A Life In Progress

Alternatives January 24, 2008

Filed under: Around the House,Going Green,Healthy Eating,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 8:27 pm

I’m all for being green, doing all that I can to avoid putting junk into and on to our bodies and the like.  There are a few things I’m not quite ready to part with.  First and foremost, anti-perspirant.  Bad.  But I figure I’m allowed one thing since I’m sacrificing so many others.  😉 Two is toilet paper.  Some of those extra-green people use reuseable cloth wipes for going to the bathroom.  I can’t handle that right now.  Three is a low-flow shower head.  I need some power behind my rinsing.  Those things would be too hard for me to give up.

But, like I said in my last post, there are many things that can easily be replaced by safer, more natural, healthier alternatives.  Since it can be overwhelming I thought I’d offer some of my favorites alternatives here.


  • It’s easy breezy to switch the whole grain varities of bread, rice, flours and pasta.  I actually prefer the taste of the whole wheat/whole grain varities.
  • Organic produce is now available at most all grocery stores.  There may not be a lot but every little bit counts.  Try swapping one thing for organic a week.  Check out this list for the types of foods most heavily sprayed with pesticides.  Choosing to buy a few of these organic would be a good start.
  • Try to shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store the most.  Most everything that’s on the shelves in the middle is overprocessed and overpackaged, like crackers and cookies.  Of course you don’t want to avoid buying crackers all together, but just limiting it and chosing the fresh stuff instead. And when buying crackers and things like that, again look for whole grain and organic versions of your favorites.  I have a new favorite cracker – President’s Choice Organics Stone Wheat Crackers Multi Seed.  Try ’em.
  • This is a bit of a toughy but try to avoid foods that have food coloring.  For example, cheddar cheese is dyed orange.  Why? I’m not sure.  Opt for the white cheddar if you can find it.


  • Like I mentioned in my last post, a little vinegar and water can clean most things and is a good alternative to most of your regular cleaners.  Easy.
  • If you prefer to have storebought products, I really like the Method line and the Bio-Life (Shoppers Drug Mart) line.  Both are available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Method is also available at places like Superstore and Canadian Tire.  Seventh Generation has a lot of products out there too.
  • Try to buy recycled paper products if you are going to buy things like toilet paper, napkins, etc.
  • I always try to look for products that have the least packaging as well.  For example, a regular 24 pack of toilet paper has 24 paper rolls to throw away where as a 12 pack of double rolls gives you the same amount of toilet paper with half the rolls to toss out.  May be a small difference but every little bit counts.
  • Instead of always reaching for the medicine cabinet when you are sick try some alternative methods, like essential oils.  Pure essential oil of peppermint dabbed on the temples helps with a headache and a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a warm bath tub helps with congestion.  It’s easy to find natural alternatives online like a spoonful of honey for a sore throat, etc.
  • Careful what you are washing your clothes and dishes with.  Avoid products with perfumes, phosphates and other chemicals.  If there is one super easy and wonderfully great thing I suggest you do it’s ditch the dryer sheets.  A splash of essential oil in the wash load can help add a little scent if that’s something you like.  For laundry I really like Norwex and have recently purchased some Norwex automatic dishwasher soap that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t yet tried.

Around the House

  • Recycle, recycle, recycle.  It’s really not that much of a pain.  In the beginning I thought it was going to be such a nuissance but it isn’t.  We have a big bin right beside our garbage can in the closet.  I toss everything in there that is recycleable and then once a week Jordan takes it downstairs and sorts it.  Jordan and I end up with about 2 grocery sized bags of garbage a week.  If we had a compost bin I’m sure we’d only have one.  It makes a huge difference and depending on where you live you can even return it for a little bit of cash.
  • Let the air in! Open your windows everyday, if only for a few minutes, to let some fresh air in.  Sad to say that the outdoor air that we think is so polluted with emissions from cars, etc. is actually up to 30x cleaner than the air in our houses, according to some recent studies. Of course that number would be drastically reduced if you cut out some of the chemicals.
  • Reuse and reduce.  Notice if things are overpackaged.  Buy a couple of reusable bags from the grocery store.  Or pick up a sweet EnviroBag like mine.  It rolls up so nicely and fits right into your purse.

