How do I know if a product is toxic?

More and more companies put products on the shelf that appear to be safe and read “all natural,” but are they really all that safe? I don’t know about you but I need help deciphering all that labeling jargon and I certainly don’t want to pay extra for a product that isn’t even good for me! Also, keep in mind that just because something is “natural,” doesn’t mean it’s good. Ex: It is totally natural to get a sunburn when you are in the sun too long, but sunburns are NO BUENO!

Go to your app store and download the app called “Think Dirty.” Sign in and let it take you through the tutorial on how to use the app. Healthy Living is also a great app!

The Think Dirty and Healthy Living applications are both tools that you can use to scan products and see how they rate in terms of safety. If anything rates a six or higher, I don’t touch it with a ten foot pole. If it rates between a 3-5, I check out the ingredient/s that are making it rate that high and also look them up on the The Environmental Working Group website to see why that ingredient is given a higher rating. If that ingredient is the LAST ingredient listed on the product label, I know there is only a small amount in the product. Then I make my own judgment call on whether I want to use the product or not. Products rated 1-2 are completely safe and are my top picks.

If that feels uber time-consuming, it is a great idea to find a company that has your health in mind and is committed to producing products that are safe and effective. Enter Young Living.

For example, we all use household cleaners, so let’s start there…

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization focused on environment and public health, recently came out with their Cleaners Hall of Shame list. The list includes common products you use to clean your home. These products contain ingredients containing carcinogens, asthma instigators, and poisons, which mean some sparkly cleaners, might come at a high price. Here is a snapshot of the list’s number one offender.

Check out the rest of the list here:

Click to access cleaners_hallofshame.pdf


Many of the generic cleaners contain Phthalates which interfere with hormones and are carcinogens.

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Wondering what you SHOULD use? Thieves cleaner does NOT contain those big bad Phthalates. Instead of Phthalates, Thieves Cleaner by Young Living contains two different sulfates that are derived from coconut oil and sugar. These all-natural and safe sulfates that are considered surfactants, which contain a molecule that loves water and a molecule that hates water. That means the Thieves Cleaner sticks to the surface and grabs the oil and then washes away easily with water. #ScienceIsCool

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Worried it won’t disinfect? There are several petri dish studies done comparing its effectiveness to bleach and it’s proven to clean just as well as bleach! Without the toxic chemicals! I’m literally still amazed by this on a regular basis!

It can be used on many different surfaces: counters, bathrooms, floors, toys, clothes, carpet, mirrors, windows, and more. It’s actually the only cleaner I use for my entire house!

This cleaner is also insanely cost effective. It is highly concentrated so you only need about a capful (1/2 oz) of this all-purpose cleaner in about two cups of water. With this ratio, one small bottle will yield you about 29 16 oz spray bottles of safe all-purpose cleaner. That means it’s under $1 for one spray bottle. Can’t beat that price! Time to #DitchAndSwitch all your household cleaners for the Thieves all-purpose cleaner. Living above the wellness line and saving money at the same time. Double bonus! Order Here!

The Thieves cleaner comes in a small or large bottle and you can even get a convenient spray great for shopping carts, public tables, and so much more.
Thieves Household Cleaner 14.4 fl oz or 64 oz (concentrated solution)
Thieves Spray 1 oz
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Essential Oil Recipe’s That I Love!!

These recipe’s can be made into rollers for topical application, diffused for aromatic use or made into a specified product, for example hand soap. Please see specific instructions for the type of product you are making!

To make a roll on recipe’s: EO’s dilution instructions are commonly a 1:4 ratios. However, some are different. (check the individual bottle) For general use, I use an average of 35 TOTAL drops EO per 10 ml roller bottle then fill the rest with carrier oil. You can use whatever carrier oil you like, I just linked to one that I have used and like. Equal parts in each recipe unless otherwise specified. This is simply my personal preference.

