The Best Nontoxic Cookware

The Best Nontoxic Cookware

I finally rounded out the best nontoxic cookware!  I have received this question so much within the last 6 months that I knew I needed to write a blog post.  It’s crazy how many toxic chemicals can be lurking in cookware.  It might not seem like a big deal but over time these chemicals add up and produce a toxic load!

So What’s In The Average Pot or Pan?

I’m sure you’ve either used nonstick pots or pans or heard of them.  These pans may make it easy to cook your food with but unfortunately they carry dangerous toxic exposure as well!  Nontoxic cookware usually contains this chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA.  Science has shown that it can stay in human bodies for long periods of time.   It has even shown to cause cancer in lab studies done on animals.

While cancer is nothing to bat an eye at, it also can cause infertility, liver damage, plus delayed development just to name a few other things.  Of course PFOA isn’t the only ingredient you want to avoid in your cookware.  Things like aluminum, plastic, lead, teflon, and cadmium.  These all pose a serious risk to our health and should be avoided.

When living out a natural lifestyle one of the foundations is cooking your food.  It’s no secret that when you cook your own food, you’re getting more nourishment usually then when going out.  However, if the cookware we constantly use is leaching out harmful toxins we may be doing ourselves a disservice.  As I mentioned earlier it’s the toxic load over time that really adds up.  These chemicals are literally getting into the food we’re eating and then absorbed by our bodies.

So What Is Safe?

There are some great options out there now when it comes to nontoxic cookware!  I will say some of the cookware definitely are a little pricier than non-stick- however the investment is worth it.  These pots and pans are going to last you a lot longer than many conventional pots and pans and won’t carry the toxic burden.

Favorites-

Cast Iron-

This was the first type of nontoxic cookware that I switched over too and I still love it.  It really has been around forever and that’s one of the reasons I love it.  It does take a little bit of time to get used to it but once you’ve worked with it you figure it out.  I really love the Lodge cast iron pans.  They’re easy to find at Target or you can order them on Amazon.  They’re also budget friendly!  I use this pan for cooking eggs,  meats, frying- really the list is endless. A couple tips when using cast iron.  Make sure and slowly add heat.  I found this works best instead of blasting the food with heat.  It helps to not burn food.  Cast iron retains heat very well.  Also, make sure you season it regularly. This helps to create a type of natural nonstick surface.  If you’re unsure how to season it, The Wellness Mama did a whole blog post on it here.  When you season a cast iron it’s basically adding a good oil to keep it hydrated and then baking it.  I avoid cooking acidic foods in cast iron because it can break down the seasoning or patina that’s been made on the cast iron.  Cleaning cast iron can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually not.  You don’t want to use soap with cast iron- it can damage the seasoning and dry it out.  Instead, use some salt to clean it.  I just shake salt on top and then take a scrubby and scrub away.  Then rinse with water. Then you want to dry it and rub in a cooking oil. *The one caution I would make is that cast iron has been known to leach iron so if for some reason you have an abundance of iron you might want to switch up your pans every now and then.  I’ve been the opposite more anemic so I welcome all the iron I can get! Check out Lodge Cast Iron here!

