Mindful Homes : Chemical Free Living
A Plan to Reduce the Chemicals in Your Home Room by Room
My journey towards living in a cleaner, greener and more aware and conscious way reflects in our home. I began to see each room and space in the house through a new lens. I began a mission in my house to remove as many of the chemicals as I could and I did it room by room. I started by identifying what was toxic in our house, removing it and replacing it with a healthier option.
I think it is important to be considerate of the other people you live with, who may not be as ‘read up’ as you are on the chemicals in the items they have loved for years. So I started with the items that I felt were more my domain! Next I went on a research journey to learn as much as I could about which items in our house could be changed for more healthier ones.
It was initially costly, as I soon came to realise that our throw away society produced plastic in mass and short term use items as cheaply as possible. I became determined to replace our short term 'chemical content' items with healthy ones which came with a longer guarantee so I wouldn't be needing to throw them out too soon myself.
Creating a Chemical Free Kitchen
As I was awakening to eating fresh whole foods I began making some changes in the kitchen to match this healthier way of eating and cooking. I started with the food in the cupboards and moved into the fridge.
I began to remove as much of the processed foods as I could and then stayed as committed as I could to not reintroducing it. The foods that live at the top of any food pyramid became out of bounds in our house, except for ‘special occasions’. The addictive combination of fat, salt and sugar in these foods with their fantastic food colourings were all created to hit that perfect ‘bliss factor’. I decided they were no longer part of our kitchen cupboards or fridge. This takes mindful discipline and determination but over time, the less of these foods you eat, the less you want them. I changed white flour for whole wheat, spelt and coconut flour, I began using plant based milks and changed white sugar for maple syrup and apple sauce. Store bought snacks and meals became home made with ingredients I could trust. The food chemicals were the first to go!
The Water Filter:
Where I live people are reliant on drinking water out of large plastic bottles they put on a dispenser. It is very hot were I am and it was not uncommon for those large plastic bottles to be sitting in the sun after delivery, waiting for us to return home. Knowing that plastic heating up with our drinking water in it, wasn’t for me, I knew a water filter was the only way to go. After extensive research I installed a 7 point water filtration system. Again, it was an initial expense to buy but after the first year it had more than paid for itself, as it was a one time expense equivalent to the cost of bottled water for one year. We have now had our water filter for four years, and we only need to replace the cartridges every 4 -6 months. We have saved a lot!
The best change for us was that the water tastes amazing, and I feel great giving it to our cat and dog also. I believe we are all so much healthier now without bottled water in our lives. Of course I also ensure we had a range of stainless steel and glass drinking bottles we could fill up from our water filter for water on the go!
Plastic is toxic! Reducing as much as possible anything plastic in the kitchen is far healthier for your family and the planet. I began replacing all plastic containers in our house with glass ones.
The biggest health problem with plastics is a set of harmful chemicals called endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC). EDCs are synthetic chemicals that mimic or block hormones and disrupt the body’s normal functions. This disruption can alter normal hormone levels, stopping or stimulating the production of hormones, or changing the way hormones travel through the body, thus affecting the functions that these hormones control.
Estrogenic Activity (EA) has been documented repeatedly in BPA-based plastics, and more recently in other plastics made with unknown endocrine disrupting chemicals. www.thesoftlanding.com
I loved my non-stick Teflon kitchen items but after researching what Teflon was I decided the Teflon had to go. Teflon, is a chemical mixture of perfluorochemicals. When heated to a high temperature it releases toxic fumes and if scraped with a metal object, scraps of Teflon come off in your food and we eat it. Although there is debate on how much you would need to inhale on ingest for it to be harmful to you, I really didn’t care. I was on a mission to reduce chemicals and Teflon is a chemical. So I replaced my pots with healthy cookware. I fell in love with German Silit pans and Danish Scan pans and have never looked back. They cost more initially, but come with a long time guarantee plus, they are fantastic to cook with. Cast iron and stainless steal are far healthier for you and your family.
I also replaced any plastic kitchen tools with silicon and wooden or bamboo ones. The reports on the use of silicone in the kitchen are still under researched so to be on the safer side I only use silicon kitchen tools and not silicone baking dishes. Until there is more definitive research I prefer to use silicon at low temperatures and not heat it.
Cleaning the kitchen
It is hard to imagine just how many toxic chemicals live in the cleaning products we use in the house. After extensively reading up on how to make chemical free cleaners I began using natural basic every items for cleaning and they did the job just as well, for a fraction of the cost and were, of course, chemical free. All you really need to clean your house is: vinegar, baking soda, lemons and a few essential oils can create the smell you like.
