“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Confucius
It has been on my mind for some time already but I finally started the journey. I have decided to start greening my home.
We don’t realize it but toxins are everywhere and we are breathing it in, ingesting it, applying it on our skin and polluting our air, water and soil as well. Everything from makeup to household cleaners to garden pesticides and laundry detergent contain toxic ingredients that pollute and damage not only our surroundings but our own bodies and body systems.
For many years now, I’ve always put a little bit of Lysol disinfectant in our mop buckets to disinfect our floors. And I used to buy Lysol aerosol cans to spray around the rooms when someone was sick, in order to kill the viruses. Many of my household cleaners (I won’t name all of them anymore but you know these brands as they’re readily available in supermarkets) like my toilet bowl cleaner, mildew sprays and drain decloggers, are tough on the nose and lungs and some of them have that really acrid smell. Now that I think about it, those fumes could not just be harmless if my body is reacting to their smell. Could I have been killing the germs but killing bits of myself and my family as well? I now wonder…
I remember that my maternal grandmother wiped all her furniture and countertops with Lysol daily. She died of lung cancer. I’m not saying Lysol caused her cancer but surely my Lola must have ingested so many toxins during her lifetime to contribute to her condition.
One of my brothers-in-law in the province has made it his advocacy to do things the natural and organic way. Several years ago, on one summer visit to my in-laws’ place, I noted how he had created a composting pit on the side of the house and in one corner of the garden stood a greenhouse filled with vegetables and herbs of all kinds. Frequent conversations I’ve had with him over the years involved his stories about difficulties maintaining the greenhouse pest-free without the use of chemical pesticides. Most of the vegetables and fruits my in-laws eat at home are freshly picked from the greenhouse. On a recent visit, he told me how he is now helping farmers in the province plant organic rice and how it involved a great mindset shift but the results are clearly paying off in terms of cost savings and harvest yield.
With more and more homegrown industries now starting to offer organic and all-natural products, I can’t make any excuses anymore as there are so many alternatives to commercial cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar, for example, have been widely known to be effective disinfectants, cleaners and odor removers but I don’t know that many who actually use them in these ways. It seems so much easier to reach for those cleaners in grocery shelves, right?
Several months back, on a talk show I was half-watching while doing something else, I saw an interview of someone from Messy Bessy, a line of non-toxic, all-natural, biodegradable products that are all made in the Philippines! At that time, my brain simply filed away the information. But on a trip to EchoStore Podium a few weeks back, I saw many brands now offering all-natural products including Messy Bessy products and EchoStore’s Home Basics line. I got myself a small Messy Bessy Eucalyptus All-Purpose Cleaner with peppermint scent to take one home. So far I’ve used it on my bathroom tiles and countertop. Loved the peppermint scent so much that on my next trip a few days ago to the bigger EchoStore Serendra, I came home with all these:
I’ve done away with Lysol, for one. My unopened container here will be donated to Philippine General Hospital (PGH) where I think it is still being used to disinfect patient rooms and hallways. I’m also trying out now some gugo-based shampoo/conditioner products as well as an all-natural feminine wash. I’m on the lookout too for an all-natural and effective deodorant.
I am far, far from my ideal green home yet. I’ve just started on household cleaners. But there are so many more toxic products that I must find acceptable substitutes for: makeup, laundry detergent, beauty products (I even need to replace my Safeguard soap eventually!). But got to do all these slowly and get the kids to buy into my changes or else I’ll face a mutiny at home.
I believe that saving Mother Earth (and more so, saving our own bodies from toxins) is something that should be at the forefront of our awareness these days because of so many toxins around us, including pollution. It’s truly a challenge to move to organic and all-natural products. And it can get expensive. But in exchange, it could translate to less hospitalization/medical costs.
It may be a little too late for me, at my age, to reverse all the toxicity I’ve ingested over the decades (hopefully yoga can help me detox more of it) but if I start now at home, I will be doing my kids and the rest of my family a big favor by sparing them from as much body toxins as possible.
If you’re already into organic and natural products, I’d love it if you could leave me your suggestions here or tell me what you’re doing in your own home.