This post is sponsored by Brandless, and there’s an awesome giveaway in it, so don’t miss it.
Why is it that we go to school for so long to learn random stuff we don’t need to know, but nobody teaches us how to read the labels of the products we will put on and into our bodies for the rest of our lives? Beats me.
Most of you know that I started taking a good hard look at the things I was eating about three years ago when I started my journey to heal my hormones. As I learned more and more, and I eventually got pregnant, I realized I also needed to take a hard look at the things I was putting on my body and using in my environment as well. And it’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s a worthy investment of your time and effort. Believe me!
More and more studies are coming up about endocrine disruptors, and how ingredients in our foods and home and body products can actually be causing us to get sick and mess with our systems, even if these ingredients are totally legal. We need to be empowered to make better choices for ourselves.
I’ve mentioned the Brandless company to you a few times, and I’m happy to share that not only does Brandless.com make it easy for you to buy a variety of healthy and clean products with the click of a button at an incredibly low price, but Brandless.com also takes the guess-work out by only selling food, personal care and household products (they also just started offering baby and pet products too) that have better ingredients. None of the junk. I’m excited to be partnering with Brandless on this post, which I hope you find helpful …
While I know it can seem overwhelming to swap out everything you are currently using, you can do it little by little. So let’s walk through a mini tutorial on ingredients to look out for on your labels.
What you should be looking for on the labels of your products
Avoid: phthalates, ammonia, chlorine and triclosan (there are more, but we’ll start with these)
Phthalates are chemical compounds used to soften plastics, which have been linked to disrupting hormones and causing illnesses (some say these are the number-one offenders in household and personal care products). Ammonia and chlorine are gases, which have been known to cause respiratory and other issues. Finally, triclosan is an antibacterial agent that also kills good bacteria, which has been linked to disrupting the endocrine and reproductive systems and is toxic to marine environments. So sad.
When you clean your house with chemicals, you inevitably ingest those chemicals. It may be hard to part with your go-to Lysol spray and wipes, but there’s growing research saying that you need to.
So, while you don’t have to throw out everything you’re currently using, it’s a good idea to make a few swaps and keep your eyes out for phthalate, ammonia, chlorine or triclosan free on labels in the future.
The good news is that Brandless has quality and safe household products like surface cleaning wipes, glass cleaner, dish soap, tub and tile cleaner, multi-surface cleaner and granite and stone cleaner and more.
Fun fact: Check the label of your toilet paper, because it shouldn’t have chlorine in it either. Chlorine is often used in paper products to whiten them, and so you need to be on the look-out for “chlorine-free” on the packaging in the future. Brandless sells chlorine-free toilet paper too.
Personal care products
Avoid: parabens, formaldehyde, sodium laurel (and laureth) sulfate, triclosan and phthalates
Parabens are preservatives found in many personal care products that prevent bacteria and mold. Parabens can also soak into your skin and system and disrupt your hormones and they have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues too (look for methylparaben, isobutylparaben propylparaben and more). Formaldehyde is a preservative, which is also a known carcinogen linked to asthma and developmental toxicity. Finally, sodium laurel sulfate is a chemical used in a lot of hair and body products, which can cause skin irritation and trigger allergies.
What you put on your body gets ingested into your largest organ, your skin, so you have to make sure you’re checking the labels of your products for these harmful ingredients. And even though something is made by a well-known brand, doesn’t mean that it is safe for you, so it’s up to you to make the choice with your purchasing power.
If you want it to be easy and affordable, Brandless has some awesome mouthwash, shave gel, body lotion, organic cotton balls and of course, you can use the Brandless organic coconut oil for just about everything. And did I mention they sell organic feminine hygiene supplies too?
Fun fact: There are chemicals in feminine hygiene supplies, so choose organic and chlorine-free whenever you can to avoid as many of those chemical as possible. Think about it, the average woman will use maybe 10,000 tampons in her life, and those tampons are inside your body — definitely worth buying better versions.
