It wasn’t too long ago that I was completely oblivious to the dangers lurking in our everyday use items. In fact, it was just a few short months ago that I learned about the majority of them (and am still). I guess we all know that there are organic and natural options – we see those all around – and how documentaries like “Food, Inc.” (though I haven’t personally seen it) gave light to the dangers and common practices in the foods we consume. But I never really took the time to research all of it. Hey, ignorance was bliss.
What sparked the change for me? A simple little article about the toxins in disposable diapers that a friend sent me. Then a quick glance at an article about the toxins found in newborn babies’ blood, and wham! It hit home (I had my newborn in my arms at the time). One thing lead to another, and it seemed the more I discovered, the more I wanted to research.
After our move from an arid to a humid climate last summer, my son had croup more often than not, it seemed. He was constantly ill with this croupy cough and with fluid in his ears. Doctors explained it as an allergic reaction to something, possibly in the air. So this summer I am taking extra precautions as to avoid what happened last year. Perhaps he can avoid the so-called allergies if we make some changes and become an even healthier family.
Thus my family and I (okay, mainly “I”) started our journey towards healthier living by first making “dream” goals or ideals. We wanted to:
- Use “green” kitchen, laundry and cleaning products (For a couple of years now, I had mainly used “green” cleaning products but had sadly reverted to using a couple of other “main” staples once in a while.)
- Switch to organic, natural, healthier, unprocessed and non-GMO foods (I know new research comes out almost daily about something else that is bad but “they” originally thought to be good for you, so I try to avoid the fads. Basically, I am trying to nourish my family with food pure and in its natural form – as I believe God had originally intended it to be.)
- Rid ourselves of chemically-laden personal care products
- Start cloth diapering
- Limit our use of plastics (and eventually get rid of all “bad” plastics and replace them with safer alternatives)
- Research alternative options for furniture, bedding, and clothes (This one was the most far-fetched goal, but we still wanted to make great strides towards it.)
If it were up to me, I would start all over from scratch with all organic and natural everything. But the world and life isn’t perfect and idealistic, and I can’t start becoming a crazy woman throwing away everything we have. Believe me, I have felt that fanatic on several occasions upon making some shocking discoveries. I even remember asking my husband (more than once) if we could just build our own little organic hut somewhere off in Alaska. A girl can dream, can’t she? Alas, I must baby step the entire process, taking it one day at a time, one item at a time, one goal at a time.
First, we started with transitioning towards cloth diapers for our daughter, as she is the most vulnerable, then moved on to her lotions and soaps. When I began my in-depth search, I was satisfied with products that were labeled in the lower end of moderately hazardous on EWG’s Skin Deep database. Since then, I have held myself to even higher standards and moved to products rated a “0” or “1.”
Basically, I want to be a good steward of my family’s health and body. I take that role on as my job. Being a Christian, the Bible does call for us to be good stewards of the earth. And though I often consider the environment’s sake in many of my choices, I am mainly concerned with my family. The future of my children, grandchildren (and so forth) and of other children supercedes all else. So I guess I don’t consider myself an environmentalist nor an ecovangelist.
I also don’t consider myself to be a purist. Sure, I want my kids to have healthy foods, but I know there will be the occasional dinner out where we can’t control what goes into our foods. And if we are away from home on vacation or at a public restroom, I won’t fuss if we can’t use the “right” lotion or soap. Overall, I just want my family to have the best things and foods as much as possible. (I promised myself that I wouldn’t “freak out” or avoid unnatural options just because the natural options were not available to me at the time.) If I am doing the best I can on most days, I will be satisfied.
My ultimate goal with this series is to change how you think, and about how your everyday choices impact your own lives and the lives of your children now and in the future. Healthy living inside and out. With the plethora of information out there, this can seem daunting and you can get easily overwhelmed. Remember to make changes slowly, if you so decide this step is right for you.
Maybe one day my own family will be a completely “organic family,” but for now I’ll continue to strive towards it by baby stepping. (Every time I say “baby stepping” I think about the movie “What About Bob?”) So journey with me this summer (and beyond) as I explore the many ways to live greener and towards better stewardship of our families’ health. One baby step at a time.