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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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My Quest To Live Cleaner & Greener



You'd think I'd be online attempting to find health insurance on this first day of the Health Insurance Marketplace, but I understand there are so many people online and on the phones right now that it probably would be more sensible to wait a bit.


There's a LOT of uninsured folks in this country.

I have been online however. I haven't read one blog today, which is very unusual since it's close to 4 p.m. But I'm on a mission. A mission to educate myself and live a healthier lifestyle.


Yesterday my appointment with the doctor at OU was cancelled. He isn't going to be in today. They tried to get me to take an October 14 appointment, but I was adamant that I really needed to see someone with this asthma flare-up much, much sooner. I finally secured (I hope) an appointment with a nurse practitioner for Thursday afternoon. Sheesh!

So here is what I have decided. I am going to research everything I can find on "living (and breathing!) a greener lifestyle.

I have been reading all manner of articles on the health benefits of essential oils, for instance. Not fragrance oils, essential oils. I will be throwing that can of air freshener in the trash. That is one thing I will be checking into.


I now know I must get rid of my beloved candles. They are toxic to my breathing. Say it ain't so! Yes, it's so. From the paraffin to the wick to the smoke to the soot. Bad.

So then I started checking out the soy candles. Better, but not best.

Beeswax. But they are expensive. So I will probably be attempting to learn to make them myself.

Here are the benefits of beeswax candles:

So, what is beeswax?
Beeswax is a 100% natural, healthy, non-toxic wax produced by bees to make their hives after having pollinated millions of flowers over their life. Thus the natural goodness of flora that the bees put together over a lifetime is what makes up beeswax. Bees pollinate flowers. A bee uses this pollen secured from flowers and combined with its own secretions to make wax. This wax is used to then cover the honey comb.

Choose Beeswax Candles and *Bee Cool*?
Burning a beeswax candle is actually healthy for your home. It cleanses the air since it emits negative ions upon burning. It burns without producing fumes. It is completely non-toxic and it has a soothing subtle scent of honey that is pleasing to the senses. Beeswax candles help in preventing allergies caused by the smoke of regular candles.

100% beeswax candles are a natural remedy to allergy, sinus, and asthma relief. People with allergies, sinus problems, and asthma have reported improvement in their symptoms, breathing better and sleeping better after burning the 100 percent beeswax candles in their bedrooms for three to four hours before bedtime.


So now I glance around the room at my pretty candles and sigh. They've got to go. Or at least not be lit.

Here I've been forced inside for weeks due to the allergens in the air outside, and there are so many toxins inside. Tulsa, Oklahoma is rated #15 in the list of worst places to live as an asthmatic, so I've got to figure out a way to make my life better so I can breathe easier.


Do you want to know the top 10 worst cities for asthmatics? Go here for the complete 2013 rundown:

10 Worst Cities for asthmatics

I will be getting rid of the toxic household cleaners in my home. And whatever else makes you sick.

I want to learn how to live healthier, and not need so many healthcare visits period.

I promise to share all this information here as I learn. We can learn together and you can add your tips and knowledge in the comments.

Here is my tip of the day. A simple way to deal with a child's cold. Read this.

I'm back to reading and researching...

For you book club readers, this is October's read. I've started it and it drew me in immediately...

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52 comments:

  1. Check MarthaStewart.com for videos on making beeswax candles. Mary

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  2. I only do green cleaners for the home that I make myself. Much cheaper too

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    Replies
    1. You are ahead of me, Dawn. It took this last asthma bout...

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  3. I would recommend an air purifier. I've heard those machines are good for someone in your condition.

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    1. Will research that as well. Got my work cut out for me.

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    2. Research the Nikken air purifier. NIKKEN is a great company with "green" products, nutritionals, magnets and work with the negative ions. Their air machine emits negative ions to make you breathe easier and feel better. I used to be a distributor but am not anymore, but did love their products and use alot now. My husband used to have BAD asthma and used inhalers all the time. We got a Nikken magnetic bed pad after hearing how it worked so well for asthmatic children and autistic children. We both sleep on the bed pads now and he has no problems now with asthma whatsoever. They also have comforters that have magnets in them and the negative ion technology and we use that over us... we feel better, breathe better and it warms us in the winter and cools us in the summer. DON'T sleep with an elec. blanket! It's very bad for you. They also have a water purifier with magnetics in it which helps your PH balance. It's called Pi Mag water. I love their stuff but is IS kind of expensive, but well worth it to live clean and green, and will definitely help your asthma. I think the air purifier would be the BEST out of any others for you. Do your research because alot of air purifiers are not good.

