How to start living healthy.

Once I was feeling more like myself post cancer treatment, I went on a mission to remove absolutely everything in our life that could have a potential to cause cancer. I mean…I went a little nutso to figure out how to start living healthy.. I certainly believe that there is a predisposition to cancer via genetics. I also believe that certain things that are in our environment, things we ingest, things we eat, etc…can cause cancer or exacerbate cancer growth in your body.

When I say, I was on a mission in the beginning I am serious. I tried going plant-based for my diet, removed every cleaning item that was not approved on my Think Dirty app (check this out if you have never seen it!), lotions, shampoos, soaps, candles, on and on and on. I was borderline obsessed. I researched the connection between gut health and cancer. I bought the starter package of essential oils. Anything that I read about that was bad for me or my family was out and everything that could potentially arm our bodies from those jerk cancer cells, was in. You get the picture.

What I realized after a while is that you have to pick and choose. You still have to live! You can still live a very healthy and fun life without giving every single thing up. For me, I looked at the things that I knew would make the biggest difference. For example, we try to buy organic food as much as we can and stay away from processed foods. On the same hand, my kids are kids and they love macaroni and cheese. While I LOVE the oozy processed boxed mac n cheese that I grew up eating, my kids eat a healthier version. I learned to really read the ingredient lists of food and in this case, I chose an option that is certified organic and contains no artificial flavors or synthetic colors. And you know what….THEY LOVE IT! They don’t know any different and they are happy eating their noodles.

Here are some tips that helped us make some big changes in our lifestyle.

Cleaning supplies. We are really very lucky that we have so many options these days for cleaning supplies. On the same hand, so many of these on the shelves are loaded with unsafe ingredients, some that are known endocrine disruptors and generally not a great choice. What is even harder is that these products are not required by U.S. law to disclose their ingredients on the bottle. CRAZY right??? These products are not supposed to be ingested, so there is no regulation by the FDA. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require them to list ingredients that are active disinfectants or potentially harmful….but…..there are so many loopholes. The very best thing to do is to make your own! If that is not up your alley, find a clean product app like the Think Dirty app (above). You literally can look-up an item and it will give you a list of pros/cons to that product. as well as healthy alternatives. The key is research and taking the time to look at ingredients and know what is in your products.

Everyday bath and body items. I would imagine you take a shower every day (I HOPE) and may use lotions, body oils, shampoo, conditioner every day, as well. This is an area I spent a LOT of time researching. I was very much addicted to a certain bath store at the mall and had a couple signature scents over the years. I also was lucky enough to have good hair and really just bought whatever smelled good and was on sale. Now that I had lost all of my hair, I wanted to take good care of it, but also use safe products. When looking at all of these products, I knew it was going to be some trial and error. I am also a very picky scent person. I don’t want to smell like a spa, like a lemon or like any type of mint. I eliminated anything with parabens, formaldehyde, hexachlorophene, and phthalates. You would be shocked how many of my faves contained one or more of these guys. Once again, you need to read the ingredient list. “Natural” and “Clean” does not necessarily mean safe. Let’s just think about shampoo for a second…you literally apply it to your head, massage and scrub it in. We don’t know for sure what exactly gets absorbed, but this seems like an easy choice for me. There are some outstanding options available and don’t forget to look local! I have found some amazing products at Farmer’s Markets or local shops that are better than anything I have bought in a store.

Dyes in food. Ugh…this girl LOVES some cheetos and I never met a dorito I didn’t like. But, sadly those chips along with HUNDREDS of others contain artificial dyes and MSG. The FDA says that these are safe when “used in accordance with regulations.” What I have learned is that I am the only one that can decide what is and what is not safe for my family and I. Not the FDA. In Europe, Red 40 dye must contain a label warning consumers that the “dye may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” SAY WHAT? No thank you. Additionally, there are many countries that have banned food with Red 40 in their country. Up to you…but Red 40 is not allowed in our house. And these dyes are in EVERYTHING our kids want…sports drinks, candy, ice cream, sherbert, cookies, chips, etc… Our kids know to look at the package and they look for colors listed in the ingredients. They know if there is a dye…it is a no for us.

I am not going to say that my family NEVER has treats or wash their hair with a shampoo that has parabens . When we are figuring out how to start living healthy, it is a journey. You do what you can. You limit it in your house. You make other healthy choices, so that they can start to make healthy choices for themselves. You have to still live your life, but taking the time to make some changes will benefit in the long run. It can be very overwhelming, so do one at a time. Change our your dish soap this month and then move on to body wash next month. There are tons of helpful websites and apps that are at our fingertips to help us make good choices. Grove is a great website that I have used and can get you started on a healthier lifestyle. You can do it!

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