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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Create a Less Toxic Home: Swap This for That

Products we use every day may also be the most toxic things we are exposed to in our day to day living. Most of the conventional things we use to clean our homes, to clean our bodies and to make ourselves look or smell presentable every day are loaded with toxins. Our skin is a great barrier to the outside world but it also absorbs a lot of stuff. And the stuff that smells good (or bad)? You're inhaling that! Not only do we need to be careful about the things we eat, we need to be careful about the things our skin and noses are exposed to, too.

Here are my favorite every day swaps:

Soap. Avoid anti-bacterial. We're creating super bugs with that stuff and our immune system needs to be exposed to some bugs to keep us healthy and strong. Use real soap. I love Dr. Bronner's castile soap and Tropical Traditions hand wash. I use tea tree Dr. Bronners for my face, peppermint Dr. Bronners for my body in my morning shower, lavender Dr. Bronners for my evening showers or baths and Tropical Traditions. Another reason I love both brands is that they have lots of refill options which reduces plastic waste. Places like Humboldt's Legacy and Generation Green have refill stations for Dr. Bronner's soaps. Method refills are available anyplace their product is sold. I've seen them at Canadian Tire, Safeway, Superstore and Target. My newest and favorite multi purpose cleaner is Branch Basics.

Moisturizer. I know you want to smell good. I get it. But, I dare you to read the label of your lotion. Talk about chemical overload. You're absorbing that stuff, guys! I cover myself in a combination of tallow, coconut oil and my sister's homemade lotion after every shower. There are lots of recipes online. I know not all of us are that ambitious so go to one of the retailers mentioned below to find something you like.

Household Cleaners. This includes surface cleaners, glass cleaners, laundry soap and dish soap. My favorite for all of these, as mentioned above, is Branch Basics. Wondering how "clean" your products are? Give them a search on EWG's search engine.

Make Up. Here in Winnipeg there are two really cool companies that make all natural makeup, Pure Anada and Di Erbe. Another company that I absolutely love is Beauty Counter.

Deodorant. This one can be a bit tough. I'm naturally a bit smellier than most (I think) so finding a decent, less toxic deodorant has been a bit of a journey. Right now I use Souldeo in Cedarwood and Bergamot. I have also had good luck with Green Beaver. For whatever reason I've always preferred men's scents of deodorant over women's. If you are buying a conventional deodorant, I encourage you to look for one that is aluminum free and not antiperspirant, but just deodorant. This is easier to find in the men's section than the women's. Sweating is way to detox and we don't really want to inhibit that mechanism. Just wear more black and white clothing rather than grey (my life).

My favorite places in Winnipeg to buy more natural, less toxic home and beauty products:

I find the easiest way to transition into a less toxic household is to simply purchase a better alternative once something runs out. Almost any of the above can be made yourself. A simple mixture of vinegar, water and some essential oils go a long way. There are lots of DIYs online now. Just like our food choices, the stuff we make at home with real ingredients is probably best for us. It doesn't matter how you go about it, simply start creating your healthiest body and home, both inside and out, today!

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