Brayden is 4.5. This means I became a little concerned about 5 years ago when it came to buying baby items and being aware (ok, semi-aware) of what was in the products I bought for him.
As a concerned mom, my interest with finding “safe” products for him only grew. I was the mom that only bought baby food that was organic and in glass containers. I also hand washed anything that went in his mouth with Seventh Generation organic dish soap, and of course I used a free and clear type of laundry detergent for everything that went on his body or that he slept in, played in and sat in to eat.
Over the years, between buying safe items for Brayden and dieting and getting myself back in “fighting mommy shape”, I started discovering all these not so safe products that I was using for Brock and I. Foods that we ate, detergents we used, plug in scented waxes, household cleaners, yard fertilizers and the list goes on and on.
In 4 years, I have learned A LOT. I have cut out certain foods that I definitely know are terrible for our bodies, I have replaced household cleaners with vinegar water and organic products and most recently I have even cut out aspartame and some other sugar substitutes. Which, by the way, did you know they put saccharin in KIDS TOOTHPASTE. Kids toothpaste!!!!?!
Eating while I was pregnant with Brayden was hard…all the rules….avoid steaks that aren’t well done, avoid deli meats, avoid sodium (which I failed at, obviously since I looked like the blueberry girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by 37 wks) avoid caffeine, avoid sugar free items etc etc. Some people loved being able to “eat what ever they wanted” being pregnant, but not me. I was one who questioned the safety of everything I ate. At the end of the day, I was consuming a lot more calories because I was eating full fat items, plus drinking regular soft drinks and eating more desserts because in my mind, they were always safe to eat for the most part.
This pregnancy I think I have become even more paranoid about what I put in and ON my body. It’s a hot mess…really, it is. And the rules have changed….society threatens pregnant women so much on what they can and cant have. For example…when I was pregnant with Brayden, I had a small DQ sundae a week. Now we aren’t supposed to eat soft serve out of a machine because the machine could be dirty and carry listeria. I mean…what pregnant lady can go without ice cream? Also, you hear stories about ordering salads out that are contaminated with bacteria because some idiot at the restaurant used the meat knife for the lettuce. The stories are endless and of course I want to do what is best for my baby, so I just avoid it, and 2nd guess everything and make everything about a million times harder than it should be. Now…take all this that I have just written and compile it with what I have learned over the years, and you have yourself one “trying to eat well, trying to be well, trying to eat healthy, trying to eat safe, trying to stay healthy, trying to clean organically, not having enough time, trying to do everything right while being a mommy, mommy to be, wife, daughter and sister.” It’s so exhausting.
I’m not perfect, there are things I know I should give up, but haven’t…especially in pregnancy. Like…fast food. I eat fast food (mainly chick fil a) everyday for lunch. Though, it is grilled chicken salads and sandwiches, I do add on a cookie most of the time (pregnancy perk, right?) because I don’t know how they make those cookies, but they are beyond amazing. For dinners, I am freaked out to mess with raw eggs and meat right now (not on a normal basis but on a pregnancy basis) so Brock has to be on cooking duty –and the dude can make a mean steak, chicken or hot dog on the grill, but I know cooking is not his most favorite thing to do. So, my mom started cooking like twice a week and since she likes to make big dinners, she sends over dinner for us. This is awesome, but there are 7 days in a week ya know…so usually once a week I will have cereal for dinner, and on Friday and Saturday nights we eat out and the other night a week I usually make myself a spinach salad, maybe a boiled egg and some greek yogurt. I realize this could be better, and I realize I should have learned how to cook 20 years ago when my mom asked me to help her with dinners. Though, I do try to stock our pantry with safer, healthier options now…like cage free organic eggs, organic chicken, organic milk, cereals without food dyes (I have to admit…we have had a box or two of LuckyCharms around here to feed a pregnancy craving or two) and old fashioned oatmeal. I have also tossed all the sugar free stuff, splenda and a lot of “fake” foods. So to paraphrase..I shouldn’t be eating fast food pregnant, but I do…but over the last year we have made major changes to the foods we eat, which is a great step in the right direction. 🙂