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  4. Brenda, I so can relate to what you are going through. I have some health issues which have given me no other option than to change to a greener lifestyle, one of the conditions being Chemical Sensitivity Disorder. I would highly suggest that you also change all of your home cleaners as Dawn suggested above as well. They are all so full of chemicals and bring nothing but havoc to your body. I make all of my cleaners, laundry detergents, toothpaste, mouthwash - anything that I can I make at home with all natural products. They are wonderful and my health is the better for my using them. Do purchase an air purifier, they will change your life. We picked up a couple from Walmart.com and they have been wonderful. Best of luck!

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    1. I know that when I was painting that cabinet when I was doing the kitchen, I got sick just after...

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  5. Good luck with this, Brenda! As I read this, I was sitting here burning a candle that has a strong scent. Gotta blow it out! I'm like you, I do love my candles!

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    1. Sheesh! Hated to read that about the candles...

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  6. I have gone from having allergies to just a few things to full blown asthma with severe sensitivities to all petroleum based products which is pretty mush all cleaners and candles and scented anything! Its has escalated to the point where the skin peels off the inside of my mouth when I am exsposed to scented oils ( plug it in thingies) or sprays, I have develped a condition where the inside of my bladder is peeling away from the chemicals my body has absorbed, the lining of our sinus , lungs and bladder is made from similar tissue , so if your lungs become inflamed , your sinus and bladder can as well.The reason I am sharing this is because I feel your desperation to try and find a better way, its possible and I pray you can stop the progression of this so that you don't end up like me.Mine escalated after a brain injury, how that makes sense I do not know but that is what it was, I use lemons and baking soda to clean, white vinegar and peroxide, I use bees wax candles because they help clean the air, I use only unscented products, it becomes a way of life.Ther are many sites with info and I wish you all the best! Best wishes from Canada, Its great to meet you, sorry for the long comment but this is very close to my heart,

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    1. Thanks for writing. So sorry for your condition. From a a brain injury, huh? Thanks for your info. You certainly taught me a lot.

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  7. I entered the essential oils world about two years ago. My one tip. I take cotton balls and sprinkle 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil and place throughout my house. It helps with keeping the air purer. I no longer burn candles, I have bought the flameless candles and put drops on their bulbs for room fresheners. I could go on and on about essential oils. I don't sell them so this is not a come on to buy products. I, too, wanted to feel better. My daughter gave me a book one Christmas, plus some oils and a recipe for homemade laundry soap. I was off and running. I don't have colds and fall sinus trouble since then. I found lots of info on the web but be wise in buying your oils. I did some searching on who owns certain businesses concerning essential oils to make my decision as to where to buy them. Good luck, you will be pleased you changed.

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    1. Please go on and on. I need the info!

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    2. I get my essential oils from Nature's Gift. She has a blog that is very informative. I buy baking soda in bulk bags and watch distilled vinegar when it goes on sale. One little tip I just heard the other day is take one of the sheets they put in your gift bag when you purchase something are great to clean your glass and mirrors.
      They don't leave that waxy film that windex leaves. I tried it and it works great!

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  8. Hi Brenda ~ one tip. I think that Michael's or other craft stores carry sheets of beeswax and you can buy the wick. put the wick in the middle and roll up the beeswax. I made these candles many years ago. They are fun to make. I think I might start again. I always clean with lemon, vinegar and baking soda. I threw out my cleaning products a long time ago. I also make my own laundry detergent. Good luck and I am looking forward to the many tips you share with us.

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    1. Guess I'm just late to the party. Thanks for the info on Michaels.

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  9. Buying products from say, Shaklee, are so ridiculously expensive and then the shipping, I tried but simply couldn't keep up. I didn't really think they cleaned well, anyway. I use mostly flameless, I get the effect and they are safe. I use an air purifier, especially in my bedroom at night. I no longer use Glade plug ins, etc. I CANNOT believe that NYC wasn't on the top 10 list, we get bad raps all the time! Wow!! xo

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    Replies
    1. I considered Shaklee, but knew I couldn't afford it.

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  10. Brenda...thanks for the tips on the beeswax candles...let us know if you find them cheaply and/or what you learn on making them. I love candles and tend to burn them more in the winter so this info is handy right now. I stopped using air fresheners when I noticed the dog wheezing, can you believe that?

    When my asthma first became out of hand in my early teens, my mother made sure that my bedroom was super clean and allergen free. Not a lot of objects to catch dust, no rugs or heavy drapes or blinds, protective pillow and mattress covers and simple blankets and sheets that could be freshened up in the dryer. This makes sense since we spend more hours in our bedrooms than any other room in our homes.

    Good luck with the insurance and your doctor's appointment.

    XO,
    Jane

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    Replies
    1. Well, I guess it's like what they say about mattresses, and how we spend what, a 1/3 of our lives in the bedroom. I will share everything I learn.

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  11. I will be following your quest, Brenda. I'm a skeptic about most things I read and must admit I've been somewhat perturbed that so many people are sensitive to perfumes and aromas in the home and office AND to my cats. Yet I'm a strong proponent of adapting whenever I can to contribute to the common good. And I want my home to be healthier and more comfortable for our family and friends. So I'm eager to know what works and makes sense to you. Thanks.

