Less is More

Ok. So you just read my post about toxic laundry products and now you are freaking out a little. Maybe you are more like I was and are freaking out a lot, realising that you have been exposing yourself to hundreds of seriously health affecting chemicals for years and didn’t even know it. Don’t worry – every journey starts with a first step and this is yours!

Also, that first step is a doozie. You put your trust in something that SHOULD be safe. Why should you need to do all kinds of research just to shop for cleaning products? Sadly, it’s just the world we live in. Big companies that make said products are more interested in using cheaper ingredients, so long as you can’t directly tie your illness or symptoms back to them. Buy products you trust.

I spent months reading articles and summaries of studies and little info-graphics. A whole lot of problems and not a lot of solutions. What were products I could trust? And once I found them could I afford them?? The big box stores are full of products that claim to be “Green” (a word that has lost all meaning with me). But most times these products are still brought to you by the Nestle and Proctor and Gambles of the world that might make this one product without harmful chemicals, but are doing all kinds of really shady stuff with other product lines around the world. And quite honestly – screw that. I’m not supporting organisations like those with my money and the world would be a better place if no one did.

Also I’m sure you are asking, what this all has to do with spices??

Well, did you know that many spices are naturally antibacterial? Spices were often used as preservatives, not just flavour enhancers. In the 14th century, when a house contracted the plague they would be quarantined inside their homes with the doors marked so no one would enter and become infected. Robbers would wear masks covered in the oil of cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus that would allow them to enter the homes once the family inside had died and clear it of any valuables. This blend became known as Thieves.

Thieves oil is something I could never live without. It supports my immune system to keep nasty bugs at bay, it is the base of all my cleaning/disinfecting sprays for the daycare and it smells amazing. Like a warm, spicy, comforting hug. It also is the powerhouse behind Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner Line. There is a lot to get into with Thieves (I am planning a whole online class about the 350 different uses for Thieves!) but let’s focus on the laundry room.

Not only is this laundry detergent made from a plant based formula, it is provides a true clean free from dangerous additives like optical brighteners, Sodium lauryl sulphate and synthetic fragrances. To learn more about those specific ingredients click here. It is also super heavily concentrated to reduce packaging and shipping costs both in money and wasted natural resources.

I use it for everyone’s laundry in the house, including the baby. It’s incredibly gentle and still an awesome stain remover! If I have a particularly nasty stain, I always pretreat as soon as possible, but there hasn’t been anything in the past three years that it hasn’t been able to clean. To keep whites, whiter – try keeping them separate and washing in warm water. You can even let white clothing items soak with a few lemon slices in hot water for extra brightness. Or hang them outside on the clothes line to dry – the sun and citrus oil combination will provide a natural whitening effect.

To replace the dryer sheets, at first I just stopped using fabric softener and dryer sheets. That worked for me, I couldn’t care less about a little static. However, my husband finds the build up from #spicebaby’s fleece pjs just too much to handle, so we are tried some wool dryer balls with a little drop of Essential Oil on them for a nice scent. And they are amazing! Static free clothing that is soft and toxin free. Does it get any better??

It’s really as easy as that to get rid of one of the biggest contributors to the chemical stockpile that is in your home. Small things add up. Whether it is a little exposure to a cancer causing detergent or changing out one or two products in your home so that eventually your living space is a true sanctuary from the bombardment of toxins we encounter daily.

How do you get started?? Click here. I wholeheartedly recommend starting with a Premium Starter Kit. It has everything you need to get you started on a more natural, spice and plant based life style. Looking to make a big change all at once? There is also a starter kit with all things Thieves! Enough to swap out every single cleaning product from your bathroom to your laundry room.

If you have any questions, would like help ordering or just want to chat natural cleaning – message me! I’m available through instagram, facebook, twitter and email. I can’t wait to chat with you.

Love & Spices,

Eating Clean and Living Dirty: The Dryer Sheet Story

If you’ve ever taken one of my Essential Oil 101 classes – online or in person – you’ll have heard my story about dryer sheets and how they inspired me towards a more natural life. It started innocently enough, I forwarded on a “life hack” post that showed super caked on grime in a pan wiping off with ease thanks to letting the pan soak with a dryer sheet. At the time I really didn’t see the harm! So I was a bit surprised when I got a comment begging me to just throw out the pan now and asking me if I knew just how terrible dryer sheets are for your health.

With burning cheeks, I had to admit my ignorance. And if I’m being completely honest, I began reading up on laundry detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softener to disprove the comment. I was looking for any bit of information that would show that these products weren’t that bad… I never found one.

That’s when I was hit with a revelation. I have been advocating for years to choose high quality, local, organic food because I absolutely believe that what we put into our bodies directly impacts how those bodies perform, heal and grow. Also that how those resources are produced and the effect that has on the world is important. But I realised I had been assuming that if I wasn’t eating the fabric softener, somehow I wasn’t absorbing all the terrifying ingredients through your respiratory system and skin. As if ingestion is the only way that your body interacts with the world around it. I was eating clean and living dirty.

I started by downloading a Toronto made app called Think Dirty – which lets you scan the bar codes of your products and it rates the product as a whole and each of the individual ingredients on a scale of 1-10 along with reasoning for the rating. Highly recommended and can be a huge time saver while shopping! Everything in my laundry room scored 8+, which is a level described as “product’s ingredients have potential serious negative long term health effects”. Ick.

Next came the evening of internet research. I’m not here to do a scientific study myself – but I do like to check multiple trusted sources. Sometimes just verifying the sources takes the majority of the time, but sometimes the information, studies, and reports all point to the same conclusion and it makes my decisions easier. I absolutely encourage you to do your own digging. I love sharing my findings, sources, and experiences – but learning to evaluate an ingredient list is an incredibly useful skill.

What I found wasn’t great. From Scientific American “If you’re concerned about the health and safety of your family members, you might want to stay away from both conventional dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners altogether. While it may be nice to have clothes that feel soft, smell fresh and are free of static cling, both types of products contain chemicals known to be toxic to people after sustained exposure.” Sustained exposure? Like a lifetime of doing laundry and wearing clothing. Not many people are going to avoid that.

Health and wellness website Sixwise sites some of the most harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others.

The documentary Stink! available on Netflix does an awesome job of looking at synthetic fragrance industry as a whole but with a strong look at detergents, cleaners, and body sprays.

Ok you say. So laundry detergent and softeners aren’t as good for you as an apple. What does it matter? You wear the clothes, you don’t eat them. True! But you do inhale their synthetic scents (which is responsible for the majority of the cancer causing chemicals), which reach your heart, thyroid and liver within 3 seconds of you breathing in that “fresh mountain scent”. The chemicals also absorb into your clothing so you are then taking them and putting them right up against the largest organ in your body, your skin. Which slowly leeches out said chemicals and passes them along to every system in your body.

So now if you are feeling overwhelmed, a bit panicked and kind of grossed out by your laundry you are exactly where I was a couple of years ago! Click here to see my post “Less is More” about the all natural, plant based solutions I’ve found for kicking dangerous chemicals out of my laundry room, out of my family’s clothing and out of our bodies.

And if you are feeling like you need to vent about how disturbing all this really is, and how laundry is terrible enough before it was trying to kill you – hit me up in the comments section or one of my social media accounts. I’ll admit I’ve needed many a venting session along the road!

Love & Spices,