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Detox = the act of removing toxins
We are overloaded with toxins in our modern society. Our bodies, homes, and everyday environments are overwhelmed with toxin burden. Some toxins are so severe that they act as hormone disruptors, others are known carcinogens and can effect everything from mental clarity to fertility.
Detoxing every single thing we come in contact with is impossible, but we can start taking control of our own homes and bodies one product, one shift at a time.
Here is the weekly breakdown for the Detox Month Guided Journal:
Week 1: Household Products
Week 2: Plastic
Week 3: Food
Week 4: Electronics
This month started out as waste/excess month with the goal of reducing our consumption of products in general and raising our awareness about plastic. Then it occurred to me that it is through the removal of toxins that we automatically decrease our plastic use and consumption in general. When I choose quality over quantity, look at where my food comes from, and pay attention to plastic use, I’m also removing toxins from our home, pantry, and life. The connection is undeniable. Toxins and plastic go hand in hand.
Quality over quantity + awareness over apathy
When it comes to the four topics we’ll be covering—household products, plastic, food & electronics—“too much” of anything harmful can bring with it a toxic burden on our bodies and the planet…and our society has definitely passed the “too much” mark. But to switch our lifestyle and choices in one big swoop can be overwhelming. So we’ll spend this month raising our awareness, making shifts where we can, and listening to which ideas speak to us then take action from there.
Everything is connected…and we know to honor that connection. Let’s slow down this month, consider our choices, read more labels, and commit to making at least one shift in our homes.
If this month starts to feel overwhelming, come back to SIMPLICITY. Do you need eight face cleaners in plastic containers that promise all sorts of miracle cures when you could have one Hanna’s homemade charcoal face bar? (Which uses zero plastic & has the detoxing benefit of charcoal). Do you need all those plastic bottles of shampoo bottles that you keep buying to see if one is actually as magical as they advertise? What if instead of quickly glancing at the advertising and making decisions from there, we read the labels and did the research to see what it is we actually need to get what we actually want?
Small shifts can make a BIG difference.
Bonus: you can save money. While diving into my own research for Detox Month, I found that by taking the time to slow down, read labels, research what I need, and look at the bigger picture of my own life, I made better choices and ended up saving more money. I realized I was frantically searching for the “right products” and in doing so, often bought way more than I needed. By having eco and health friendly products like Dropps shipped directly to my house, I no longer need to have that on my grocery list, saving me time and money and the stress of choosing from dozens of detergents along a massive wall in the store. (Too many choices creates stress, by the way). I also started having local produce delivered to my door. This saves me time and money and we waste less…it encourages us to use what we have. And it taking the time to research, I found non-toxic companies I trust (like Primally Pure) who have created incredibly clean products, making it easier to shop without worry because I understand their philosophies, love their natural ingredients, and appreciate the care they put into their products.
Ready to get started? Time to head to the kitchen!
Let’s start in one of the most used rooms in our home: the kitchen. There is a constant shift happening in the kitchen—food comes in, trash goes out, and we are always cleaning. It’s a great place to look at products we are using on a daily basis and really gain perspective on how much we use, what types of products we use, how much waste we are creating, etc. We can then use this info to figure out what changes we can make to create a healthier kitchen environment for our family.
The kitchen is the land of single use plastics. We don’t need them—not to the extent we are told. They are part of the “convenience” sales pitch we are constantly fed in motherhood. With very minimal effort, we can eliminate a significant amount of our single use plastic in the kitchen.
For example, I stopped buying plastic baggies almost two years ago and instead rely on reusable containers, wax based covers, and glass jars to store and seal food. I also use bento boxes for lunches that need packed if on-the-go if foods need to be separated. What happened when I stopped buying plastic baggies? Nothing negative—I started getting creative and realized that I truly did not need them. One family making even this small shift made an impact. Many of us making this small shift can create an even bigger positive shift.
The kitchen is also an important place to look at your cleaning products and really understand the chemicals you are using and exposing your family to…our skin is our largest organ and absorbs what we come into contact with. Everything has an effect on our bodies.
(The kitchen can be a great place for a food detox, but that is coming in week three. Today is all about cleaning supplies and plastics).
Write about your own kitchen. What is your family’s plastic use like in the kitchen? How much trash do you create on a daily basis? What types of cleaners do you use? Are they non-toxic? If they are advertised as “green,” does the ingredient label show that they are truly natural or is it simply advertised as “clean?” Spend some time today researching a few of the ideas listed below. Write down what you learn, what you feel applies to you, and changes you’d like to strive for now and in the long term.
Choose something from the following list that you can implement as part of your kitchen detox:
- Switch to non-toxic cleaning products—including dish, dishwasher, & hand soaps, counter and floor cleaners
- Learn how to make your own cleaners and soaps
- Ditch non-stick pans
- Consider replacing plastic scrubbers with sustainable ones
- Stop buying and using single use plastic baggies
- Try beeswax food wraps
- Switch plastic for silicone, metal, or other materials that don’t leach chemicals
- Replace paper napkins with beautiful cloth ones (it’s just laundry & can easily be washed with towels)
- Don’t rely on plastic wrap and aluminum foil
- Commit to not buying plastic cutlery for parties or take out (I love Sharkpit Designs)
- Filter your drinking water (I’m a fan of Berkey)
- Understand what your current water filter does filter out and how to maintain it
- Avoid heavily packaged products; buy in bulk when applicable
- Compost leftovers and food scraps
- Or come up with your own!
