Many people try to live a healthy lifestyle by eating well, working out regularly and getting a good night’s sleep. But a lot of us never think about the chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Whether or not we know it, dangerous toxins are everywhere. In the air we breathe, in the water that comes out of our showers, in our scented candles, in our make-up, and the list goes on…It’s impossible to avoid all of them, but in our own four walls we at least have some sort of control over what we are exposed to. When Phil and I moved to Sydney we came with only a couple of boxes of personal belongings, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to be mindful of any new things that we bring into our home. Of course I jumped at this chance to create a space for us that is comfortable and healthy.
The process can be a bit overwhelming (because once you start researching, you realize how much crap there is in literally everything) and expensive, and there are so many more things I still want to do, but for now I am quite happy with having made some small changes.
That’s why I wanted to give you guys a little tour of our new place and tell you about some changes that you too can make to your environment. I also snuck in some other healthy home essentials that I wanted to show you and some of my favorite daily rituals, so enjoy!
Did you know that the skin is your largest organ? And did you know that 60-90% of all products that you put on your skin actually end up in your blood? Just think about how well nicotine patches or contraceptive patches work, and you’ll quickly realize how effective the skin to blood transfer is.
So go ahead, open your bathroom cabinets and cosmetic cases and start reading the labels. Become aware of what you are applying on your skin on a day to day basis. I’m sure you will be shocked at the cocktail of ingredients!
As a side note: I recently went to a workshop about natural skincare, and even though I’ve been intrigued by natural skin care for a while (I even wrote a blog post about it here), I haven’t fully made the transition yet. This workshop was the perfect reminder about just how bad these chemicals are and I have made it my personal goal to switch all my makeup to natural alternatives by the end of 2016.
I mean, why would anyone knowingly choose to use toxic products when there are wonderfully effective natural alternatives? Emmily from Depths of Beauty, who spoke at the event, does awesome reviews on her blog about natural alternatives, so feel free to have a browse there. She also recommended an app called Think Dirty that lets you scan your products to see how good or bad they are on a scale of 1-10. I did that first thing after the workshop and I was shocked at some of the results..
If you want to switch but don’t know where to start, start with a body lotion and deodorant; body lotion because it’s what you use on the biggest surface of your skin and deodorant because your arm pits are even more absorbent than the rest of your body!
Skincare: Sukin– 100% Carbon neutral, cruelty-free, vegan
Handwash: Thank You – Vegan-friendly, 100% of profits go to charity: there’s even a unique Tracker ID on each product that lets you see the exact details of the project your product is assigned to fund.
Body wash, shampoo & conditioner: Eco Store– sustainably-sourced plant and mineral based ingredients, ISO14001, Diamond Enviromark and carboNZero certifications, vegan-friendly
Organic cotton pads & towels
P.S.: I try to dry body brush every day before the shower (I also have a dry body brush for the shower if I feel like it) and the only body lotion I ever use these days is organic coconut oil. I swear it’s the best!
Towels and Laundry
Organic towels are not just an extension of the “organic trend”- there are actually many valid reasons why we should be purchasing towels made from organic fibers: the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and GMO’s that are harmful for farmers, consumers, and the entire wildlife eco-system. They also use much less water than conventional crops. Makes the swap pretty logical, right?
The same goes for bedsheets. Let’s do some maths here: even if you don’t need a lot of sleep, you spend at least 30 hours a week in your bed. Right? So, why would you even consider squishing your face into sheets that are manufactured using chemicals that can be harmful to your body?
Non-organic cotton can be coated with cancer-causing chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, bleach and heavy metals. Oftentimes, manufacturers coat their bedding with chemicals that prevent the material from catching fire. Those chemicals are absorbed into your skin over time, which can lead to arthritis, eczema and event joint pain or headaches. Yikes! I don’t know about you, but that makes me think twice before crawling into bed at night!
I’ve also made the switch to natural candles and diffusers. We all love creating a sexy atmosphere in the bedroom with candle light, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of our health. Most candles use paraffin, which is a by-product of petrol and can be incredibly toxic for our bodies. Instead search for candles using natural plant based waxes like soy wax. Soy candles actually last a third longer than a comparable paraffin wax candle, so the higher price is well worthwhile.
P.S.: Wondering what book is on my bed side table? I’m currently reading “No Bull Beauty: Cutting Through The Crap” by Sheryl Lynn Gibbs.
The kitchen is my favorite space in the apartment, after the bedroom (who else LOVES their bed?). I’m always up for trying new recipes and playing around with unknown ingredients, so the kitchen is a bit of a sacred space for me. My biggest and best investment has got to be my Vitamix, which is literally the best blender ever! You can chuck anything in there and it will create the most amazing texture! My neighbors probably hate us for the roaring noise it makes, but I just can’t go without my morning smoothie.
I also wanted to give you a quick run down of my pantry essentials and the products I use on a daily basis. One thing that I want to mention is that I try to buy organic whenever possible (not just for fresh produce but also for things like spices and herbs, teas, supplements, granola etc.), but if you are just getting started, then my tip is to shop according to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list. If you want to learn more, I also wrote a little post about organic vs. non-organic here.
My healthy home essentials for cooking:
The four spices I couldn’t live without:
Cayenne – for my morning hot lemon water with ginger
Cinnamon – for smoothies and oatmeals
Paprika and coriander – for literally every savoury dish I make
Peanut butter – PB shouldn’t have any ingredients other than peanuts and a bit of salt. Period.
Tahini – for delicious stir-fries and salad dressings with lemon juice
Rice Malt Syrup – a complex carbohydrate blend of glucose and maltose made from fermented cooked rice, completely fructose-free (which is slow releasing aka it doesn’t give you as much of a sugar high)
Tea – I drink a couple cups of green/white and herbal tea every day
Coconut oil – For sautéing or roasting veggies in the oven, oil pulling, hair masks, as body lotion, gosh I just love coconut oil!
Superfoods – My faves are acai and maca powder as well as this superfood blend from Loving Earth
Supplements – the four supplements I take on a regular basis are magnesium, vitamin B12, Juice+ and spirulina
Protein powder – there’s so much processed crap out there, so make sure to stick to brands that are as clean as possible. My personal fave are Nuzest and Amazonia
Canned products – Even though I try to stay away from processed foods, I always have some canned beans around the house for when there’s not enough time to cook them up fresh (my fave include kidney beans, chickpeas and edamame)
Oils and other condiments – You’ll always find organic cold pressed virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar (for detoxifying morning shots) and tamari (low sodium soy sauce) in my pantry
So there you have it. This is our little wellness sanctuary. There are so many things that you can do to detoxify your home and make it more healthy, but this would definitely be a good start and I hope I inspired some of you to take a closer look at the things that you bring into your home.
* I did receive same testers for free, but I bought most of the products myself because I believe in the products and support the company’s ethics.