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5 simple tips for a less toxic body

5 simple tips for a less toxic body

You want to feel good, right? I know I do.

Reducing the number of toxins we expose ourselves to on a daily basis is a great place to start to achieve that!

Let me point you in the right direction, and empower you to make better choices concerning skin and body care, and in turn, reduce your toxic load.

My top 5 tips for a less toxic body:

Ditch the fragrance 

Did you know that companies are not required to tell you what ingredients they use to create their fragrance? Whether it be in perfume, washing powder, lip balm or toilet spray, they can simply list ‘fragrance’, ‘aroma’, ‘parfum’, etc., and that’s it.

Fragrance has been linked to headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, and irritation of the skin, eyes and throat. Some fragrances even contain chemicals that are known to disrupt the way our hormones work. So the best thing you can do is avoid it. Read more here.

Simplify your beauty routine

The average woman uses close to 200 chemicals on her skin daily; the average male uses under 100. The personal care industry is not required to test their products prior to putting them on the market. That means that we are largely unaware of how chemicals react with each other – especially dangerous when women are applying so many different products and chemicals to their skin on a daily basis.

Despite companies claiming that they are using chemicals at ‘safe’ limits, this limit may be exceeded if you apply that product twice in a day, or in a thicker layer than recommended, or if you’re applying another product that day with the same chemicals. It’s worth simplifying your routine and using less in the first place. Ingredients like coconut oil (the type that solidifies) and shea butter make excellent body moisturisers; jojoba and apricot kernel oils are beautiful facial oils (and make-up removers); sugar and olive oil together make for an effective exfoliator; and there are plenty of reputable brands out there making safer hair care, and make-up. Some of my favourite places to shop include: Biome, Flora & Fauna and Nourished Life.

Avoid sprays and aerosols

Not only do many mainstream personal care products present us with the issue of too many toxic chemicals, the addition of butane and propane, and the ‘convenience’ of spraying (think hair spray, sunscreen, body mists) means tiny airborne particles are inhaled directly into our lungs and absorbed directly into our bloodstream. Limiting your use of these products is another great step towards an existence with fewer toxins.

Become familiar with ingredient panels

I have some very useful information for you here and here, aimed at empowering you to make the right decisions for yourself.  To start with, some key ingredients I would encourage you to look out for are:

🚫  Fragrance

🚫  Parabens

🚫  Phenoxyethanol

🚫  SLS/SLES

🚫  Triclosan

These ingredients have been linked to hormone interference, toxicity to organs and aquatics, persistence in the environment, skin irritation – just to name a few.

Start with ONE little swap 

This is especially important if you feel overwhelmed. I don’t recommend going through your cupboards and throwing everything out! Look at the products you use the most, check out the ingredients and decide if this is something you really need, and whether a better alternative exists. If a DIY option is available (and there are plenty available at TILP!), you might like to have a go at making it. Then, once you have the hang of that, find another product you use a lot of and work on swapping that. Now, that sounds achievable, doesn’t it?

 

Just remember to take it one step at a time, especially if the concept of a less toxic lifestyle is super new to you.

It is physically impossible to remove all chemicals from your life – IMPOSSIBLE. So, striving for the forgiving 80/20 approach will ease the pressure and stress, and allow you to make small changes, when YOU are ready to make them. The most important thing is to not create a stressful situation out of something that is meant to make your life healthier, happier, greener and cleaner. Eventually, you will get to a place you’re happy with, whether it be DIY, or finding honest, transparent brands to shop with that have your best interests at heart.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read here for more information.

 

Transitioning to natural deodorant – my top 10 tips

Transitioning to natural deodorant – my top 10 tips

Natural deodorant is growing in popularity, and it is no wonder, with the amount of research out there now highlighting the detrimental effect that the commercial stuff has on humans.

Some of the key ingredients in many commercial deodorants that you want to be avoiding include aluminium, fragrance, BHT, propane etc…

See this blog for more info on my list of the worst offending chemicals.

There are some excellent brands of deodorant balms out there.

These companies genuinely have our best interests at heart. So, if DIY isn’t an option for you, don’t think that you don’t have other/better choices to make. I recommend heading over Biome, Flora and Fauna or Nourished Life – they each have some very reputable brands like Black Chicken, Woohoo!, Weleda and Noosa Basics.

But, I am obviously here to encourage you to have a go at making it yourself.

If you haven’t given it a go yet, I can guarantee that once you have tried it, you will realise that it isn’t as daunting as it sounds.

For those of you who have tried, you’re either loving it from the get-go, or you need a little help fine-tuning. Here are some tips on transitioning to natural deodorant, so you will find nothing but success from your DIY natural deodorant venture.

