So, I have just stepped into the final 3 months of my 30’s!! It’s kind of hard to believe, I have been able to jam so much into my life so far, yet I still feel like I am in my early 20’s…. is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so.
Anyway, I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately, on what I have learnt, the life I live, how I take care of my body, my mind, my family and creating a healthy home and all of the questions I have been asked over the years about why I do, or do not use certain items in my home. So I thought i would share just a few things, that you won’t find in my home. Now, was this always the case? Not at all. I have made these changes as I have learnt and grown, attended seminars, read countless books and listened to experts on many of these topics.
So, if something I share gets you a little bit curious, my recommendation is, don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and make your own educated and informed decisions on changes and upgrades that you can make for you and your family.
If you have been to visit me, in any home I have lived in for the last 20 years, you will have noticed that I haven’t had a microwave all this time. I get asked all the time…..but how do you live without one? My answer, pretty easily actually.
Don’t get me wrong, when I was younger, we used a microwave all the time and it was pretty handy. I remember standing in front of our microwave as a kid, watching it go round and round, the glad wrap bubbling on top of whatever was getting zapped in there.
I hear you asking, but Kate, how do you heat up food, a babies bottle, food for your kids, or make popcorn? Well, once you find a new way, it becomes second nature. To heat up our food, we put it into a pot or pan, add a little water if necessary and take the few extra minutes to stir and warm the food. Or sometimes we put it into our Thermomix, Oven or Air Fryer depending what we are heating up.
I managed to get through 3 kids and no microwave and that was easy too. To warm up a bottle, just boil the jug and sit the bottle in some hot water, the same to warm up their baby food if needed. Popcorn, well thats easy too. Get an air popper, or cook it the good old fashioned way over a stove.
So, why don’t I want to use a microwave to zap my food from cold to hot in seconds? Well, I’m not sure if you have read much into this before, or thought about it, but for a microwave to work, it sends radiation waves through our food. With the majority of our food having high water content, these waves end up destroying a lot of the nutrition in the food we are heating up, which isn’t great. A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97% of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11% or fewer of its antioxidants.
Some studies have also suggested that microwaved food can also leech carcinogens from the plastics and containers food is being zapped in. For me, these reasons were enough for me to opt for fresher food, that might take a little longer to cook, but that I know is full of nutrition for myself and my family.
2. Air Freshener, Perfumes & Fabric Softener
Okay, so if you haven’t done your reading up on this topic, I recommend you start now! These fake, artificial, chemical laden products and ingredients are toxic to your body and overall health and wellbeing.
I had always known about fabric softener and air freshener. I remember visited my nana and pops house, jumping every 15 minutes to the sound of the automatic shhhhhhhhh of the disgusting smell of fake pine smell, or whatever it was. And never using fabric softener in my wash, after learning of some of the chemicals in them being linked to harming your health, such as respiratory and reproductive issues, damaging the environment and polluting the air, both inside and outside your home.
I have to thank my first pregnancy for physically waking me up to just how unnatural all of these are too our body. I remember vividly, one day almost vomiting at the smell of the perfume I had been wearing for months. My car smelt like it, my house, my clothes and I couldn’t stand it at all. I threw everything I owned in the bin, and switched to essential oils and the game changed.
There are over 3000 fragrance ingredients in everyday house hold products, yet there aren’t safety standards that come with them. And, did you know that according to Building Biologist Nicole Bijlsma, almost 90% of ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products have not been safety tested for human health effects. This is crazy to me!!
So, what do we do? We diffuse essential oils in our home. We use essential oils as a perfume on our skin, either diluted with coconut oil, or straight, depending on the oil. In our wash, we add a eucalyptus solution to have it smelling fresh.
