I continue to come down from my moment of ‘fame’. The adrenalin rush definitively subsides and we slowly get back to normal and into our daily routine, with each child back in their own beds and my mum headed back to England.
T is still talking about his cool field trip with his pre-school to the fire station. We spend an hour at the fire station one morning and are amazed about the detailed explanation that is given to this group of four year olds. As tales are told, we realize that these firefighters really are quite incredible people. As they adapt to their specific environments, the firefighters here in NorCal not only put out fires, but they scuba dive, rock climb, travel state wide to put out big wildfires, are paramedics, and are the first to be at the scene of any accident on the Golden Gate Bridge. And the State keeps trying to cut their budgets?
I toy with the idea of putting off finishing my big painting task (both boys bedrooms) for another week or two and to give myself a couple of pre-school days to recuperate, but I quickly decide that’s a bad idea and that I really should get it over and done with and finish what I started sooner rather than later. As I head up the ladder once more. I congratulate myself on my choice of buying non-toxic, eco-friendly, paint. It’s one step to ticking off the long list that has suddenly presented itself in my life since buying the book “Super Natural Home” a couple of weeks ago.
Here was I muddling along in my little eco-friendly corner of the world, thinking I was making good, green choices on a daily basis. Relying on the stores in which I shop to be true to their name and be doing most of the green thinking for me – I go through fads of frenetically reading labels and then get into my comfort zone of known products and forget again – and then, wham, I skim through a few pages of a book and feel as if my home is a disaster zone.
I hear about the book while driving along in my car listening to KQED. It seems like this book is a must-have and I go onto Amazon and order it the minute I get home. It arrives a few days later and promptly informs me that as a general rule of thumb, we are exposed to more toxins inside of our homes than outside of them.
I buy mostly green, environmentally friendly household products anyway. Especially since I’ve decided that I’ve gotten to the bottom of the dogs allergies and his resulting chronic ear infections, realizing that it probably wasn’t food related at all, but was down to the floor cleaner that I’d been using. I went out and bought Method floor cleaner. Lovely and natural and environmentally friendly – according to the label – and if it’s sold in Wholefoods it must be good, right? Wrong. Method is one of the green products that the book lists as not really being that great at all. Ouch!
I quickly skim to the ‘bathroom’ section of the book and get reminded about parabens. At this point I become holier than thou, as of course I trashed every single product that contained a paraben at the time of being diagnosed with breast cancer, hadn’t I? Pre-diagnosis, I hadn’t really worried too much about parabens. Why should I? Post diagnosis, even though the proof that parabens contribute to breast cancer is still a little woolly, I really didn’t hesitate for a millisecond before I was trashing all sorts of things and going out to buy mineral make-up. What surprised me is that I’d let my guard down. I’d bought the odd hair product at the hairdressers when they were recommended to me, I’d bought that body lotion at Trader Joes without thinking of looking at the label, because Trader Joes is ‘good’, I’d used Cetaphil for washing all through chemo and radiation, as it was scent free and easier on my skin, as well as being recommended by T’s dermatologist for the little guy when he went through a bout of exzema. I can’t quite believe how laced with parabens Cetaphil is. And so the list goes on. I have another round of throwing things in the trash. Quite a lot of things. Even that nice Aveda eyeshadow (isn’t Aveda meant to be all natural too?).
The book also lists “Natural” companies that sell products with at lease one ingredient deemed harmful by the EPA. Great – this sums up just about all of my ‘good’ stuff bought over time at the trusty Wholefoods. This is the list:
Alba, Giovanni, Jason, Kiss My Face, Lifetree, Method, Nature’s Gate, Sea-Chi Organics, Whole Foods 365.
Luckily there are a lot of companies out there that Beth Greer (Super Natural Mom and author of the book) endorses. Some of my favorites are:
Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Dr Hauschka and Yes to Carrots.
I become super grateful for the fact that my lovely friend Katie in Australia has showered me with natural mineral make-up made by here friend Ere Perez and I take my hat off to my amazing friend Jenn in the UK who has launched her range of Boo Boo mom and baby products, all natural and paraben free.
While clearing out more clutter and cleansing our home, I also remember the value of simple, natural, uncomplicated food. The kids almost squeal with delight when I offer them bacon and eggs for dinner at the weekend. Things couldn’t really be easier. We eat crispy, organic, nitrate free Applegate Farms bacon, with organic eggs and follow it with a big bowl of delicious organic fruit salad. Perfect!