Not such a sweet smell!

One of the sessions on my Eat for a Better Life course is devoted to the subject of toxins (poisons). It’s is a timely topic for this column with the surge in promotion of highly processed party foods for Christmas. You can avoid herbicides and pesticides by buying organic meat and veg. You can cut down your intake of antibiotics and steroids by buying free-range meat. You can avoid chemical additives and damaged fats by buying fresh ingredients and doing your own cooking.

The huge number of chemicals now in our lives is causing many problems. A lady I know suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and can be laid low for several days if she goes near people who wear perfume or who have used the new long-lasting fabric softeners. I accidentally bought this type of softener when my usual brand was changed (no doubt ‘improved’). The new scent was not only nauseating but clung relentlessly to my clothes, my skin and whatever the clothes had laid next to in the drawer or wardrobe. I got rid of it pronto and sought a less toxic alternative.

Perfume is a major theme in the Christmas adverts. There is great secrecy around the recipes for famous fragrances so they do not have to list the ingredients. That doesn’t mean they are harmless. Other ‘smellies’ sold in abundance at this time of year are room fresheners, scented candles and bathing products. Natural essential oils are fine but commonly the scent is created in a lab from chemicals and can be irritant to the respiratory system.

Many beauty products contain chemicals but there are some good companies around that use natural ingredients.  I like Neal’s Yard, Weleda and Burt’s Bees.  There’s also Pure Lakes, a family company in Cumbria, with a great ethos and gorgeous products.

Top tip – take care when buying presents – or do your loved ones some good with a Learn to Eat Well gift voucher.

Make these nifty little boxes out of old Christmas cards!

Make these nifty little boxes out of old Christmas cards!

I wish you all a very merry chemical-free Christmas!

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