My Top Tips

1. When starting out, avoid pressure and intense heat

I am a bit of an all-or-nothing girl, so when I made the transition to natural deodorant, I went cold-turkey. I applied some deodorant that morning, played a hard and fast game of netball, and was so pleased to learn that my deodorant worked! I shared my recipe with quite a few friends and the testimonies were a little bit ego-inflating!

If you’re a little doubtful and want to play it safe, try natural deodorant on a day you’ll be home, calm and not under pressure to avoid BO. Starting in winter is also a good idea as we sweat less when it is cold.

2. Avoid staining of clothing and only apply a small smear

Check out how much is on my finger in this image; that is enough for both pits (actually, I use even less now). Any more than that and you’ll have the paste transferring to your clothing. If this tip comes too late for you, and your clothes are a little stained already, try one of my stain removal recipes. There is a paste and a solution. They’re both brilliant!

3. Boost your deodorant with tea tree essential oil

There are days when I know I am going to be busy, hot and on-the-go, and on those days, I boost my deodorant with tea tree essential oil. First, scoop out a little paste, smear it on your two index fingers, then drop the essential oil onto one, rubbing both fingers together and applying to your armpits.

4.  Body odour – start with the source

Good hygiene practice (ahhh, showers) is obvious, right?  But do you know that the foods you eat, and the health of your body, in general, makes a huge difference to your BO? Also, the types of clothing you wear may have an effect on your BO. I personally find that cheap, synthetic fabrics, do not do me any favours.

6. Don’t feel guilty

If you wear (or want to wear) natural deodorant, but you have an important event to attend, and it’s just not an option to simply change your outfit to something that hides sweaty patches on the armpit sections of your clothing (I’m thinking weddings, presentations, etc), then don’t feel bad about using something else. Of course, I would hope that no one has to resort to the chemical stuff, but if it feels like the only option you have, just do it and own that decision (as a once-off, hopefully!). The stress we put ourselves under does more harm than the occasional ‘slip off the bandwagon’.

7. Wet wipe mid-day

When starting out, you may feel a little unsure and even sceptical about your new deodorant’s performance, so a mid-day wet wipe over your pits may be your saviour. Wipe and reapply.

8. Bicarb can be irritating for some

If you find that you’re starting to develop a rash from natural deodorant, it could be the sodium bicarbonate (aka bicarb) that is bothering you. I can only advise that you stop for a while and try again when the rash has subsided, or switch to one of these low-carb or carb-free recipes.

9. Anxiety and stress contributes to body odour

I was having such great success from using my natural deodorant recipe that I was totally thrown about 18 months ago when I flew to Vegas solo and could smell BO! I remember the feelings of overwhelm and anxiety that consumed me, leaving my kids in Perth while I globe-trotted for work. Since then, there have been a few occasions where I have noticed that even my amazing natural deodorant hasn’t cut the mustard for me, and each time, the common factor was mega-stress. It’s worth keeping this in mind.

10. Try a pit detox

If you have tried many or most of these suggestions and you’re still struggling, it is worth trying some gentle dry brushing* and a pit detox. Basically, it is a paste made from bentonite clay and water or apple cider vinegar, which you’ll leave on for 5-20 minutes, then rinse off. Massaging your underarms will help to promote lymphatic drainage, the paste will help to clear your pores, and this will certainly help with odour issues.

If you are new to dry brushing, here’s a simple explanation. Using a good quality body brush, start at your feet and work towards your heart, brushing in long, light strokes up your body. It can help exfoliate your skin, promote blood flow towards your heart and help with lymphatic drainage. Follow with a body cream and your skin will thank you for it!

Bonus Tip. Don’t shave/wax then apply deodorant. It will sting!

When you shave or wax, you damage the delicate skin under your arms, creating little nicks. So, it is best to shave/wax the night before, and by morning, you shouldn’t feel a sting when you apply deodorant. If you do, next time wait a little longer.

 

While it takes some people a while to fall in love with natural deodorant, those who get there, don’t look back. I know I haven’t.

For me, it isn’t an option to use the toxic commercial stuff, and it won’t be an option for my children either. I do hope these tips help those of you who are struggling, and that someday soon you see and appreciate the awesomeness of DIY natural deodorant.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read here for more information.

My top 10 tips to DETOX your home

My top 10 tips to DETOX your home

In my opinion, detoxing your home is the first and easiest step to take when trying to create a life that is less toxic.

We are constantly exposed to various chemicals, day in and day out.

Not all chemicals cause immediate harm or long-term effects. There is growing evidence from countless research articles indicating that indoor air is more polluted than the outdoors. Anne Steinman, an internationally-recognised expert on environmental pollutants, says during her interview for Up Close (a research talk show from the University of Melbourne) that “in most urban areas and industrialised countries the concentrations of hazardous air pollutants indoors are often several times if not several hundred times greater indoors than outdoors.”