To use in your diffuser: Do not dilute with carrier oil if you are diffusing them. Just add the oil and the water to the diffuser. I usually add equal parts of each oil to make a total of 15 drops EO in the diffuser

Alertness/Wake up call:

Peppermint

Lemon

Calming

Stress Away

Lavender

Sweet Dreams:

Cedarwood

Lavender

Immune booster:

Thieves

Purification

Immune Bomb:

12 drops Thieves

6 drops Oregano

2 drops Frankincense

Seasonal Relief :

Lemon

Peppermint

Lavender

Uplift and Unwind:

Stress Away

peppermint

Natural Room Deodorant:

(Spray- filled with filtered water)

Purification

Lavender

1 tsp Witch Hazel

Mood Lifter:

Joy

Lemon

Attitude adjuster:

Lemon

Lavender

Restful Nights:

Lavender

Cedar wood

Cool Down, Head Support, Everyday Aches:

Pan Away

Peppermint

Tummy Troubles:

DiGize

Peppermint

Eczema:

Lavender

Frank

Melrose

Tea tree

Toner:

(Spray- filled with filtered water)

1/8 tsp Witch Hazel

10 drops Lavender

5 drops Frankincense

Face Cleanser:

(Spray- filled with filtered water)

10 drops Purification

1/8 tsp Witch Hazel

Laundry Aid:

Add one drop Purification to your washers rinse

Restore Confidence and Equilibrium:

Stress Away

Sun Attack:

Lavender

Frankincense

Supports Healthy Lung Function:

RC

Do you have any combinations that you love?

Cloth diapers. Really.

Its been about 4 months since i started and it turns out that i may have over reacted. Cloth diapering is not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. The online support group has been amazing. Not a question has been left unanswered and I have not had any real problems yet!

PLUS, a friend of mine gave us her whole diaper stash which was a GIANT blessing! Since we have been able to try a variety of diapers I can tell you that they each have pros and cons but none of them have any cons that are deal breakers for us. My husband is even using them with no problems and minimal complaining!

My personal favorite is still the hybrid grovia 2 in 1 that I originally bought because they are very similar to the convenience of disposables and are super easy to use!

I feel like we have everything that we need so I can do a wash about every 5 days and never run out (I just usually wash on day 5 so they don’t get to gross). Our stash has about 5 dozen diapers. It includes the Grovia hybrid that I originally bought, Purple Unicorn with snaps and a variety of pocket diapers/ inserts. We also have 2 yards of flannel that I used for making wipes, a set of 4 wool dryer balls to help with shortening dry time, 5 dekor reusable diaper bags, 2 decor diaper pails (one for the nursery and one for the bathroom) a spray pal splatter shield, a spray nozzle for the toilet and a travel wet bag!

I use a simple homemade diaper balm made from coconut oil and essential oils. It works well to prevent rashes and never stains! Here’s how to make it:

4 oz pure coconut oil (solid form)

20 drops Essential Oil of choice (I use Lavender and Gentle Baby in equal parts)

Melt oil in 4 oz Mason jar, add EO’s (essential oils) refrigerate until solid, label with washi tape & a sharpie (or label of choice!) and store at room temperature. Ready to use anytime!

Tip: this is also great for adding quick moisture to my over washed hands!

To make homemade wipe solution, I looked up a popular recipe and then tweaked it to my preference. I love the recipe I’ve fine tuned but feel free to make it your own by adding a little extra or maybe a little less of something!

Homemade wipe solution recipe:

1 Quart size mason jar

1 Oz Dr. Bronners baby unscented pure castile soap

1 Tsp fractionated coconut oil

10 Drops lavender EO

10 Drops Gentle Baby EO

Mix all ingredients in jar and fill to top with filtered water. Once you have your wipes cut and in your dish of choice just pour the solution over the wipes. Ready for use! Store covered to maintain moisture. I find that the quart jar covers about 48 wipes with the right amount of moisture and maintains moisture until I use them up!

Check out my disclaimer page for treating medical conditions.

What are Essential Oils & how do I use them?

Essential oil is the “lifeblood” of a plant because the oil protects the plant from disease, provides nutrients and helps to repel insects. They can be found in the plant’s flower, stem, leaves, bark or fruit.

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Essential Oils were mankind’s first medicine! Today, they are still used to bring health and healing to the body (physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally).

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Essential oils are very complex containing hundreds or thousands of different chemical compounds; this is what gives each plant its unique healing attributes and characteristics.

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Essential oils should smell exactly like the plant they come from – nothing more, nothing less. Often, companies will add things like vanillin to make them smell sweeter. Do your oils smell like a plant or a dessert? If it says 100% pure but it smells sweet, chances are something else has been added. This means that the therapeutic properties are either decreased or nonexistent. 

Another thing to look for on essential oil is expiration dates. 100% therapeutic grade oils do not expire because they do not have anything added to them, like preservatives. 