         Roll up nice and compact.  (Blurry, but you get the idea)
Folds out to a nice big handy dandy bag.  🙂

This one has become quite easy.  Try to buy organic products or atleast watch for parabens. London Drugs carries a good varity of organic bath and beauty products.  Lotions, shampoos, face cleansers, etc.  There are so many brands to choose from.  Avalon Organics in the lavender scent is one of my favorite lines. There’s Juice Beauty, Nature’s Gate and Giovanni just to name a few from there.  For my birthday this year my mom got me a nice set of products from Lush, which is a homemade cosmetics store.  I’d be itching for get to the store but there isn’t one in my city so I made a wishlist.  I really like the Angels on Bare Skin face cleanser and the Godiva Shampoo Bar.  I really like the moisturizer she got me but it was insanely expensive so I won’t recommend buying it as an easy alternative.  😉  This point got a little lengthy but I’m just trying to get across how easy and accessible it really is!
  • Instead of perfume try using essential oils.  Smells great, available in a wide variety of scents and much cheaper.  Oh, and of course, you aren’t spraying anything nasty onto your skin. 
  • Some women have started using cloth, reusable pads.  I’m not quite sure what I think of that one yet.  If you can’t handle that, consider buying the safer, unbleached versions from Seventh Generation.  Or go for a Diva cup.
    • BABY

      • Again, baby products are filled with the same junk that’s in our products.  Parabens, perfumes, dyes, etc.  I LOVE the Life Brand ‘Baby Naturals’ shampoos, body wash & lotions.  They are super cheap, around $2-$3.  Choose to be mindful about what you are rubbing all over your babe. 
      • Say “n-o” to baby powder.  “Talcum powder contains a substance similar in composition to asbestos, and some studies have linked the use of talcum powder to increased incidence of ovarian cancer. Accidentally inhaling it can lead to serious respiratory problems or even death.” – From www.care2.com/greenliving.
      • If you aren’t up for cloth diapering, try using diapers like Seventh Generation‘s.  They are probably the next best thing since they aren’t bleached. 
      • Diaper wipes are full of chemicals, perfumes and chlorine too.  Try making your own wipes! I have a recipe if anyone is interested.
      • Even if you choose to use perfumed detergents and dryer sheets on your clothes, consider using something gentler for baby’s sensitive skin.

      I’ve been typing this for a very, very long time.  I have a million more ideas so if anyone has any specific things they are looking for alternatives for, ask away.  Of if you want a recommendation for a good brand name or anything like that, I may be able to help. 

      Hope this helped anyone feeling overwhelmed, lost or in search of ideas.  🙂


      5 Responses to “Alternatives”

      1. Michelle Says:

        Great post and very informative. Again, so proud. Like mother like daughter. On some things like daughter like mother.:)

      2. mybloggylife Says:

        I just use regular cloths for bum wipes. A recipe?? sweet!

      3. Lisa Says:

        I love Method products!

        And I’m with you on the recycling. It’s so easy and takes no time. We bought a jumbo recycling bin (the size of two normal city-issued recycling bins) and we fill it every week. Ryan even recycles envelopes now 🙂

        I’m not up for cloth diapering, but kudos to those who are. And baby powder? I could never figure out what people used that for anyways.

      4. Karen Says:

        I love reading this blog! Kudos to you for all your changes!

        I too have 2 little girls – my oldest is almost 3 and my youngest is 5 months. I’ve started “going green” and can’t wait to try your baby wipes recipe!

        Just thought I’d share some info I’ve found out after some careful reading of ingredient lists; some of the Method line has Sodium Laurel Sulphate, which isn’t so great. You can google it. Also …. for some great organic shopping check out http://www.ladybugorganics.com

        I look forward to reading and sharing some more tips/ideas!

      5. Tannis Says:

        This is fantastic! Thanks for putting the effort in to collect so many thoughts (and links) in one place.

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