Friday, July 4, 2014

Crunch Corps, Reporting for Duty

A few years ago I found myself in a position of needing to decrease my spending and wanting to eliminate chemicals from my body care products. I had been living a post-1940's consumer lifestyle, which included buying into the gimmicks that some cream or lotion would solve all of my problems. I was simultaneously breaking up with my dermatologist who herself always had a new miracle cream for the small cost of an arm and a leg.

Gone were the days of walking into Target for milk and Q-tips, but leaving with half a new outfit, dog treats, a work out DVD destined for dust, tube socks, and $10 worth of stuff from the $1 section. Oh, and forgetting the milk. I took it upon myself to look at my life and decide what I could make, what I could live without and what I actually needed to buy.

I turned to the pre-1940's for guidance. I learned to preserve food, make my own skin care products, re-purpose things I already owned and embrace growing our own food. It might not seem less expensive to start living this way. There are upfront costs of supplies and jars, but in the long run, I did save money and time. Also, there is nothing more powerful than know what you are putting on your plate or skin. I’m not saying it was easy, but it is more satisfying.

Even though I was consciously using more natural products, I kept my medicine cabinet filled with chemical laced products, because what if this whole natural thing doesn't work out? When I realized I hadn't touched those products two years later I finally made room for the things that mattered in my bathroom. The products that make me feel good because they soothing my skin, de-frizzed my curls and were chemical free.

I created Crunch Corps to share the ups and downs of using natural products. Because most of the products I use come from the kitchen, the trial and errors of creating a perfect recipe for skin care, are much like creating a perfect edible recipe. I've had successes and failures, with plenty more trials to come. I hope you’ll join Crunch Corps and the journey to a more chemical free live.

Learn basic food preservation: There are a whole lot of people who are afraid of putting up their own food because of food safety. I took a half day workshop to settle those fears with a Master Food Preserver and now I’m hooked. If you don’t want to commit to canning, make a small batch of refrigerator jam. Not only does it taste better than what’s in the store, but you know what is in it.

Skip the checkout line: Just because summer officially started doesn't mean it is too late for a little spring cleaning. Gather the things you might want to donate or offer at a garage sale and first see if they can be repurposed. Do you have some chipped glass bowls that you love? Turn them into planters. What about that dress made with amazing fabric but doesn't fit quite right? Could you take it to a tailor, or even try yourself to refashion it?

Cut the chemicals: You are doing your body a favor when you use more natural skin care products or even make your own. By eliminating chemicals and plastics from your daily routine you aren't polluting your pores. Next week I’ll be sharing my favorite natural skin care routine.

In the meantime check out the Environmental Working Group: Download the app and scan the products in your skin care routine. You will be surprised to find what might be lurking in the products you use.

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