I'm afraid I may have gone off the deep end.
What started as noticing that Swiffer solution gave me headaches has led to... homemade all purpose cleaning spray, floor wash, glass wash, baby wipes (okay, I've been doing this one for a while), and even... deodorant.
I don't necessarily have a problem with commercial deodorant... it's just that my friend sent me a recipe for it and it seemed like a fun thing to try. And on the days I've remembered to use it, it seems to work just fine. (If I'm pressed for time, I use Se.cret.) The month of August may shed a different light on things, but so far, so good.
I've also been making my own (raw) yogurt, which is really satisfying. It's so easy and so much cheaper than commercial yogurt, plus it looks really cool in my new wide mouth Ma.son jars. I had a tiny bit left over, so I even did a tiny baby food jar of yogurt (thanks Catherine for the donated jar).
To those who are scared by the raw stuff... here's the deal. I won't extol the benefits of raw milk, but just say this: milk can be contaminated at any point between leaving the cow's body and entering your mouth. Pastuerization is just one stop along the way -- it can still get contaminated after this step. It is my firm belief that farmers who know their milk will be consumed raw are all the more likely to be scrupulously careful with their dairy (if not out of concern for their customer than for their livelihood... one bad outcome could put them out of business). Morever, cows who are grass and not grain fed have a normal pH in the stomach, one that does not harbor the deadly E. coli 01H57. So that makes it all the more safe. And is one reason that it is safe to eat grass fed beef more rare than conventionally raised beef.
As I read, calves raised alongside their mothers in pasture don't get sick from nursing on udders that are far less than scrupulously clean (read: tinged with manure) and yet they don't get sick... yet conventionally raised calves have to be pumped full of antibiotics to stay healthy.
Still, I am keeping my own little calf drinking milk from her own species. But she does relish some raw (bovine) yogurt, swiped from mommy's dish. I feel that the benefits are worth the risks.
Other homemade consumables include vast vats of chicken broth (made from pastured, organic chicken), gluten free carrot muffins (made with coconut flour and raw honey), beet kvass, kefir (still trying to work out the kinks on this one), lactofermented cabbage, grass fed beef stew, and many others. I'm finally cooking for myself again, after the many months of pregnancy and infancy where I just couldn't be bothered. But I feel like I need to be a good role model for Calliope, and skipping dinner, or snacking for dinner, isn't what I want her to see. Never mind that I eat after she goes to bed.
Anyway, I'm a little bit excited and quite a bit nervous because I volunteered to be interviewed for the New Yo.rk Ti.mes as a new parent who got freaked about chemicals. After writing a blurb to the journalist, he called me for a phone interview. I'm pretty sure I sounded like a dufus as we chatted while I simultaneously pumped in my office during my lunch break. After not hearing from him for a while, I was hoping that maybe he decided to feature someone else... but then I got an email last week that a photographer was coming to take pictures of Calliope and me. We did that last Thursday.
So, it could be cool to be featured in a national paper... but I really think I sounded kind of idiotic in the interview. I was just scattered and maybe a little ditzy. Let's face it, this is my new state of mind, what with the advent of motherhood.
So I feel this need to warn everyone ahead of time... that somehow, if I tell folks that I know sounded stupid in the interview, I won't feel as embarrassed when the article comes out?
It seems like a dubious strategy, at best, but lacking another one, I'm sticking to it.