Just Google It

I “Google it” 100 times a day. I literally Google everything. The problem with that though, is you can always find what you’re looking for. Stick with me here:

If you want to read that organic food is healthier, you can. If you want to read that there’s no difference between organic and conventional, you can read that too. If you want to read chemicals in sunscreens cause cancer, there’s a whole lot of articles on that. If you want to hear sunscreen prevents cancer, there’s that too. If you want confirmation of anything you think is right, just Google it.

So what’s the truth? I’m not sure! I’m not a scientist conducting studies on rats, I’m just trying to keep my family healthy. There is so much marketing garbage out there and “studies” that it’s overwhelming.

I’m sure I’ve gotten some things wrong, I’m only human. But in trying to dig up “facts” you have to follow the money:

-I try to find out who is making money off a product. This can be tricky because big companies own small ones, such as Kellogg owns Kashi. I tend to trust small companies over multibillion dollar corporations.

-I read studies if they are available. Then I try to uncover who funded the studies, and who benefits from the findings of the studies. For example, if the FDA says GMO corn is safe because there have been safety studies done, and then you realize Monsanto has funded and conducted these studies on their own product, well that’s just bad science. This happens all. the. time.

-Just because the FDA approves it, doesn’t make it safe. (In fact, if its FDA approved, I just assume it’s not safe). How many times a day do you hear commercials saying, “If you suffered death, stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney failure cancer, blurred vision, etc after taking (insert drug of choice) call the law offices of…” Yeaaaahh. Safety studies. I don’t think so.

-Read about a company’s history. What charities, if any, do they support? Who is the CEO? Here is a little article on Walmart’s. That is a lot of work though, I know.

When money is involved, all bets are off. Not the person selling hats on Etsy, they’re okay. We are talking the higher ups and CEO’s of national organizations and companies. Money is powerful: it can sway my beloved Google search and shout at me from the TV. But until these “studies” are funded fairly from a third party who will not benefit from them, I play it safe. I go with local, sustainable, and small business whenever possible.

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“Everything Causes Cancer”

I am willing to bet you a lot of money that you have heard someone say, “Oh, everything causes cancer,” as he/she takes a bite into a hotdog, sprays bleach on the counter, or opens a can of paint. Perhaps you have said these words yourself. (I’m sure I have).

Not everything causes cancer. Organic kale does not cause cancer. But lots of things do. And that phrase is just an excuse to keep living in an unhealthy way, whether it’s because of perceived financial constraints or sheer laziness.

When you get into a car, you put on your seatbelt. A seatbelt cannot guarantee that you won’t get into an accident, but it very well may save your life. It may save you from a serious injury. I like to think of doing things naturally as my seatbelt.

My husband likes to tease me by saying, “Water is a chemical.” Okay, I know! Everything is a chemical and I don’t think we need to go back to 7th grade chemistry here. The “bad” chemicals are found in pesticides, weed killer, conventional cleaning products, food additives, traditional latex paint, deodorant, lotions, toothpaste, (basically all conventional beauty products), scented laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soaps, candles, car fumes… The list could go on and on. You can’t protect yourself from all of these things, but you have control over plenty.

You can choose what you eat. Eating healthy and organic doesn’t have to be any more expensive than your regular grocery bill if you are diligent. My grocery budget is pretty high for the two of us and a baby. But I truly believe in those sayings, “pay the farmer now or the doctor later,” and “let your food be your medicine.”

A short but important word on plastic: avoid it. BPA is being replaced with BPS which has not yet been studied for safety. Choose stainless steel and glass whenever possible. And NEVER put plastic in the microwave: heating plastic leaches chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer. If you leave a plastic water bottle in a hot car, don’t drink it.

You can increase your indoor air quality. The air in your house is toxic if you are lighting candles, spraying Febreeze, and scrubbing your bathtub with bleach. The chemicals in these products circulate through the air, and settle on your furniture, beds, and carpets. Opt to clean your home with vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and natural brand cleaners such as Seventh Generation. Buy a quality brand HEPA air purifier. Make everyone who enters your home take their shoes off. Your husband who just walked up the driveway could very well be tracking in car oil and pesticides all over your floor (and whatever else he has stepped in). If you have a crawling baby, this one is extremely important.

Choose beauty products carefully. There are natural or organic alternatives to most products. Scientists are in a dispute over how much the skin actually absorbs, so until they hash it out I am going with better safe than sorry. Check out the EWG for safety ratings on your favorite products. I really cannot stress enough how important this is for little ones. Their small bodies accumulate more than adults’ do.

You can buy Eco-friendly alternatives. It’s ok if your yard has a few weeds. Try googling natural weed killers to save yourself and the health of the planet. Buy low VOC paint and eco-friendly deck stain. If you must have scented laundry, try adding a couple drops of essential oils to the detergent.

There are things I would prefer to ignore, too. I really despise reading about how terrible cow’s milk is for you because I love my cereal and milk. I need cream in my coffee. Maybe one day I won’t buy it at all, but for now I try to buy it from a local, organic, grass-fed, low-temp pasteurized, glass bottled farm called Trickling Springs Creamery. It’s one foot out the door. If I was doing everything I could to prevent my exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, I would need to be a vegan hermit in the woods. But I promise, if you make healthier choices you will reap the benefits, and hopefully neither of us will lose our precious life to cancer.

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