Natural Living. It was when my daughter was born that I decided to make more conscious buying decisions when it comes to what products I am using, from makeup and toiletries to household cleaners. The more I researched the impact of chemical-laden products the less I wanted them to be used around my child. I have always been inspired and educated by the Mindful Momma Blog so I am very excited to have the blog’s founder Micaela Preston to interview today. Since starting the blog, she has become a natural living educator and an activist for safe and sustainable products. She has spoken at conferences and events, lobbied for safer chemical laws, and now consults with many brands and businesses and has published a book!
Hi Micaela, I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you are arming parents with simple solutions for natural living!
Thank you so much! I started the Mindful Momma blog back when my boys were young in order to make sense out of all the concerning and confusing information. Since I was learning so much through my own research, I wanted to share that with as many people as possible.
Having children is time when you suddenly notice ingredients in the products we use, we start researching the health risks and benefits of everything and it can be really overwhelming. Part of you wants to throw everything away and part of you realizes that is a massive waste. Can you tell us what the principles of natural living are and how we can get started?
Yes it can definitely be overwhelming! There is no one set definition of natural living, but I like to say the goal is to use and eat things the way they are found in nature – as much as possible! I have a blog post that covers this in detail but the basics include 1. Eat real food, 2. Switch to natural, no-toxic products, 3. Make eco-friendly choices (like conserving water, choosing reusable products over disposable and so much more!)
Can you give us some reasons to buy natural, non-toxic products over normal brand products.
Sure! Here are a few good reasons:
- When you eliminate products that off-gas chemicals in your home, you will have cleaner air
- Natural personal care products are better for your skin, which also impacts your health. Many chemicals in personal care products contain endocrine disruptors and allergens.
- Organic food is healthier and more nutritious
- Non-toxic products are better for the environment because they keep chemicals out of drinking water, fish and other marine animals, landfills and more.
It can be a bit scary when we take a look at the natural living ethos and start to understand that places like our kitchen are literally bursting with toxins harmful to our children, from Tupperware and non-stick pans to washing up liquid and surface cleaners. Can you give us some swaps you can make to replace these and other toxic products in our kitchen?
I agree – there is a lot of room for improvement in the kitchen! Here are a few suggestions:
- Glass or stainless steel food storage containers instead of plastic
- Cast iron or stainless steel pans instead of non-stick
- Cloth bowl covers or silicone bags instead of plastic wrap
- Non-toxic dishwashing liquid and other cleaning supplies. Here are some of my favorite green cleaning brands.
- Here are more of my favorite non-toxic & eco-friendly swaps!
What else can we do to help detox our home?
Avoid air freshening sprays, plug-ins or traditional scented candles. Vacuum and dust frequently because toxins accumulate in household dust. Open windows to let fresh air in.
Once we learn about our home it quickly makes us realize our beauty and personal care products are also full of toxic nasties! What kind of ingredients should we look out for and why?
Sadly, there is not good regulation for ingredients in personal care and beauty products so many companies include ingredients that may be causing harm. Here’s a blog post with the top ingredients to avoid in personal care products.
There is something really fun about making home made personal care products with children. Can you a share an easy recipe that we could have a go at making with our family to help teach them why we are switching more over to be natural ingredients.
I loved making these Fizzy Bath Bombs with my boys when they were younger!
Fizzy Bath Bombs are mixture of bath salts, oils and other natural ingredients that start to fizz when you drop them in water. For a child, a bath bomb is simply a fun fizzy bath toy but grown-ups appreciate that they add soothing Epsom salts, moisturizing oils and therapeutic essential oils to the bath water!
A big one for me spending a lot of time in hot countries is buying safer sunscreen. What is it about chemical sunscreens that makes them so bad for the skin and why is mineral sunscreen better?
Chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and others are linked to health problems like hormone disruption, allergies or even ironically, cancer, which sunscreen purportedly is trying to prevent. Those chemicals are also damaging coral reefs.
Mineral based sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical blockers, meaning they act as a barrier on your skin, instead of absorbing you’re your skin. They are completely safe (as long as they are non-nano) and do not harm the environment.
All of this is amazing but does eco-friendly and Natural Living mean more expensive? How can we keep the costs down?
Now that non-toxic and eco-friendly products are gaining in popularity, there are plenty of affordable options available. You can keep costs down by making some of your own cleaning and personal care products, as well as buying durable, reusable products instead of disposable items.
You can buy Micaela’s book here