We're thrilled to share this terrific guest blog post by Allison Evans, Co-Founder of Branch Basics.
Cleaning could be one of the worst things you do. But done right, it can be life changing.
Seven years ago I would have thought this sounded a bit dramatic. But at that time, sitting down to write this would have required painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants and an icepack. My spine throbbed incessantly, my face burned and tingled and my fingers and toes were numb more often than not. I was also losing motor skills, which became apparent when I reached for a milk carton in my college apartment just to watch it fall to the floor. The most frightening part was how – in just two months – I went from seemingly healthy to riddled in mysterious and debilitating pain. Unable to sit through class, I was diagnosed as a student with disabilities and spent a year visiting the world’s best medical specialists. None could agree upon a diagnosis, but threw out things like “autoimmune disease”, “arthritis” and “possibly MS”. For me, college was one big forced smile. Few knew of my misery and how terrified I was of the future.
After two years of drugs, doctors and an ever-growing dossier of test results, I had ears to hear my aunt, Marilee Nelson, an environmental and dietary consultant. She asked questions no one else had: What does your diet look like? What cleaning and laundry products do you use? She explained how toxins in the things we eat, breathe and put on our skin can devastate our health – that their removal was crucial to my recovery. I was doubtful, but desperate enough to give it a shot. If what Marilee said was true – that my body wanted to heal – I was determined to get out of its dang way!
I was blown away by the transformation that came with switching to a clean diet… and even more blown away when I discovered the toxins that were in the laundry and home cleaners I used daily. How could it be that the things I brought in to clean contained some of the most harmful chemicals of all, with ingredients scarier than the nasty stuff they got rid of? I learned most disinfectants contain pesticides and ingredients linked to everything from eczema to neurological disorders. Some are known human carcinogens. I was incensed that even my “all-natural” and “non-toxic” cleaners made claims that weren’t regulated and contained chemicals that weren’t tested – over 3,000 of which could be hidden under the single word “fragrance”. So those scents I’d grown up with? No relation to pine trees and orange peels, but rather concocted in a lab and known as “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (oh hey, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts and infertility!). So from dryer sheets to scented candles, I filled up a Hefty bag Santa-style and ditched them all in one fell swoop. This “clean sweep” freed up the energy my body was using to detox unnecessary chemicals, allowing it to focus on healing. (Think: liver cleanse for the entire family!)
Within a few months, I was a walking testament to the power of pure – off all medication and virtually symptom free. The transformation was nothing short of a miracle. I was not only sold on “clean” living but had a burning passion to help others experience the same. So along with Marilee and my best friend/college roommate, Kelly Love – who herself experienced the effects of the clean tirade (no more cramps, itchy eyes, etc.) – I started Branch Basics with the goal of helping people experience the power of pure. We do this by providing the world’s safest cleaning solutions, including a plant-based soap concentrate that replaces virtually every cleaner you need. And works.
So I invite you to remove those rubber gloves and rethink “clean”, honoring its original definition: “free of pollutants, unadulterated, pure”. After all, a truly clean space is one that promotes health and wellbeing.
A special note to parents: children are especially vulnerable to chemicals, pound for pound breathing more air than adults and spending time closer to freshly-cleaned floors. The products you use to clean (even while pregnant) can have a profound effect on their health during crucial stages of development.
While in college, Allison’s health struggles left the best medical doctors in the country stumped as to the cause and treatment. With the help of her aunt, Marilee Nelson, she remove toxic chemicals from her diet and environment, and within months, she was pain free and on fire for the power of living a pure lifestyle. Alongside Marilee and best friend, Kelly Love, Allison co-founded Branch Basics which provides truly safe cleaning solutions and education for those wanting to live a life free of toxic chemicals.