December 2007 was a hard month. (Poor Foo! Like any good husband, he gets the brunt when I’m having a hard month. . .)
Things needed to change. My entire household had to change. My entire way of thinking had to change.
So I started in the kitchen.
Everything plastic had to go. Actually for about six months I didn’t like the taste of water in Hamhock’s and Superboy’s Munchkin sippy cups. I thought maybe I wasn’t getting the straws clean enough, and kept thinking I needed to order some new replacement straws.
But I discovered it wasn’t the straws. It was the cups themselves, made of plastics that leach BPA into my children’s water! I was so mad – no one tells you that! You especially shouldn’t heat plastic (microwave or dishwasher or sitting in the hot car), but even at room temperature BPA can leach.
So I bought glass storage containers, Corelle dinnerware (made of fine glass and guaranteed not to break with a 3 year warranty), and Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles. Actually, I first bought SIGG bottles, not realizing they were made of aluminum. I don’t want aluminum leaching into my kids’ water either, and I only cook with stainless steel (no Teflon!)
I threw away all of our cleaning chemicals in the house. I use only baking soda and vinegar – both of which are amazing! They can clean, disinfect, deodorize, AND you can eat them on your salad or in your cookies. Wha? How is that possible? Where did we lose sight of such miracles? Stupid marketing and big corporations making me “think” I can’t have a clean house unless I buy their expensive and toxic cleaning products. You only need a few inexpensive ingredients (from Clean and Green):
- Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner: 1 tsp. Borax (buy at Wal-Mart for $3), 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, 1/2 tsp. liquid soap, 2 cups hot water. Mix in a spray bottle.
- Windex: 3 Tbsp. vinegar, 2 cups water. Mix in a spray bottle.
- Toilet bowl cleaner: 1/4 cup Borax, lemon juice. Add to toilet bowl, scrub and let sit for one hour/overnight.
- Oven cleaner: sprinkle water all over bottom of the oven. Completely cover with baking soda. Let sit overnight. Wipe out with a bit of detergent on a sponge.
Water purification systems can be fairly expensive, and I haven’t committed to researching the best option yet, so I decided to start buying distilled water from a local health place. It is the best water I’ve tasted – because it has absolutely no after-taste. It removes all the chlorine, fluoride (not good for your body – good only on your teeth) and everything else that’s not filtered out. I don’t believe we get a substantial amount of minerals from water anyway, and the risk of bad chemicals in the water outweigh the benefit any minute amount of minerals could provide. I use it for all cooking and drinking. Tap water is for dishes only.
Moving on to the rest of the house, I threw out whatever particle board furniture I could (particle board is pressed with formaldehyde). From here on out, I will buy only wood furniture. I ripped out our carpets (they were old and very dirty, and also treated with formaldehyde) and exposed the beautiful (albeit old) wood floors underneath.
I need to rip out the vinyl on the floor in our bathroom, as well as get a filter for the shower/bath faucet (not sure if this is where lead is soaking in to Hamhock’s skin), and get an organic/cloth shower curtain. (Vinyl outgases chemicals into the air).
Then I started reading about phthalates and possible links to breast cancer and early onset puberty. Yikes! Only organic, non-toxic products from here on out. Of course, the CDC has conducted its own studies into the dangers of phthalate exposure, but I believe the safety margins they set are too high for susceptible children who are predisposed for autism. I did some research on the safe cosmetics website, and I threw away all of our current personal care products and now only buy anything that is rated low for chemical exposure.
I’d like to get an air purifier, especially for Superboy and Foo’s asthma and allergies. I’d also like to by Hamhock an organic mattress without antimony and arsenic treatment for flame resistance. I guess we just have to make sure that there is a low risk for fire in his room.
Lastly, I made the HUGE leap to buying only organic foods.
That’s right, the organic bandwagon.
I just can’t take any chances that pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, genetically modified ingredients, etc. are making their way into Hamhock.
And, I have to say, organic food simply tastes better! That fact alone was enough for me to fully get on board. Fruit tastes like fruit should (Foo is a self-proclaimed food-nazi, so he’s been impressed with the quality). Chicken and beef are more flavorful. Frozen peas and corn don’t taste like cardboard. For us, the extra expense is worth it.
I also discovered that rice grown in south central USA has been reported to have elevated levels of arsenic (which showed up in Hamhock’s heavy metal urine work). The reason is the pesticides they used on the former cotton fields have residues of arsenic. For most of us, a little bit of residual arsenic is not a problem, especially if you eat rice only once or twice a week. For a kid with biomedical sensitivity who eats rice as the main staple of his diet, this is disastrous! Therefore, I am particularly sensitive to ONLY buying organic rice and rice products, grown on healthy soil with absolutely no pesticides.