Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Don't You Know That You're Toxic

Britney Spears is my hero for recording the song "Toxic."

Now let's get Honest. My journey as a mother started the moment Jeff and I decided to have a baby. Since then, our #1 priority has been to protect the health and well-being of our family. The most basic way we can do this is by making sure we have a clean, hazard-free home. The problem? Sometimes cleaning supplies can cause hazards in the home.

My friend J. came over when she found out we were trying to have a baby. She wanted to give me a tutorial on how to "cleanly" clean our house. Before her visit, I was a lover of all things bleach, Clorox wipes, and the like. BUT she showed me the light, and did you know that pure, plain vinegar can do basically the same thing as bleach? And did you know that it is 100% edible, 100% natural, and 100% clean? And mix vinegar with lemon juice, essential oils, or tea tree oil to get twice the grease-fighting, germ-killing action! You can get 2 giant bottles of vinegar at Costco for about $7, and can use it for descaling coffee makers, unclogging drains, stripping soot from a fireplace, killing mold and germs, and removing unpleasant scents from trashcans. The best part? After I clean something with vinegar, I don't have to worry when Everett immediately puts his mouth on the newly sanitized surface...except then I have to sanitize it again.

A few of my friends and family members wonder why I care so much. It is a pretty long explanation, so bear with me here.

I decided to become a vegetarian about 5 years ago after visiting my vegetarian GBFs in Seattle. I was training for a marathon, and went on a 13 mile run along the Puget Sound waterfront. After I finished my workout, I couldn't believe how good I felt. The fresh air mixed with the temperate climate made me feel like Superwoman. I probably could have gone much further, but did not want to keep brunch waiting any longer. All weekend we went to vegetarian-friendly restaurants, ate lots of organic food, and drank SO much champagne with our friends.

 When we arrived home I still felt that leftover energy from my workouts, and I had never felt better in my life! Then a few days later, Jeff and I made a chicken dish with enough leftovers to last for days. I quickly felt my energy dwindle, my body became sluggish, and I was having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

When you are a runner, you are well aware of the fine tunings of your body. I quickly realized that my energy from a few days prior was actually from eating good food with my friends - food that was free of chemicals, preservatives, and hormones. It was then that I made the decision to buy produce from the organic food section as often as possible (if it was not available in my garden), and to only eat locally raised, hormone-free meat (since this is not easily and cheaply found, I am basically a vegetarian).

So given that back history, when my friend came over to show me how to clean with vinegar, I had already known that making a natural change to my routine yielded positive effects. The fact is we don't really know what products like Bleach and Lysol do to our bodies and our babies over time. We do know that chemicals like bleach were used in warfare to cause harm to the human body. So was my daily bleach spray on the counters causing symptoms I was experiencing that have since disappeared? It is hard to say. I do know for a fact that eating chemicals from produce and hormones from meat was changing the way my body operated, so seeing a connection between chemicals on my counter tops and my basic human health does not seem too far-fetched.

Fast forward two years and here we are! Cloth diapers, clothesline for bleaching our laundry naturally, teething necklaces instead of Tylenol, making our own baby food, compost bin for fertilizing our vegetable garden instead of using chemical fertilizers...All that said, we are definitely not the Granola Patrol. We love the look of a freshly bleached bathroom, and still have bleach on hand for its occasional whitening power. We are ALL about chemicals and hormones in moderation (I ate a hot dog the other day because I felt like it). But the word "moderation" is key. You can never be too careful when it comes to lifestyle choices, and you can never eat too many Oreos (which decidedly do not fall into a natural food group).

Now that you know the Wirth history when it comes to cleaning and eating, let me tell you about my recent mail order binge. I signed up for the Honest Company's monthly shipment of household products, as well as a Birchbox! I have yet to receive the Birchbox, but my initial reactions are that it is only $10/month so why not, and that the shipping is abysmally slow for this impatient girl. However, I already have some LOVE, like, and meh opinions about the Honest Company products I have received thus far. So stay tuned for more from your favorite Granola Patrol President. AAAAAND stay tuned because we might just have some house news for everyone...

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