Non-toxic gifts for those you love. Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash,

Gifting can be Noxious or Nourishing

As Christmas draws nearer, the days become darker and colder as well. Here in the Pacific Northwest, darker, colder days often come with rain, lots of rain.  Instead of surviving the holidays and the dreary weather (as many people tend to try to do), my family has developed a soothing rhythm of Hygge – embracing the season for its’ opportunities for indoor coziness, togetherness and nourishment of body and soul. This season allows us to enjoy togetherness and warmth created by relationships, time spent together and a heart-warming home.  I believe we thrive on the beauty and hygge-inspiration of this season, just as we do in the spring and summer when we get to do the outdoor things we love and eat from the bounty of the growing season.

It’s this enjoyment and nourishment of the season that I desire to share with others, whether it be in my home or in the gifts that I choose to give at Christmas.  

So often there is a shopping frenzy driven by marketing that is intended to SELL and not necessarily nourish or benefit the recipient. Many gifts bring with them toxic substances like fragrance, radiation, textile processing chemicals and other toxins that just aren’t obvious to the eager shopper.  But I’m here to help!

Maybe in your press for time, you just aren’t sure which gifts will bring the true intent to the recipient…I think it’s safe to assume you want to benefit those on your gift list and not fill them and their homes with potentially toxic gifts.

Add some ‘Merry and Bright’ to your list

Ensuring your gifts are non-toxic can be simple. Using my ideas for non-toxic Christmas gifts may even bring simplicity to your shopping list!

What’s the best Christmas gift for everyone on your list?  Something that is truly non-toxic, nourishing, and thoughtful.

Non-toxic Christmas Gift Ideas

Toys

HABA & Hape toys are the toy brands that I prefer my kids to play with, especially when they were young.  Many of their high quality toys are made from wood, even bamboo, (not unknown plastics), water based stains, using sustainable sources.  In addition to them lasting through a lot of play, they don’t require batteries…typically making them toys that encourage creativity, which nourishes the mind.

Clothing

Pact & Hanna Andersson Clothing

Chemicals coming from the manufacturing of clothing is something most of us don’t think about when we’re shopping.  According to this MindBodyGreen article, clothing retailers “are not required to disclose any of the chemicals used in the production process, even though by  some estimates there are upward of 250 “restricted substances” used in textile manufacturing that pose potential health concerns.”  These chemicals contribute to the toxic soup that we easily get mixed up in, so I believe its best to avoid them as much as possible.

Stink the Movie, a documentary about fragrance in our society, exposed the addition of fragrance to a popular brand of girl’s clothing, through the investigation of a concerned Dad, with no accountability from the manufacturer.

Unfortunately it’s true we can’t avoid all of it, but why not avoid what we can and support the companies who produce products with a conscience?

Pact and Hanna Andersson clothing brands tend to be accessible and reliable when it comes to safety (and quality). Most Hanna Andersson clothing is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, which means they’re tested down to the very last strand of thread for over 100 harmful substances using strict European certification standards. Hanna clothing is mostly for children, but they do have matching family jammies! Hanna can be found at HannaAndersson.com, Amazon and sometimes Costco.  Pact clothing has clothing for men, women and children and is made from certified organic cotton.  They have great sales going on right now and are also available on Amazon!

Home

I typically focus on replacing cleaning products for the home with with safer, more natural alternatives.  Since most people aren’t really thinking about cleaning ideas for Christmas, let’s focus on the home health environment from a different perspective.  Two types of toxins that we all deal with at home, but few of us are aware of the health effects are indoor air pollution, caused by a wide variety of household products and activities and electromagnetic radiation (EMF/EMR) from appliances and wireless devices.

I realize I said this could be simple and air pollution and EMF/EMR don’t really sound simple nor do they sound like they can inspire gifts that sparkle.  Fortunately Christmas is a time when people really do desire and acquire gifts that promote health! And unfortunately many well-meaning people don’t realize that the popular wireless technology based gifts can actually cause harm to the recipient. If you want to learn about the concerning health effects of indoor air pollution and EMR, please read here and here. Here’s a handy info graphic from BASF about Indoor Air Quality.

