Products, products, products

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It’s been about five years since I started paying attention to what type of products I buy. It started with food, right about when D and I began our quest for a healthier, meatless life (I’ll write about this in a separate post soon). As reading ingredient lists and nutrition tables proved to be an eye-opening experience, I began questioning my choices on everything else I buy: cleaning products, beauty products, even clothes.

There are different opinions about whether it is our responsibility as consumers to buy ethically sourced products. (I use this expression in the broadest sense: I mean products that are manufactured safely and without cruelty to animals or workers; I mean products that are made with components that don’t harm us or the environment; products that are intended do do good, not just earn a profit). D and I decided to live by better ethical standards; we made a conscious decision to be better consumers, at least more informed consumers, in order to support not only our well-being but to support people and companies trying to make this a better world. Like everything, this is just an attempt to do things better.

Not everybody agrees with this approach. It takes too much time, and too much effort, the argument goes, to figure out where and how everything is made. It’s up to governments and companies and regulatory bodies to clean up their act, not to consumers, to make this a healthier marketplace. I completely agree that being more informed takes a lot of time and effort, and that people in positions of authority should definitely be the ones leading the way. But I think individual choice can have a huge impact. In a sense, I vote with my wallet.

Anyway, this is getting long! What I really wanted to do is show you a list of products I buy or look for that fall into this category of “better for you and for the planet”. This is just to give you an example of what I buy and why –and to get you thinking next time you go to the store.

Food (this is a huge category so I’ll just touch on organics).

I try to avoid the middle aisle in the supermarkets, and rather go for the bakery, the cold, and the fresh produce sections.

Pesticides are known to be harmful, especially for children (read this). I buy organic when it’s not absurdly expensive and I’m selective: apples, grapes, and fresh berries I try to get organic as much as possible. The same with Tofu. And the same with food for lil’ Sophie: she gets as many organics as possible.

Personal products

Parabens and phtalates are said to be harmful, yet they’re common ingredients in products like shampoo and deodorant (read this from the Campaign for Safe Cometics). I buy paraben and phtalate-free shampoos and conditioners, and try to get the ones with a “cruelty free” label on the back (or the label that looks like a rabbit, which means it hasn’t been tested on animals). The same goes for face and body moisturizers. I like the Jason and Attitude brands.

I only buy deodorant and not anti-perspirant, because some research has linked the aluminum-based anti-perspirants to breast cancer–although this is controversial. See here.

D has eczema, and the only soap he can tolerate is natural pine tar, by The Soap Works, so that’s what we get. It’s an all vegetable soap and I like that it has no packaging –I still don’t get why soap bars are being replaced by liquid soap in wasteful plastic containers. I like soap bars!

As far as baby stuff goes, I try to get anything that’s labeled all-natural, plus fragrance and alcohol free–that includes her baby wipes. I also don’t use soap for Sophie’s bath-time every day, but rather every two or three days. We’re currently using Baby Bee for her.

Cleaning products

Everything from detergent, to dish soap to all-purpose cleaners can accumulate over time in your clothes and on your skin. So I try to buy brands that contain no petro-chemicals, that are unscented, and that have as few ingredients as possible. I love everything by Seventh Generation. I also just use hot water and vinegar most often for general cleaning purposes. And I don’t use fabric softeners. They’re not only unnecessary but they have been linked to –you guessed it– cancer: read this.

This list can go on and on, but I think I’ve bored you already with this long post. Do you have any tips about products you prefer to buy? Any comments? Please do share! Have a wonderful day.

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4 thoughts on “Products, products, products

  1. Para las personas que vivimos en Colombia o en países similares.
    Perdón por no escribir en inglés pero eso me tomaría el doble de tiempo y con un niños de dos años y un recién nacido no me puedo dar ese lujo 🙂

    Comparto la posición de Gabi, nosotros como consumidores tenemos la responsabilidad de informarnos y apoyar las prácticas en las que creemos, puede quitar más tiempo e incluso costar un poco más, pero primero está nuestra salud y la suma de nuestras acciones puede hacer una diferencia.

    A veces en Colombia no es tan fácil encontrar productos naturales y con buenas prácticas, les cuento en dónde consigo los
    que yo uso.

    Comida: trato de comprar la mayor cantidad de productos orgánicos, Surtifruver me encanta porque tiene una sección especial para estos productos en frutas y verduras, les recomiendo sobre todo comprar fresas y tomates orgánicos porque son los que más pesticidas tienen.

    Yo sí como carne, afortunadamente vivo en un país en donde todavía las vacas comen pasto y no están encerradas, allá es muy buena la carne. Allá también venden pollo campesino, es pollo alimentado con maíz y sin adición de hormonas. Los huevos los compro orgánicos o gallina feliz, son gallinas que no viven en jaulas y son alimentadas con maíz, no con concentrado.
    Trato de apoyar siempre los productos colombianos, sobre todo en frutas y verduras.

    Limpieza: también limpio con vinagre y limón, sirve para la cocina y las duchas pero para complementar uso un limpiador ecológico de Ecoflora, que venden en el éxito, es concentrado y rinde un montón.

    Jabones vegetales los compro en Natura cosméticos, es venta por catálogo, me meto a la página http://www.naturacosmeticos.com.co, los productos son ricos y son naturales, no he mirado lo del shampú porque no sabía, pero voy a revisarlo. Además de ser productos naturales yo trabajé con ellos en algunos proyectos y apoyan proyectos de sostenibilidad. No venden productos en tiendas, toca a través de agente, para los que viven en Bogotá me avisan si necesitan.

    Remedios:
    Me encantan las cremas de Just para la piel con hongos o irritaciones uso la de tea tree, para la tos la de tomillo es buenísima y también uso un spray de eucalipto cuando alguien tiene gripa. Esto también es a través de agente.
    Para golpes, raspadas o quemaduras uso trividol en crema o spray.

    Eso es todo por ahora, espero que les sirva.
    Gabi me encanta lo que estás haciendo, te quiero mucho.

  2. Pingback: Avoiding toxins during pregnancy (and beyond) | My little, green family

  3. Mi bebé de dos meses y medio tiene la piel muy irritada desde hace unos días. Fuimos al doctor para que nos recomendara qué hacer. Le dije que antes había lavado con Ariel (abrió los ojos espantado) pero que ahora le había lavado la ropa con un jabón ecológico especial.
    Me dijo que trataramos una loción (siempre intenta cosas naturales y homeopáticas primero) pero que si no funcionaba tocaba ponerle una crema con corticoide (ahí abrí yo los ojos) para evitar antibiótico.
    Al ver que me parecía terrible la crema me dijo que mucho peor era USAR ARIEL QUE UN CORTICOIDE, que lo tirara todo a la caneca. Quería compartirlo para que vean que no es cualquier cosa!
    Gracias!

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