I also bought micro fiber cleaning cloths which are resusable up to 100 times, are highly absorbent, and most importantly cleans without chemicals. They leave lint-free and streak-free results as well. I use different colours in different rooms of the house and they all go straight into the washing machine, dry in the sun and are ready for reuse.
Join the Mindful Ed blog to learn my plan, and recommended ways of living chemically free in the other rooms of our house.
The Living spaces
Recommended Resources for Creating a Chemical Free Kitchen
All of the products that are listed below are ones I currently use in my own home and come with my personal recommendation. I will only include products that I beleive in and can endorse, however, the supplier, or exact brand may differ from the one I use as I was sourcing them from a different country at the time. I like to reduce my own consumption, so I have taken to buying items that come with a longer, sometimes even lifetime guarantee to reduce the unnecessary need to replace them and then have to dispose of them.
The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself--The Natural, Chemical-Free Way by Becky Rapinchuk
Cleaning products that save money--and the planet!
Forget about chemical cleaners and pricey "green" products--all you need are a few simple kitchen staples to make your whole house sparkle! The Organically Clean Home features 150 easy-to-make recipes for cleaning products filled with all-natural ingredients you can trust (and actually pronounce!). From dishwasher detergent to antibacterial wipes, America's favorite cleaning blogger Becky Rapinchuk guides you through the steps needed to make these everyday necessities--without spending a fortune.
Complete with simple instructions for packaging and storing your homemade cleaners, you'll enjoy turning each room into a beautiful and toxic-free space with fresh-scented products like:
Lemon and clove hardwood floor cleaner
No-bleach laundry whitener and brightener
Peppermint glass and mirror wipes
Lavender and lemon bathroom disinfecting spray
Citrus foaming hand soap
With The Organically Clean Home, you'll save hundreds of dollars every month--and have a clean, healthy home that you and your family can feel good about.
This Deluxe system consists of 7-stage, layered filtration built around precision reverse osmosis (RO) technology that removes over 1000+ different kinds of contaminants in order to provide the best home drinking water filtration available. Unlike some other systems, the combination of both GAC and CTO filters in the 2nd and 3rd stages provides greater protection against harmful chemicals than CTO alone. It features a 75 gallon-per-day capacity RO membrane, which is larger than most in its class and provides the capacity to economically handle the drinking water needs of even a large family.
After flowing through the initial 5 stages of the iSpring RCC7 line of Reverse Osmosis filtering products, the RCC7AK-UV model adds two more stages: an Alkaline Remineralization (AK) stage and an Ultraviolet (UV) sterilization stage.
The UV sterilization stage kills the small percentage of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that could potentially remain in the water after the RO process. Though most municipal water systems do an adequate job of removing organic microorganisms, the UV stage is a must if the source water is coming from a well, lake or stream where microorganisms breed, or other residential uses where bacteria is a concern. Combining a Reverse Osmosis filtration system with UV sterilization provides the most complete method of water purification available.
And the water tastes better too. Because RO water is so pure, many people find it tastes unnatural. Many people prefer the more natural taste that comes from the presence of some minerals in the water. Remineralization restores just the right proportion of healthy minerals.
Glasslock is made of silica, soda ash, limestone and other natural components, making it BPA free and recyclable. It does not contain any harmful environmental hormones.
Glasslock comes in different sizes and types to meet your everyday needs. The transparent and clear glass design makes it convenient to identify the content and will look great in any kitchen.
Glasslock delivers the flexibility of using it for the microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and oven. Odor-free, stain-proof, and air+liquid resistant, the easy latching lids bring more convenience in storing your food.
FDA approved and recognized as safe to use in the food industry.
Silit Silargan Pan-Set Vitaliano Rosso, Cookware-Set, 4 pieces, also suitable for induction
Silargan pots are suitable for all stove types, including induction. Bottom with pulled through steel core and fast heat conduction and perfect heat storage for energy-efficient cooking.
Material: Silargan - dishwasher safe functional ceramics. Easy to clean non-porous closed surface, oven safe, cut and scratch resistant and tasteless. Nickel-free inner and outer ceramic Silargan su
Silargan material: Non-porous, nickel-free and antibacterial properties is guaranteed to preserve full taste and natural aroma
Made in Germany - Premium quality, produced in-house in Germany. 30-Year warranty for the inner and outer ceramic Silargan surface with intended use.