Stainless Steel-

This is another option.  It is unique because it comes in many varieties and types.  In other words not all stainless steel is created equal. Stainless steel is made up of a combination of metals.  Some of the most common metals are chromium and nickel.  The chromium is what helps to protect against rusting and is nontoxic for the most part in the body.  Our bodies do need chromium in small amounts but it’s not that much and if you eat a fairly healthy diet you may already be getting more than you need.  Nickel on the other hand is used to give stainless steel that extra hardness and to give it that polished look.  However, it isn’t great for our bodies.  There is virtually no reason for us to consume nickel.  Your best bet is to buy food grade stainless steel.  When shopping you will see numbers like 200, 304, 316 and 430.  These numbers represent the series of stainless steel.  For example, a 300 series may corrode easier then a 400 series. Whereas a 400 series is going to be the strongest and have almost no nickel.  Of course the 400 series will cost more!  I wouldn’t buy anything less than a 304 for overall quality. You will also see numbers 18/8, 18/10 or 18/0. The first number represents the amount of chromium and the second number the amount of nickel.  It’s also important to not use harsh cleaners when cleaning stainless steel because it can cause damage to the lining. When the lining is damaged the heavy metals can leach into the food a lot easier.  Personally, although this option is safer than many I still prefer not to cook with it all the time because of the possible metal content leaching into food, especially if the food your cooking is acidic. Also, many stainless steel cookware has a layer of aluminum in between the stainless steel.  So it’s important to note that if your stainless steel was to get scratched you need to stop using it. You may also see copper sandwiched in the in-between layer as well.  They do this because both aluminum and copper are heat conductors.  From what I’ve read and researched since the aluminum isn’t coming into contact with the food and is protected by stainless steel it’s fine to have it in the cookware. *Some people already have high levels of heavy metals in their bodies and cooking with stainless steel wouldn’t be a good idea.  However, many people might be fine.  I know a lot of people who use it only for certain things and then other foods that might be more acidic they use different cookware.  One more important tidbit is that commercial kombucha is brewed in large stainless steel vats and since kombucha is acidic it is soaking up all those heavy metals. Even though it’s housed in glass it’s best to steer clear of  store bought kombucha and make your own at home. Check out this great set of stainless steel cookware here!

Xtrema

This has been my newest cookware option that I’ve started to use for the last several months and really have come to love!  It is different than both stainless steel and cast iron.  From the glaze on the cookware to the core it’s made with 100% ceramic.  Ceramic is awesome because it’s completely inert- meaning it won’t leach any harmful toxins.  All of Xtrema has been tested for heavy metal content and is free from glues, polymers, coatings and dyes. If you want to see their testing results check them out here.  Plus, it’s dish washer safe- something all the mamas can get behind! It heats very evenly too.  You can even take a dish from the fridge to the stove or oven- it’s very versatile. It also can withstand high temperatures.  It’s easy to clean Xtrema cookware too, just use warm soapy water.  You can also use baking soda or an abrasive scrubby if you need to.  The best way to heat an Xtrema is to turn the heat on low or low medium.  Since it’s so great at heat conduction you don’t need or want to crank the heat up to high.  Doing this would result in foods sticking or burning.  It’s best to turn the heat on a couple minutes before you start cooking and then add a little cooking oil once it’s heated.  I like avocado oil, ghee or coconut oil.  Don’t add the oil to a cold pan, wait until it’s heated up or it will cause foods to stick.  Personally, I love cooking with Xtrema!  I have their 8-inch Versa Braiser.  It’s nice because it has a lid and can be used for cooking meats, quiches, casseroles etc, but also can be used for cooking eggs with.  *Beware, there is a lot of deceptive marketing around ceramic cookware.  It may say ceramic but it is coated with a nonstick chemical.  The only company I’m aware of that is a true ceramic, with no additives is Xtrema.  Xtrema

Porcelain Enamel-

There has been a lot of confusion I’ve noticed about this type of cookware.  It is cast iron but then has been given a coating of enamel.  This enamel is a type of glass.  It is completely safe.  There has been some controversy about the enamel being made of clay and therefore having lead but from various tests performed on it, there has been no lead detection reported.  A common brand you may think of is Le Creuset.  Their cookware is made in France.  One might think that porcelain enamel is similar to cast iron and that is true but it does have it’s differences.  Porcelain Enamel will not rust where regular cast iron can if not seasoned properly.  Also, porcelain enamel won’t leach iron because of the coating, where cast iron will.  Porcelain enameled is also nice to have for acidic foods like chili or spaghetti sauces.  Acidic foods as I mentioned above can strip cast iron of it’s seasoning, especially when simmered for a long period of time.  For cleaning you can use some mild dish soap on it and a scrub pad of some kind.  For stubborn stains or food that’s stuck you can boil some water in it with a few tablespoons of baking soda.  Let it sit for a few hours or overnight.  *Personally I love having a porcelain enamel skillet on hand too.  It’s great for using with acidic foods or making stir frys, soups, or stews.  I would stick with Le Creuset.  To my knowledge they are the only ones that have been tested for lead content and come back negative.  The only small trace amounts that were found were on the outside of the lids and pots where there was some color but not inside.  Also, I’m a skeptic of things made in China as they have been known to have higher metal content and most of the other porcelain enameled is made there. Check out Porcelain Enamel cookware here!

