If I had to describe how “crunchy” I was to you in food terms, I’d have to say I’m a pan of brownies with nuts in them. A lot of nuts. Crunchy, in case you are confused, is the new way of saying you like to live life as naturally as possible. I try, in many areas, to do this, but I definitely do not bat 1000. We eat very cleanly, but we still enjoy the occasional splurge at McDonald’s. And yes, I eat Oreos sometimes. I cloth diaper, but it is because of how much money we save… it has nothing to do with the environment (sorry). We don’t take very many pharmaceuticals, reaching instead for natural remedies and only turning to the drugstore when we absolutely have to. (Disclaimer: I do think modern medicine is wonderful and important and has saved many many lives, but I also believe that our bodies are capable of more than we give them credit for. Sometimes a trip to the doctor is absolutely the right thing, but sometimes we can handle it at home with a little more patience and use of the natural remedies God gave us.) I’m just enough of what is known as a “crunchy mama” that my brothers call me a hippy. I take that as a compliment, whether they mean it or not.
There are a few natural products out there that I absolutely love and use 100% of the time. I did not even realize how big of a deal some of these things were in my life until I switched over to clean options. I’m sharing with you three of my favorites today. There are more, but these are forefront in my mind right now (for some reason) so here we go!
I am restraining myself from talking about coconut oil or apple cider vinegar, by the way. While I do go through gallons of both regularly, I know the internet is quite chock full of their merits. You’re welcome.
I am a moderate essential oil user; I don’t use them daily or sometimes even weekly, but they are definitely part of our lives. I usually only reach for them if something is wrong (a headache, sore muscles, a fever, etc) and I rarely diffuse them. I admit, I am not even specifically loyal to one brand of oils, which I know is totally sacrilegious in the world of essential oils. However, there is one product that we are fiercely devoted to, and that is the Thieves products from Young Living.
Thieves is amazing. It’s an oil blend that includes cinnamon, cloves, lemon, and a couple other things. Not only does it smell amazing, but it has incredible antiviral properties. I diffuse the oil during the winter when sickness is rampant around us. Put one drop of it in a gallon of water and drink that to boost your immune system; it’s like magic. It also comes in a spray, which may be my favorite thing in the whole world. We spray that on the bottom of our kids’ feet in the evening before they go to bed, and it has done awesome things for protecting them from illness. My husband and I spray it directly on the backs of our throats. It is pretty “spicy”, so the first few times you do it is shocking, but it’s so effective. We both do it at night, and if we start to feel anything coming on we do it every couple hours throughout the day. I used to get bronchitis every February, without fail. You could set your calendar by it. About six years ago I started using Thieves spray and have not gotten it since.
I also use the Thieves household cleaner, which I love. It comes in a small bottle but it’s incredibly concentrated; I mix it 1:30 with water and keep it in an old spray bottle. My house truly feels clean when I use it, without the nostril-hair-curling smell of bleach. Plus, my kids can “help” me clean and I’m not worried about all the poison they’re breathing in or possibly even spraying on themselves.
I loooooove candles. I love how cozy they make a room feel, and lighting one in a freshly cleaned bathroom or kitchen is the best. My mom taught me to light a candle in the bathroom after cleaning it. I don’t know the logic behind it, but it was just part of the process. My husband learned pretty soon after we got married that if a candle was burning in the bathroom, he should compliment me on how nice and clean everything looked. Ha!
Anyway, coming back from that rabbit trail… I am SUPER particular about candles. There are very limited scents that I can stand having in my house. I can’t do anything floral, fruity, or named after a sweet food (like “sugar cookie” or “apple pie”)… they all give me horrible headaches. There used to be one particular scent that I loved that came from a large candle-and-body-wash type store. They only sold it at Christmas, so I would stock up on 5-6 candles once a year then burn them sparingly all year round.
But then I was introduced to these amazing soy candles from White Sands Candles. This business is local to me, so I’m able to buy them in a couple different stores in the area. If you don’t live here (hi, Kelsey and Beracah’s friends!), you can order from her Etsy page. (She also makes bath bombs and wax melts!) I do want to say that I’m all about shopping local, so if you can find someone near you that makes them, go for it… but these, in particular, are awesome. 😉
Since I’ve started burning these, even the scent I used to love gives me a headache. I can literally smell the chemicals floating through the air. And even scents that would make me feel sick in a “normal” candle have been totally fine in these. They have a much more “gentle” smell, not something that smacks you in the face and leaves you searching for an oxygen mask. They also burn more slowly than most of the regular candles I’ve purchased, so you get more bang for your buck. I’m officially converted to my soy candles.
By the way, if you do order from White Sands, the Fresh Brewed Coffee candle is one hundred percent the place to start. I need a million of them.
Simply Essential Soaps
This is another product by a local friend; again, if you have a source for something like this, shop local! If not, Debra ships her products. She makes more than soap, but I’m talking about soap because I really really love her soap (how many times can I say soap in a sentence?). I had a stash of bars (I got several for Christmas ;)) but I’m on my last one and need to restock ASAP. You can find her on Facebook here.
She uses all natural ingredients including essential oils to increase their benefits to your skin. My favorite so far has been the Lavender Spice, but that might be a tie with Honey & Oats. There are quite a few options available, though, and she comes up with new ones pretty regularly! A bonus? It’s pretty to look at!
When I first started using it, my skin felt really dried out and I wasn’t so sure. But after a couple weeks it sort of balanced out and now it’s perfect… not too dry and not too oily. It’s juuuuust right. It’s basically Goldilocks soap. Apparently I needed to “detox” or just allow my skin to reset after using soaps that supposedly moisturized my skin but probably actually were just full of chemicals and weird goo.
There are obviously a million things that go into being healthy, but I am inching my way closer. Over the past few years I’ve been gradually replacing different things we use in our home with chemical free options, and I’m always excited to tackle the next thing. I’m thinking makeup is soon… do any of you have good recommendations for makeup that is good quality, lasts all day, won’t break the bank… and doesn’t have any junk in it? It has to be out there!