Cleaning Our Lives Of Chemicals: Some easy steps for families

LemonJuiceChemicals are everywhere. The more we learn, the scarier it is, and the more we try to keep our families away from the majority of chemicals that can harm us. Remember we cannot do all of these things, but we can each do a few to reduce the exposure of our families to harmful chemicals. Here are some areas to consider as you try to reduce the chemical exposure in your home.

Get rid of the cans

This is a shocker to many people! Most food and beverage cans are lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical linked to breast cancer and other health concerns. The number one thing you can do is avoid canned foods. This means getting rid of canned soup, beans and especially any tomato products [because of acidity]. This can be a tough one for families. I’ve started to make my own beans in a crockpot to avoid BPA. It’s not that tough to do, but you do have to plan ahead and have some freezer space.

Put the ‘clean’ back in cleaning supplies

Choose green cleaning products to drastically reduce indoor air pollution. Because cleaning product formulas are government protected trade secrets, consumers can’t read ingredient lists in an effort to avoid harmful chemicals. Try to buy products where companies have voluntarily provided their product list.

Some DIY cleaning supplies out there are very effective, safe and made out of non-toxic household staples like baking soda, plant-based dish soap, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. A great article here: 5 Common Household Items You Can Use for Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Reduce plastic

Many chemicals of concern are found in plastic, so try to reduce the amount of it in your home. Including in our kids’ toy bin. Vinyl, aka PVC, is especially important to avoid. You can identify it by the #3 in a product’s recycling arrows and by its strong smell (like a shower curtain). That smell is actually hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates off-gassing into your air. Yuck! I always think of LEGO’s. My son plays with them daily. You just cannot get rid of it all!

Be naturally beautiful

Personal care products like makeup, lotions, baby shampoo, and sunscreens may contain chemicals that have been linked to everything from reproductive complications to cancer. Choose natural, clean versions from companies that don’t use things like parabens (preservatives) and a whole host of other ingredients. Amazing what they can hide.

Learn about the safety of the ingredients in your beauty products, sunscreens, etc. at Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This is such a great resource.

Just say no to pesticides

Say goodbye to your exterminator and rely on natural pest solutions combined with preventative measures instead. Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development. Removing your shoes at the door will decrease the amount of pesticides you track into your home.

Eat organic

Pesticides are linked to cancers and health problems, so buy organic when possible. There are different levels of pesticides and residues on veggies and fruits due to the growing process, so if you have to choose, be picky about what you buy.

Here is the Dirty Dozen list of fruits and veggies to avoid buying unless they are organic.

Other Resources
  • Healthy Child Healthy World has a lot to teach us all about non-toxic solutions for families. Try hosting a Healthy Child party. Sign up here and they’ll send you a kit with all of the materials. See their complete article on 8 ways to remove toxins from your house here.
  • I’ve also enjoyed following Mind, Body, Green. They offer some great daily articles on clean living.
  • Pharmaca right here in Boulder seems to always have good information about products and health professionals to answer questions without making you feel really silly.
What have you tried to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals? Please comment here to share!

Kale Your Whole Family Will Enjoy! Really!!

I have been thinking a lot about Kale. Sounds funny, but it is so healthy and I have found a way to get my kids [and husband] to eat it. I make Kale Chips. They are so easy and even my nieces who are super picky eaters couldn’t get enough of what they thought were just green chips. Of course they wouldn’t touch them until they felt the healthy competition with my two boys who were clearly going to clean the bowl.

The good stuff in Kale:

Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin E, Folacin, Iron, Potassium, & Magnesium

Kale Chips Recipe

  • Buy one head of kale [I’ve tried all different types and the kids like them all]
  • Clean and chop into 1″ to 2″ pieces
  • Put kale “chips” into the bowl and coat lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt [I like sea salt]
  • Turn oven to broil and place the uncooked “chips” on a baking tray or glass pan
  • Cook the kale for 5 minutes [more or less depending on your over] turning every minute or when some chips start to get crispy, but others are still soft. You are aiming for some consistency. Most kids prefer them crispy, but not over cooked [blackened].
  • Pull them out. Let them cool for a few minutes. Put them in front of your kids and watch them inhale them!

No Cook Kale Chips

I read a blog [I cannot find it now!] about “No Cook Kale”. This mom did more of less what I suggest above, but then she put the tray of kale on the dash of her car on one of our warm days. She left it there for an hour or so and when she picked up her kids from school they were warm and ready to eat. By the time they were home the whole tray was gone.

Lemon Kale Chips

Elana’s Pantry recipe for Lemon Kale Chips. This website is always good for excellent Gluten Free recipes. I highly recommend it!

What other nutritious snacks do your kids/family love? 

Family Friendly Recipes: Where to find ’em

The days are long and full at this time of year. School is about to let out. The number of events and things we need to do at this time of year seems to increase exponentially. When is there time to cook? Here are some ideas of where to find easy, healthy and delicious meals:

Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less by Mark Bitmann (thanks, Kim!)

Cure Organic Farm CSA Recipes: Fantastic seasonal recipes

Delicious Living: lots of great options here

Elana’s Pantry: great gluten free cooking options

Whole Foods: lots of delicious options here

Where do you look for healthy, seasonal, quick family friendly recipes? What else is out there? Share a favorite recipe, please!