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Nature Knows Best

Many experts agree that allergens, parabens, and pollutants possess the ability to negatively affect health.  While it’s probably unrealistic to suggest we can eliminate all exposure to toxins in our daily lives, we can make an effort to replace hazardous products with more natural choices.  So, with that thought in mind, here are a few ideas to consider.

Toothpaste/mouthwash.

A fair number of commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes contain assorted dyes, artificial sweeteners, and other apparently unsafe ingredients you may not want to put in your mouth.  For that reason, it is important to look for more natural choices, although some products labeled “natural” do not always live up to the name (so read labels).  Two thoughts for a peace-of-mind oral experience? Organic coconut oil and baking soda.  Coconut oil, when combined with a bit of baking soda, can be a refreshing teeth cleaner, but be sure not to brush too vigorously, as hard brushing could disrupt enamel.  For an oddly pleasant oral rinse, take about ½ teaspoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for a few minutes, kind of like you would mouthwash.  Also known as oil pulling, the lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial properties, so it neutralizes odors and freshens breath.  As a side note, extra virgin olive oil is also suitable for oil pulling purposes.

Cleaning products.

Some household products are major toxic offenders.  Caustic drain cleaners, perfumed soaps, air fresheners with formaldehyde, and laundry detergents with harmful chemicals can produce undesirable effects, like breathing difficulties.  For more natural cleaning, products like baking soda mixed with water efficiently tackle multiple cleansing jobs.  Baking soda also works as a deodorizer and may be used to freshen garbage pails, cat boxes, closets, freezers, and refrigerators.  Hydrogen peroxide, another star in the more natural arena, can be used as a replacement for chlorine bleach to disinfect toilets, bathtubs, sinks, floors, etc.  An inventive peroxide thought?  Place equal amounts of water and 3% peroxide in a spray bottle and use as a cleaner/sanitizer, but always test a small surface area before liberally spraying.  Actually, peroxide, or even vinegar, has been known to whiten clothes and remove mold and mildew from non-porous surfaces.  (Note: It is wise to consult with a professional when mold has settled on drywall or other permeable areas).

Skin/face/hair products.

The skin care industry is a multibillion dollar a year enterprise.  Regrettably, questionable substances reside in a number of skin products.  One nontoxic, already-mentioned ingredient in the spotlight these past few years is coconut oil.  In point of fact, coconut oil is remarkably multipurpose and can be applied topically to soothe chapped lips, massage achy muscles, remove makeup, moisturize skin, condition hair, enhance shaving, double as a deodorant, and the list continues.  Other nature-derived gems like raw honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, shea butter, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and even lemon are also used in skin care with great success.  A rule of thumb?  Steer clear of synthetic ingredients as best as you can, and try to err on the side of caution when you rub anything on your skin, as a portion of the product usually absorbs through pores and enters the bloodstream.

Interestingly, it’s no longer a select few who seek out more natural living; even mainstreamers have jumped aboard the bandwagon.  For additional ideas relating to this topic, go to www.eartheasy.com.

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