Keep in mind that detox month isn’t about changing everything all at once. Awareness is often the first step. This month might look like you making big shifts, little shifts, both, or simply gathering information to figure out what you need/want to change for your family. This month is very different than the other guided journal topics… “detox” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Our goal is to take inventory of our homes and individual lifestyles, raise our awareness, figure out what we want to change, and then take action from there.
If you get overwhelmed, remember these things: Awareness encourages authenticity. Slow growth sustains long-term change. You’ve got this.
The main culprits here are laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets.
Ever walk through the laundry aisle at the store and get overwhelmed by the extreme smells coming from there? Fragrance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Whatever we wash our clothes in stays on the fabric and works its way into our bodies through our skin and nose (it turns out inhaling those scents isn’t us smelling something “pretty;” those fragrances negatively affect our bodies). And the havoc they reek isn’t limited to just their time in the washing machine—fabric holds the scent and we are then continually exposed to fragrance. Think your sheets just “smell nice?” You’re inhaling those chemicals all night long while you sleep. You’re inhaling them all day long while you wear your clothes washed in those chemicals. What are we trying to mask anyway? If our laundry was truly clean, we wouldn’t need to cover up the cleanliness.
“Clean” is not a scent. Clean means free from dirt or pollution.
Read your laundry labels today and do your research. Get to know the chemicals and what effects they have on our bodies, not just our clothes.
You don’t really need fabric softener or dryer sheets. In my opinion, it is one of the most wasteful up-sells ever. I haven’t used them in years with zero negative effects after stopping. They are an unnecessary expense & contain chemicals, endocrine disruptors, and air pollutants. Do you have allergies or asthma in your family? Get rid of fragrances immediately. Don’t suffer from those? Ditch them anyway; they can still disrupt the body. On top of that, pollutants found in dryer sheets enter our environment through our dryer vents. There are ripple effects to everything we do, products we use, and choices we make.
Do some research today. Know what goes into your laundry products and how those products then effect your body and the world around you. Write down what you use now, what you find our in your research, and ideas for how you can (ironically) clean up your laundry room.
Choose something from the following list that you can implement as part of your laundry room detox:
- Stop buying and using dryer sheets
- Switch to wool dryer balls (if you feel you need an alternative to dryer sheets)
- Try wool dryer balls with a safety pin through them to solve static issues
- Go fragrance-free on every product
- Make your own non-toxic laundry soap
- Start using waste free, non-toxic laundry soap (like Dropps)
- Commit to clean laundry—use “clean” products (you shouldn’t have to mask laundry with fragrance if it is truly clean)
- Look into removing mold or mildew from your washing machine (if present)
- Or come up with your own!
Beware any products that have major warning labels on them. They are actually advertising the toxicity levels. (For more insight into toxicity levels in products, try to the Think Dirty app).
Think about it…should we really be killing 99.9% of all bacteria? Those products can’t distinguish between helpful and harmful bacteria and every product we use gets into our body through our skin or through the air, which means that what we use in our homes affects our bodies and our growing children. We need a certain level of helpful bacteria in our bodies for normal function. Being exposed to something that kills 99.9% of bacteria (bad AND good bacteria) does not serve our bodies on a day to day basis.
Need more reasons to switch out your cleaning products to ones that aren’t toxic? It can be cheaper to use simple cleaners—one concentrate that can be used to clean everything (like Thieves) can eliminate the need to buy a different product for everything. You don’t need a separate cleaners—one for floors, one for counters, one for the shower and one for glass. You can make one natural one that can be used on all surfaces.
It also decreases the safety risk for children. While there is no cleaner that should be ingested, having natural cleaners in the house is safer than having ones that need to be hidden behind lock and key and unsafe for children to use. My children have their own spray bottles of natural cleaner so they can safely help clean without me being fearful that a cleaner is “too dangerous” for them to use.
Have you ever choked on the fumes from cleaning products or needed to open up a window to air out a room you just cleaned because of those fumes? That’s a HUGE warning flag about the toxic level of that product.
Research cleaning supplies today. Write down what you find then choose from the list
- Stop buying cleaners that promise to eliminate almost 100% of bacteria…they don’t distinguish between the helpful and harmful kinds and make their way into your body
- Download and use the Think Dirty app on your phone and look up products in your house
- Make your own cleaners from concentrates (like Thieves)
- Educate yourself—learn what is in your products
- Choose sustainable products that you would feel comfortable entering a water supply
- Pay attention to scents—if they are overwhelming, smell like “chemicals,” or are simply “too much” for you, explore alternatives
- Make the main goal when choosing cleaning products the health and safety of your family, not convenience or “chemical clean”
- Commit to stop looking at advertising and sale tags and start looking at ingredient labels when choosing cleaning products
- Or come up with your own!
