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In this part of the article, we suggest alternatives to commercial household cleaners and personal care items. We’ll also talk a bit about using our local resources as a starting place for finding healthier and organic versions of popular supermarket products.
1 Household Cleaners
More companies are producing healthier household cleaners free of phosphates, petroleum-based cleaners, chlorine, dyes and other potentially harmful chemicals. True, they might cost a bit more than typical supermarket brands, but if you watch for sales or buy from wholesale internet sites (such as www.vitacost.com or www.luckyvitamins.com), you are unlikely to spend much more, and it is a worthwhile investment in your health.
An even more budget-friendly clean alternative is a simple set of multi-purpose household cleaners that are always available in any grocery or drug store. And I am talking about –
• Baking soda – use it as a deodorizer, nonabrasive scouring powder
• Washing soda – use it as a grease cutter, wax remover, deodorizer, laundry booster
• Borax – a deodorizer, nonabrasive scouring powder, laundry booster, all purpose cleaner, mold inhibitor, rust stain remover
• Citrus fruit juice such as orange or lemon – use it as a grease cutter, deodorizer, or flea repellent
• Hydrogen peroxide – a bleaching agent and an antibacterial
• Olive oil – wood polish
• Lavender oil –disinfectant, deodorizer
• White distilled vinegar – dissolves hard water mineral scale and greasy build-up, removes tarnish; when dissolved in water, it’s an all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner
• Toothpaste – metal polish
• Favorite essential oil – air freshener
• Eucalyptus oil, citronella candles – insect repellents
• Natural vegetable-based liquid soap – general detergent substitute
• Tea tree oil – antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, deodorizer
• Flat cola – toilet bowl cleaner (remember this before you drink!)
2 Personal Care Items
There are several body, skin and dental care lines, which emerged as healthier versions of widely available commercial products and that offer hypoallergenic, preservative free, or even organic, formulations. You might notice a couple of added shelves with those products at stores such as Walgreens, Target and Wal-Mart. Brands include Alba Botanica, Weleda, Jason, Avalon organics, Dr. Bronner’s soaps, Aubrey organics, Derma-E, and many more.
As with any skin care or cosmetics line, price range is quite varied. But, if average prices appear higher to you than your favorite drugstore finds, I’d encourage you again to browse www.vitacost.com, www.luckyvitamins.com and similar web stores for a wonderful array of clean cosmetics lines with reasonable price tags.
It would be difficult to list all my suggestions here, but a few tried and true things I order over and over again include:
• Award-winning Jason toothpastes, which are free of fluoride, saccharin, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, animal by-products, lauryl sulfates, propylene glycol, and are full of natural extracts supporting tooth and gum health
• Jason body washes ($8.87 for 30oz) with no lauryl / laureth sulfates, animal by-products or parabens
• A line of Crystal body deodorants, which are aluminum free (in fact, they contain nothing but a natural mineral salt). They come in solid and liquid forms, won’t stain clothes, cost virtually nothing and are surprisingly effective.
For some people, it takes time to adjust to using cleaner products. For example, shower gels or shampoos with no added lauryl /laureth sulfates might seem to lather less than products you have used in the past.
Natural deodorants are not anti-perspirants. Sweating is our body’s natural function for temperature regulation and mild detoxification, and it shouldn’t be suppressed. Deodorants, however, will do a good job of removing odor.
Natural skin creams might not have a shelf life that is as long as creams with more preservatives have, and toothpastes might seem to have an unusual taste.
But believe me, once you adjust and find your products, you’ll be glad you did, and chances are you’ll never want to go back!
And finally, I’d like to urge you to explore local farmers’ markets, as well as butcher shops and co-ops that sell naturally raised meats and produce, before you shop at your large, grocery-chain store.
Stop often at stores, such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which offer healthier and organic versions of popular supermarket products.
Find local bakeries that use good-quality, unbleached, organic flour and that offer whole grain breads. If you are celiac or gluten sensitive, natural food stores now carry more gluten free bread varieties.
It is apple harvest time in Minnesota, and this weekend we toured local apple orchards. Besides five or six DELICIOUS kinds of apples, we found raspberries full of flavor that you’ll never taste in a grocery store, squash, farm-fresh eggs, homemade peanut butter with honey (I never liked peanut butter, but could not put my spoon down with this one!) and our famous Minnesota wild rice. Tasting all that nature’s goodness, I’ve sadly realized how, for the sake of convenience, we’ve robbed ourselves of nutritional wealth. Even sadder, because our taste buds have been subjected to over-salted, over-sugared, over-processed food for so long, we have forgotten how real food tastes, and next generations are growing more addicted to junk food and more alienated from natural food, that just doesn’t taste right to them.
Switching to better quality food will undoubtedly play a significant role in your detoxification. To get an extra help, stop regularly at your local Juice Bar. Our Minneapolis based SOLA Squeeze juice bar offers not only a variety of freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, but also added shots of wheat grass juice, which is claimed to be one of the best detoxifying foods. Alternatively, invest in a good juicer and DIY!
Next time you shop for groceries, household cleaners or personal care items, consider making a small change that will result in much bigger health benefits.
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