Then I found out that even our showers and bath tubs had nasty chemicals lurking in bottles, bottles with major brand names on them that we use everyday and even more disturbing…use on our kiddos. There are reasons they make special baby detergents, lotions and body washes. To keep it gentle, right? Uhm no, wrong. I’m not an expert on this subject and as far as “greening up our home” goes, I’m a newbie in this area, but I have heard enough and read enough to know that most of the products you find on the shelves at Target and Walmart isn’t great for you, or your family! I’m talking cleaners, lotions, body washes, shampoos, nail polish, candles, hair spray, bubble bath…pretty much everything we use on a day to day basis. So, last summer I started making some small changes that I felt better about. For instance, we use The Honest Company dishwasher soap, and Palmolive free and clear dish soap. We only use Seventh Generation organic and The Honest Company cleaning products and vinegar for hard jobs like showers and faucets. I also have started to VERY slowly switch out our families bath/beauty products. I have switched to “Butter” nail polish, since its formaldehyde free. Yes, its 16.00 a bottle, but I feel much better about using it. I also use Dove sensitive skin bar soap to wash my hands with now in our master bathroom—and I’m about to change my body wash/shampoo over to The Honest Company. The good news about this all in one product is that its made for babies and kids too, so I will be able to buy a few bottles of it and we can all use it in good conscience! I have also tried to find saccharin free toothpaste because that still blows my mind, but the only toothpastes they make without saccharin also are without fluoride. This is a sacrifice I’m not willing to make just yet. I feel that my family’s dental health is extremely important and I know that fluoride is needed for all of us. Come on The Honest Company or Seventh Generation…make a toothpaste that has fluoride in it without the saccharin! I’ll be first in line!
Like I said before, I’m not perfect and I have definitely not perfected any of this going green business, but I’m trying and I think that’s all you can really do. One small step here and there and eventually we will get there! And, there are also things that I’m not ready to give up yet…like my Neutrogena face cream with retinol in it (of course I’m not using it while pregnant, but I can’t wait to use it again after lil man gets here), or the DiorShow mascara that I am in love with. We also still buy some snacky items for the house that are not organic and a processed item makes it way to the pantry every so often. I cringe when Brock eats bologna and kraft cheese slices on a sandwich. Ugh, the slimy, sticky look to the cheese makes me never want to touch it and bologna…well you all know that no one really knows what’s in that. But, like I said, occasionally its in our fridge. I personally don’t eat it, but Brock does from time to time. Of course, I also realize we live in Indiana and have a major disadvantage when it comes to fresh and in season veggies and fruits. Brayden would live off raspberries and strawberries if I let him. I buy the organic brand of course, but I’m sure I look like a freak at the grocery story digging through piles of strawberries and raspberries in January, trying to find some that look like they may last 2 or 3 days. In the summer, I love our fruit selection and I so wish it was like that all year round, but sadly its not. There aren’t even any farmers markets around that are open in the winter. Boo. Come on Indiana, make some progress! I try…that’s all I can do.
The moral of this post is this…just try to be aware. Awareness is the first step. Be aware that we live in a world of convenience and our products are made for that lifestyle, often adding in chemicals to maintain our fast paced lifestyle. Stop for a minute and just review what you are putting in your body, think about what you are giving to your kids and what you wash their clothes in. Going green isn’t for everyone and I know that we can’t control everything. You can walk outside and be subjected to the worst air pollution ever, but people don’t walk around with masks on. Well, no one I have met hehe. This post is about things you do have control over. I feel better knowing I am helping my family little by little. 🙂
PS, if you have not tried any of The Honest Company’s products, their website is www.honest.com. I haven’t tried a product I didn’t like!
Also, The Honest Company was started by Jessica Alba after she went on a quest to make her home a safe place for her kids. She has a new book out called The Honest Life and I highly recommend it if you are into learning more about what is in the products you use daily. 🙂