The bathroom is another one of those areas that we are sold fear…fear of bathroom germs, fear of smelling bad, fear of not being squeaky clean, and fear of sweat among other natural body functions. As a result, we are bombarded with products for our bodies and our bathrooms that are the opposite of helpful and truly disrupt natural body functions
Write about your beliefs surrounding bathroom cleanliness—your standards when it comes to the room being clean as well as your body. Do you feel like it’s balanced? Extreme? Taught? Fear based? Knowing what you’ve learned so far, what areas in your bathroom do you think could use a detox or a more balance approach to “clean?” Look at your mindset when it comes to the bathroom: are you afraid of dirt in your bathroom? The bathroom is where we go to get “clean,” that means the removal of dirt and toxins, not the addition of toxins.
Take a look at the list below and choose something to detox your bathroom today:
- Read the ingredient list on your shampoos – rate them on the app, get to know what the ingredients are, research more natural options that will also be effective for your hair type/needs
- Read the ingredient list on your hand soaps. Are they anti-bacterial? If so, get to know what that means for your body since it gets absorbed into your skin. Research effective, natural alternatives (such as Thieves or Hanna’s Handmade)
- Switch to deodorant immediately. Start researching aluminum-free deodorants (like Primally Pure). Sweat is our body’s natural way of detoxing and blocking that natural process (antiperspirant = anti sweat) has been shown to be harmful
- Ditch the harsh chemical cleaners in favor of more natural and effective ones. Not ready to make the leap to an all in one cleaner for the bathroom? Look up cleaners specific to the bathroom that are truly natural that will put your mind at ease without negative impact on your body
- Look at the containers in your bathroom – are most or all of them plastic?
- Brainstorm and research ways you can begin to cut back on plastic use in the bathroom (shampoo bars, solid soap bars, paper packaging, etc.)
- How do your face products and makeup rate on the Think Dirty app? Our skin is our largest organ and soaks up everything we put on it—from cleansers and toners to makeup and sunscreen. Start to phase out the toxic ones and commit to only purchasing less toxic ones in the future
- Try a detox bath
- Look up detox face mask recipes
- Switch out your plastic toothbrushes for sustainable ones (such as bamboo)
- Research feminine hygiene products. What ingredients do they use/add that are harmful to your body? Ever heard of or tried a menstrual cup? What chemicals/hormone disruptors do your current products contain?
- Consider a shower and/or sink filter to filter your bathroom water
- Or come up with your own!
Our bedroom is our sanctuary and where we spend a significant amount of time (even if it’s mostly while sleeping). It’s a place where we go for rest and peace of mind. Let’s take a look at our bedrooms and see if they support restoration and good health while we sleep.
Read through the list and research from there. Write down your observations and goals for the bedrooms in your house.
- Mattress: research the benefits of a non-flame retardant mattress for the next time you need to purchase one
- Bedding: Wash sheets and bedding in non-toxic detergents
- Air Quality: Consider using an air purifier in your bedroom
- Consider keeping plants in your bedroom to help naturally clean the air
- Try diffusing essential oils (like Young Living) instead of burning scented candles (research the effects of “fragrance” in candles). Or try unscented beeswax candles
- You spend most of the night breathing in your pillows and sheets—research the benefits of using organic sheets made of natural material (quality over quantity)
- EMFs: electromagnetic fields are biologically toxic. When we are sleeping at night, our bodies are more vulnerable to harmful EMFs. Having wifi on in your room could be causing you to not get a restful sleep. Research EMFs in the bedroom and consider shutting off/shutting down wifi in the night while you sleep.
- Lighting: Research light pollution and how it affects your body and circadian rhythms. Also look into full spectrum lighting.
- Or choose your own!
We spend a lot of time in our living room. Our kids spend a lot of time playing with their toys. Let’s take a look at what those areas today with a fresh set of eyes. Is it cluttered? Does this room spark rest and creativity or is it part of the overwhelm? What does it smell like? Artificial scents? Warm and welcoming? Calm and comforting? What does it sound like? Noisy? Quiet? What percentage of your children’s toys are plastic? Where do the plastic toys come from, where are they made? (Have you ever thought about this before?) Do you feel like the toys you have in your home are being used, which ones genuinely engage your child, and which ones are just taking up space?
There are many different elements that could use some detoxing in our living spaces. Let’s take it our time. (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time). Answer the questions above one at a time then choose one item to research and change. Detox month is not all or nothing. So let’s do this…!
Time to reclaim our rest and play spaces and make them healthy, soothing, inspiring zones. Choose an idea or two from the list below, write about what detoxing (either product based or mental detox) you’d like to see happen in these spaces.
- Start to clear out toys and unnecessary excess so that your family can rest in the living room spaces and be inspired in their toy areas
- Make a list of what you need to shift in your living room to clear the clutter that is also cluttering your mind/thoughts
- Stop buying and burning candles with fragrances
- Stop using room deodorizers (plug ins or spray cans) & aim for clean that doesn’t need a cover up scent
- Start diffusing essential oils as your “smell good” source and for the aromatherapy benefits
- Use natural cleaners in this room instead of things like harsh dusting sprays (which are unnecessary).
