6 Simple Changes You Can Make Right Now to Improve Your Family's Health

Amy Boshnack | Jun 14, 2013 Healthy Living

A friend of mine is a real natural mama -- and as much as her energy inspires me, it also exhausts me. It exhausts me because some of this natural parenting stuff is a lot of work. For instance, when my daughter first started solids I was dead-set on blending everything up for every meal. That lasted for about a dozen ice-cube trays worth of broccoli and squash. Don't get me wrong -- I would still mash a fresh banana instead of giving her the jarred version ... but pushing those veggies through a strainer, after steaming and blending -- it just did me in. Who has time for that?

But baby food aside ... all products (food and otherwise) have so many chemicals in them. It would be a full-time job to learn what it all means. And so that's just not gonna happen. Plus, I worry that once I find out what's actually in the stuff I'm using that I will realize there is something harmful in everything I use. Then what?

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So I asked my friend how she keeps track of it all. She told me straight out that I am never going to be able to avoid everything -- it's just not possible -- and it would drive me crazy to try. She referred me to the Environmental Working Group website for when I want to find out if specific products are okay for my family. And then she gave me great advice ... to start small -- and pick and choose what parts of my life I am going to change. Baby steps are key to not getting overwhelmed by it all. Some switches may simply cost too much ... while others might just seem unreasonable given my family's lifestyle. And so with her encouragement I have managed to make my world a little healthier because of the products I've chosen to use. And I haven't really felt much of a difference in my wallet -- or in my every day living. So it's a win-win all around.

Here are six of the super simple changes I've made over the last couple of years ... and there are more to come!


What products do you use to make sure your family stays healthy?

  • Hormone-Free Milk


    Hormone-free milk was a great place to start because it is sold every where and it tastes the same as "regular" milk. Plus, it doesn't cost more money than milk from cows that are given hormones. And while LOTS of things I serve my kids have hormones in them (who can afford all organic meats?) this was an easy change to incorporate into my life. And my kids drink a heck-of a lot of milk!

  • Sulfate-Free Shampoo


    I am not very particular about my brand of shampoo and conditioner so switching to hair products that are sulfate-free was a breeze. This change just fell into the bucket of "why not?" -- for me and for my kids. There's really no arguing that fewer chemicals are better, and the options today are even greater than just one year ago. You can find sulfate-free shampoos at Target and Walmart and most drug stores around the country.

  • Oxybenzone-Free Sunscreen


    Oxybenzone is terrible for you. You just can't really argue that point. Everything we read tells us to avoid it if we can, yet it is in most suntan lotions on the market. Two summers ago it was hard to find oxybenzone-free lotions but now there are a ton to choose from. I stock up at the beginning of the summer and make sure there is a bottle in the bathroom, by the front door, and in my bag at all times.

  • Organic Fertilizer


    We recently got a puppy and knew our backyard would become his playground (oh right, and for our kids too!) -- so we wanted to make sure it was chemical free. Yes, we want a green lawn but we also have a puppy that likes to eat every stick and leaf out there. Going organic with our fertilizer (as our neighbor had done years ago) was a no-brainer. I don't have a particular brand to recommend -- but I can tell you that my fear of putting manure on the lawn was completely unfounded. It's really not a big deal at all.

  • Drug-Free Sinus Care


    I have horrible sinus congestion and so does my daughter -- and we both hate nose sprays. So this au-natural product saved us both. We use Neil-Med sinus rinse, but really, any simple neti pot saline wash will work. It was difficult to convince my daughter at first to shoot water up through her nose -- but the relief she felt was immediate -- and now she asks for it whenever she needs it. 

  • BPA-Free Receipts


    Did you know that ATM and store receipts are toxic? As in, they have a chemical that seeps into your skin. And more importantly, they really aren't good for kids to play with. So of all of the changes I've made -- this was the simplest. I just ask the person at the register to either throw the receipt in the bag or throw it away. And no worries, I'm not neurotic about it; I am just more aware now and limit handling them.

eating healthy general health healthy habits natural health natural parenting

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