I enjoy any excuse to celebrate and share more love. However, since becoming a Low Tox Mentor with Low Tox Life, I am now viewing my actions and purchases in a very different light.
I want to stay healthy and happy well into old age. One way I can achieve this is to reduce the toxic load on my body. Yes, the body has very efficient detox mechanisms, but it can only handle a certain amount before screaming “enough”! This is when we start to see reactions that weren’t there before; reactions such as headaches, skin rashes, lethargy, and an inflamed digestive system.
Unfortunately, there are many hidden toxins in today’s fast-paced and industrial world. So, let’s look at how we can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a typical way with gifts, chocolates, roses, dinner, and candles, but with fewer toxins.
A wonderful fragrance can stimulate pleasant memories and lift our spirits. However, if the fragrance is synthetic, it can cause nausea and headaches in some people.
Synthetic fragrances also contain phthalates to help the fragrance to linger longer. According to a research article published in the US National Library of Medicine, these phthalates are known hormone disruptors and are especially a problem for developing children1.
I had no idea about phthalates until a couple of years ago. There is a lot that manufacturers don’t tell us! That is why I am trying to spread the word via this website and my social media pages. There is still a lot I don’t know but at least now I read labels more carefully and ask more questions.
It is useless to worry about what I have bought before. The best I can do is be more aware of what I buy in the future. My fragranced products must say “pure essential oil” as the source of fragrance.
Avoiding gifts with synthetic fragrance is easy. If you see the words “fragrance” or “parfum”, put it back on the shelf.
Phthalates are also found in flexible plastics. Avoid products with the number 3 within the arrows and the letters “V” or “PVC” below the arrows.
BPA is also found in some plastics, so try to find a more natural option for any gift that you are thinking of purchasing, whether it be glass, paper, china, stainless steel, or wood.
Buy quality chocolates that use cocoa butter and not the cheap and nasty “vegetable oil”.
Vegetable oil sounds healthy, however, it is commonly made from a mixture of cheap oils made from genetically modified seeds. The seeds are modified to resist the herbicide glyphosate (aka Zero and Roundup). The processing itself also uses bleaching and deodorising chemicals that should be nowhere near our food.
Also, look for chocolates that have a high cocoa percentage as this means there is less refined sugar. A fairly good quality and easily found brand is Lindt dark chocolate.
Another idea is to make your own chocolate treat to give your loved one. I have made for my beloved some super easy Chocolate Cashew Truffles. Find the recipe here.
Don’t touch the roses or flowers any more than necessary! Better still, wear gloves when transferring the flowers to a vase and have good ventilation in the room where they are put on display. Why? Because they are full of pesticides.
Many flowers are imported and according to an article by Australian ABC News, the stems of cut flowers need to be dipped in glyphosate to enter Australia.“Prolonged chemical use on the skin, which is a living organ and absorbs everything definitely shows that it affects your health2.”
What can we do to avoid this? As consumers are becoming more aware of “flower miles” and the chemicals used, it is becoming more popular to buy local, seasonal, and bee-friendly flowers.
I refuse to get caught up in the need to have overpriced red roses on Valentine’s Day. I love and appreciate ANY flowers. In fact, right now I have sitting on my dining room table a cheery bunch of gorgeous and locally grown red gerberas.
We have also planted rose bushes so that there is a steady supply of roses for most of the year.
It is fun to eat dinner out but if we are wanting to avoid the crowds and avoid all the less than desirable and mostly unnecessary food additives, then how about making a special Valentine’s dinner made with love?
If possible, make the occasion extra special with a beautiful tablecloth, some cloth napkins and quality candles. These can be borrowed if you don’t have them.
Make it a dinner for two or involve the whole family. Each member can be responsible for a part. These special moments are the things that lasting memories are made of.
Avoid candles made from paraffin as paraffin is primarily obtained from the distillation, refining and bleaching of petroleum. There is a well-cited study from the South Carolina State University that asserts that the emissions from candles contain benzene and toluene.
“Exposure to benzene has been linked to the development of blood cancers and blood disorders. …
The principal effect of toluene exposure is central nervous system depression. Toluene may affect the liver, kidneys, and nervous system; the nervous system appears to be most sensitive to its effects and its causes of irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract3. “
Soy candles can also be a problem because most soy is genetically modified to resist the glyphosate that is used during growing and harvesting. Oh no, again that nasty glyphosate!
So, what sort of candle is safe? Fragrance-free beeswax candles are the best. They are more expensive, however, according to Queen Bee candles, with a quality beeswax candle “you’ll get a burn time of about 10 times longer than the paraffin candles would have burned” plus there is no soot4.
The next best are soy candles, but I would suggest using them in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, to avoid breathing in any glyphosate residue.
I hope these facts about the toxins to avoid have not stressed you. I hate being the bearer of bad news, though I feel consumers should be aware of what is in the products they buy; they should be able to either take precautions or buy an alternative in the future.
Perhaps this Valentine’s Day can’t be totally toxin-free but better than last Valentine’s, and then even better next Valentine’s as we become more aware of our choices.
Please don’t focus on the negatives of what you didn’t know but instead rejoice that you now know how to love and care for yourself and your loved ones in a better way in the future. Don’t focus on the things like the possible pesticides on the flowers you may be given but instead focus on the love that came with the flowers. You will have a whole year to subtly educate your loved ones about the reasons why locally bought or home-grown flowers are a better choice for you, your family, and the environment.
Here’s to a less toxic and, more importantly, a love-filled Valentine’s Day!