Scary, isn’t it?

Given that so many of us spend a great deal of the day indoors, this is quite serious. It is important to give special consideration to those with developing and compromised immune systems: infants, children and the elderly, who may spend the majority of their days inside.

You may have firsthand experience with acute symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, skin irritation, asthma, flu-like symptoms etc., or perhaps you don’t notice any symptoms? This doesn’t mean you are not being affected.

The impact could be slow and cumulative, manifesting as a health issue in the future. Either way, it is worth looking into the health of your home environment and making small changes to clean it up.

Here are my top tips to help you to help you detox your home:

Choose better ingredients

This is what I am all about, so it has to be my first tip!

Simplify your beauty and cleaning routines. Use less ingredients in general (creams, lotions, powders and sprays), choose products with ingredients that you know and trust (and if you don’t, look into it – this blog will help), clean with water and vinegar, wash with castile and organic soaps, scrub with salt and lemon. Ditch the commercial cleaning bottles that don’t list ingredients (they don’t legally have to tell you what’s inside, did you know that?) and be conscious of – and educated on – what you’re spraying/using/scrubbing/rubbing.

Circulate and purify air

This is an easy one that doesn’t require expensive or fancy systems. Simply open windows as much as possible to circulate air. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are ‘a class of carbon-based chemicals, which evaporate easily at room temperature, giving off vapours that can be inhaled’ (Is Your Home Making You Sick? – Peter Dingle). Sources of VOCs include paint, carpet, electrical appliances, furniture etc., and these chemicals are found in the dust particles of most homes. I saw the incredible Don Tolman at a seminar last year and he claimed that a ceiling fan is the BEST air purifier on the planet. He also advises that we leave windows open (if safe to do so) when we sleep, even in cooler weather. Of course, diffusing pure essential oils is another way to clean the air – make sure you’re using a trusted brand of oils.

Vacuum frequently

Another excellent way of removing VOCs from your home is to clean regularly. Naturally, you’d be cleaning with non-toxic products (perhaps ones you’ve made yourself!). Vacuuming with an appliance that uses a HEPA filter is recommended.

Remove shoes at the door

You would be amazed at the amount of icky stuff we bring into our homes on the soles of our shoes. A great way to encourage guests to remove their shoes when entering your home is to leave a few pairs just by the doorway as a hint. 😉

Avoid scented candles and air fresheners

Get rid of them. They do not ‘freshen’ air and the chemicals used in the fragrances, as well as the gases emitted from petroleum-based waxes, have been linked to some quite serious health complications and are often compared to the ‘new passive smoke’ in terms of health effects. Once you ditch the fake smells, you will be amazed at how potent the softener aisle is at the supermarket!

When buying new furniture…

Open boxes outside and ventilate rooms for as long as possible. At one of my workshops in QLD in 2019, I met a lady with a son who was severely affected by chemicals. She made every effort to clean up their lives and abode – and was doing quite well. That is until one day when her son had a severe reaction, out of the blue. After a long process of elimination, they worked out it was caused by the chemicals sprayed on the new flat-packed furniture they put together and the boxes they then let their kids play with (as we all do, right?). Another story comes from a lady I met in NSW last year that was basically bed-ridden for unexplained reasons, despite all her efforts and testing to work it out. Turns out that the products and boxes they were importing from China for their business were coated in a white toxic powder, which she assumed was used to kill any insects/bugs etc., when entering our shores. Also avoid stain-proofing sprays if possible.

Check for mould

This is a big one, especially if you live in the tropics. Mould spores can make you very ill, so the best way to treat it is to prevent it. Open shower doors after use (or dry it like my mother-in-law does, if you can be bothered!); run exhaust fans in bathrooms; make sure clothes are completely dry before folding and storing; use clove oil and vinegar to kill mould (bleach doesn’t kill mould, and some mould spores feed off bleach). If you suspect a serious infestation, in walls and cavities, get a professional in. It’s costly but the alternative could result in serious health issues, including pneumonia.

Keep lots of indoor plants

NASA has published research on the effectiveness of indoor plants in filtering and purifying air. Benzene and formaldehyde are among the chemicals tested and results indicate that plants really do improve indoor air quality. Below are some of the recommended plants (image source), however, anything is better than nothing. Aim for one per room and don’t forget to water them!

Avoid pesticides and fly sprays

Did you know that a simple vinegar spray on weeds does the job most of the time? And a sprinkle of borax on ant mounds can eliminate them? Kids love finding caterpillars on leaves so if you have a veggie patch and children, maybe create a challenge for them: most caterpillars collected equals extra time in the pool/a trip to the park/a cookie baking session etc.