Glass Cookware-

This is a great budget friendly option that’s available almost anywhere cookware is sold.  One of the most common glass cookware is called Pyrex.  It is inert, meaning it doesn’t add or take away from the food.  I have several casserole or baking dishes whatever you like to call them.  I use them for both casseroles and special desserts.  I also have a round glass dish with a lid that’s great for soups or stews that I use a lot.  For making breads I like to use a glass bread loaf pan too.  *Glass is a great option for those starting to detox their cookware and looking for accessible and budget friendly options.  I have even seen really good deals on Pyrex glass sets at Costco! Check out this Pyrex set here!  Check out this great set by Anchor Hocking here!

Bakeware-

When it comes to baking you can use a lot of the cookware I mentioned above but there are a few other options too.  For the ones mentioned above you can use cast iron to bake breads, or porcelain enamel for desserts such as crumbles, cobblers or pies.  Also, glass cookware is a great option for baking too, as well as stainless steel.  Stainless steel is especially nice for cookie sheets or cake pans! These are a great option for stainless steel cookie sheets! If you’re still concerned about the possible metal leakage just use some parchment paper.  I love this brand that doesn’t leach any toxic chemicals.  I use parchment paper when baking always because it makes clean up so much easier and is sometimes essential when making cakes.  You can also get stainless steel muffin trays.  Another option I haven’t talked about is stone cookware.  They have stone baking sheets, loaf pans and cake pans.  I personally haven’t used them.  I know that you have to be really careful when cleaning as you can’t use soap or get them wet.  They’re also heavier too. Rada is a good American made brand that is lead free.  *When it comes to bakeware think about what you use the most and swap that out first.  As I mentioned earlier, you can always buy some nontoxic parchment paper and use that as a protectant too.  I also like these nontoxic paper muffin liners. 

I have never used silicone for cooking or baking other than some silicone muffin liners.  However, I stopped using them because I started to wonder if they were actually safe.  I had read a lot of information saying there just isn’t enough research out there yet and I agree.  Until more long term studies come out, I’m going to stick with using silicone when food isn’t heated or cooked.  

I do think it’s important to switch out your cookware because this is something you use all the time and the accumulative affect is great.  Even if you could replace one item every quarter, by the end of the year you would have a whole new cookware set!

What nontoxic cookware option do you love?

Best Organic Pillow

Best Organic Pillow

Have you been searching for the best organic pillow like I was?  Well, if you have don’t worry, I’ve got your back!  I’ve tested out many options and I’m here to report on my favorites.  Finding a pillow shouldn’t be a hard process, but it can be if you don’t know where to start.  I take the guess work out so you can find your perfect pillow, minus the toxic load.

So why should you avoid conventional pillows?  

Well, for starters most pillows are either filled with polyester, or cotton.  Polyester contains a toxic chemical ethylene glycol, most commonly known as the deadly substance in anti-freeze.  Cotton contains harmful herbicides and pesticides- many are carcinogenic.  If you think about the amount of time you spend sleeping on your pillow it adds up to a toxic load.  Even memory foam pillows are a toxic recipe since they’re off gassing VOC’s(volatile organic compounds).  As you sleep you’re breathing in all those harmful substances.  These VOC’s have been known to cause a host of problems from irritation to the throat, nose, eyes, headaches, nausea, damage to liver, kidneys and nervous system, some of the organic compounds have even been found to cause cancer in humans.  No thanks!