Essential oils are NOT the same as vegetable and/or olive oils. Vegetable oils are obtained from the fatty parts of a plant like the nuts, seeds, or kernels and are greasy. They can also go rancid over time. Young Living’s essential oils do not go rancid or expire – sweet! In the essential oils world, we refer to the kitchen oils (olive, coconut, avocado, grape seed, etc…) as carrier oils since they are often used to dilute the potency of therapeutic grade essential oils when applying to your skin.

If you’re wondering what on earth a “carrier oil” is…look no further! A carrier oil is a vegetable/nut/plant oil such as grapeseed oil/coconut oil/sweet almond oil etc. that can be used to dilute an essential oil. You have A LOT of options but here is a fractionated coconut oil that I like. Carrier oils ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable and prevent waste due to excessive application. Dilution with a carrier oil does not inhibit the effectiveness of the essential oil in any way.

Great times to use carrier oils would be when you are using oils on young children, when you are ingesting an oil for the first time, when the back of the oil bottle tells you that you need to dilute, and when you are using a “hot oil”. A hot oil is an oil that, when applied to the skin, can cause a “hot” or “burning” sensation. Diluting these types of oils can eliminate the sensation or make it more comfortable 

Three ways to explore the benefits of essential oils:
-Topically
-Aromatically
-Internally – Young Living has a specific line called the Vitality line. Oils from this line are OK to ingest. 

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Safety is important when it comes to using essential oils. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the information available, but using common sense and starting gradually will help ease any sort of intimidation you might feel as you begin using essential oils in your everyday life.

Store essential oils in a cool, dark place with lids tightly closed (and always out of reach of children). Always use and store EOs in glass containers, especially when drinking them in water, since most plastic products contain chemicals that can be broken down by the oil. Oils break down plastic because it is a toxin, they do not harm your body because your body is non toxic and organic!

Citrus oils are photosensitive and when applied to skin, they may cause a rash or dark pigmentation on skin exposed to UV rays or direct sunlight within 1-2 days after application.

Two holes EO’s should never be applied.. EYES AND EARS! Should irritation or accidental contact with eyes occur, never use water to clear the EO (they are not water-soluble). Instead use a V6 vegetable oil complex or other carrier oil (such as coconut oil or vitamin e oil) to cleanse the area and reduce discomfort.

You’ll also want to keep carrier oils (like coconut, olive, vitamin e, sweet almond oil, etc.) on hand for dilution when necessary.

Again, these are just general high notes on safety and usage information. EOs are an amazing, natural way to approach health and wellness for your family, but because of Young Living’s purity and grade of oils, they should be used with knowledge and respect. This is said not to scare you, but for you to realize that they DO work and can successfully be implemented into your family’s daily life with common sense. It is my hope that you’ll start this journey and discover the ability to use natural resources to treat yourself and your family. You won’t regret it!!

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Now, friends, why choose Young Living when there are so many other companies out there to choose from? I’m going to be honest here; some of those companies are cheaper. A lot cheaper. This is hands-down one of those cases where you get what you pay for. Yes, you *can* buy a $5 bottle of oil but *buyer beware* you’re receiving an inferior product.

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Young Living is the only company out there that has what is called the “Seed to Seal” promise. This has such a huge impact!  It means that Young Living controls every single aspect of their production line. They own their own farms. They plant their own seeds. They cultivate their own crops. They use essential oils on their plants. They oversee everything, literally, from planting the seed to sealing the bottle. They can say with a 100% guarantee that they know what is inside each and every bottle, and that they are pure beyond a shadow of a doubt. They don’t compromise quality just to get the product out there. If it’s not perfect and up to par, they don’t bottle it. It can’t get more comforting than that!

In our house, we have been working on living as toxin and additive free as possible. This is why I chose Young Living. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and if I’m going to be consistently using these products on the skin of myself and my loved ones, I want to know exactly what I’m getting!

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Check out my disclaimer page for treating medical conditions.

Cloth diapers? Really?

My “natural, whenever possible.” focused mind has been toying with the idea of cloth diapers all along but I simply haven’t wanted to deal with the mess and extra work. I’ve got enough on my plate and I deserve for something to be easy!

I knew disposables are said to have “bad” chemicals and after my husband and I did the math, we were aware of how much money we would be saving long term but I still had time to procrastinate on the decision since Gavin was too small for cloth for a long time. At his 3 lbs. birth weight, his first diaper was a size “micro preemie” which is about half the size of a post card and that was actually too big for him. They do sell cloth sets in size newborn but he was far from even fitting newborn and I didn’t want to invest in a whole set for the relatively short period of time that they would fit him.

