For most people the first steps to a more organic, greener lifestyle is often when we start to think about children. We start to look at our diets and lifestyles from a different persepective. What is healthy to eat, drink and do. This is when most poeple take the step to buy organic food but as we are hearing more and more about chemical threats from our cosmetics, make-up, furniture and toys and bottles for our children, organic food is really just the tip of the iceberg.
Our first port of call in the family raising stakes is pregnancy and keeping mother and baby healthy.
So what should we be doing & avoiding?
Food, Glorious Food
Yes, organic is your number one choice for a healthy pregnancy, no contest to the matter. The amount of chemicals used in producing conventional foodstuffs is frightening and so-called acceptable levels are being questioned regularly, and its not just your fruit and veggies –– dairy and meat products are laden with hormones and antibiotics that the animals are regualrly dosed up with.
Here’s a great recipe for those craving pickles.
Cosmetics & Toiletires
Take a look at the ingredients on your shampoo, body lotion and face cream, see if you understand what all the chemicals are, even if it’s written “natural” on the product there are only needs to be a minimum of 1% natural ingredients, so just what are all those chemicals you are introducing into your system? Because your body is absorbing them!
One family of chemicals to stay away from is the Paraben family, widely used as a preservative in just about all your creams and lotions plus your make-up. Parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben & butylparaben) are considered by the World Health Organization as an Unclassifiable Carcinogen and are suspected of mimicking or blocking hormones. A british studied linked them to breast cancer, other studies link them to hormone disorders such as underdeveloped testes in baby boys.
Not really something you want, thankfully there is now plenty of choice around of natural cosmetics, make-up and toiletries that exclude such nasties, but always check, don’t be too trusting.
Other chemicals to steer clear of are perfumes which can hide a multiude of chemicals that legally do not need to be declared.
Mineral-based make-ups are a good natural choice if you are not pregnant but are often not the best route when you are. Minerals come from metals and these are often not recommended for your growing baby.
The beauty of the internet these days is that you can pretty much find an alternative for everything, the market is developing in Israel but choices are still somewat limited here.
The Beauty Parlour
Who hasn’t gone to get their nails done or their hair cut and not noticed those chemical smells wafting up from all those pretty coloured solutions. So you guessed it, the recommendation is to steer clear of these places, find a hairdresser or beauty salon that uses safe natural products that pamper you both. Just to list a few nasties, there is formaldehyde in your nail varnish being readily absorbed into your system, again a suspected carcinogen. DBP also in nail varnishes is banned in children’s toys as it is water soluble but what about us! This nasty can cause birth defects in boys, but the good news is there are brands out there free of these chemicals just take a minute or so to check.
At the hairdressers try to stay clear of hair colours and treatments, while its on your head you are absorbing it through your scalp, not a pretty thought, chemicals in hair colours can include lead acetate, APE a hormone disruptor, and coal tar which is a known carcinogen. Try henna or other natural colours if you really need to colour your hair but it’s best just to wait until after baby is born.
If you are beginning to think what on earth are you going to enjoy while you are pregnant, you need to forget all those fancy perfumes too, full of synthetic chemicals that are so so easy to inhale and absorb. They have been connected to anything from mild headaches to birth defects. A staggering 95% of fragrances are made from pertroleum derivatives and contain phthlates which have been linked to everything from allergies to cancer.
Don’t be discouraged by this list –– there are plenty of healthy natural alternatives available and this is the best time to start using them.