The sea of natural products out there, all promising to be the best, can be overwhelming. It’s impossible to implement all of them, so where do you begin? Finding the best natural products for the planet and your family is more than just picking up all items labeled organic. To get you started, here are five of the all-time best products for a natural cabinet.
Organic food has exploded in popularity over the last few years, unlike my household budget. Thank goodness for the Environmental Working Group (EWG)‘s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” produce items. These handy lists indicate which food items at the grocery store are most likely to have more or fewer traces of pesticides. And when I can only choose one, I always make it apples.
- Apples consistently top the EWG‘s “Dirty Dozen Plus” list, indicating more pesticide residue than any other produce item.
- Children are “especially vulnerable” to environmental toxins, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which means pesticides affect kids differently than adults.
- If your family is anything like mine, you go through more apples than any other snack. Organic allows you to keep it that way without becoming harmful.
Not every organic item is pesticide-free. Therefore, don’t be afraid to lean mostly on Clean Fifteen produce—cabbage, pineapple, and sweet potatoes in addition to apples—to tide you over until your next supermarket trip.
Natural Body Wash
Lotions I consider natural don’t contain synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens—like One Green Planet recommends—or phenoxyethanol. This is a top priority because the skin is your largest organ and, as a result, a gateway to many substances that affect your family. Natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe are always superior when you’re trying to steer toward a less processed lifestyle.
The best product to swap out is natural baby lotion, due to its versatility. When your own body lotion is gone, for instance, you can always use your baby’s product until you make it to the store to restock. This can’t be said of many other body care items. Plus, natural soaps and lotions from Tom’s of Maine are formulated with respect for the environment so you can rest easy about what’s rinsed off and carried down the drain.
Swapping out synthetic fragrances for essential oil makes a big impact on a nourishing environment, particularly if you’re trying to relax. To get started, use diluted lavender essential oil in place of store-bought aromatherapy when drawing you or your child a bath.
Essential oils are enzyme-bound substances extracted from a plant by either water or steam distillation, as the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy describes. And because inhalants don’t encounter bodily defenses like digestive juices or selective absorption, they’re conducted effortlessly into the blood stream. As the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing mentions, when you inhale essential oils, they help several systems in a way that synthetic or topical applications often can’t—making them a logical swap when you’re in the tub trying to unwind.
Fair Trade Bedding
Fair Trade certifications indicate the producers who made those items didn’t work with toxic chemicals, and this translates to the best natural home products for everyone. When you buy Fair Trade mattresses and bedding, you foster human goodness while going natural at the same time. Fair Trade baby and twin-bedding is the perfect starting point because it limits kids’ exposure to pesticides from dusk to dawn.
To earn Fair Trade accreditation, a manufacturer must adhere to strict environmental guidelines that benefit the worker, the planet, and ultimately you. It gives you the best of both worlds: you’re lightening your family’s environmental footprint while supporting the workers who made it happen.
Shopping at the farmers’ market near you is more than just a fun weekend activity—it’s an exciting way to get your hands on the best natural products. Knowing your local farmer can produce accountability for natural eating on both sides of the table. They have your family in mind as they work and you support their efforts by spending cash at their booths each weekend.
Farm fresh eggs are among the few things that make the biggest impact when making sustainable switches. When you shake the hand of the farmer who raised your chickens, you can ask whatever you’d like about his or her practices. What does hormone-free really mean? How are the animals protected from natural predators?
Don’t be overwhelmed by the many voices out there. Instead, focus on what you can do today. You can start living the clean life, changing one habit at a time, and before you know it you may notice the results of your changes!
What would you add to this list? Join the conversation on Twitter!
Images source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.