Going Green

>> 3.03.2010

I hate that phrase... I really do. It reminds me of the wacko environmentalists who value the life of some sort of minnow over the lives and well being of people. We know that people are made in the image of God, minnows are not. However, unlike the equally wacky extremists on the other end of the spectrum, we have to acknowledge that as people made in His image, we have been given dominion over creation and that includes protecting it. I don't believe that it is wrong to sacrifice certain things (like minnows) in order to make progress in areas that promote the well being of others (like people). However, so many of our "advancements" are actually harmful to not only the environment, but to our own families. There has to be a healthy balance. I've been learning a lot lately about different cleaning products as well as beauty/health products that have toxic, harmful ingredients. The fumes of these products have been breathed in by my children, the chemicals rubbed into our skin absorbing into our blood... it can't be good, right? I began to notice as I changed things, a lot of the symptoms my husband and children had have been disappearing. Rashes, eczema, breathing problems and headaches have all decreased dramatically, especially the skin problems. I think one of the main culprits was my laundry routine. Bleaching clothes and sheets and then overloading them with fabric softener sure made my clothes pretty and smelling good... but at what cost? For a while I went back and forth between different natural detergents, no bleach, no fabric softeners to my old habits out of frustration from disappointing results. However, I think I've found the perfect solution. For Laundry Soap, I have been using Soap Nuts. For Fabric Softener I have been using Distilled White Vinegar. Now, that may seem crazy, but actually it works remarkably well and there is not a hint of vinegar smell when those clothes come out of the dryer. I am very happy with that combo... the next thing I need to change is my stain remover, but that is another post.



As far as cleaning products, I have been thrilled with the changes I've made. I got a great "recipe" for an all purpose cleaner from Ann Marie over at Cheeseslave. It is my favorite thing, I actually look forward to cleaning now. I used peppermint oil in mine, and when I am finished cleaning my house smells very subtly of peppermint. It is a beautiful thing. :) Another favorite is my furniture polish: 1 cup olive oil mixed with 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. When I squeeze the lemons, I save the lemon peel to throw in my garbage disposal. My kitchen smells fresh and lemony after running it through there! As far as candles go... I have dumped all of my regular ones. I picked up a 100% pure beeswax candle the other day and love it! (I am a huge candle person!) The only downside is that it is a bit more expensive than a regular candle, but with the longer burn time it seems to even out. However, for those times when you want to freshen up the air in your house without a candle, I've learned a great trick! Put a pot of water on the stove and add things to it that smell good. That's it! It's fabulous! My favorite right now is pumpkin pie spice. It is like mulling spices, only way cheaper and I feel great about it because I have finally found something to do with the stuff! (It is certainly not fit for pumpkin pie) I have also loved orange peel with a few drops of vanilla extract, just let it simmer away all afternoon and your house will smell unbelievable. I'm sure you can use just about anything, just make sure you remember it is there!

Moving right along to beauty products... I am obsessed with moist skin. People who learn about my lotion habits always ask me if I have dry skin. Honestly, I don't know. I have been slathering on lotion from head to toe for years, every morning and evening. My skin never has a chance to get dry. I love lotion and that was the hardest thing for me to give up. I did give it up though, and discovered that no, I really don't have dry skin. Pretty normal actually. It made a lot of sense to me when I read, "why would you go to all of the trouble of eating organic and still rub harsh chemicals all over your body??" I still missed lotion though, and was THRILLED to discover that I could use coconut oil, as lotion! It works beautifully well also. I love the way it smells, but if you don't you can always add a couple of drops of essential oil to it. :) Other options for beauty products can be found out there, they are becoming more common. I ordered an oil blend for my husband that he has been loving. My favorite website for these things is Terressentials. Be warned that there are naked women on the website, as well as on the labels of some of their products. Not the best when you are ordering things for your husband... but you can rip them right off and the products are worth the effort! My favorites that they have are the white chocolate chap stick, and the mint hand soap. They are wonderful! :)

I will add more later, but these are a few of the things I've been doing lately to "go green". You have to eat an elephant one bite at a time. :)

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