Gatekeeper of My Home
My conviction began when I had my newborn baby. What a gift from God, that little Oliver Douglas. He was so perfect and fresh and untainted. I was entrusted with this little soul, and it was my job to determine his nutrition and his environment. I would run my fingers over his plump, creamy skin, and look into his clear, stony blue eyes, and feel both lifted and weighed down by my new responsibility.
While this post could err toward the never-ending thoughts of life with a newborn, they are specifically going to be pointing you toward our family’s journey of living clean[er]. Caring for ourselves and our bodies is a great responsibility, and the health of our bodies also directly impacts the health and discipline of our mind, soul and heart. Please know, this post is just my perspective on what cleaner living has done for my own life and home.
There are many ways to live well, and I’m merely striking the match on one of them.
You see, I realized that I had used and consumed a lot of junk in my lifetime—processed food with loads of food coloring, body products and makeup with too many ingredients to number, cleaning products that made my nose and my skin burn. But it was my way of life, we seemed to be doing just fine, and I didn’t really have any knowledge or reason to change it…
Until Oliver was born.
I began paying attention more. Like any new mom would do, I was Google-ing everything, and would end up down rabbit trails of toxins, America’s excessively high sickness rates and over usage of prescription drugs. (Netflix health documentaries while on maternity leave didn’t help relax my mind, either). It became something that I could no longer turn a blind eye to in regard to our family’s way of doing daily life, and I knew we needed to put some effort into creating a cleaner lifestyle.
I began to care about the honesty and transparency of products, and—to play on the heart of this entire website—I was actually finding hope in the fact that there are clean products with open and honest ingredients that could help me have peace in the journey of bringing little humans into the world. I can’t control many things in life, but I am the gatekeeper of my own home and my own heart.
This truly began my journey with eating cleaner, unprocessed foods, using essential oils, and making our home as toxin free as possible. Whatever touched Oliver, I tried to make it natural and clean. He was getting his nutrition through me, so I tried to make it worth it. Now, I will admit, we are not fully there, and we are still learning! I will also admit that I still love Reese’s Blizzards from Dairy Queen, and have been known to go twice in one day where the same worker greeted my pregnant belly and me both times in the drive through [insert hand-slapping-forehead emoji].
But it started simply with us, because that is the only way to do it and not become overwhelmed. I would pick one thing to try an essential oil for where I normally would have used over-the-counter drugs or cleaners with harsh chemicals.
Simple + Gradual Examples:
For headaches: lavender + peppermint oils instead of a pill
For teething: lavender + Copaiba oils instead of infant Tylenol
For illness: thieves + lemon oils instead of pain meds or sugar-filled fixes
For baby’s sleep regressions: sleepyize oils instead of my own insanity
For post-partum skin: geranium + frankinsense oils instead of products with toxic fragrances
For home cleaning: Thieves all-purpose cleaner instead of heavy-chemical cleaners
Before I knew it my entire day was filled with using little drops of oils for different needs—home cleaning, body care, body aid—and I soon wondered, wait now, how did I not use these before? I realized that if I suddenly decided to stop using these natural gifts, I wouldn’t really know what to feel good about using.
Trust me, I understand the skeptic mindset. Like most oil users, we started skeptically as well. But when our 10-month old baby wasn’t sleeping, and 2 drops of Sleepyize on his feet suddenly helped him sleep 11 hrs a night, I became more open to the idea! I will also add that we use oils with great caution and still very much appreciate the gift of modern medicine and medicinal options when there are serious needs for it.
But paying closer attention to what we welcomed into our home and our bodies began giving me more piece of mind.
It also helped us to do the Daniel Fast (this truly is a fast and not a sustainable diet), because we realized quickly how much extra junk and sugar is added to just about everything you pull off the shelf. We became aware how much clean food from the earth nourished our bodies and gave us energy, and in contrast, how much our regular rhythm of food intake had bogged us down. I stopped purchasing many items that had been staples in our house, and began working towards making healthier meals that used transparent and wholesome ingredients.
This fed (pun intended) into our desire to start our own garden, and care for our own chickens to see what it would be like to eat food that we had planted and cared for as it grew. In one full year of gardening, I quickly discovered a love for the growing process. Every morning I ventured out to pick a few vegetables, herbs and maybe some strawberries—if Oliver and the rabbits hadn’t gotten to them first. There was a healthy pride in our efforts of living off of wholesome ingredients…even though I still answer Dairy Queen’s call here and there.
It’s a more challenging road to live a clean lifestyle, mostly because the United States has somehow legally figured out ways to “allow” ingredients in our food and products that have been banned all over the world. Unfortunately, we have to do our own digging and searching to know what is just tricky marketing and what is actually pure.
I have too many friends, or family of friends who have endured and even lost battles to some serious sicknesses. I will never say that anyone brought sickness on his/herself because every circumstance has its own sensitivities; but I will say that there is an eerie correlation to sickness rates in the United States as a whole and the ingredients we all consume on daily averages.
What can we do to improve our possibilities of maintaining good health and fighting off illnesses? We can become aware of what we allow in our homes and into our bodies. We can eat less sugars and bathe in less toxins. We can diffuse clean oils that impact our home environment and our minds.
Let’s inspire each other!
Jamie L. Robison