When striving to Live Unprocessed, I think of so much more than just what I eat. I know that 80% of my body’s energy is used to digest what I consume, but I also know that this isn’t the only thing affecting my health and well-being. Our skin is the largest organ in our body – shielding us while also soaking in everything we encounter, good and bad.
Over the last 5 years I’ve made TONS of changes to my lifestyle in terms of what I’m putting ON my body. From toothpaste, shower products, make up, sunscreen, and lotions, to cleaning products, shower curtains, and even laundry detergents. We slather our skin in chemicals daily and many are huge endocrine disruptors, silently effecting our hormones which determine how we feel every moment of the day.
My changes didn’t all happen overnight. I gradually work to improve one product at a time and my journey continues today. I know realistically that I will never eliminate all the chemicals in my life. But I can greatly reduce my toxic load by making simple changes with what I bring into my home and use in my daily routines.
A few years ago, I eliminated fabric softener and dryer sheets from my life. At the time, this was a serious challenge. I swear that cute little Snuggle Bear reeled me in and addicted me to his soothing, uplifting scents. (He may secretly be the devil’s spawn but he’s just so adorable!) I read somewhere that dryer sheets were a culprit in causing house fires due to the residue left behind that builds up on your dryer vents. Now I’m not 100% convinced this is accurate – but I did discover that I shouldn’t use fabric softener with microfiber towels, workout clothes (containing spandex, nylon, and other questionable materials)*, and children’s clothes which often contain flame retardants (that’s a whole different story). The main reason is buildup, as well as affecting the chemical property of the materials reducing functionality. Buildup on all clothes and towels also contributes to body acne and breakouts by rubbing onto skin and clogging pores. This made me think, I don’t even know what these chemicals are. So I looked up a few….most are linked to central nervous system damage and a variety of other disorders and are easily absorbed through the skin. But since you’re not “consuming” the products, they are considered “safe” by US standards. This doesn’t sound safe or desirable to me. Do I really want these seeping into my open pores every day? That’s a big NO.
Since eliminating all fabric softeners, I’ve missed the fresh scent and feel of my previously “snuggly” clothes. Then, in walks my Friendsheep!! (Thanks Amazon delivery driver). Friendsheep is the brand of my new wool dryer balls- and I’ve found a new dryer LOVE (sorry Snuggle bear). Wool dryer balls have been around for awhile now, but I was hesitant to get on the bandwagon because as these grow in popularity, I worried about where this wool actually comes from and if these too would become a fad that was filled with hidden chemicals and poor animal treatment**. I extensively researched wool dryer balls before my purchase and I found that Friendsheep is my kind of company. They strive for sustainability, humanely treat the sheep who gift their wool, partake in fair trade, fair wage labor to those assembling the wool balls, and believe in eco-friendly practices. Plus, they have an adorable little sheep imprint for my essential oils, as some leave a yellow tint.
I use essential oils*** on my dryer balls to give me that fresh, uplifting scent that I was missing. Not only do the wool dryer balls help to soften my clothes and eliminate any use of chemicals or build up, they also reduce drying time, saving energy, and spread a fresh scent from a source that is actually good for me! All I can say is WIN! ( I’m currently using Ameo Pure Tranquility on my dryer balls, and I have been more than happy – or should I say at peace, every time I fold a load of clean, soft, fresh laundry!!)
Living Unprocessed is about choosing a life that is unmoved by gimmicks, fads, and great marketing tactics and instead choosing what will support your health in a world surrounded by the “quick fix.” When selecting health supportive products, products that we believe in from producers that also match our ethics, we can truly start to live fulfilled and empowered. We can say we know why we chose this, we feel great about it, and we can be proud of ourselves wholly.
Check out @an_Essential_Life on Instagram and enter her giveaway by May 29, 2016 to win a Lemongrass essential oil and wool dryer balls from @keepitreal_naturalliving.
I purchased my dryer balls from Friendsheepwool.com.
This article is written strictly for sharing information. Live Unprocessed is not receiving any form of payment or incentive for promotion of these products. This is an authentic peek into my personal journey and products I use.
*Workout Clothes: I LIVE in workout clothes. I have read a lot about some of the materials and how these are also a factor in chemical overload; however, I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to findall new clothes; however, I do have it on a list in the back of my head. So if one day I show up in an all organic sun dress in the middle of winter – you’ll know that I’m trying but fashion has never been my strong suit.
**Wool and UGG Boots: In the past (don’t judge me- this was before my enlightenment) I purchased some UGG boots and learned shortly after about the HORRIBLE conditions of where that wool came from. I had simply pictured a little happy sheep getting his hair cut. Wow was I wrong. This opened my eyes to things I had never even thought about. I knew that every dollar I spend essentially “votes” for a product and practice in our food system. This also extends to everything we support with our dollars as a statement in our lifestyle. While I’m still embarrassed every time I wear those boots, I can’t part with them because I feel like that poor sheep sacrificed his life for my expensive purchase so I should at least use them as a conversation starter to actually deter others from making the same mistake. Now I haven’t started to tackle the project of learning about where all my clothing brands come from and what’s in them- I just don’t think I’m ready for that. But I share because I want you to know that I am also human. I do the very best that I can and I strive to learn more and do just a little better everyday. I don’t judge others because I know that they are living the best lives they know, as well. So I encourage all of you to keep learning, but always remember to give yourself grace. Living unprocessed does not mean you need to overwhelm yourself with the negative thoughts of what you’re doing wrong – but instead, live every day as your best self and be proud of your improvements.
***Essential Oils: Not all essential oils are created equal, and while I am not an expert on oils, and I’m always a skeptic on sustainability of such a concentrated and now highly marketed product. I do believe in the medicinal effects of high quality essential oils and tinctures. I use essential oils everyday and in all my homemade products. When a friend of mine started selling Ameo oils, I quizzed her on the sustainability and purity of her product. She was able to graciously answer all of my questions, and when compared to just buying at the health food store, I felt that her product met my standards as a consumer. Again, I’m no expert; however, I’ve been happy with my choice. I believe in supporting my friend in her Ameo essential oil endeavor, as she is passionate, knowledgeable, and holds many of my same beliefs. I feel great about supporting her, and, to the best of my knowledge, her oils are the best choice for me. So that’s where I’m at and I encourage you to do your research and make the choice that suits your lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about Ameo Oils, contact me and I’ll connect you.