Easy to do, and also easy to buy the toxic products that can effect your health and your home in more ways than one.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
I’m still surprised how many people are not yet aware of the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners on their health. They are hidden in all sorts of places. Many automatically think, energy drinks and diet drinks, and while yes that is true. They are also in many ‘sugar free’ products that you wouldn’t suspect. Products like chewing gum, hot chocolate powder, yoghurt, cough drops, sugar free lollies, frozen desserts, jelly and canned items.
Some common words that you will see are Aspartame, Sucralose, Neotame, Saccharin, Acesulphame potassium, Equal, Nutrasweet and Splenda. And some of the common numbers you need to look out for is 950, 951, 952, 955 and 961. Often they skip the word, and just list the number, so if you aren’t looking out for it, it’s easy to miss.
Why are these all a no go? These products, are so highly refined, that although they have zero calories, they cross the blood brain barrier and are linked to all sorts of health conditions such as migraines, gut health, nausea and skin conditions. More studies need to be conducted, but scientists believe that there is also a relationship between sweeteners and certain cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, and systemic lupus.
So what do you do instead? Well, first of all, in creating a healthy home, it’s important to recognise that zero calories shouldn’t be the goal. What should be the goal, is to eat more foods closer to the sun and moderation. For example, dates, honey, maple syrup and fruit are all great sources of natural sweeteners. Does that mean every meal is full of them? Not at all.
If you are a fan of a fizzy drink from time to time, try kombucha, or some soda water and fruit tea or fresh fruit juice. If you want to sweeten your cooking, use some bananas or dates, instead of processed sugars. And if you are a sugar addict, rather than going for the artificial option, maybe its time you considered to do a detox and change some of your eating habits? Your body is going to thank you for it big time!!
A great resource to learn more about making healthy upgrades is our documentary Overfed & Undernourished. Perfect to sit down and watch with the entire family, so you can make changes together.
Growing up, I remember being given small pink tablets to take. I have learned since, that these were fluoride tablets because we were on tank water, living on a farm, and weren’t connected to the town water supply in which fluoride was put into.
What we have been told to believe, is that fluoride is important for healthy teeth and preventing cavities. It’s in our toothpastes, the treatments dentists give when we have a check up and also in our drinking water.
Fluoride is acknowledged as one of the most toxic substances known to man, yet based on its inclusion in virtually every brand of toothpaste, the Australian Dental Association says it’s okay to use fluoride for preventative dental care. Other products, such as bottled water, infant formulas, and even vitamin supplements, now contain fluoride! Fluoride can diminish bone strength and increase the risk of fractures. It can also interfere with the function of the thyroid gland, resulting in iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of brain damage and mental disability in the world.
There are so many other reasons why it doesn’t make sense to put this in your body, or that of your children every day. Which is why fluoride isn’t part of creating a healthy home.
What is most concerning, is that there is no controlled does, based on age, size or weight. There has never been a single randomized controlled trial to demonstrate fluoridation’s effectiveness or safety. And there are many countries all around the world who have banned fluoride from being in their water system due to the health concerns associated with it. Nations such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have discontinued water fluoridation. And only 11 countries in the world have more than 50% of their population drinking fluoridated water: Australia (80%), Brunei (95%); Chile (70%), Guyana (62%), Hong Kong (100%), the Irish Republic (73%), Israel (70%), Malaysia (75%), New Zealand (62%), Singapore (100%), and the United States (64%). In fact there are more people in the USA drinking fluoridated water, than the rest of the world combined, with no difference in dental health, between countries that do and countries that don’t.
So, what can you do? First of all, invest in a water filter that removes fluoride from your drinking water. Secondly, purchase a fluoride free toothpaste. There are plenty of great ones out there, just visit your local health food store and ask their recommendations, I personally love Jason PowerSmile and our kids use it too. Check the labels on your canned and bottled food.
ASK if your town has fluoride!
These are just a few of the things that my family and I have strong rules around for our health and vitality to create a healthy home. My suggestion, don’t take my word for it, read up, research and see what makes sense to you. Then begin to make the changes and put your knowledge into action. Your body will thank you for it!