Now, on to the gift ideas.  Yes, this can be simple! Your gift recipients will surely be wowed with your thoughtfulness for their well-being!

Air Purifiers

Blue Air Blue Pure air purifiers are considered top performers by Consumer Reports. Blue Air 211 is for a larger space and Blue Air 411 for a smaller room. We used the 211 during some kitchen remodeling and I didn’t notice any adverse odors from the work being done (like I usually do). I intend to use the 411 for my son’s nursery before he’s born to thoroughly prepare the space and once he’s born to keep his air as clean as possible.

Book

For EMR reduction, Nicolas Pinault’s book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMF’s is the perfect gift for adults, parents and older kids. It’s a simple how-to household book that examines scientific research and then step-by-step, room-by-room teaches the reader how to make safer use of technology.  Love it! I’ll be purchasing a few of these this Christmas. Great for anyone with a home!

Battery Operated Candles and Tealights

For increasing Hygge and decreasing potentially harmful airborne contaminants from candles (scented and non-scented) I recommend battery operated candles and tealights.  Don’t forget the extra batteries!

Chocolate

Theo organic chocolate. Let your gift of chocolate stand out from the rest! I toured the Theo chocolate factory with my daughter this summer. And since it’s also available at grocery stores locally, I’ve tasted a lot of Theo.  I love that the ingredients are organic, no pesticides included.  And since they know their cacoa bean farmers personally, their high quality beans really are full of all the good health benefits that we love to believe about chocolate (especially when its a truly dark chocolate!). You can’t go wrong with Theo! To the delight of my children, my pantry is currently stocked with the holiday bars.

Beauty

100% Pure keeps beauty simple while providing everything one might want! Choose a gift set (on sale now!), a gift card or anything from their full line of products. Read about their story, values and definition of “Natural” here. Your gift recipient will be delighted and can be sure that what they are putting on their precious skin is nourishing and safe.

And for the perfect home and beauty gift combination, don’t forget about my Cleaner Clean, Better Beauty Consultation – helping reduce toxins in your cleaning and beauty routines.  In my Balanced Baby consultation, I offer a complete set of recommendations to ensure that babies and small children aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals from all the products marketed for them in their earliest days of life. I can’t think of a more valuable life giving gift for a family! When you check out, just let me know its a gift and I’ll take care of the rest. 

I am not an affiliate for any of the above companies.  These are simply non-toxic Christmas gift ideas that I trust enough to recommend to anyone seeking a safer gifting season. 

With a few safer gifts, our Christmases can truly be “Merry & Bright”. Here’s to yours!

Why I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family

why I stay away from environmental chemicals, Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Some things are more important than pumpkin pie, or sitting at the same table with Bachan

Thanksgiving with my husband’s family is always spent with Bachan, his Grandmother, who is now 96 years old. (Bachan is Japanese for Grandma.) His family is very loyal and nobody misses being with her on this holiday and Christmas, except for good reason.

Continue reading “Why I won’t be spending this Thanksgiving with my husband’s family”

 

OK, this is somewhat of a confession. 10 years ago a solicitor on behalf of a Breast Cancer Awareness fund called my house. I declined to donate and when she kept going, I let her know what I really thought of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.  I told her that money should be going to prevention and not to a cure.  Not really that cruel of a thing to say, but definitely not the popular answer then or now.  At the time I was pregnant and experiencing a lot of back pain, so I’m sure she heard all the emotion of that too.  I do hope it made a lasting impression on her.

Continue reading “Breast Cancer & the Kinder Cure”

Child Health Begins at Home

Simple changes can have big impact
Photo by Tina Floersch on Unsplash

I’m a bit passionate about children’s health. Well, actually, I’m a lot passionate about kids’ health. I have 2 daughters. Both had a rough entry into life, putting them at greater risk for chronic illness and adverse effects related to chemicals in their environment. 