Besides the toxic load it puts on your body, investing in a conventional pillow also puts a toxic load and burden on the environment.  The herbicides and pesticides are then thrown back into our environment where they end up in our streams, lakes and rivers.  Then they make their way into our water streams.  I think sometimes people forget that when you purchase something you are casting a vote for the kind of world we live in.  Good or bad- it’s up to us to make our voice heard!

As you can see picking up a new pillow requires a little more thought than just going to Target.  Whenever I think about detoxing my home, I really have to stop and think about what kind of impact this will have on my health.  In my opinion, pillows are pretty high on the priority list.  Since you spend so much time sleeping, the toxic load of your pillow adds up.  I want the peace of mind knowing what I lay my head on at night is not negatively impacting my health.

Something to think about…

I’ve seen “organic” pillows popping up in Costco or Target and other major retailers that aren’t necessarily organic.  Allow me to explain.  Marketers are catching on and realizing consumers want to see the word organic.  So they’re putting organic on anything and everything these days.  I’ll see “organic” pillows at these stores for $10 or $15- which isn’t possible if it’s truly organic.  What they really mean is the cotton sheet encasing the fill of the pillow is organic but not the actual fill of the pillow.  Which can be hard to know unless you’ve done your research.  Bottom line: don’t be fooled by marketers and always ask lots of questions!  If it seems to good to be true it often is.

So what materials should you look for in an organic pillow?

  • Organic Cotton- Make sure it is certified GOTS ensuring it has gone through testing to vouch for it’s pureness. Cotton is a firmer option, but not the firmest.  More of a medium firmness.
  • Organic Wool- Naturally flame resistant and pest resistant.  Also, naturally microbial.  It’s also comfortable in the summer and winter because of it’s insulative properties.  Some people can be allergic to wool, so something to consider.
  • Organic Buckwheat- These pillows are made from buckwheat hulls.  They offer firm support for your head.  They are great at circulating the air, which helps you stay cool throughout the night.  They’re also naturally resistant to pests.
  • Kapok- It’s a natural fiber that comes from the Ceiba Tree in Central America.  This is a vegan option for those who like a down pillow. It’s fluffy like a down pillow but plant based.  It has an overall lighter feel than cotton as well.
  • Latex- Shredded latex is great for those who like a soft pillow.  Your head will sink into these pillows.  They will keep you cooler too.  It is similar to conventional memory foam but without the toxic chemicals. It’s also mold and mite resistant, 100% biodegradable, and even antimicrobial.

Ok, now that you know the different types of materials to look for in a safe natural pillow, let me review the natural pillow options I’ve personally tried.

White Lotus Home sent me 3 different pillow options to try.  They are store that offers pure and natural mattresses, bedding, and home furnishings all made in the USA.  It’s your one stop shop to clean up your bedroom!  When I was choosing my pillow options to try out they were so helpful.  Walking me through the whole process and asking questions to ensure I had the best options for how I sleep.

I ended up with the Shredded Latex pillow for my husband, the 100% Organic Cotton pillow for myself and the Kapok Travel pillow to try out as well.

Shredded Latex Pillow- My husband LOVES this pillow!  I’m not just saying that.  He probably tells me at least twice a week how much he likes his pillow.  He had been on me for  while to pick up a new pillow.  He’s a side sleeper and likes his pillow to have some softness with it, but still offer some support.  The shredded latex pillow hit the nail on the head for him.  He said he’s never had a pillow he’s loved more!  The overall weight of the pillow is pretty heavy, it reminds me of a down pillow a little.  What’s great about White Lotus Home is you can customize the fill amount.  Just get a zippered case for the pillow when selecting the type of pillow and you’ll be able to take latex out if it’s too much.  I love this feature!  I did try my husband’s pillow too and I have to say I really loved it as well.  It offers the support I like but still felt fluffy.