- Consider your floor cleaners carefully, especially since young kids spend a lot of time on the floor
- Commit to purchasing less plastic toys
- Commit to purchasing fewer noisy toys (to give our ears and minds down time)
- Commit to purchasing second hand toys or going to clothing and toy exchanges to decrease your plastic impact on the planet (& save money)
- Commit to less toys in general…ask for the gift of experiences rather than “stuff”
- Place more house plants in your living spaces to help purify the air
- Use an air purifier in this space
- Unplug your tv/wifi when not in use
- Commit to less screen time in the living room
- Or come up with your own!
Diving into this first week can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those of us who haven’t really considered just how many toxins we are exposed to in our everyday lives. But it is worth the effort and awareness for our mind, body, and spiritual health and the health of the planet we share. Think of week one as a crash course in detoxing. To avoid overwhelm, let’s take a deep breath and review our findings this week.
Take a step back. Look over your journal entries. Identify the following:
- What areas concern you most?
- What is one step you can take today?
- What long-term goals do you have for your home/family after this week’s research?
Deep breaths. One step at a time. Awareness is where we begin and then take action from there. It is lack of action that fosters anxiety and where worry can begin to build up. Commit to staying aware and making small changes one day at a time. You’ve got this.
Spend one day looking at your plastic consumption for a whole day. Instead of simply discarding any packaging or containers, look at how much you are actually using in one day (including the garbage bag you may be putting it in). Take note of how often you touch and use plastic throughout the day. How many items in your home are made of plastic?
Today is all about awareness. Write down your observations about how much plastic you do or do not use. Does it seem like a lot to you? What was your reaction to your findings? Were you surprised? Spend a few moments at the end of the day writing about it.
There is no doubt in my mind that the creation of plastic has indeed saved many lives (I’m mostly thinking of the medical field here). It has its place and purpose. That place and purpose has expanded way beyond life saving and become an overwhelming part of our everyday lives at a shocking rate in the name of convenience and cheap-ness.
What do you know about plastic? Do you understand the various types (i.e. 1-7)? Where does your plastic waste go once it is thrown in the trashcan?
Today is all about education. It can be quick or a rabbit hole…your choice, I simply recommend stopping before the overwhelm hits. Our goal with the Guided Journals is always awareness so that we can take action to eliminate overwhelm in our everyday lives.
Do your research today. Do a quick online search to find out more about plastic. The goal is to learn something about plastic that you didn’t know before. Your search can look like “facts about plastic” or “how is plastic recycled” or “does plastic break down?” You could find out if/how/when/where your city recycles. Write down what you learn as well as your reaction to the new information.
Here on the island of Maui, single use plastic bags are outlawed in stores, which means that we have been bringing our own re-usable bags for years. There was a little bit of outrage at first, but mostly support for this ban. Living on a small island, it wasn’t hard to see the negative impact single use plastic shopping bags were having on our lives. They would blow out of the landfill and into the trees and fields around it then move on into the ocean.
The law seemed “radical” to many people who were used to receiving plastic shopping bags at the checkout. Every once in a while I still see a tourist who isn’t familiar with the law question or even get huffy with a cashier about it, but honestly, the law needed to be put into place. Why would someone get angry about not being given plastic bags? It seems like a silly reaction and an even sillier question, but on some level, I can understand why…1. They don’t live here, so there is little chance they have seen first hand the negative consequences plastic has on our island and ocean and 2. They have bought into the idea that living should be “convenient.” If you buy into that lie, you will inevitably be disappointed (and open yourself up for grown-up tantrums in public…haha).
But you know what? The switch to no plastic bags wasn’t really that hard. We were forced to get used to it, but in hindsight it wasn’t challenging. I actually don’t purchase bags at the checkout if I’ve forgotten mine. It really is NOT a big deal. I could make it a big deal in my head, but truly, it isn’t. It’s better than all of the plastic bags getting buried on our island forever at the landfill or flying into our clear waters and causing damage. We live very close to the consequences of our choices on an island. You do, too, no matter where you are in the world, it might just not be as in your face as it is on a small island chain.
I challenge you to stop using plastic bags and start bringing your own. It’s not a practice reserved for those of us who live on islands or just “crunchy” mamas, but one that ALL of us can benefit from. Repeat after me: it is not hard to bring my own bag to the store.
Choose an idea from the list below on how you can start ‘banning’ plastic bags in your own life. Write about which ideas speak to you and why, what roadblocks are keeping you from already doing this, and how you can get over the convenience factor and look deeper into the impact of your daily choices.
- Start bringing your own bags (I love the ones from Shark Pit Designs & Oneloa)
- Purchase your new favorite bag from a local artist or friend
- Move your bags from the closet to the car
- Offer yourself grace as you forget them a lot at first…and then keep trying. Practice will turn it into a habit
- Create a storage spot for your bags that is convenient and obvious (when things have “homes” it is easier to keep track of and find them)
- Give gifts in re-usable bags
- Refuse plastic bags at the checkout or ask for paper if you need a bag
- Stop and think each time someone asks you “Would you like a bag?” Really pause and consider if you truly need one
- Pretend that the ban already exists where you live and simply refuse plastic bags every time
- Make your own re-usable bags…use this challenge as a call to creativity
- Or come up with your own ideas!
