Friday, February 7, 2014

Crunchy Confessions: #1 Clean Hippies

   I'm finally getting around to officially starting my series that I've been thinking of doing for a while (though I already did my vaccine post a few weeks ago). For those of you who are unaware, the term "crunchy" (derived from the concept of being "granola") is a slang label often used to refer to more natural minded individuals of varying degrees and interests. A neo-hippie, if you will. In all fairness, it's a pretty meaningless label. As Joey likes to lament, some people are "birth crunchy" or crunchy in certain aspects but don't seem to let the same philosophies affect other aspects of their lives. I myself used to take offense to the term, but have since learned to laugh at and embrace it. I'm fairly certain there is no official crunchy barometer (though this crunchy Moh's scale is a great start), but I once didn't get a yoga teaching position because I was "too granola" so I feel like I probably pass whatever arbitrary threshold exists.
  For some of you these topics may not seem crunchy at all (this will probably include some of our AZ pals. Maybe Holly and JB) and others may think we are f*cking insane. But these are some topics that have either garnered questions or concern from others, so they might be of interest to you. Either you'll gain insight into how other, stranger people live or you will take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.

  So here goes our first installation. Our hygiene practices may be slightly different from some people's. Mostly they revolve around two basic ideas- 1) That our bodies are usually healthiest and best functioning when left alone in their natural state. 2) Trying to limit our exposure to toxins and chemicals. So what does this look like for us?

  We didn't bathe Perrin until he was a month old. He was born, laid on my chest, covered with a blanket, and that was that. After one month, we started doing family bath time as just another activity, but we still have never used any kind of soap or product on him. Nothing but water. Putting off newborn baths has shown some pretty awesome health benefits. For one, the baths result in unnecessary separation of the mother-infant dyad during a super important time for bonding and breastfeeding. Also, infants who are bathed after birth have a harder time regulating body temperature. It can also interfere with the development of a healthy flora for the baby- one big advantage of a vaginal birth that more and more science is looking to to explain life long health trends. Finally, the vernix that covers the baby's skin at birth has antibacterial properties and can help keep baby protected from germs in their new world. Babies don't need soap. Their skin is sensitive and many products can be irritating. Rinsing with a little water is all they need. Speaking of bath water, we filter ours. No chlorine for us! The majority of toxins in the body enter through the skin.

  Also, Joey and I don't use soap very often. Only when we are especially dirty or smelly. I find that my skin is much clearer and healthy when I don't use soap. I had aspirations to go "no poo" for a while, but could never stick it out long enough for my scalp to find a good balance. So I just use non-toxic plant based shampoo. And instead of mousse or gel, I just scrunch in a little aloe vera.

  Deodorizing. Joey doesn't. He stopped using deodorant a while ago. He doesn't smell, I promise. You'd be amazed at how much a clean diet affects things like body odor. When he does get very sweaty, he just takes a shower or simply changes clothes. I still use a deodorant, but have not used antiperspirants in years due to the aluminum and other chemicals. Which reminds me...

  There a few key ingredients we actively avoid- aluminum, sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, any fragrances and dyes, and fluoride. But fluoride? How do we clean our teeth? I make our toothpaste. Equal parts coconut oil (which is antibacterial) and baking soda, plus a little xylitol and peppermint oil. No pesky fluoride to increase aluminum absorption or interfere with bone density. No glycerin to prevent remineralizing of our teeth. Just minty fresh breath and sparkly white chompers.

  And my personal favorite- female hygiene. I gave up tampons and pads (which at best are wasteful and at worst are full of dioxins) about a year before I got pregnant with Perrin. Instead I use a menstrual cup, the Diva Cup actually. I found that although there was a bit of a learning curve it really wasn't that hard to figure out. And I love being able to go worry free for 12 hours without having to change anything out. Plus the money I save not having to buy tampons every month? Love it!

  I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other quirky items, but just know it most likely involves breastmilk or coconut oil.


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