100% Organic Cotton- So this is the pillow I got for myself.  It offers more of a firm support then the shredded latex. This is especially great if you sleep on your stomach.  I don’t sleep on my stomach but I do like a decent pillow firmness.  I used to sleep with two pillows before getting this one.  I also got the medium fill because I knew I could always take some fill out if I wanted too.  It felt a little firm initially so I did take some of the cotton out.  Another perk of getting the zippered case!  That helped a lot.  Then I felt my head could sink more into the pillow and not be so stiff.  It’s also nice because once the pillow flattens out a little, I know I can go back and add more fill that I took out.

Kapok-  A great option for a side or back sleeper.  This one felt light on the head and not as firm as the cotton.  I like how it molded to my head after a while and didn’t feel as firm as it did in the beginning.  It seemed more breathable than my cotton one too.  The pillow we got to try was a travel pillow so it was a little harder to get an accurate idea of what a kapok pillow might be like since the pillow itself is smaller but overall I was happy with it.  I think the next time I order one I would order a kapok pillow.  I’ve been letting my 22 month old use the travel size pillow and she loves it!  It’s the perfect size for a toddler pillow.  The kapok pillows are also more budget friendly compared to the other two options above.

If you’re looking for a good quality pillow that isn’t going to off gas toxins I would definitely look into White Lotus Home.  They really offer so many great options for natural pillows.  I didn’t get to try out their wool or buckwheat options but they’re reviews look great for both of those pillows as well!  What I love too about White Lotus Home is that each of their pillows comes in a smooth 100% organic cotton sateen pillow casing.  You can know your pillow is doted on from start to finish!  Use Coupone Code: GGG for 20% off your order!!

Have you swapped out your conventional pillow for a natural alternative?  If so, what was your favorite pillow you’ve tried?

 

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Best Organic/Natural Bedding

Best Organic/Natural Bedding

I’ve rounded out my favorite organic/natural bedding on the blog today!  So you all know I’ve been on the hunt for some non-toxic bedding options.  As we’ve slowly renovated our bedroom it was a goal of mine to swap out our bedding.  I did have some sheets that were bamboo but they were 5 years old and needed an update.  Plus, they always came off our king size bed- not a fan!

I was able to test out a couple different sheet options. A higher budget option and a lower budget option.  They both worked out great and I would recommend them each.  Now you might be thinking why make the switch to organic sheets or bedding?  Well, there’s a lot of factors at play.  Allow me to explain.

Since we spend about a 1/3 of our life in bed it’s important to know what were sleeping on.  Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops.  Being doused with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.  However, that’s not the only thing we should be concerned about.  Sheets often contain formaldehyde, and toxic dyes too.  There are also toxic softeners that are used now on bedding, creating a recipe for a toxic sleep experience!

Obviously it can be hard to throw out all the old bedding at once but I recommend starting with one room and slowly doing it when you can.  I recommend starting with your sheets and towels since they are right next to your skin.

What to look for when buying organic sheets?

  • Look for sheets that are certified organic by the GOTS- Global Organic Textile Standard.  For more info. on GOTS click here. This standard ensures the product is made without any toxic chemicals and that at least 90% of fibers are organic.  Also, no child or slave labor.  It’s peace of mind when buying the sheets if you see this label.  It means the sheets were made using pure and clean standards.
  • Avoid sheets or blankets that say “Wrinkle Resistant”, “Easy Care”, or “Permanent Press.”  These words indicate that formaldehyde resin was used in the process and it will NOT rinse out.
  • BE AWARE- just because a sheet set says “organic cotton” does not mean they’re certified organic.  It may indicate the cotton was grown organically but after that the fabric was processed with toxic chemicals.
  • Look for Oeko- Tex Certified Sheets.  These sheets may not be grown organically but they are tested for unhealthy chemicals in the final product.  These often tend to be a little less expensive and easier to find. For more on Oeko- Tex Certification click here.