There is no question that single use water bottles have become problematic. They are part of the “convenience” lie we are sold as mothers where we are constantly encouraged to search for and purchase items that make our lives “more convenient.” I stand by my notion that motherhood is not about convenience. In fact, there is nothing “convenient” about motherhood…and that’s okay. We don’t become moms because of convenience.
And truthfully, we are changing the world by simply being a mom. Our example sets to the tone for our children and ultimately an entire generation. Children pick up on our attitude about things through our actions. We normalize not using plastic single use bottles by simply not using them. They see our actions and often copy them. When we shift our mindset and intention, it has a powerful impact.
Choose an action from the list below to start immediately reducing your plastic water bottle use:
- Commit to bringing your own water with you wherever you go…practice turns into habit and soon you won’t even think about it, it will just be something you do
- Commit to not purchasing single use water bottles
- Research single use plastic water bottles and how chemicals can leach into the water inside the bottle and affect your body/disrupt hormones—this was a huge eye opener for me personally
- Research the actual sources of specific water bottle brands—some are only tap water, others contain additives like fluoride. Once you understand the source (instead of just looking at the misleading packaging that tries to make us think it came from a natural spring), you might find that you are less likely to choose bottled water
- Or come up with your own!
We are coming back to plastic toys today. How many plastic toys do your children have vs. non-plastic toys? How many of those plastic toys are meant to entertain rather than inspire creative use? Take stock of your toys today and note what percentage are plastic, what percentage make noise, and what percentage are open ended and require the child to use their imagination to use it (percentages are all average, not exact).
Many plastic toys are both plastic pollution and noise pollution—obviously not noise pollution on a city level, but simply in our homes. Pay attention to whether all of those noisy toys are more irritating than inspiring. Our patience is constantly tested as moms and I know that too much background noise makes my patience run out much faster.
My goal for my kids is to not be entertained or distracted with their toys, but to be engaged in self directed, imaginative play. Wooden blocks require the child to take action and build. A lot of noise making toys don’t encourage open ended participation, in fact some of the “teaching” toys are more like constant quizzing. Are they like games for some children? Sure. Can they teach colors, numbers, and sounds. Absolutely. I just prefer to have a more balanced toy room that includes mostly open ended toys so that my kids don’t.
- Open-ended toys: pay attention to which toys ask your child to create the fun and be an active participant and which ones ask your child to only complete tasks, answer question, or use it in one way. You might find that many open ended toys often don’t use a lot of plastic
- Non-noisy toys: detox the noise level in your child’s day by turning off and limiting noise making toys. Reducing overstimulation can go a long way in helping everyone’s stress levels, which is a form of detoxing
- Ask yourself if your toys are serving your family or adding stress. Brainstorm about what you can do to make a shift if you feel toys have become overwhelming or more stressful than fun
- Research sustainable toymakers – there are many companies out there who focus on recycling, eco-friendliness, & make material choice a priority
- Commit to buying handmade toys from toy makers, artists, and crafters. Some of our most cherished toys are heirloom quality because they are skillfully crafted out of wood
- Reduce your spending and your impact on the planet (while saving money!) by going to children’s clothing exchanges in your community for toys and clothing
- Commit to finding a balance when it comes to the number of toys you keep and what types of toys you choose for your children
- Or come up with your own!
I heard a joke once that basically said, “these days you need scissors to get through the packaging of new scissors.” It’s funny because it’s true. Packaging has gotten extreme. And it’s often made of plastic that people discard instead of recycling which simply adds plastic into our landfills. Packaging is often overlooked as part of the plastic problem, but it absolutely is.
How much do you look at packaging? Does the amount of plastic used to wrap or package a certain product ever frustrate you? This day might not resonate as one you feel you really want to focus on—it’s not nearly as exciting as getting and using new natural cleaners that smell divine—but it’s one worth some thought. Spend some time today writing down your thoughts on packaging (even if it’s just “I haven’t really given it much thought before”). Use the list below to
- Start to become aware of packaging on products while shopping
- Find ways to buy locally without the need for excess plastic used for shipping
- Bring your own bags for produce at the grocery store
- Shop in the bulk food section when possible
- If you need to buy a new or replacement product, try fixing or repairing the one that has failed. New products = more packaging. Spend more time finding out if you need a replacement or if repair is an option
- Give companies feedback about their packaging and ask for more sustainable options
- Opt for recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging when possible
- Buy less as a way to reduce your plastic impact
- Find out if your local recycling services can recycle plastic packaging and if so how you can sort it properly
- Recycle packaging when you can
- Give gifts in reusable bags or other sustainable wrappings
- Or come up with your own!
There are many more options out there than the ones presented to us in big chain stores. Many sustainable choices are available from small companies and can easily be ordered directly from them.
Today we’ll be looking into those options. Research alternatives to popular plastic products that you currently use. Slow down and consider your impact. You vote with your wallet. A lot of us end up “voting” with our money out of impulse buys or convenience. There are very few products that we absolutely “need right now.” Pre-planning can not only find us better prices and more options, but keep us on top of our grocery lists. For example, if you don’t need a new toothbrush for your family right away, research bamboo toothbrushes or recyclable toothbrushes that you can order to have on hand for the next time you need one so you don’t have to be limited to the plastic ones at the store when the time comes for a new one.
