A Chemical-Free Journey

As part of my one, single Personal New Year’s Eve 2009 resolution (last year, it was to get my driver’s license which I successfully accomplished in November 2008), I am trying to cut out as many chemicals from my life as possible in an attempt to help the environment and to detoxify my life.

In addition, I want to prove that you do not have to spend tons of money (in fact you will save money), nor do you have to look like an unwashed hippie in doing so.

Naturally, chemicals are all over the place in detergents, but especially in household cleaners.

And not all chemicals are bad for you. Some are quite good – like salt. Some man-made chemicals are BETTER than natural chemicals, or even safer.

The chemicals I am talking about are toxic chemicals that are not proven for long-term human usage, and cause hormonal changes, long-term damage to your brain or organs, or just toxic build-up in general.

As for North American society it seems that we’re all about the disinfecting wipes and disinfecting cleaners that kill 99.999% of bacteria.. but honestly, all bacteria isn’t bad for you.

There is GOOD bacteria and BAD bacteria.

Think of the yoghurt you eat, that has fermented milk bacteria in it, and it is GOOD bacteria to help with your immune system and body. (Source: BBC News – Health that Yoghurt bacteria fights superbugs).

So my point is, the word “bacteria’ should not be associated with “EWWW GERMS!” all the time.

Also, our body is constantly crawling with bacteria, both good and bad called “Human Flora” (Source: Wikipedia – Human Flora), and those disinfectants can kill bad bacteria, but the good as well (it cannot sort between the two).

Many experts say that we are becoming too clean for our own good, because kids are starting to develop such a wide range of allergies that we had never seen in the past 50 years of civilization, and it could be due to all the chemicals (Could be! not IS..) that we use to constantly wipe down our home because we’re scared of bacteria that has been there for ages. (Source: Wired – Hacking your body’s bacteria).

It could end up being COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE to your health rather than helping it.

For my scary story about chemicals, my brother recently attended a seminar by a fellow parent who had a kid in my nephew’s class.

The parents of that child had been going through a nasty time because their child contracted a type of disease (I can’t recall if it’s cancer or some other horrible disease).

So the parents started doing a lot of research into HOW it could have happened as their family history was completely clean, and they have been as healthy as horses with eating organic, healthy meals and exercising all the time.

They had no clue.

They found all of the chemicals they used in their home like household cleaners, detergents, soaps.. all of that stuff contained so many chemicals that were potential irritants and potential carcinogens.

They then realized it may have been the fact that they were cleaning their counters with chemicals and their kid would put a muffin on the counter and pick up some of those chemicals and ingest it along with the muffin.

Over 5 years, it built up in his body and he having a lower than normal immune system got very sick as a result.

Sure, this is just ONE story out of many, and the correlation might be totally irrelevant and not even close to what really happened, but there is a growing trend in the number of these kinds of cases where people are contracting diseases and problems without even knowing why considering how “clean” they are.

I am also not telling you that your cleaners will kill you, but personally, I want to keep as many untested, unproven chemicals out of my body and away from my home as possible as they have not been properly approved of or tested.

I am not saying be scared of all chemicals and start tossing everything; I am not about fear mongering at all.

I just want you to be aware that these are real problems affecting a modern society, and to be more aware of what you use on a daily basis that could be absorbed into your bloodstream and body.

I mean hell, it wasn’t so long ago that we thought white lead was okay to put on our faces! And look what happened to that.

I think I could at least cut out 75% of the chemicals from my life.

And if I can, I am going to do my best to reach a 100% toxic free environment even if I never realistically reach that number (it’s too difficult to avoid toxic chemicals in our society).

It just means that I have less pollution in my body, and that’s always a good thing.

And I also want to prove that being eco-friendly and chemical-free, doesn’t mean that it has to automatically be expensive (it’s what everyone thinks).

There are ways out there to actually SAVE money while being eco-friendly.

And I am also no saint by any means.

I do admit to wearing makeup and using moisturizers or products that is not exactly toxic-free or environmentally friendly, but.. hey, a girl’s gotta be a girl. I have to draw the line somewhere.

I am not willing to go through another acne flare-up phase just to prove a point.

Fug that!

There will be none of this: “Whoa, so that means you’re going to go unwashed just to be eco-friendly? What about dolling up for a party? Are you going to use vegetable and berry dyes as makeup? *snicker*

What I want is to be incognito in the sense that no one has any clue that I have cut out 75%+ of chemicals in my life to where I am healthier, but still as beautiful, clean and as polished as I was before my toxic chemical-free journey.

And no one, but you readers.. and those who sorta know me in real life, will ever know.


Anyway, off my (organic) soap box.


I casually mentioned to my sister that I stopped using shampoos & conditioners and she went super eerily quiet. Then all she said was “That’s interesting….”

I think she was in shock, because later, she said…

Sis: “You can’t even tell. Your hair is so much poofier, it has more volume, it looks clean… And I guess I was thinking of people with dreadlocks, and how they NEVER wash their hair. *shudders*”

FB: “It is clean!”

Sis: “You know what I mean. OMG are you turning into a hippie?”

: “No. I’m a yippie. Or a huppy. I haven’t decided yet. I kind of like the name huppy.”

Sis: “Okay, but you still like to spend money on material goods?”

FB: “Yes. *side eye* If this is a ploy to get that purse away from me, you CRAZY!”

Sis: “Damn. I was hoping you’d give up all material goods… starting with Buttercup (name for the bag).”

FB: “In your DREAMS.”

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.