Updated: Jan 4
Hot, sunny days. Sandy beaches. Late night sunsets. Summer is finally upon us! If you're like me, living in the frozen tundra of the Chicagoland area, you look forward to this season all year long. Life is just better in the summer, am i right?
Let's keep our summer toxin free together! With these healthy alternatives to common summer essentials, you can reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and keep your family safe while you enjoy everything that summer has to offer. Here are my top three tips to help avoid chemicals during the summer months.
Ditch the sunscreen and replace with red raspberry seed oil.
Sunscreen may seem like an odd item to be on this list, however..hear me out! A recent study found that the chemicals in sunscreen immediately get absorbed into the skin upon application. These chemicals were found in the blood in levels that far exceed the recommended threshold for non-tested products.
This is what former FDA chairman Robert Califf and Dermatology Editor in Chief Kanade Shinkai had to say about this study :
“Sunscreens have not been subjected to standard drug safety testing, and clinicians and consumers lack data on systemic drug levels despite decades of widespread use."
Pretty frightening considering that parents are told to slather their kids in sunscreen every time they step outside. The active chemicals in sunscreen are also responsible for killing off the coral reef in Hawaii, so much so that legislators have proposed a bill to ban the sale of specific sunscreens. If it's killing the coral reef, what is it doing to our insides?
Another little known fact about sunscreen is that it prohibits the body from producing Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system and it is a vital component in keeping the body at optimal health. Low Vitamin D levels are linked to depression, osteoporosis, even cancer.
So, what to do? Well first off, always be responsible with the sun. Avoid prolonged exposure to harsh sunlight between the hours of 10 and 3. I love using hats to keep the sun off the little one's faces. Especially for those with sensitive skin who burn easily.
In addition to safe sun practices, we love red raspberry seed oil. This oil has a natural SPF of 25-30. This oil won't clog pores, is antioxidant rich, and contains Vitamin E and essential fatty acids which add extra nourishment for the skin. This is all we use throughout the summer. It is not waterproof so be sure to apply more often. Purchase this oil here.
Ditch the bug sprays and replace with DIY essential oil sprays.
Hands down, my least favorite thing about summer is the bugs. Ants, wasps, bees, mosquitoes... ugh. No thank you. Unfortunately, every chemical filled bug repellant on the market comes with risk to humans and animals. Take one look at the back of a can of Raid or DEET filled bug spray and you will not soon want to spray them anywhere near your loved ones.
Fortunately, more and more healthy alternatives are popping up as awareness spreads of the effect of these toxic ingredients on the body. Most natural bug sprays contain a combination of essential oils that are safe and easy to mix up yourself at home. Here is my favorite recipe for a mosquito and tick repellant. It's safe for adults and children 3 and older.
DIY Bug Spray
1/2 cup witch hazel 10 drops rosemary essential oil 10 drops lavender essential oil 10 drops citronella essential oil 10 drops geranium essential oil 1 teaspoon carrier oil such as jojoba or olive oil 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
Combine all ingredients in glass spray bottle. Be sure to use glass, never plastic, when using essential oils. Shake before use. For children, or those with sensitive skin, spray on clothes only to repel insects.
In addition to this spray, or for children under 3, try these insect repellent bands!
For ants, spiders, and other creepy crawlies in the home, I mix up a solution of 15 drops peppermint oil and water in a small glass spray bottle. This works on contact or as a preventative.
To ward off bees, I discovered a nifty little trick a few summers ago. Grab a lemon, cut it in half, and stick 6 whole cloves in each half. Place around area where people will be gathering. Works like a charm!
Reduce your exposure to aluminum by switching out these two common products.
Aluminum is a metal that is commonly found in many day-to-day products. It's in certain foods, beauty products, cookware, even vaccines. The problem with aluminum, harmless though it may seem, is that it can build up in the body and lead to serious health problems.
60 percent of the population now carries a gene mutation that makes it very difficult for their bodies to detox aluminum and other toxins. Small amounts of aluminum will build up in the bodies and brains of those with this mutation, leading to neurological problems like autism and alzheimer's. High levels of aluminum have been found in the brain tissue of those with these conditions. (Source below). Aluminum toxicity can also cause muscle weakness, osteoporosis, mental problems, seizures, and delayed growth in children.
Two ways to reduce aluminum exposure during the summer months are to eliminate cooking with aluminum foil and replace aluminum containing deodorant.
Cooking with aluminum foil, especially using high heat such as grilling, should be avoided. If foil is completely necessary, an option would be to line the foil first with unbleached parchment paper so the food does not come in contact with the foil. Foods that are high in acidity, such as tomatoes and lemons, should never be cooked in aluminum based cookware. Stainless steel cookware, utensils, and grilling baskets can be used instead.
Although there is not yet a proven connection, scientists are questioning the possible link between aluminum containing deodorants and breast cancer. I always like to err on the side of caution as far as this is concerned. There are many natural deodorants that do not contain aluminum. My personal preference is Schmidt's. It smells great and works better than most natural deodorants. You may have to experiment a little to see what works for you.
By making just these few small changes, you can ensure a healthier summer season for yourself and your loved ones. Every step taken towards chemical free living is a step in the right direction! Have any other tips for toxin free summer living? Please share in the comments below.
Enjoy the sunshine friends!
Link between aluminum toxicity and autism: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X17308763
Link between aluminum toxicity and alzheimer's:
Possible link between aluminum and breast cancer:
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