Fortunately, because I am a proactive seeker of health (necessitated by an autoimmune diagnosis in my childhood), my girls caught a break.  Our home and personal care routine is relatively low in toxic man-made chemicals. The benefit of that can be seen in these Beauties’ health today.

Continue reading “Be the Change: Child Health”

Which contributes more to Smog?

Vehicle emissions or household products. The answer will surprise you.

Last summer was an unforgettable summer of fires and lingering smoke in the Pacific Northwest.  Having grown up here I can say that weeks of clouds and falling ashes as a result of wildfires is not a normal occurrence. The one exception being the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s in 1980. That’s a different story – and no, I don’t remember it.

On beautiful mornings like this morning, however, I have started noticing a lingering smog through the trees toward the horizon. And since it’s not fire season, I have to wonder if my emerald studded city is going to one day have the air quality that I’ve always associated with Southern California.

Continue reading “Be the Change: Smog”

There’s More to the National Surge of Obesity and Healthcare Costs Than You Think

 

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash
Obesity and healthCare costs Linked to toxic chemicals

So you want to lose weight.  Or you’re concerned about the effects of the ever growing crisis of obesity and the rising healthcare costs that each one of us face as a result.  Whether we like it or not, we are beginning to understand that other people’s health affects each one of us now like never before. 

The Obesity epidemic is “astronomical,” according to WebMD. Can you even get your mind around that? What does that look like? And with obesity associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes, healthcare costs are predicted to continue to surge.  Not just go up, but SURGE, according to WebMD.

Obesity itself accounts for 21% of annual medical spending.  Obesity: Overview of an Epidemic at NCBI confirms that “[obesity] is linked to the most prevalent and costly medical problems seen in our country, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, many forms of cancer, and cognitive dysfunction.” And it affects every level of society.

Can you and I do anything about that? Yes.

Continue reading “Be the Change: Healthcare Costs”

Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash

More Power

Power. Do you wish you had more of it? Do you know you have it but still find yourself wishing for a better world?

If one removes the “P” from “Power” you get “ower” which sounds like “our”.  Our Power. Individually we have power, personal power to make our own choices every day and we know these choices direct our lives – what to eat or not eat, who to hang out with, what to read…the choices we make in the course of life are endless. But the power we have together, Our Power, is exponential.

Continue reading “Be the Change, Part 1”

Photo by luigi manga on Unsplash

Some think that persons who claim they have adverse reactions to chemical products and fragrances have worked themselves into this tizzy, so to speak. Which one are you, the sufferer or the skeptic?

It takes a lot of compassion to understand that some people can react with migraines, asthma and a host of other symptoms to the tiniest waft of scent in the room, while others seem to be immune, much less notice it. I get that. This is weird stuff. But as one who has suffered from chemicals that I encounter in stores, salons, assisted living facilities, churches, schools and in the homes of friends and family, I also understand what’s its like to experience reactions in my body that don’t seem to make sense. Continue reading “Chemical Sensitivity Real & on the Rise”

 

Many New Year’s resolutions begin with a desire for wellness.  And wellness comes from within.  For me, wellness is energy, life and vitality – the freedom to be more of who I am created to be.  Nothing drains that vitality faster than toxins that interfere with hormones, brain and immune function.  Unfortunately, we don’t have to look far at all to find toxins.  They are in products that we use every day in our homes and on our bodies.  The worst kind of toxin is the kind that you administer to yourself, thinking that you are actually helping yourself when in fact you may very well be causing yourself harm. 

Continue reading “Lighter, Brighter Wellness for the New Year”

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

We’ve seen it again and again – examples of the consumer voice overcoming injustice and wrongdoing.  The consumer, YOU and me, have so much value that what we say and do is also powerful. Powerful to cause change.  Valuable change. And when it comes to toxins in our products from cleaning products to beauty products, furnishing and children’s clothing, nothing could be more valuable.  We need a change in how our products are produced and packaged. If not for my parent’s generation, then for mine and for my children and their children.  Toxins and disease definitely stack up across generations.

Fortunately, some retailers are already on to this. Continue reading “Are your favorite retailers taking action on toxics?”