Spend some time today researching ways your family can reduce your plastic impact and pre-plan purchases. Even one product swap can make an impact. Write down your findings. Brainstorm what you can shift next.
Some examples of products to research alternatives:
Bonus Goal for Week 3: Shop with re-usable bags!
Our body has to process everything we put on it and into it. This includes all of the food we eat, everything that food is made of, and everything on that food. Awareness is the first step to helping detox our bodies.
Flush out those toxins! Give your body a fighting chance. Water isn’t just about hydration, it’s about giving your body what it needs to function properly.
Choose an idea or two from the list below to help you and your family drink more water:
- Aim for a higher water intake all day long
- Have a glass of water by your bed to drink first thing in the morning
- Pack larger water bottles for your kids to encourage drinking more
- Encourage your kids to drink more water by having it available
- Set a timer on your phone to drink water &/or offer it to your kids every hour
- Ditch single use plastic water bottles in favor of refillable ones
- Know your water source & what your water contains
- Filter your water (our favorite is the Berkey)
- Use reusable water bottles made of silicone and/or metal (avoid plastic)
- Consider adding trace minerals to your water
- Look up “detox water” recipes for some delicious ways to drink more water
- Or choose your own! Just get more water! Your body will thank you
If you didn’t detox sugar during last month’s Guided Journal (Food Month), here it is again…because it’s THAT important.
I believe our entire country is overdue for a sugar detox. Our sugar consumption is out of control. It’s presented to us at literally every turn. It’s so prevalent that you have to TRY REALLY HARD to avoid it in foods. I have to read a dozen labels (on items like spaghetti sauce and jarred salsa) before I can find one that doesn’t contain sugar.
Give sugar your attention today. How much are you consuming? How much are your kids consuming? Do you feel like you “need” sugar or a sweet treat every day? Do your kids ask for sugar more than any other food? How comfortable are you with your answers? Write about your observations and your reaction to them.
Take a look at the list below and choose one or two ideas to help you and your kids begin to kick the sugar habit:
- Talk openly with your kids about sugar. Let them know what the foods they are eating do for their bodies, especially sugar heavy items. It can help them logically understand why it is we need to say no to most requests for sugar
- Make your own homemade sugarless versions of foods that typically contain sugar
- Read more labels. Make a conscious effort to choose products that do not contain even small amounts of sugar. (Those small amounts add up and change our family’s palate)
- Brainstorm: Look at your own habits—do you have a sugar habit? Do you consume it regularly? Has it worked its way into your daily routine? Spend some time looking at ways sugar has snuck into your life and stayed, then brainstorm how to reduce your intake
- Brainstorm: Same with your kids. Do they have a sugar habit? Has it snuck in and stayed? How can you shift this for your children?
- Avoid sugar substitutes (including foods that claim to be “diet” foods)
- Get better/more sleep. We often reach for sugar as a boost when we are feeling low energy. Getting more rest can help us avoid the need to reach for a quick fix
- Ditch sugary drinks. Just don’t buy them. Don’t keep them in the house. Don’t order them when out. Go so far as to make it a family rule: “Our family doesn’t drink soda”
- Or come up with your own! Find what works for you and start chipping away at the sugar mountain that has crept into our daily diet
We all know by now that fresh foods are better for us than processed foods. Let’s spend today looking at our fresh food intake vs. packaged/processed food intake.
The bottom line: we need to put more “real” food in our body. We need to cook more whole foods and get back to basics, which will help lessen the burden we put on our bodies. Think about it in terms of “you are what you eat.” If you consume a lot of junk, your body will turn that into fuel or fat. That junk can get stuck in our bodies in negative ways. We need to keep things moving and in working order.
Think of food in terms of what it does for you and your kids. Imagine if we ate a typical American kid diet of cereal, cheese pizza, cheese quesadilla, fried chicken nuggets, juice boxes, cookies, noodles with butter, sugar laden pb&j…we’d feel like crap. Our bodies would be begging for a salad or carrot stick after a while. Kids aren’t sure how to ask for those things, so the request for better nutrition comes out in things like behaviors and/or back to back illnesses. We need to be giving our children what their bodies actually need and not what commercials try to convince them they need.
Choose one or more ideas from the list below to help get more fresh, whole foods into your family’s diet this week:
- Be sure to include one raw food with each meal (i.e. nuts, carrots, fruits, etc.)
- Do your research: look up articles about how to clean up your eating
- Commit to buying more fresh foods
- Commit to making more of your own foods (i.e. soup in a crock pot made from fresh ingredients rather than a can)
- Make fresh chicken for sandwiches rather than just processed deli meats
- Subscribe to a local fruit & veggie delivery service
- Try new fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis. Let your kids be involved in the picking and preparation
- Talk openly with your kids about why they need to eat fresh foods
- Commit to serving fruits and vegetables on your kids’ plates at every meal, even if they believe they “don’t like it.”
