Hello friends! As some of you lovelies may know, I was diagnosed with the MTHFR gene defect about five years ago. Besides the diagnosis, my doctors weren’t really able to tell me anything about it, other than it had played a role in my two miscarriages. Of course, at that point I wanted to find out more about what it was, and what it meant for me and my lifestyle. I started reading up on it from many different sources, and combined with my own physiological knowledge from college, started to create some habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle for me and my family.
One of the key issues with the MTHFR gene mutation is that our ability to process and remove toxins and chemicals from our bodies is terrible because of a whole bunch of sciencey reasons – I find them fascinating, but I know you probably won’t so if you want to read about it, check it out here.
I would like to tell you that I am an essential oil aficionado, that we only eat organic foods, and we knit our own shirts in our spare time. But the truth is that we are living life on a budget at the moment and all of those things are a little beyond where we are right now, and we just don’t like to knit😜. So, I have compromised and changed as many things as we can right now, and am trying to be much more mindful of the chemicals and toxins in our home and make the more natural choice when I can.
If you struggle with the MTHFR defect, or are just looking to simplify and detox your lifestyle, here are a few very minor changes we have made around the house — p.s. these are not affiliate links or endorsements or ads, just my input on what we use!
Around the House
- Dishes – Seventh generation does a great dishwasher detergent and dish soap that work really well and are naturally based – perfect if you have kiddos in the house. I’m sure you’ve smelled your bottles, straws and sippy cups and said , “Hmm, lemony fresh!” but the truth is that that’s not great to have leaching into the plastic, and so I love Seventh generation for that. I didn’t have any issues with the dish soap not cleaning thoroughly or getting sudsy enough, and the dishwasher detergent did great as well! They smell awesome too – big plus!
- Kitchen Sink – For a good scrub, I use baking soda and salt mixed with just a bit of dish soap to cut the grease, and I put vinegar and lemon or lime peels down the disposal! Leaves it smelling lovely and citrusy fresh!
- Stainless Steel Appliances — wipe them with the grain with white vinegar on a soft cloth – it cleans and leaves them shiny and streak-free!
- All-purpose Cleaning – I take a regular sized spray bottle and fill it about one third to one half full with white vinegar, add a few drops of dish soap and a few tablespoons of lemon juice and then top it up with water. For quick messes to dusting, I use this for everything! If you would like disinfecting properties, thieves oil or thyme oil can be added in, and if you just want it smell prettier and less vinegar-y, I have added lavender and lemon essential oils before when I had them handy and it smells great!
- Laminate or Tile Floors – I use the same all purpose vinegar spray above for cleaning the kitchen floor when needed – I either do old fashioned hands and knees, or use the swiffer wet mop with a microfiber cloth attached — just spray the floor and mop! The only downside to the vinegar cleaner is that it can leave your floors looking a bit dull, so I do use a polish every few weeks just so they don’t look so sad.
- Carpeted Floors – I make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub stains with a brush – this works best if you catch the spills quickly! Blot it all and vacuum when dry. (If you need some extra oomph, you can add some vinegar and let it act with the baking soda to bubble the nasties out, but just be aware that this could possibly change the color of your carpeting a bit!) You can also sprinkle baking soda on your high-traffic areas before you vacuum to help freshen them up a bit.
- Toys – When the toys get nasty, or we are just doing a disinfecting run-through (I try to do it every few weeks to ward off the germies!) I will use the Seventh generation spray and wipes based with thyme oil (are you sensing a theme here?! Go Seventh Generation, go!) – they leave your home smelling a bit like you’re having an Italian feast for dinner, but they both work great and you don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals going into little kid mouths….gross.
- Bathtub – I squirt some regular dishsoap into the tub, sprinkle it with salt and baking soda, and get to scrubbing! My wonderful mama got us one of those spinning scrub brush wands a few years ago, and that has been a game changer! The dishsoap breaks down the soap scum and grime and the salt and baking soda are abrasive to help with cleaning it all out – just don’t use this on your fixtures or it will scratch! To clean the inside of the shower curtain, spray with the vinegar all-purpose cleaner and scrub or rub sections of it against itself to agitate, and then rinse.
Health and Beauty
- Teeth – I use the Arm and Hammer toothpaste for regular brushing because its sliiiightly more natural than others, and cheaper than some of the other natural brands — I try once a day, after my copious amounts of coffee, to brush with a whitening mixture of equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, mixed with a little lemon juice and peroxide – you can play with the amounts until it is as paste-y as you’d like. I make up a little container and keep it handy – I am NOT going to show you a picture of my teeth because that feels weird, but it has definitely helped with the coffee stains! I also swish with a spoonful of coconut oil about once a week. This is supposed to help with detoxing from your mouth and improve your dental and gum health! I am not a dentist so I can’t prove that, but my teeth do feel super clean afterwards, and I always look to see what kind of gunk came out and its impressive! I’m not going to show you a picture of that either because its just gross, but try it! ….and word to the wise, don’t spit it down your drain or it will screw up your sink, just spit or dump it into the trash.
- Deodorant – this is a tricky one. No one likes to smell, but we have to remember that sweating is GOOD and is the body’s natural way to clear out toxins and help you cool down — anti-perspirants aren’t that great for you to begin with, and if you have the MTHFR gene defect, the aluminum in anti-perspirants can actually build up in your system and harm you. I use the Arm and Hammer aluminum free deodorant and have been happy with it, and there are now several other companies following suit! Give them a try! If you’re worried about smelly pits, drink more water daily to help flush your system and reapply deodorant more frequently than you would for an antiperspirant and you will be smelling good!
- Jewelry cleaner – simple one, but I take my jewelry off and put in in a small dish with a small bit of regular dish soap and some white vinegar and water – let them soak for a few minutes and all of the soap scum, dry skin, and old lotion and stuff that was on them loosens up. I scrub them with a small paintbrush so I can gently get under the settings and around the stones, and it comes out sparkly clean and without nasty ammonia or chemicals every time! Check out that sparkle!
- Face: I use witch hazel as a natural astringent and toner and it works great without the harshness of other chemical astringents. For removing makeup, coconut oil works wonders! Put a little on a cotton ball and wipe makeup away — you will have to use several cotton balls, but it gently removes your makeup. The perk is that coconut oil is also a great natural antibacterial agent, and also moisturizes your face while you’re at it! I use coconut oil for so many things!
So there you have my few little tips to having a more natural household! I am not an expert by any means, and there are many, many other changes that I probably need to make, but these are just a few that we have implemented to try to be a bit healthier and more mindful of our chemical use around the house – my diagnosis made me start looking into all of this, but I found that I cared even more when I had the babies hanging around. There’s nothing worse than unintentionally making your baby breathe in bleach fumes in the house all day because you decided you were going to have a cleaning day! If its not good for them, its not good for us! Sometimes the natural option takes a bit more elbow grease or patience, but its worth it.
Hope this gives you a starting point to start making some more natural choices! Happy cleaning!