Monday, February 11, 2013
"How far are you taking this?"
As far as I like. That's what I told Josh. He was concerned that I would suddenly rid our house of running water and electricity. But I calmed his fears and he's on board as long as he doesn't have to churn his own butter.
What am I talking about? Getting crunchy in the Grubb house.
We're talking total overhaul of all the chemical-laden, unpronouncable ingredient-filled crap that I thought we were supposed to be using, cleaning with, eating. And it's simply not true.
Apparently, there's a better way.
Imagine not needing to baby-proof under your bathroom or kitchen sink because there's nothing there that could harm your little one.
Imagine saving hundreds of dollars a year on cleaning and self-care products.
Well, I'm diving in. Phasing out the "normal" and getting back to basics.
There is no scientific evidence that the chemicals we use on a daily basis clean better than basic soap, hot water, and a good scrub.
There is, however, lots of evidence showing how toxic our homes are becoming. In my opinion, it's crazy to use things like bleach, which irritates our skin, eyes, and throats, when vinegar and baking soda will clean the toilet just as well.
That's what I'm doing. Vinegar, baking soda, some fun essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree. And a new obsession: Dr. Bronners Castille Soap. Y'all, I use this soap everywhere in the house. Just a couple drops and you're good for most things. Here's a great, informative post if you want to know more about this awesome stuff.
In the body care department, I've been doing some pretty crazy stuff.
I heard about no-poo and looked into it. I'm not brave enough to stop using shampoo cold turkey, so I'm gradually weaning off of it. Last month I shampooed only every other day and by the end of the month my hair didn't look or feel greasy at all the second day. This month I'm shampooing every third day. Admittedly, it's a little grody up top in the morning but I have found that shaking a bit of baking soda on my scalp right before my shower really eliminates the extra grease. I'm hoping to be 90% shampoo-free by the end of the year. Once a week I'll probably use an organic shampoo, just because I like the pretty smell. But I'm excited to not need it anymore. Think I've lost my marbles? So did Josh until I showed him this.
I've been using just baking soda to "wash" my face and virgin coconut oil to moisturize. My skin hasn't felt or looked this great since before I hit puberty!
I'm looking into "washing" my face with oil, as per this article, so sometime soon I'll have a review of that method.
Oh, and the coconut oil? It's da bomb (a little 90's lingo to give you a flashback).
I use it for everything. Seriously.
Cooking - so delicious.
A tablespoon straight for an energy boost
A dab for the dog makes her coat shine (and she loves it.)
Lotion and Moisturizer - just dig out a bit and rub it on. It's been great for fixing my flaky, winter skin.
Homemade, super-effective vapor rub - add 2-3 drops eucalyptus oil to a chunk of coconut oil and rub it on your chest.
I put a chunk in P's bath every night to moisturize.
Rash ointment (cloth diaper safe and anti-fungal)
My mom bought a jar when she was visiting because she used some of mine and was hooked!
I use Spectrum. Make sure you get the unrefined virgin coconut oil. It's the best kind. I'm thinking about trying EffaGold next time, we'll see.
Don't shy away from the $12 price tag. For all the things I use it for, I've had the same jar for 2 months. Not bad when you consider how much your usual products cost that it can replace. Dude, you can even brush your teeth with this stuff! I haven't tried it but when I do I'll probably love it. I'm 90% sure of it.
There's a Nook book in my queue about homemade makeup and skin care products, so I may be playing mad scientist in the bathroom here pretty soon. But for the moment I'm trying to use up what I've already got in my makeup bag and my shower.
We're also getting back to basics in the kitchen. But not all at once. I watched an illuminating documentary last week called "Hungry for Change". It rocked my world. If you have Instant Netflix I highly recommend it. I made Josh and my mom watch it too and they are just as interested in these changes as I am despite the initial eye-rolling that I got.
For my birthday I'm getting a juicer and we are going to be experimenting with fresh fruit and veggie juices. I'll share the good, the bad and the gross right here. Think of me as your healthy food guinea pig.
Josh thinks I'm looking into how to make homemade soda too...and technically that's true. Water kefir is very fizzy and can be flavored in tons of ways. What he doesn't know (and no one better tell on me!) is that it's made by fermenting bacteria cultures. It's homemade probiotics with a bunch of health benefits. Best part? It's cheap. Like, pennies a day cheap. And you know I'll post about those adventures!
We're also going to try out some vegan and organic alternatives to foods we already eat.
This is not all a one-stop trip to granola town. The key is to ADD new things. Don't run out and fill your grocery cart with all new stuff and expect overnight change.
Maybe you are determined enough for that, but for us mere mortals that kind of overhaul never lasts. It's also not economical and mama's on a budget.
So what do you do?
When your Tilex or Clorox or whatever you use runs out, rinse out the bottle (or grab a few squirt bottles at the dollar tree) and fill it with a cup of vinegar, a tablespoon of Dr. Bronners (or some dish soap like regular Dawn) and fill the rest of the bottle with hot water. Shake it and spray it, my friend. That's it!
Next time you're at the grocery store, grab a fruit that looks interesting. Look up how to cut/cook with it when you get home.
Or veer over to the organic section (you know, that corner of the store that you always avoid because that's where the "weird" food is) and grab a quart of almond milk or some organic macaroni.
Don't fill your cupboards with anything until you've tried and liked it. Don't throw away all your laundry detergent (that's not the proper way to dispose of it anyway) until you've made and tried out a homemade version.
In short, your goal is to add in better, healthier options, slowly phasing out what you no longer use or want. It will save you money and it won't be overwhelming.
What about you? Any natural cleaning methods to share? Any delicious vegan foods I should give a try? Please, do tell.