- It takes multiple introductions to a food for kids to try it on their own
- Research the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables and share your findings with your family
- Or come up with your own! Whatever helps you include more fresh, whole foods
Our society relies very heavily on prepackaged foods. As a result, our preservative, sugar, sodium, and genetically modified ingredient intake is high. Today’s journal prompt piggybacks on yesterday’s goals of increasing fresh food intake. Spend a few moments today looking at how much of your daily food intake includes prepackaged foods. How do you feel about the fresh vs. processed balance in your own life? Write about it. What could you do differently?
Choose one or more ideas from the list below to start decreasing your processed food intake today:
- Commit to buying less prepackaged foods
- Commit to buying more fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.
- Commit to buying more “whole food” snacks like nuts, veggies, fresh fruits, etc.
- Make your own homemade version of packaged foods (pasta sauce, salsa, guacamole, soup, etc.)
- Figure out what a balanced diet looks like for your family when it comes to fresh vs. packaged foods
- Buy more frozen whole foods to pull out when needed
- Replace boxed breakfasts with quick protein packed ones (like eggs or protein smoothies made with whole frozen fruits)
- Commit to cooking at least one or two homemade meals per week that don’t include packaged food
- Or choose your own!
Our liver is our body’s detoxifier, so it makes sense that we need to give it some care and attention. You must check with your health care provider before doing a cleanse or detox. Formal detoxing is not suitable for everyone and you must take responsibility for your own health and well being by talking with your provider about your specific needs.
Spend some time today researching the whys & hows of a liver detox. Write down what you find out and if you believe you’re a good candidate for one.
Spend some time today researching how foods, additives, and pesticides affect our gut health. Choose one or more of the ideas below to help guide your search if this is a new topic for you:
- Get rid of all vegetable and seed oils and don’t look back. Become a “no vegetable oil” house & stick to it
- Commit to buying healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, and grass-fed butter
- Increase your bone broth intake
- Swap out chicken and beef stocks for bone broths
- Check out food bloggers such as The Food Babe, Lil Sipper, and Be Well By Kelly LeVeque
- Or come up with your own gut health research topics!
Time to take a look at artificial colors. How many products in your pantry and fridge contain artificial colors? And how can we lower that number extremely or eliminate it altogether?
Research artificial coloring today and how it affects the body. Be sure to include a search for common names given to artificial colors as they appear on ingredient labels. Write down what you find and if you feel you or your children might be affected by them.
This is the day when we admit to ourselves that we use our smart phones too much. I know that I carry mine around with me from room to room so much that my youngest child thinks that I “have to” have it with me and will bring it to me. Cute? On some level, yes. Scary? Absolutely. I don’t want to be that ghost mom that zones out into her phone so hard (even in the name of “work”) that I set that example for my kids.
Take a look at your phone use today and be honest with yourself. How much are you on your phone? Do you feel it’s too much? Do your kids or family members feel it is too much? If you want to make some changes, take a look at the list below and choose one (or many) things that can help you do a little bit of smart phone detoxing.
Not sure where to start? Try one of the tips below!
- Install a usage tracker on your phone to see how much you really use it
- Designate a place to store/charge phones when not in use so you can focus your attention on the task at hand
- Commit to a digital day off—turn off your phone and turn into your family
- Turn off all notifications on your phone
- Start that creative project you’ve been putting off! Use your time you spent on your phone to take up a hobby or pursue a creative passion
- If you feel like you’re on your phone too much, the moment you feel that way go outside and do something. Notice the world around you, take deep breaths, go for an impromptu walk, listen to the birds, anything that brings you back to nature
- Make “more eye contact” a goal & you’ll find your focus shift to that rather than your phone
- Schedule times to be on your phone and then don’t use it outside of those times
- Figure out what realistic limits you need, create those limits for yourself and then stick to them
- Take regular breaks from social media—either one day per week or for a set amount of time (like a full week or month). Delete the apps from your phone during this time
- Delete time sucking apps from your phone and commit to only using them on your computer
Yesterday we looked at phone usage, today we’re going to look at our other screen time…TV. Does your family watch TV? How much TV do you watch? How many minutes/hours per day? Do you have TV limits in place? If so, do you stick to them? What’s working? What’s not? If you don’t have limits, why not? Do you feel you would benefit from them?
What’s the main reason you turn on the TV? Boredom? A distraction for the kids? Learning? Down time? Examine the “whys” behind your TV habit.
What would you like to change about your TV usage? Are you aware of how screens affect your vision, mood, and circadian rhythm? If not, take a few moments to look it up and write down what you find.
Need some TV Detox ideas? Start with the list below:
- Set limits on TV time and keep them
- Unplug your TV after a certain time
- Set up activities for your kids to do instead of using TV as a distraction
- Let your kids see you read as down time. Encourage reading in your home as a way to decompress instead of zoning out into television
- Have a “no entertainment” rule in your home. Don’t try to be entertained more than you create, play, interact, or pursue hobbies. Your time participating in your life should far outweigh moments that you are being “entertained”
- Quit TV cold turkey
- Talk with your children about how screen time affects their eye sight so they can make educated decisions from a young age about how limits and blue light glasses are good for their health
Commit to making more eye contact with your family. We need a distraction detox…we’re so engrossed in screens and technology that we’re distracted in the moment.