So what did I end up for my bedding?

Sheets-

SOL Organics- These sheets are what luxury is made of!  They are made with fair trade certified cotton, and certified organic cotton.  The second party certifications include GOTS, Oeko-Tex and FLOCERT- a global fair trade certification.  These 300 thread count cotton sheets wrap you up in softness the minute they touch your skin!  They come in a variety of colors too. We chose white and are happy with how crisp and clean they look.  They also have 3 different sheet sets.  You can get a hemmed version, classic or pleated.  We got the hemmed version.  Each set comes with two pillow cases, a fitted sheet and a flat sheet.  And yes they stay on our mattress too!  They also come in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King and Split King. Can’t say enough about these luxury sheets.  They also offer organic duvet covers and bedroom sets that include the duvet and sheet set.  They were kind enough to offer a discount for my readers.  Use coupon code: GGG25 for 25% off all products over $99, plus free shipping within the U.S.  Shop here for all bedding!

Target Organic Sheet Sets- Now you can find organic sheet sets at Target even.  I bought a set to try out for you guys too.  I wanted to give you a budget friendly option.  These sheets are also certified by GOTS and Oek0-Tex.  The king size comes in at $55.99- not bad for a toxin free sheet option.  These also come with two pillow cases, fitted and flat sheet.  They aren’t as silky soft as the SOL Organics.  They have a stiffer feel and texture to them.  Some people may like that feel, others may not.  It’s obviously your preference.  My hubs could tell a difference when comparing the Target sheets to the SOL Organics.  I think these would be a great option for kids, who may not notice.  However, for adults it might be nice to splurge a little on the SOL Organics!  These come in some fun prints if your into printed sheets.  We got the White- which does have some grey lines going across it but they call it White.   Check out the Target sheets here! 

Coverlet/Euro Shams- I ended up going with a West Elm Coverlet cover.  I used to have a duvet cover and down cover but due to allergies and not having a big enough washer to properly wash it all the time(hello dust mites) I ended up going with just a bedspread.  It’s organic and super chic if I do say so myself!  They have shams as well that I got to match as you can see above.  I got the euro shams.  I went with the frost gray color and really love it.  I really like how the coverlet isn’t stiff feeling and is soft and cozy.  West Elm also has more options for organic bedding too.  Check out the coverlet I got here! 

Plisse Blanket- This is an organic cotton blanket my friend Steph from @stephdufordlifestyle had recommended to me from West Elm.  She had raved about them and I knew once I started detoxing my bedding I was going to snag one of these for the bed.  It’s such a perfect layering blanket.  We have our sheet down first, then this Plisse blanket.  It gets softer the more you wash it too!  We got ours in the color white.  I like having a couple layers of blankets on the bed and this is a perfect fit.  Get your Plisse blanket here!

Oeko-Tex Blanket- Ok, so I wanted a warmer blanket for during the winter to layer on my bed.  I knew in the summer I would take it off.  I found one from Target that I like.  It isn’t organic, however, I was ok with that.  My biggest concern was that it was at least Oeko-Tex certified.  As mentioned above they test for harmful substances once the product is made.  I was excited to see how many options for Oeko-Tex were at Target!  I was ok with it not being organic since it’s not directly touching my skin and it’s Oeko-Tex Certified.  Check out all the blankets here!

Nightstands- The nightstands are from All Modern and they’re made from a combination of real wood and manufactured wood.  I wasn’t as concerned with the nightstands since they’re a lot smaller piece of furniture.  Plus, I let them air out in the garage for a week and outside when it was sunny to help off gas as much as possible.  There wasn’t a strong smell at all once we brought them in. Here are the nightstands I got from All Modern!