Do not smoke

This is obvious, right?

There we have it, my top 10 tips to detox your home easily.

The list is achievable and realistic for most people. And don’t worry if there are things on this list that you just don’t think you could manage right now. It’s OK. Just do what you can now and leave the rest on your to-do list until you’re ready.

The best way to keep at it with a less toxic lifestyle is to keep it real and to feel like you’ve got a handle on it. Every little step you take in the right direction is a win – and you should be super proud!

Why not reinforce what you’ve learned here and sign up for my FREE 5-day email series, to help you cleanse your home? See you there!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

Natural dishwasher tablets – tips to help you get the best results

Natural dishwasher tablets – tips to help you get the best results

So you’re all inspired and you’ve made your own natural dishwasher tablets – happy days!

It is so empowering to take household cleaning into your own hands and know that you’re not only saving money, but also the environment.

Depending on where you’re located, you might have varied success using my natural dishwasher tablets recipe. You might love it from the get-go, you might not.

You might find that results vary.

If your glasses are cloudy, or spotty, or your dishes aren’t washing properly, then have a read of the following troubleshooting tips. They may not be the perfect fix for you, but they may improve the results you’re having and encourage you to keep investing your energy into DIY cleaning.

Please remember that occasionally you may need to work a little harder with natural alternatives. As a society, we have been spoiled with convenience, and have become somewhat (dare I say it?) lazy.

Yes, we’re all busy, but if a few extra minutes here and there means we improve our health, and that of the world we’re borrowing from our grandchildren, isn’t it worth the trouble? I think it is.

ALWAYS do the following:

☝️  Scrape excess food from your dishes before stacking in your dishwasher. Even commercial powders struggle with excess food scraps.

☝️  Soak plates that have cheese or sauces burned onto them.

☝️  Rinse tea cups before stacking.

☝️  Stack dishes properly. Nothing is going to get between nested bowls or spoons and clean them properly.

☝️  Get plastics out as soon as the cycle has ended if you can, or hand wash them. You may eventually move away from plastic altogether!

☝️  Hand wash glasses. Without industrial ingredients that leave dishes dry and streak-free, it is hard to avoid spots on glasses.

☝️  Opening your dishwasher as soon as the cycle is finished and shaking the excess water off dishes may help.

☝️  Don’t leave dirty dishes in your dishwasher for days before washing. The toughest of dishwasher tablets would struggle with that!

☝️  Keep your dishwasher clean. I recommend doing so every fortnight at least. We certainly can’t expect a dirty appliance to do a good job when cleaning, can we?

To clean your dishwasher, simply:

1. Dismantle and clean the filter with a scrubbing brush in hot soapy water.

2. Clean the spray arms – this will require you to unscrew it and unclog each hole with a piece of wire, then secure it back into position

3. Wipe around all crevices and seals with a wet microfibre cleaning cloth.

4. Place 1 cup of white vinegar in a glass jug on the top rack, and add ½ cup of sodium bicarbonate (bicarb) to the floor of the dishwasher, then run a short but hot cycle.

TIPS to experiment with:

💧  Try adding an extra tablespoon of citric acid to each load (in a ramekin on the very top shelf), as well as a tablet. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil if you have it.

💧 Leave out the washing soda and replace with equal parts borax and citric acid. If this mixture doesn’t set properly, just use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

💧 Try using two natural dishwasher tablets – one in the main compartment and one on the floor of the dishwasher (or in the pre-wash compartment if your dishwasher has one).

💧 Use a rinse aid (see notes below).

What about rinse aid?

Dishwashers work to dry dishes, not with hot air, but with hot water. Rinse aid is made up mainly of surfactants that reduce the surface tension of water, helping to create sheets of water which roll off dishes and prevent droplets from pooling. This speeds up the drying process and also helps calcium and other minerals to bind to water and be carried out through the drain, rather than settle on your dishes. All of this gives you sparkly dishes.

The bad news? It is expensive – that’s one negative point. The worst news though, is that commercial rinse aids typically contain many questionable chemicals, some of which are highly toxic to humans, and aquatic life. Have you ever seen a clear rinse aid? Usually, it is fluorescent blue or a bright green. I have always wondered why this is necessary?? Small amounts of these chemicals are deposited on our dishes and the rest flows down the drain and into the environment. That is NOT ok.

A natural rinse aid – Vinegar. White. Straight-up. A tip when using vinegar, however, is to place it in a ramekin on the top shelf of your dishwasher and refresh with each load. By filling your rinse-aid compartment with vinegar, you may risk damaging the rubber components of your appliance (although I’ve done it for years with no issues, and an appliance serviceman with 20 years experience has told me vinegar is fine in the rinse-aid compartment, so it’s your call).

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

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