It’s a long time until the sprogs get here, but we’ve already started to change a few things so that our home is less toxic to us, and more friendly to them. Starting with the kitchen.
Our old pots and pans were in reasonable shape, but the non-stick coating was starting to wear thin, and was scratched in a few places. We both knew that, once damaged, Teflon emits chemicals into your food, but our level of alarm didn’t rise much above ‘irked’. Until a few weeks ago, when we found out we were expecting.
We were filling in time at West Elm in Toronto, waiting for the phone call with our pregnancy test results, when we saw the GreenPan set of anodized aluminium cookware. A week later, when we were back in Toronto for another appointment, we bought the set. It was a splurge, but for $350 we got: Two saucepans, a milk saucepan, steamer, big pot, two frying pans, a deeper pan, and a griddle. Good deal! And so far we’re loving them. Easy to clean, soooo non-stick it puts Teflon to shame, and no icky chemicals leaching into our food thanks to the ceramic coating. Wunderbar!
While in the kitchen, here’s the new dishwashing liquid made by B.C. company Sapadilla I bought from the awesome local health food store Healthy Foods and More. It’s biodegradable, really effective, and smells like mint and rosemary. (The smell’s a tad bit strong for me, but the Husband loves it, so perhaps that’s just pregnancy hormones making me sensitive.) Still, it gets a big thumbs-up.
And, as is typical for knocked-up chicks, I’ve switched almost entirely to decaf coffee and tea. This has not been a huge success. Decaf coffee is not overly appealing – why must most take-away decaf have notes of plastic and chicory? – and the decaf tea I’ve got is either boring (plain black) or too fruity for everyday consumption. So I cheated, and bought a tin of Darjeeling from David’s Tea down the street. It’s low caf if I don’t let it steep too long, so does that count??
Downstairs, I’ve also replaced our laundry detergent. We were using Arm & Hammer laundry liquid, because I am totally in love with baking soda as a cleaning substance. But still, liquids are an inefficient way to purchase laundry stuff (it’s largely water, so you’re paying to transport heavy stuff that could be much lighter, and demands more packaging). So I switched to Nellie’s laundry soda.
Confession: I bought this one because the can is adorable. I love it. And Nellie’s (yet another B.C. company – what’s going on out there?) explains that steel is one of the most easily recyclable products on earth. So I’m pretty happy with that. As a cleaner, this stuff is fantastic so far. It’s unscented, and that’s fine with me. I don’t like all that floral crap anyway. And our clothes are coming up really nicely. We haven’t tested it yet with *really* dirty stuff, but there’s painting in our imminent future. I’ll keep you posted.
And yes, that is a massive box of baking soda at the rear of that photo. LOVE that stuff! Makes a great laundry booster, as well as everything else.
In the bathroom? Again, I’m doing my best to make everything biodegradable, so that we’re earth-friendly and I’m avoiding slathering chemicals, oil-products and the like over my body. Given we’re heading into winter, when my skin gets so dry I start to flake away like cheap paint, this is a tough call. Skin-care-wise, I’m experimenting with vegetable oils for my skin (grapeseed for my face, almond for my body). It doesn’t get in really deep, so doesn’t entirely really nourish my skin, but it’s so far proving a good base or temporary (and guilt-free) aid. I do have a warning though: Do not put the oil on your skin and then attempt to do your hair!! Either scrub your hands really well in between, or do hair first, oil second. Otherwise you’ll have to wash your hair again, as I learned the hard way!
I’ve upped the skin-care ante with some Desert Essence night cream and eye cream, just so that my face doesn’t feel taut. It’s pretty nice, and I feel a bit more confident about these products than with the Body Shop stuff I was using before. (The Body Shop makes a good effort, but there are other products that are vegan – so no animal products – and petrochemical free, including no minerals etc.) I think I’ll buy some pure shea butter soon, too, to soak into my skin. If you know a good brand, let me know!
And finally, I’ve done the same make0ver in the shower, buying biodegradable, all-natural shampoo and body wash. Both the Husband and I are preferring the Desert Essence shampoo to the Prairie Naturals – it’s thicker, and seems to keep hair a bit cleaner – but I’ll likely try a couple of other brands. I bought Kiss My Face for the Stepsons, because the youngest has CRAZY hair that needs taming, and that brand had a soothing/smoothing formula. I might sneak into it to try it out.
Turns out there aren’t many biodegradable body products, though, even at the health store. The body wash is from the Body Shop’s earth-lover’s line. I like it a lot, and might stick with ’em for that. Or I might just go back to bar soap. Less packaging.
Anyhoo, that’s just the start. I aim to eventually clear as many unnatural and near-natural products as possible out of our home. Some things we’ll need to keep – that decades-old bathtub demands some chemicals every now and then, as does the dreadful linoleum in our kitchen. Honestly, does it have dirt magnets in it? Eventually, though, both of those will go, too, and we’ll be well on our way. One step at a time!