I will be honest and say that we are NOT a "go green, save the earth, whales, llamas etc." family. However, many of the choices that we make do fall in line with the "go green, save the earth, whales, llamas etc." crowd, but not because of that. Our primary focus is to be a good steward of that which the Lord has entrusted us. To me, this means not only keeping a close eye on our purchases and, therefore, stewarding God's money well, but also keeping a close eye on what is going in and on the bodies the Lord has given us, thereby stewarding God's dwelling place well. As a homemaker, one of my jobs is to do my homework and make sure that I am providing my husband and son with the best possible choices for meals and other areas of daily life.
This has been a slow process for us, mostly because my husband stopped me from throwing everything we owned away when I began looking into this natural way of living, so please don't think that we have it all figured out or even that we are doing everything right. Don't take my word for it. Do the research yourself and decide what is best for your family. These are simply some things that we have decided are best for our family.
Three Things I No Longer Buy
1. Toothpaste. I was always intrigued by the suggestion on the back of the baking soda box that it could be used as toothpaste, but I never tried it. After doing a bit of research and concluding that I don't really want my family ingesting flouride or sodium laureth sulfate, I decided to go ahead and try to make our own toothpaste. I tried an adapted version of this recipe first, using a few drops of tea tree oil. My husband did not care for the tea tree oil taste, which I should have known would happen considering he could not stand the smell when we were using it to treat Julian's yeast infection. So, I finished up that batch while he used up the very last trial size Crest we had in the house. I went back to the internet and finally came up with a new homemade toothpaste recipe adapted and compiled from several different sources.
Storms Family Toothpaste
2 tbs. coconut oil
3 tbs. baking soda
1 tbs. hydrogen peroxide
15-20 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients together in small glass jar.
2. Shampoo. The idea of making our own shampoo stemmed from the fact that we were spending at least $10 a month on shampoo. I looked at that figure and decided that was on area we could cut back. But, I was 7 months pregnant when I made that decision, and did not really have the motivation to make shampoo myself. So, I started couponing and signing up for free samples. We very quickly had a BIG stockpile of free shampoo bottles and samples. Then I started reading about sodium laureth sulfate and decided I did not want our family to use products with that ingredient any longer. Enter the homemade shampoo. This is not an original recipe. In fact, type the ingredients in Google and you will find myriad people that are using this method to wash their hair. Are you ready?
Storms Family Shampoo
1 tbs. baking soda
1 c. water
Mix the ingredients together in a pump or squeeze bottle. Wet hair and pump or squeeze onto scalp. Comb through with a wide tooth comb and rinse. UPDATE: Apparently, this does not work out so well with hard water. Since we are currently apartment dwellers, we cannot do anything about softening our water. For the time being, we have, unfortunately, switched back to regular shampoo. I would like to get some sulfate and paraben free organic shampoo, but $8+ a bottle is not feasible right now! If you have started using this and have soft water, hopefully it is going well for you! We did this for about three months and it was just in this last month that it started leaving a film on our hair. I will definitely try this again once we have soft water.
3. Lotion. After I started cooking with coconut oil, I came across blogs and articles that praised it for all sorts of different uses. We started out using it as diaper rash cream for Julian and that evolved into the whole family using it as daily moisturizer. It works great and does not have unrecognizable ingredients, like your typical Jergens or Vaseline moisturizer.
So, there you have it. Like I mentioned, this has been (and continues to be!) a slow process for us. There are still things that we are currently using (such as my husband's shaving cream and my deodorant) that I want to find natural replacements for. We are by no means done figuring out this natural living thing!