Just a few years ago, I would have never given a second thought to what I was putting on my skin, eating, or anything that was in our home. Well, that has certainly changed after having cancer twice! I can’t live in a bubble and there are a million things that are always going to be out of my control, but there are also plenty of things that ARE in my control. I’ve found that a few simple tweaks can make a huge difference. Below are 10 super simple healthy swaps for your home!
And, the good news is that all of this can be done over time. Don’t worry, you don’t need to throw away everything you own, live in a bubble or wear a hazmat suit every day.
Besides the obvious things like having a healthy diet, exercise, and using clean beauty products, there are so many other little things you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle without driving yourself nutburgers in the process.
healthy Kitchen Swaps
The past couple of years I’ve been learning how to cook. My brother and I grew up with my dad, so we did a lot of eating out. I never really learned how to cook (unless making cheese toast counts – then I’m Betty Crocker). I seriously was a TERRIBLE cook. Like, burn water terrible. Jay’s always done the cooking for us.
But, one of my New Year’s Resolutions a couple of years ago was to try and learn to cook and I have to say, I LOVE IT! I can’t believe I waited so long to start. Being in the kitchen more, I decided to start there since it’s one of the easiest places to start slowing swapping things out. First up?
You guessed it. Tupperware. One of the things I’ve slowly done is reduce the amount of plastic I use. Not only is it better for me, but so much better for the environment.
Potentially harmful chemicals in plastic (when heated) can leach onto your food. Uh…no thank you.
Safer Swap for a healthier home – Glass food containers
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One of the first overhauls I did in our kitchen was switching over to glass food storage. It’s so much cleaner than plastic because it’s nonporous and won’t absorb food and smells. And, it’s safer because glass doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into your food.
And, bonus! Almost everything we had was a hodgepodge of different lids and containers that didn’t match. Having a lid for everything made my organized heart oh so happy. It’s the little things, yall.
I never really use straws, but I know a lot of people love them. This wasn’t even on my radar until I was talking to a friend last summer about this. Yall know I live in beautiful Charleston, SC so we are surrounded by water and that’s how we got onto the topic.
When plastic straws get thrown away, they break down into microplastics. Often most won’t make it through the mechanical process of recycling because they are so lightweight.
And, worst of all, a lot of them end up in our oceans, lakes, and rivers and can wreak havoc on our sea life (mistaking them for food). I saw a video where a poor sea turtle got one stuck inside of him. So sad 🙁
safer swap for a healthier home – Stainless steel, bamboo and paper straws
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Stainless Steel Straws
What’s so great about stainless steel straws is that they are reusable, sturdy and easy to clean. Most of them come with a cleaning brush.
I found an AWESOME company that makes paper straws. These are different than a lot of the other paper straws out there because these are durable, environmentally friendly, and safe for us to use.
This company took their testing a step further to ensure that the straws were FDA food grade compliant. Pretty cool! Not to mention they have some of the freaking cutest designs and there’s an option for custom designs!
plastic water bottles
We’ve all heard by now that plastic bottles are bad for the environment, and over time those little suckers can add up quickly if you purchase them regularly.
While most of them don’t contain BPA anymore, there is more research needed (according to some) about the chemical makeup in the plastic being used. If left in a hot temperature (IE: your car, hot garage) there is potential for the heated plastic to leach its chemicals in the water you are drinking. Again, NO THANK YOU!
SAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – glass, stainless steel and Brita Pitcher
This is one of the easiest swaps out there. There are so many alternatives to buying plastic bottles. And just think, all that money you save not buying your “purified, holy grail, fountain of youth, spring waterfall water” can be saved to take a trip to that “waterfall”.
BPA-free and BPS-free
I love CamelBak. I’ve been using mine for a long time. They are dishwasher-safe and completely BPA-free and BPS-free. And, bonus! They have a lifetime guarantee.
Ello Glass Bottles are awesome, too. They are BPA, phthalates, PVC, lead and cadmium free.
Hydro Flask are non-toxic BPA-free and 18/8 food-grade stainless steel. I like these because there is a powder coat on the outside that prevents condensation from forming. You can have a firm grip on it while running, etc.
Everyone loves a Swell Bottle. Made with premium grade, BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel, these are also condensation free.
And the tried and true staple. A Brita Pitcher in the fridge. So awesome to always have filtered water any time you want.
Plastic Sandwich And Snack Bags
Okay, so this one if not as high of a priority on the list of swaps. I hadn’t really thought about it until I was doing some research for this post. Again, can’t be bubble girl, but in the spirit of trying to at least use less plastic all the way around, this is something I’d like to eventually do.
I know that not all plastic is the grim reaper but having the least amount of exposure to it is the goal not just for me but the environment. Bonus, this is something (like ditching the water bottles and using a stainless-steel swell bottle) that over time will save money.
SAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – Stasher Bags And Beeswax
I actually love stasher bags! These nontoxic bags are made from pure platinum silicone, and contain no BPA, no PVC, and no latex. They are reusable, and microwave and dishwasher safe. So easy to take on the go and healthier for you and our planet. Other great options are Homelux Theory Bags and Conscious Kitchenware Bags.
Another great alternative is beeswax wrap. Made with organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, these are such an easy swap. Beeswax Foodie Wraps and Bee’s Wrap Beeswax Wraps have such cute designs!
There are so many other swaps you could make in your kitchen but those were some of the main ones I wanted to cover in my first “swap this for that” series. Here are a few other swaps that can be made for a healthier home for you and your family.
around the House
Who doesn’t love a good candle? Whether it’s for ambiance or you just like the way they smell, candles kind of rock. Unfortunately, a lot of conventional candles are made of paraffin wax which is a bi-product of petroleum and when burned, some studies have shown they can emit harmful pollutants and carcinogens into the air in your home.
SAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – Coconut Wax And Organic Soy Wax Candles
Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that are 100% paraffin free candles. I found this blog post addressing some common concerns about candles by Keep Candles and they also happen to be one of the candle alternatives to paraffin wax candles.
Two other options Brooklyn Candle Studio and Element Candles. What’s even cooler? Element Candles are made right here in Charleston!
I scoured all over for a swap for air fresheners, and I basically came up with a big fat nothing besides essential oils. I use essential oils a lot and most of them smell amaze balls. Besides, most air fresheners aren’t “cleaning” anything anyways. They are just masking the nasty smell.
And, that fragrance that is found in so many of the things we use? Well, unfortunately, most of the time we don’t even know WHAT those fragrances are, and many are harmful to human health. Most “fragrances” are just a fancy word for synthetic chemicals and are emitted in the air we breathe. I did a lot of research on the EWG and found an interesting article by Dr. Axe.
There’s good and bad to this swap. The bad is that unfortunately, I came up with a big fat nothing. I’m going to continue to do some research on it and will let you know what I find. Until then, I’ll stick to diffusing my Young Living Essential Oils.
Good news and a solution? Good old-fashioned fresh air and it doesn’t cost a thing. Open the windows and enjoy! I’m doing that right now. Of course I know that soon the sweltering Charleston summer heat and humidity will be here, but I’m enjoying it while I can.
One thing I NEVER thought about was my shower liner. I mean, really? Who thinks about that? I’m lucky if I have enough time to take a shower much less think about chemicals in my shower curtain. But here we are.
And, yes, there are chemicals lurking in these, too. It really is pretty annoying, isn’t it? It’s like everywhere we turn, captain chemical is right there.
Some vinyl shower curtains contain polyvinyl chloride, (or you’ve probably heard of it as PVC or vinyl). You know that new shower curtain smell? The one that smells like plastic? When it gets hot in the shower that smell is called off gassing – yes, I had no clue either – and those chemicals are released into the air in your home.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a shower curtain that “passes gas” (see what I did there) and luckily there are safer options.
SAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – Glass doors, hemp, organic cotton or peva
Glass Shower Doors
Of course, glass shower doors are the best option, but I don’t see a bathroom renovation in the near future so other options are hemp, organic cotton or PVC free (usually called PEVA shower liners).
I ended up getting a PEVA shower liner for both of our showers until we get glass door enclosures. They are PVC free and less expensive than the options above, but they still contains petrochemicals so it’s not the safest option. But, it’s a step in the right direction of greening our home, so that’s a plus!
conventional cleaning products
I know by now everyone has heard that conventional cleaning products can be loaded with harmful chemicals. I could do an entire blog post on cleaning with nontoxic chemicals.
There are so many safer options to use when it comes to how we clean our homes and most cost the same or a tiny bit more than what you are currently using. Toxic household cleaners can wreak havoc on the air quality in your home AND you and your loved ones. The EWG goes in depth about it here.
We use a lot of Young Living Thieves cleaning products and love them, and I’ll do a post on that soon. But here are some other amazing products that I love.
sAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – non toxic cleaning supplies
I use the EWG app ALL THE TIME when figuring out what cleaning products are best. You can scan the products you are currently using (along with personal care products and food) and it will give you a safety rating for each. The goal is to use products that are a 2 – 3 and under. 0 is the best in terms of least toxic and 10 is the most toxic.
Another brand I use a lot? Wholefoods 365 brand. Their prices are right in line with most cleaning products. I know that Wholefoods isn’t in every town, but most of their products are sold on Amazon at very reasonable prices.
Laundry – detergent and fabric softener
Believe it or not, I LOVE doing laundry. I know, that’s sick and twisted, isn’t it? LOL!
I’ve always loved folding laundry and that warm and toasty feeling when clothes are right out of the dryer. Makes me want to find the Snuggle Teddy Bear and take a nap in warm blankets with him.
But, I digress, and unfortunately, that little teddy bear has all kind of funky chemicals.
SAFER SWAP FOR A HEALTHIER HOME – non toxic detergent and wool dryer balls
Speaking of our little snuggly bear…Ahhh! I used to put in like two dryer sheets and call it a day until I did a little research on exactly what was IN dryer sheets, and, it’s not pretty, yall.
So many chemicals and fragrance. Fragrance is usually not a good thing because we don’t know exactly what chemicals are making up that “fragrance”.
I’ve started using wool dryer balls and I’ll put a few drops of peppermint essential oils on them, and it works like a charm (and smells amaze balls, too).
bottom line – 10 swaps for a healthier home
Ignorance is bliss, and sometimes I wish I didn’t know how potentially unhealthy so many of the things we use daily are. But, now that I do know, I can’t unlearn it.
It’s unknown the long-term effects these chemicals, hormone disrupters, and carcinogens that are in so many of our products will have on us. I don’t want to be a guinea pig, though. So, I’ll happily take the safer route and make a few simple swaps if it’s good for our health and the environment.
I’m certainly no scientist or chemist and Jay and I don’t have a lab in our house for me to personally test out every single product we use. But my goal is to make the healthiest decision for us that I can.
I hope this helped a little. Don’t drive yourself crazy and try and overhaul everything at once. Start small and do one swap out at a time. I did all of this slowly over the past few years.
Be sure to do your own research and do what you think is best for your and your family. It’s gets so much easier once you start just start.
Do you have any other simple swaps you do to make your home less toxic? Share in the comments below!
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