Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Going "Natural"

As I said yesterday, I haven't been able to work out much lately. Okay, that's basically a lie. I haven't worked out at all in the last month or so. Spending 4 hours a day in a car and working all day and then job-hunting most evenings is pretty exhausting.

I've still been reading a lot of blogs and stuff though and there was one thing that I kept reading about over and over: the amount of chemicals and unnatural things that go into the stuff we eat, bathe with, clean our houses with, etc. The more I read about all the horrible effects these chemicals can have on people, the more inclined I was to start making some changes.

The problem is "going natural" can get expensive. With our current budget, we just can't afford to buy natural or organic everything. Buying and eating all healthy food is really hard and expensive. The speediness and convenience of frozen meals and fast food right now isn't something I can completely cut out right now. I don't have the time to cook every night or do meal prep or anything like that. And sometimes I just really want a cheeseburger and fries. Don't judge.

So while I am making a small effort to eat healthier, I just can't make any major diet changes right now. The next thing I tackled was soaps. Reading about all the negative effects that fragrances and detergents used in shampoos, body washes, laundry soap, etc. made me want to make some changes.

I now buy handmade soaps from Herbaria Soap in St. Louis. I use their soaps for everything now: body, hair, face, hands. Switching from liquid soap to bars was rough for me at first. I've never liked using bars of soap. But knowing exactly what my soap is made of, where it's made, how it's made, and who my money is going to was all worth it. Oh and they smell pretty incredible too! I highly recommend their soap. While it hasn't solved all of my skin issues (most recently and most frequent is itching all over), I do feel that it has made a difference. And I love that I'm not buying a ton of different (and expensive!) soaps and cleansers all the time.

Since my itchy-skin-issue wasn't resolved just from switching soap, I decided maybe it was time to try some "free and clear" laundry soap and dryer sheets. Again, I haven't noticed much of a difference. However, I did read that detergents can linger in fabrics even after several washings with natural soaps, so if that's the case, I could be itchy for a very long time. (Yes, it may be time to see my doctor about this, but I'm using that as a last-resort.)

That leads me to my next issue: allergy medicine. First of all, that stuff is really expensive. Second, what I had been taking (and what had worked most of the time) has recently stopped working so great. So I tried something else instead. That hasn't worked either. I'm tired of spending money on medicine that only works for half the time it says it's supposed to (like, 24 hours maybe lasts half a day for me). So I've decided to look into some natural allergy relief. What I've found so far is that Butterbur and Vitamin C are the best, especially working as antihistamines. I also read that a combination of the essential oils lavender, lemon, and peppermint can help relieve itching and inflammation.

I've been considering trying a natural deodorant as well. I've even done quite a bit of reading on DIY deodorants, but I think I might just buy some from Herbaria first and see if I like it.

Eventually I want to move to using as much natural and/or homemade products as possible, but that takes time and money.

What's your take on "going natural"? Do you have any tips or tricks or natural/DIY products you use?