Lamp- The lamps I got from All Modern too.  I had been eyeing them for a while.  I love anything with gold and these just make a statement!  Check out the lamps here!

Bed Frame-  I’ve been searching for a new bed frame for a while.  I had some strict guidelines when looking.  It had to be made of real wood- no particle board or manufactured wood because of the chemicals involved in the process.  Since a bed is such a large piece of furniture I didn’t want it off gassing harmful fumes. It also couldn’t be cloth or fabric.  Although I do like the look of the cloth headboards, from research I’ve learned how dust mites can live in them!  Plus, I wondered how they would really get clean, since you can’t take the cloth off.  After much looking I landed on the West Elm Mid Century Modern Bed.  It’s not only made with real wood but fair trade as well.  The price wasn’t so crazy either.  I found most furniture made from all wood can be very costly.  I’m SO happy with the purchase!  It didn’t even have a smell when we opened it other than just a pleasant real wood smell.  My hubs was impressed with how well it was made too.  Can’t recommend it enough!  Check out the West Elm Bed Frame here! 

That sums up my organic/natural bedding review!  Did you see anything you like?

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The Best Natural Paint

The Best Natural Paint

SO excited to chat with you all about the best natural paint!  This post has been a long time coming.  We moved into our new house in mid-November.  This is our first home we’ve owned and we couldn’t be more excited to make it our own!  We knew the first thing we wanted to do was paint it.  Paint makes such a difference.  We weren’t too fond of the color it was and wanted it to feel brighter and bigger.  However, wanting a non-toxic home is at the top of my list and I didn’t want to compromise.  Fortunately, after researching out natural paint alternatives I didn’t have too.  I found Natura Paint by Benjamin Moore and was sold!

*This post is sponsored by Benjamin Moore, however, opinions and thoughts are my own. 

If you’re unsure of what makes conventional paint so toxic, let me explain.  Most paints contain VOC’s(Volatile Organic Compounds) gasses emitted from liquids or solids.  They are known to cause a host of problems from irritation to throat, nose, eyes, headaches, nausea, damage to liver, kidneys and nervous system, some of the organic compounds have even been found to cause cancer in humans.

The largest factor is indoor air quality, which according to the EPA.gov is worst inside then outside-

Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.

There are a number of other chemicals found in paint too besides VOC’s.  Just a few are:

  • Ammonia
  • Acetone
  • Fungicides
  • Biocides
  • Crystalline silica

Thankfully, there are waterborne paints now, instead of solvents.  Waterborne paints are such a great option for so many reasons.  

  • Low odor
  • Low VOC
  • Quick dry time
  • Great durability
  • Less hazards and easy and safe clean up
  • They’ve been proven to perform in both residential and industrial buildings.

I must note that there is no perfect paint out there.  Only better options.  It’s similar to nail polish- even the best natural ones still contain  chemicals.  They have to in order to truly perform.  Paint is in the same wheel house.  There are a lot more “green” options out there now, but they also don’t perform or the colors are not aesthetically pleasing.  When choosing the paint for our house, look, feel and overall performance was a huge factor.  You may get a natural paint but if it doesn’t perform, then what’s it good for?

My friend Steph from @stephdufordlifestyle used Natura paint from Benjamin Moore and loved it.  She is very choosy in what she uses in her home too- even more so.  Her son has multiple food allergies and multiple environmental allergies.  She also has severe MCS(multiple chemical sensitivities) and has to be extremely careful.  She has painted two houses now with the Natura line and has loved the outcome in both!  She also shared this tidbit I want to pass on to you as well.  She told me they recommend those who suffer from MCS to first test out a small area on a piece of wood and see how you react or possibly take it in the car with you before doing a whole room or house.  This way you know if you tolerate it first.

Here is a quote from her:

As someone who has a child who suffers from multiple food allergies and environmental allergies, plus having MCS myself I was extremely happy with the Benjamin Moore Natura product both times we’ve used it in our homes.  It not only went on just like you would want paint too but it held up, and did not cause us any adverse reactions.

