Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Steps to a healthier home-Part 1 Take a pass on petroleum.

I am starting with this one because I just needed to start somewhere.  I know there are so many complications and scary things in our lives that none of us are looking for new ones.  This post is not intended to scare, but to educate.  My prayer is that, as with any information I post, you would take it in and let it tumble around in your head.  As it tumbles, pray about the specific things that God would have you do to address this part of your life.  It may be nothing or it may be a huge change!  Only you know what will work for you and your family.

In the title of this blog I say to take a pass on petroleum.  Seems easy right?  When you think petroleum you might think Vaseline or gasoline.  How many of you think of Ziploc baggies or baby bottles?  The sad fact is that, along with Vaseline, many of our beauty and skin products are produced with petroleum of some form.  And, along with gasoline, most all of the plastic products that we use everyday are produced with petroleum. 

So what, you say?  What's the big deal, right?  We have been using these things forever and it hasn't hurt us!  Unfortunately, that is a lie.  The government and the consumer market have been happy to propagate those lies in order to keep the peace and keep the money flowing.  After all, most of us won't make a change in our habits unless there is some shocking evidence to support that change.  I have some basic facts about the dangers of petroleum products and plastics.  They are not headline news but they are worthy of a second look.  There are many great articles out there so I will not try to reproduce my own.  Check out these links to get a better understanding of the dangers such as: links to breast cancer, endocrine issues, infertility, male hormonal issues, and pregnancy complications or miscarriage. 

 (The info on BPA is particularly scary: "Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems."  These are all of the top helath issues in America right now!)

Now that you are informed, are you ready to cry and move into a dirt hole?  Yeah, I feel that way sometimes too.  So what can we do?  There were some great ideas in a few of the articles, but making so many changes at once can be overwhelming.  I will show you where we (my family and I) are in regard to petroleum products.

Our first step was an easy one.  NO PETROLEUM JELLY!  There are so many other choices when looking at skin care.  For the basic Vaseline we now use coconut oil or olive oil.  Finding non-petroleum skin products is a bit more challenging but we have worked our way into that one by looking at ingredients and trying to choose the best product that we can afford long-term. 

Next, we started shifting from plastic food storage to glass or metal.  This one is by far the easiest.  It can take some getting used to because, well, glass breaks.  We are much more careful now.  We have used Pyrex storage containers but my biggest help in this step has been canning jars.  We use them for everything!
The pantry

The fridge.

They are great for storage and are so nice for heating up leftovers.  (We try to NEVER heat plastic or store hot things in them.)  You can use them in a million different ways.  There is some concern over the lids having BPA.  I use them but am careful not to let the food touch the plastic part of the lid or to heat the food with the lid on.  For the most part, I feel safe about it.  If you are really concerned you can look into Tattler Lids.

Another thing we have done to reduce our exposure to plastics is to throw away the plastic cups!  We bought cheap sturdy glass cups that have been great for our family.  (Sorry but throw-away water bottles are one of the worst plastics for leaching BPA so find some good stainless steel bottles and fill 'em up at home!)

 We also steep our tea bags to make iced tea in our french press and have recently bought a glass tea pitcher to replace our plastic one!  Whew! 

We are a long way from being plastic-free but we are making our way there.  We still have cabinets that look like this...

This is dubbed the "plastic cabinet."

As with everything else that I post about, I want to encourage you, not harm you.  So take it one step at a time.  This is a journey and every step we take moves us closer to better health for us and our families.  Do your research and figure out what you can do that will stick.  Realize that there are lots of things that we can't change, like our dependence on gasoline and plastic.  So don't fret about those things.  Concentrate on making choices for your own little space in the world!  Your healthier family will thank you. 



molly said...

Agreed! I dumped all my plastic storage containers in the trash and had my MIL buy me a ton of pyrex for Christmas. I know it still has plastic lids, but it's better than where I was a year ago is the way I look at it! Also, I've dumped the petroleum in body washes, lotions, etc. That one is so hard b/c it's almost impossible to find affordable options that really WORK. I can honestly say your blog helped me get started looking into all that THANK YOU! you're an inspiration!

Blackberry brambles said...

I'm doing the same thing in the last year I've taken away just about all plastic.Next I also am changing out my products. Great blog

Cottage lover said...

Thanks for the encouraging post! You're right. A little at a time. Learn, let it float around in your head, pray, then do. I got rid of our plastic storage a number of months ago, but replaced it with brands that say "BPA free" for now. I have started buying Pyrex, but have to do a set here and there. Now I'm working on dumping cosmetics and cleansers! Making your own is both fun and challenging, but worth it!