Avoid: vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrates, sodium benzoate, MSG, shortening and artificial colors
Vegetable oils are completely processed cheap oils, which promote all sorts of unhealthy things in the body. High fructose corn syrup is chemically processed sugar, which wrecks havoc on your system. Sodium nitrate is a salt used to preserve food, which you don’t want to consume too much of. Sodium benzoate is another preservative used in food, which has been linked to causing allergic reactions in people. MSG is a food additive used to enhance flavor, which has been linked to causing headaches, nausea and more. Shortening is baking fat, or trans fat, which nobody needs in their bodies. Finally, artificial colors are food dye chemical compounds, which have been linked to a host of issues in adults and especially children. Yuck.
Basically, when you are buying packaged food, you want to check the ingredients label first before checking the nutritional info (and truth be told, I never look at the nutritional info, only the ingredients).
For instance, if you are searching for the right peanut butter or almond butter, when you look at the label, go straight to the ingredients list to see what is there. You should see nothing but peanuts and maybe some sea salt (or almonds for almond butter). That’s it. If there are additional ingredients, they have been added to the peanut butter and are likely unnecessary.
When you are looking at baby food, go straight to the ingredients list and make sure no fillers have been added. Applesauces should have nothing in it but apples. You know?
Brady has been loving these organic applesauce pouches from Brandless, by the way. And I actually squeezed one into an oatmeal bake a while back, and it made it moist and delicious. The ingredients list says organic apples, and that’s it.
Brandless also has trail mixes and nuts with clean ingredients lists, organic honey, organic green tea, organic quick cook rolled oats and so much more in the food section. Our pantry is basically a walking ad for Brandless right now, and I’m loving it!
Fun fact: You don’t always have to choose organic with your food, but it’s great to choose organic oats whenever you can, because recent studies showed that chemicals used in pesticides have made their way into some conventional oat products. Uncool.
You don’t have to be perfect, every little bit helps
I know when I realized I needed to be looking at the labels of the foods I was eating and products I was using, I decided to take a laid-back approach. I didn’t go through my house and toss every conventional product. But as I needed new versions of things, I searched for better and cleaner options. And unfortunately, I still have some crap in my house, and it will never been 100 percent chemical free.
Yet, you have to be realistic about what you can control too. If I’m at a friend’s house and I see her clean her counters with bad chemicals, I’m not going to walk out because I may ingest traces of the product. And if I feel like eating packaged candy, I’m definitely not looking at the ingredients list. You have to choose when and where you are consciously consuming and buying things, and it’s not an all-or-nothing quest at all. In fact, every little bit helps, so don’t forget that.
More about Brandless
Brandless was started in San Francisco just a few years ago, and the goal of the company is to get better and more affordable products into the hands of more people, by wiping out the middleman. And when you order from Brandless, they donate a meal to Feed America too — which is a cause I can totally get behind. How about you?
And did I mention the Brandless product labels are super simple and tell you just what you need to know, including calling out organic, paraben free, chlorine free and more? Love it!
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
**This giveaway is now closed!
One lucky person will win a $50 gift credit to use on Brandless.com. And because almost everything is $3 (with some new items going for $9) and there’s free shipping for orders of more than $39, you can get a lot with that.
Here’s how to enter …
- Follow A Lady Goes West and Brandless on Instagram.
- Leave a comment on this blog post, answering any of the questions at the end of the post.
This giveaway will close on Saturday 2/3, and is only open to those in the contiguous U.S. (which is where Brandless currently ships to). Good luck and thanks for reading! Now go check your labels! 🙂
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Brandless. I received compensation and free product, but all opinions and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the great brands that we work with on A Lady Goes West.
Enter to win by leaving a comment below! And you have to enter your email address to comment, but it will not be shared publicly.
Questions of the day
Which products do you need to swap out in your life?
What would you most like to buy on Brandless?
What’s one good thing you are looking forward to this week?