeup and I now make my own face oil; but when I did use makeup, those were the ones I used.  There are others, I just have not tried them myself.  Witch hazel is great for the occasional pimple.

Deodorants are one of those products that seem to work differently based on your chemistry.  When I use deodorant, I either use Schmidt’s or I make my own from coconut oil, tea tree and then another oil for scent like sandalwood or lavender.  I discovered this when treating an ingrown hair.  I didn’t use deodorant while treating and found it was an excellent replacement.

Toothpaste has a lot of stuff we don’t need or want.  You don’t need or want flouride, it’s a toxic chemical you probably already get too much of in your water.  Carrageeanan is something that is still up in the air as to safety as well.  It is used as a thickener and emulsifier.  I know you’re used to the foaming to know it’s working, but I’ve switched to Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste.  It took a while to get used to the no foaming, but I really like it now.

Last, but definitely not least, is female care products.  This is a very important area.  For all of the products used over many reproductive years, we have never given thought to the chemicals in our personal care products like chlorine, pesticides and fragrance.  Here are my top 3 picks: L. (I found at Target) is made with organic cotton; Seventh Generation is chlorine free; and NatraCare.  The key is to find chlorine free and organic.  Our skin is our largest organ, and soaking up these chemicals on a regular basis just adds to our toxic burden and hormone disruption.

For household cleaning, I have a bottle of vinegar and water to which I add citrus oil, either orange, lemon or grapefruit.  I use it for everything as a basic cleaner.  That’s it. That simple.  You will find a ton of recipes using vinegar on the internet.  You can also make scouring pastes for tougher stains with baking soda.

Insect Repellents
Now insect repellents still have me all turned around as to universal application.  There are several essential oils that have repellent properties.  I’ve made simple blends and complex blends.  Many just didn’t work for me.  Here too, I strongly believe that every person is different.  For me a mixture of distilled water and peppermint oil works better than anything.  I keep it by the back door in a small cobalt blue or amber glass bottle and spray myself head to toe before going outside.  I re-apply every hour or when the bugs start flying closer to me.  So here, you may need to experiment.  If you try a mix you found and it doesn’t work, don’t give up.  You need to find the oil that works for you.  Some swear by lemongrass, others clove.  For me, it’s peppermint.

Basically, for house cleaning, keep it simple.  Vinegar, water and your favorite citrus oil.  For skin, try coconut oil.  For insects, start with one oil at a time and see what works for you.  They key is to continually reduce the amount of toxic products you use in your home.

Essential oils coaching is part of what I provide in my holistic, integrative health coaching program.  Each product or recommendation needs to be tailored to the individual based on their chemistry, level of health, medication usage and needs.  Just remember, essential oils are powerful compounds drawn from nature.  They are generally safe, but need to be used with knowledge and guidance.  Some are very strong and should never be used internally, so appreciate their power and abilities when using.  Consult with someone specifically trained or certified in essential oils for holistic health if you are looking to incorporate essential oils into a healthy lifestyle regimen.

Yours in Wellness,

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