Sunday, November 4, 2012

My journey to perfect health began, quite naturally, with food. These articles then led me to the equally surprising and disturbing facts about cosmetics, which in turn illuminated the dangers of common household cleaners. One discovery systematically led to another, then another, then another. I never bit off more than I could chew, but once I became enlightened about something new it was (and still is) impossible for me to ignore. For example, when I discovered what was hidden in plain sight in those seemingly innocent bottles of shampoo and conditioners I didn't wait to finish up the bottle. I threw it out. Immediately. There’s no messing around when it comes to my health, or that of my girls. Is it worth it to save a few pennies? For me, never. So, when I began to see more and more info on the dangers of candles, air fresheners and fragrances I choose to say goodbye. Admittedly with a twinge of regret, after all, who doesn't love a sweet smelling home? But it was a firm farewell nonetheless.

As I've said before, when I began my journey I was filled with frustration and anger. We, as a society, are led to believe that ‘someone’ is out there, taking care of us, always with our safety and best interests in mind. Products that are known to be health hazards and dangers would never be given the okay for use, or worse  yet consumption, right? Right? Especially when it comes to our children, with their little, tiny, brand new bodies. Well, along the way I discovered the fallacy of that, and set about finding myself a new perspective. I realized that there wassomeone truly and wholly concerned with my health and well being, both physical and mental, above all else. Someone who wasn't concerned with wealth and power first, but abundant, beautiful health. That someone I discovered… was me. With a great sense of relief I gladly took back the power of my health and with reins firmly in hand I realized that if I wanted to feel my best, all the time, I needed to educate myself.  I could no longer rely on the fact that a facet of my life ‘ had always been so’ but continually hunted out the real facts. They are often much more obscure, but no less valid. Websites like, and books like Easy Green Living by Renee Louxwere indispensable to me. I say silent prayers of gratitude all the time for those who have chosen to educate us all on the consequence of the choices (both positive and negative) we make everyday.

So, back to candles. I always had one or two burning for that cozy atmosphere that they seem to create. Especially at this time of year as we skip into autumn to the tune of swirling, crunching leaves. There’s nothing better than air laced with cinnamon and apples to make you all warm and fuzzy inside. Warm and fuzzy until I fully realized what it was that I was actually doing to my lungs and the air inside of my home on a near daily basis. (Shudder)

As with all of my Eco-tips I like to start with a disclaimer of sorts. I offer the following info not as a scare tactic, but as quite possibly the first step towards your better health. While often changes are made with fear as the catalyst, I never find that fear does anything but harm in the long run. I’m not scared of the info that I uncover or even the world as it currently is. I take my time digesting what I find, I diligently research it some more, and than I take whatever action feels best to me given what I’d like to see manifest in my life. And with a silent thank you for all of the help that I receive on my journey, I move forward. Time and time again. Having said that… let me begin with some ‘fun facts’ for you to ponder. J

First, if you’re using a traditional candle it is most likely made of paraffin wax. What is paraffin wax? A waste product of petroleum refining quite likely laced with benzene (class A carcinogen, linked to reproductive and developmental issues, causes changes in the blood, damages the central nervous system and immune system, toxic to bone cells and bone marrow)

Air fresheners create the dirtiest most dangerous air you can breathe and can contain one or more of the following toxins ~

Formaldehyde (which is carcinogenic)

Phenol (which can cause major skin problems)

Petroleum distillates (can cause nausea, diarrhea, liver and kidney damage)

Phthalate compounds (neurortoxins that accumulate in the tissue of humans and wildlife, linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive disorders, cancer, and is toxic to the environment)

Air fresheners can and do cause sensitization, allergies, respiratory problems and cellular damage.

95% of chemicals  in fragrances are synthetic petrochemicals that have been linked to cancer, central nervous system damage, birth defects and allergic reactions

Candles and air fresheners emit dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can be severely irritating to the eyes, lungs, nose and throat. They may also damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system with repeated exposure.

So, the fact that indoor air is often 10 times more polluted than outdoor air no longer seems like much of a mystery now, does it? Especially when you consider how many of us use candles and air fresheners. About 16 years ago I started to notice that really strong scents made me feel kind of breathless, like I couldn't quite fill my lungs. I visited my doctor (back in the days when I believed that they truly had all the answers), and was told that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. Hmmmm, nothing?? Then, more recently my body has begun to protest more loudly, strong scents have begun to give me headaches in addition to the slight breathlessness. Particularly painful for me are perfumes and colognes. (Another fun fact ~ perfumes are a lovely mixture of thousands of chemicals that have never been tested for safety) I've come to the conclusion that over time people must become desensitized to their own perfume/cologne scents. Gone are the days of light, subtle, tantalizing and sensual aromas. Now we’re bombarded everywhere we go. I often wonder if some people actually bathe in their perfumes, so strong are the scents. My body’s protestations only served to validate the info that I was reading. So, what to do for the gal who loves her light and homey scents??

For years a favorite of mine has been to simply simmer a pot of water, sprinkled with cinnamon on the stove-top.  The delicious aroma fills the house in a warm and soothing way without any of the harmful side effects. But could I improve on this already delicious aroma? I decided to experiment and see what else I could come up with. I played around with smells that compliment the season. Today I've got a lovely mixture of cinnamon, cloves and apple slices simmering in a pot of water, beautifying my home for my scent senses to enjoy. Mmmmmm, apple pie anyone? In addition, for any of those interested, men find the scent of cinnamon particularly sexy and appealing, or that's what the studies show anyway… ;)

Many rooms in my home also boast a bottle of all natural air freshener. I have a recipe for each season and I’d love to share those with you today ~

In a 4 oz glass bottle with spritzer add ½ cup vodka, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup distilled water

  3 drops organic cinnamon essential oil, 3 drops organic clove essential oil and 1 drop organic patchouli essential oil.

 6 drops organic peppermint essential oil, 3 drops organic rosemary essential oil, 1 drop organic eucalyptus essential oil

 ¼ teaspoon organic vanilla extract, 4 drops organic sweet orange oil, 4 drops organic lemon oil

 5 drops organic lavender essential oil, 1 drop organic ylang ylang essential oil

Of course you can feel free to mix and match  your own scents and if you find a keeper please be sure to come back and share! My most favorite place to purchase organic oils is You can also find some lovely glass bottles there if needed.

And since I'm on the subject of green living today, I'd like to give away another one of my green recipe pouches!! If you already receive my posts by email, simply leave a comment below saying hello and I'll throw your name in the hat. If  you don't already receive my posts to your inbox you can sign up on the top of this page, on the right hand side (don't forget to verify!) and leave a hello below. I'll announce the winner next week...

Wishing you all a fantabulous day!