I love that the Natura line has zero emissions after 4 hours.  It also has zero VOC’s, is 100% acrylic and is a primer in one.  Plus, it has a quick dry time.  Everything felt dry after a couple hours. What’s even more exciting is it’s asthma and allergy friendly too!  Here is a quote on the asthma and allergy certification on Benjamin Moore’s website:

We created a paint that is scientifically proven to have a reduced level of allergens. The asthma & allergy friendly® Certification Program independently tests and identifies consumer products that are more suitable for those living with asthma and allergies. Natura earned the certification based on its odor, emission and VOC performance.

I love that it’s not hard to find or source Natura paint.  Just head to any Benjamin Moore paint store and it’s there.  Check out Benjamin Moore’s store finder here.  They also have thousands of colors to choose from as well- another huge draw.

We chose the color Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65, Natura, Flat– a crisp clean white, similar to soft linen.  We did our whole whole house in Chantilly Lace, except my daughter’s bedroom we did in Benjamin Moore Gray Owl OC-52, Natura, Flat.  We also didn’t paint the master bath or the kid’s bath yet- still deciding, but we did paint the 1/2 bath on the main floor(I forgot to take a before photo but it was all mint green to give you an idea).  We had all the walls in the house painted in the Chantilly Lace and then my daughter’s room painted in Gray Owl and then the baseboards and trim were painted with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65, Natura, Semi-Gloss.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall outcome!  The paint looks just as you would imagine paint to look and brightened up our whole house.  As you can see below, the before and after photos show the difference paint can make!

What the painters thought-

We hired painters to paint for us.  With little kids, we knew we just wouldn’t have the time or space to do the whole house ourselves.  Plus, our house has some really high vaulted ceiling areas and it would be hard to try and get them.  The painters were excited that the paint was from Benjamin Moore.  They said it was a quality paint and good choice.  They had yet to use the Natura line from them.  I asked for their feedback after painting and they said it was a great paint!  They did go over some areas three times where it was a little darker from the previous paint but other than that they were happy with it as well.

Smell Factor-

The best part?  I could hardly smell it at all!  We stayed at my parents for a week while they painted and I would come check on it everyday and was always amazed at how little it smelled.  Even when my mom came over she kept saying she could hardly smell anything!  My nanny said the same thing.  I was excited since the biggest concern going into a paint job for me is always the smell.

I really can’t recommend this paint enough!  The quality of the paint, to the zero VOC’s, zero emissions after 4 hours, and asthma and allergy certification make this paint the best in my opinion.  Check out all of Benjamin Moore Colors here.

Of course I couldn’t write this blog post without some before and after photos.  The change is amazing!  This is just the first part of my Detox Your Home Series.  I’ll be sharing everything we do to our house as we do it, from products we get, etc.  So many of you have asked how to do it, excited to finally share the process and tips with you.  Plus, once were done I’ll be sharing the final photos of the house.  We are still in the decorating phase and haven’t put anything up or gotten new furniture yet- it all takes time.  Bottom line- I have so much more planned and can’t wait to share it with you!

*Note- I live in Washington where there are more gray days then sun, so the color doesn’t quite pop as much in my opinion.  However, the before pics give you a good idea of how much brighter it looks!  Also, I had the light on in some after photos and some I didn’t, so you could really see what the color looks like in both lightings.  I did notice in the photos with the light on the Chantilly Lace color looks a little more yellow tinted.

Dining Before-

Dining After-

Living Room Before-

Living Room After-

Playroom before-

Playroom After-

Girl’s Room Before-

Girl’s Room After-

Master Bedroom Before-

Master Bedroom After-

Office Before-

Office After-

Bathroom After- (Didn’t have a before photo of this bathroom but it was all mint to give you an idea)

So what did you think?  Leave me a comment below!  Have you used Benjamin Moore Natura before?

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