Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary
I see a lot of people have been getting serious about their health. They eat organic food, shop at the farmer`s market, plant back yard gardens for beauty and produce, and use more nontoxic cleaners and paints in their homes. However, they don`t really have the whole picture. If you have been looking for a way to go 2.0 with your latest (and permanent!) health kick, I`ve got some ideas here. Since it is March, we`ll say you are still keeping up with your resolution to be healthier this year. Don`t worry, I won`t tell!
Did you know that you swallow an average of half the amount of toothpaste you use? That adds up to pretty fast, to the point that you
probably end up swallowing many pounds of the stuff per year! Instead of swallowing flouride, blue number three, yellow number fifty-six, and other chemicals, why not try a natural toothpaste? You can use the classic Tom`s brand, or my personal favorite fennel, propolis, and myrrh flavor at Trader Joe`s.
You probably swallow more lipstick every month than toothpaste in a year! If you are still using traditional lipsticks, glosses, and shimmers, you should know that they are made with fish oil, so that is bad news if you thought you were vegan. I read a really scary post at living green. There is always a bunch of chemicals and dyes in mainstream make up, and the list for lipstick is particularly gross. Everyone knows about Burt`s Bees organic skin care, but I have to say I have a soft spot for Badger Balm brand. (not to be confused with badger athletic apparel company, which is completely separate.) Who can help but root for the under dog? Their products are also 100% organic, while much of Burt`s Bees is only partially so. They also have a great family program where their employees can take their babies or other children into work or telecommute.
Sure, that one brand you use is non toxic paint, or zero VOC. But wouldn`t you feel better knowing that the paint you use is organic? I know, it is hard to think of such a creature. But it does exist! It is called milk paint. It is literally made with milk, and is the stuff decorating all the old Western Manor houses and colonial estates you may have toured. This stuff has been around forever, and there is a reason for it! It stays forever until you bother to remove it, but only milk paint specific paint thinner works. The chemicals actually don`t do the job! It also has a slightly sheer finish, though it is thicker than a stain, so you can get a tiny hint of any wood grain underneath. Those who use it a lot tend to refer to the finish as ‘velvety’. It works on wood furniture, wood decks, plaster or drywall walls, exteriors, interiors, and a bunch of other surfaces. It starts at roughly $14 a gallon.
You may already have a gas fireplace, in disgust at all the smoke and waste inherent in traditional fireplaces. But is that the right choice? They actual aren`t too efficient, and they don`t end up providing all that much heat. I love the real flames and the lack of mess of pellet stoves, and I like that using pellets means I`m reusing a waste material. This Old House has a nice article that explains some pellet stove basics, though their website also has some good information. Pellet stoves are available as fireplace inserts or stand alone wood stoves.
Did you know your brand new wood floors or carpets could actually be one of the biggest polluters in your home? Though it would be terribly ecologically unfriendly to just rip it all out, you may just want to keep it in mind for future installations. Look for bamboo, cork, or the sustainable harvest seal on wood for environmental sustainability, and click style floors that don`t require adhesive. Vinyl and other smooth flooring materials tend to have the biggest problem with fumes, so try to find a LEED (basically green building stuff association thingie) certified option.