If you’ve ever dabbled in the world of cloth diapers, you’ll understand why I felt overwhelmed and unprepared by the idea of committing to investing in a brand/style.

I asked my natural loving mom friend so many questions that I’m surprised she hasn’t blocked me (yet) and I also did A LOT of research on my own to learn about what I would use IF I were to eventually go that route. As I started to understand the lingo (which is basically like instantaneously being thrown into an advanced foreign language class!) and even tried a few options. I still felt overwhelmed and honestly, I was relieved when my top choice, Grovia All in Two’s with the hook and loop velcro closure, was still too big for him. He looked like he got eaten by a teletubby and massive leaks were inevitable. We would simply have to wait on cloth diapering. Darn 😉

Fast forward a few months. Gavin is 5 months old, 11 lbs. and has just grown into size one diapers. We got back the blood test results about Gavin’s hormone levels (he was born with hypospadias and needs a repair). They look good but he will still need testosterone he will need testosterone therapy before his repair. The only other thing we can do in the meantime is support normal hormone function by avoiding hormone disruptors. It seems like it’s time to face the music and look more closely at what we can realistically do to help him have the best chance for happy hormones, long term.

Are disposable diapers really that bad? Are the cloth diaper moms just dooms day preppers who are blowing this whole thing out of proportion? Before I make my life harder, I’m going to need to find out the truth for myself.

In my research, I have not targeted any specific disposable brand. If you’re looking for brand specific info, just look up the ingredients of the brand you’re interested in. I know the natural ones are supposed to be better but it really doesn’t matter enough for me to hard core look into each brand because even if you can find a diaper company that passes all the ingredients tests, the best brands are very expensive for everyday use.
So far, my research concludes that most disposable diapers contain chemicals that could cause adverse skin reactions, cancer, asthma, and hormone disruption.
It might seem like it’s not a big deal or the exposure isn’t enough to make a difference but I think that we all have noticed an increase in these sorts of illnesses in our society and that we have enough research to show that chemical exposure is definitely part of the problem. Some of the main offending chemicals are Dioxins, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl-tin (TBT) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). That’s a good list to reference if you’re just trying to learn what to avoid. If you want to know more about WHY then read on.
Dioxins- are a broad name used to umbrella hundreds of chemicals; there are about 30 that are the most harmful to people. They are rated as more dangerous because they reside in the body and are not able to be broken down for a very long time. The worst one is called Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD). TCDD was the deadly contaminant found in the infamous Agent Orange. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions.

Sodium Polyacrylate -Sodium polycarbonate is chemical compound that is great for absorption and prevents leakage. That is why they use it in the filler of disposable diapers. It’s also been linked to skin irritations and respiratory problems and was removed from tampons due to toxic shock syndrome concerns.

Tributyl-tin (TBT) – The EPA says, this toxic pollutant is extremely harmful to aquatic (water) life and causes endocrine (hormonal) disruptions. TBT also rates highly in its contribution to pollution to the environment and does not have the capability to degrade so its toxic effects stick around wrecking not only our bodies but our planet forever.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – VOC’s include chemicals like ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene that can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system as well as ear, nose, throat irritation and headaches.

Sigh, I was hoping that I’d find out that it really doesn’t matter but I guess I have to at least try now. I joined a cloth diapering support group to help with the learning curve of washing and I ordered the Hybrid live package of Grovia Ai2. Seeing how Gavin is living on a breastmilk fortified with avocado diet (for weight gain) and has several messy diapers per day, I’m going to need more shells than the average recommended but for now I will have 13 shells, 26 organic soaker pads and 6 organic boosters. At least they are cute and the investment will pay off in the long run!

Oh, P.S. Wipes? You guessed it. Same story. If you want to avoid chemicals then it matters what ingredients they have in them. They are after all being absorbed in the most sensitive of areas! I’m going to try making my own wipes with flannel and a homemade wipe solution once the diapers get here since I’ll already be washing them anyways. I’ll keep you posted on that but if you are looking for disposable, I recommend Young Livings seedling wipes. They work well, smell wonderful and can also be used as effective make-up removers and dryer sheets!

How about you? Have you cloth diapered? I’d love to hear any veteran tips you have for me!

Check out my disclaimer page for treating medical conditions.

References: https://www.epa.gov
http://www.livestrong.com/article/111348-chemicals-disposable-diapers/
http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/toxic-diapers-your-childs-disposable-diapers-contain-endocrine-disruptors