I started my journey towards detoxing my home, office, and personal care items when I was in my late 20s. I am now in my 40s, so I have quite a few years of trials, errors, and successes to draw from and share with all of you.
When I was in my early 20s, I developed severe sinus problems. I’d always had upper respiratory issues from the time I was a young child. I had a year round cough and near constant stuffy nose since I could remember. My mother remembers me complaining when I was 4 that I couldn’t go to sleep because “I had metal in my nose.” That was my term for being too stuffy to be able to sleep- I had no idea what was really going on with my nose, just that something was stuck in there not letting me breathe.
By the time I was 27, my sinus problems were so severe that I had not only chronic sinus infections, but lingering colds that just wouldn’t clear- I got bronchitis twice and pneumonia all within a 12 month period. It was then that my primary care physician referred me to an Otolaryngologist (a doctor that specializes in diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat- an “ENT” doctor).
My Otolaryngologist, after a series of tests, recommended sinus surgery. He was careful to mention though that even with the surgery, unless I made changes to my routine, I’d probably have a lifelong problem due to allergens and toxins in my environment. His first recommendation was getting rid of anything with synthetic fragrance in it- candles, cosmetics, lotions, potpourri, dryer sheets, air fresheners, etc. You name it, anything with the word “fragrance” in it had to go. He explained that most synthetic fragrance contains allergens and toxins. Manufacturers are allowed to use these allergens and toxins in products simply under the guise of calling the ingredient “fragrance”. He explained that it is common for some people to develop allergies as levels of these chemicals build up in your body, or as you are exposed over time to more and more of these chemicals from multiple product sources. While most people don’t tolerate exposure well (headaches, fatigue, a mild cough once in a while are the most common symptoms), in others, this exposure can lead to even more severe medical problems like skin issues, autoimmune issues, and like in my case- chronic sinusitis and rhinitis which interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight off sinus and respiratory infections. This was definitely what he felt was contributing to my sinus related issues.
At the time, I couldn’t imagine living without “fragrance” in my products. I was into Victoria Secret’s lotions, Bath and Body Works' Lotions, Yankee Candles and pretty much every other good smelling home and body care product out there.
Nevertheless, I started replacing my candles with all-natural beeswax candles scented with authentic (real, not synthetic)essential oils. Replacing my beauty products and cleaning products, however, was more of a challenge- even the ones I could find labeled “organic” at Whole Foods still had “fragrance” in them. What was even worse, he had given me a list of other toxic chemicals that I should try to avoid and I was finding those still in the all-natural, organic, cruelty-free products they did have available.
I replaced what I could and started making a few of my own cosmetic and cleaning products that were easy. I started getting better before the surgery and continued to improve up to a point after the surgery. I wasn’t really getting all the toxins out of my routine, but I was replacing what I could, where I could, and continuing to learn how to make more of my own products with non-toxic formulations I had researched.
It wasn’t until 18 months ago, after I sold a business and had more time that I really jumped wholeheartedly into detoxing my life. I was fighting a mild but lingering sinus and earache that just wouldn’t go away. I decided that now that I had more time, I would just start making everything I needed that I could make myself. I had more control over my environment and could pretty much eliminate most of the toxins in cleaning products around me, personal care products I used, and had more choice over the furniture and equipment I was surrounded with. I started making everything from mouthwash to insect repellent myself and got better and better.
Although this was fun, cheap, and my health improved greatly, there were three main drawbacks with making product yourself:
3. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you are going to have a hard time with DIY cleaning products as this is a key ingredient of a lot of them! There is no amount of essential oil you can add that covers up the smell of vinegar. Trust me. I’ve tried.
Fortunately, a neighbor of mine and I bonded over creating homemade “bug-spray” for our kids and she introduced me to a wonderful line of organic, toxic- free products made in small batches with all natural ingredients, including those very ingredients I couldn't economically source myself- Pure Haven.
The line offers a wide range of affordable home care, personal care, and beauty products and they continue to add more and more over time.
For those of you that follow along with my Detox Challenges and How-Tos I post on Facebook, if I talk about a “product,” I provide both the DIY (do it yourself) version and recipe that I like best and have tried, as well as links to the Pure Haven version when they have a similar product available that I’ve tried and can recommend.
You can opt to do as much of the challenge or as little of the challenge as necessary. Even incorporating one small change in your routine will help reduce your exposure to toxins and get you started. For me this has been a 15+ year journey, and I continue to incorporate more and more each year.
I hope you enjoy what I am able to share and if you have questions about any of the information I provide, or requests for future detoxing topics to cover, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to hearing from you and having you join me on our continued journey to increased health, wellness, and happiness.
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