Look at your eye contact. Look at your children’s eye contact. How much does your family make eye contact? Is everyone comfortable with it? Do you feel more connected or like the other person is listening better when eye contact is present? Are you distracted more often than not when your kids are talking with you? Can you easily pause and tune into them with eye contact? If not, take a look at why. If so, see if you can increase that eye contact even more and encourage it in your children.
How do you feel about your answers? Do you feel like you need to make more eye contact? Maybe you need to work on holding eye contact? Or that you need more eye contact from others? Write down your observations and needs.
EMF is short for electromagnetic fields. (The EMFs I’m referring to during Detox Month are manmade ones). How much do you know about EMFs? Have you thought about them before today?
Spend some time today educating yourself on EMFs and how they affect the body. Here are a few suggested EMF topics:
- What are EMFs and where do they come from
- How do electromagnetic frequencies work
- How do EMFs affect our bodies
- EMFs and bluetooth, wifi, cell phone towers, computers, and wifi hotspots
- EMFs and radiation
- How can I reduce my family’s exposure to EMFs? How can I protect them?
- The impact of EMFs on our bodies’ cells
- Figuring out where you stand in the EMF debate
Experiment time! Turn off your wifi on your phone at night (all the way…put your phone into airplane mode) and see if you get a better night’s sleep. Try it for one, two, or three nights.
Or go one step further and turn off the wifi in the room where you sleep. Does that help? What about the wifi for the whole house? Give it a try. Write down your results.
This experiment was suggested to me a few months ago and I tried it. My whole family slept noticeably better. We have continued this practice ever since. I know it’s not an option for all families due to shift work schedules and needing to be available by phone when you’re separated at night, but if this scenario doesn’t apply to you and you can give it a try, I highly recommend it!
Bonus: Do some research on EMFs and how they affect the body and our sleep patterns. Research blue lights and how looking at screens can throw off our circadian rhythm and affect our sleep.
Negativity drains us. It can take hold and keep us down. So let’s look at our own mindset today. Would you describe yourself as a positive or negative person when it comes to other people? Glass half full, half empty, or just excited that there is water in the glass? How do you view yourself? In a positive light? Can you be self-critical at times? What small thing could you do to shift that today?
Some other areas to consider when it comes to mindset:
How is your screen usage affecting your mindset?
How is social media affecting your mindset?
Some ideas for shifting a toxic mindset:
- Eliminate your own negative thoughts. Really focus on any self-critical inner dialogue, frustration, body shaming, etc. that creeps into your everyday thoughts. You are an amazing woman who has taken on the task of shaping an entire generation. That’s a powerful thought to remember and then act upon
- Set healthy boundaries with others who are a negative influence in your life
- Practice more self care. Pursue passions that fill you up and make sure your own basic needs are being met on a regular basis
- Realize that your initial reaction to thoughts/situations is not the whole story. You have the power to shift and grow in every moment and in every situation. If your initial reaction is negative, you can pause…take a deep breath and rewrite the script in your head. Then act from that more positive space
- Brainstorm other ways you can shift negative thoughts that aren’t serving you
I’ve heard it said that we are most influenced by and act like the 5 people we hang out with the most. Can you name those 5 people in your own life?
What do you think of the idea that we are also influenced by the people we follow online, too? Can you name the people you feel most influence you (for better or worse) online? Is there a genre or type of person you follow? How would you describe those people?
When we frequently hang out with others who have a negative mindset, it has the power to bring us down, too. Give this some thought and see who is influencing you. If there is anyone who is negatively influencing you, what can you do to begin to set healthy boundaries? Detoxing people in your life is just as important as the food, cleaning product, and screen detoxing we have done throughout the month. Out with the negative so we can make room for positive, whole good health!
The first bonus day of each guided journal is always Thank You Day! There are people who have helped us and supported us along this month’s journey. Take a few moments to write down who those people are in your life…then reach out to them in person, over the phone, in a text, or in a card to let them know you appreciate their support!
That’s a wrap! This was an intense month. “Detox” is a topic that is wide and deep. Many times over I thought about turning this into multiple guided journals and going deep instead of wide, but I decided to make it more of a “Detox 101” to introduce the topic to mamas who were interested in diving in but weren’t sure what it means to “detox” or where to begin. Not everyone is going to be interested or concerned about EMFs or doing a liver detox, but maybe they needed to dive into cleaning up their cleaning products. My hope is that you found an area of your life that could benefit from awareness so you can make changes from there.
Spend a few moments summing up what you learned during Detox Month. What changes did you make? What differences are you noticing? Which areas surprised you? Which areas spoke to you the most? Which ones are you planning to dive into further? How have you changed this month? Spend some time noting your growth. Be kind to yourself. Congratulate yourself the same way you would a friend.
I’m proud of you, yayas! Thank you for joining in and following along for Detox Month! Join us back here tomorrow as we begin Legacy Month! We’ll be looking at our living legacy, family values, and even completing our will/trust that many of us have been putting off (myself included!). See you tomorrow when we’ll begin another month of reflection & growth!