You are what you eat.
How many times have you heard that?
If your mom was like mine, the answer is probably “a lot”.
And here’s the thing: It’s actually pretty true.
Food (and the food-like substances that pass for food these days) really does have a huge impact on your health, your mood, your lifespan, and a whole host of other physiological processes.
But how many times have you heard this:
You are what you put on your body.
The average person uses a dozen personal care products every morning. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, face cream, sunscreen, makeup, toothpaste, mouthwash, body lotion, hair gel, shaving cream, and deodorant – and that’s just before breakfast!
Most of these products have hundreds of chemical ingredients that are untested, unregulated, and unsafe. They can do things like irritate your skin, mess up your hormones and damage your DNA.
So what you choose to put on your body affects you…and it affects the rest of life on Earth.
Think local. We like to think of ourselves as these little separate, sealed off beings, but we’re not. Stuff is entering your porous and permeable body constantly. Your lungs take in your perfumes and powders. Your mouth absorbs your toothpaste. Your skin soaks up over half of what you slather on it.
Think global. Your personal products really aren’t personal at all – they’re global. Because once you use them, they swirl down the drain or land in the garbage. They leach into our drinking water and our soil. They get into our flora and our fauna. And eventually they find their way back to – you guessed it – us.
So why not make healthier choices when you can?
Here are four simple things you can do right now:
1. Get to know your toxins … and then avoid them. Some of the more common ones are:
– Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate, in soaps, shampoos and toothpaste
– Petrochemicals like mineral oil and petrolatum
– Parabens like methylparaben and propylparaben
– Triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps, even toothpastes
– Chemical fragrances – stay away unless it specifies 100% natural origin
2. Bookmark the Environmental Working Group because you’ll come back to this site again and again. They have a sunscreen guide, a cosmetics database and many other indispensable consumer guides. Just enter the name of your favorite products and they’ll tell you instantly how safe it is.
3. Make your own. Go online to search for recipes. My all-time favorite site is Crunchy Betty. It has amazing DIY beauty and body recipes. Plus it’s just ridiculously fun to read.
4. Vote with your wallet. If you’re shopping in a conventional market or drugstore, seek out the “greenest” options. They may not be perfect, but will likely be free of famous toxins. If we consumers demand cleaner and greener options from mainstream companies, we can alter manufacturing practices, change trends and move mountains.
What are your favorite green products and recipes?