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    1. Evidently it is not the cats that people are allergic to, it is their saliva which they lick to clean themselves.

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    2. Evidently it is not the cats that people are allergic to, it is their saliva which they lick to clean themselves.

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    3. I'm a skeptic too. That's why I read and read and compare and compare and read some more...

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  12. I do not buy or burn candles for this reason. I dust only with beeswax which is expensive but lasts me six months or more a can. I read a book this spring about organic housekeeping and have been trying to practice it's principles. Chemicals and especially chlorines induce headaches for me. I clean a lot with white vinegar and Dawn.

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    1. I didn't even know you could clean with beeswax. Hey, I think you guys could teach me more than I could ever teach you no matter how much I read!

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  13. I gave up on candles a long time ago because of asthma. I now usw battery operated candles. They come in all sizes. The best thing is. When I doze off... i don't have to worry about the house burning down. They also work well when the power goes out. I also use Simple Saline to out my nose after being outside when the pollen count starts rising. Also added a 4" filter on the a/c that cuts down on the dust.

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    1. I never left candles burning more than a few minutes, because I forget things so fast and am always afraid I'll burn the house down.

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  14. I will be looking for beeswax candles!

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    Replies
    1. I'm going to look into various companies, and also into making them.

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  15. Oh Brenda, this will be so interesting to see what you uncover in your research. I only want you to feel better and never have anything like what Laurie has had to go through. I've been making a lot of my own cleansers lately also. Much cheaper and you know what you are getting.

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    1. The biggest clue, I guess, is when you look at a label and it has thirty ingredients. Food, cleaners, everything.

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  16. Whoa! Richmond is #1 on the list! No wonder my Dad came down with severe allergies after marrying my mom and moving here from Penna. And my friend Ginger suffers so badly with asthma. Good luck with your green living, I gave up candles many years ago due to allergies, and fight my daughter about spraying perfume that makes me sick. People are constantly smoking at the entrance to stores, restaurants, the post office - Stuff is everywhere, that's for sure. I walk around with my hand covering my nose often, my husband says he's going to get me a gas mask :)
    Mary

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    Replies
    1. A gas mask is probably not a bad idea. Maybe smokers would get the message. But I doubt it. Instantly thought of you when I read Richmond...

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  17. We could all stand to live cleaner and greener! And I love that tip about honey and cinnamon for colds.

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  18. I think you are very wise to seek out healthier alternatives to ease your asthma Brenda, I would also recommend a Hepa Air Purifier. they remove 99 per cent of dust allergens and impurities in the air. You could put it in your bedroom and night and then move it to the room where you spend most of your time during the day. I hope you will find some relief soon, my late husband had asthma and we had air purifiers in each room of the house, they helped greatly.

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  19. I am so sorry to hear that news, Brenda. Who knew!!!! Glad you are doing such good research. You will probably cure yourself before you ever get to the doctor. I am glad you stood up for yourself and demanded to see someone. Good for you. I checked out the top ten and this area is not on the list at all. Blessings- xo Diana

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  20. Wishing you healthier days, and cleaner air! Good luck with your insurance too.
    xo Kris

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  21. Theres a great website called The Yummy Life. Shes got some great natural air fresheners that wont bother your asthma. Check it out

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  22. I have one of those Goosecreek candle warmers. It replaced a Scentsy one since with Goosecreek I don't have to replace little lightbulbs. ANYWAY I know that some of those scented candles start a coughing / sneezing fit in me and I have to pitch them....so I know what you mean about some of the candles / will have to check out Beeswax ones going forward :) I know a great natural one in the kitchen is just some vanilla in water, simmering on the stove...I have done that before when I cooked fish. We will probably all get lots of tips now...I see one to check out in the latest comment : )

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  23. Oh boy, Brenda...I could right a novel! My quest began 11 years ago after a terrifying health scare. Candles were the first do go. I started making everything from scratch and even learned how to make my own soap. I used to sell it at the farmers market and unscented oatmeal was very popular! It amazed me how many people are highly allergic/sensitive to fragrance. You're definitely not alone!

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  24. Brenda~
    interesting research/results!
    thanks for posting such a timely and very useful article.
    will be following to see your results..
    knowing you, you will leave no stone unturned! ;)
    I too suffer from allergies as well as exczema/psoriasis!
    good luck!
    hugs..Louii♥

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  25. I hope you find a way to live and breathe better. My 11 year old son is asthmatic. His is controlled well with by taking Singulair daily and a Salbutamol inhaler for back up. His only tends to flair up when he has a cold. He plays hockey and that obviously can be a trigger.....cold air and exercise. I feel for anyone who has asthma. It is so scary.

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  26. That book is a fabulous choice for your club. I read it earlier in the summer and really enjoyed it.

    Maybe you should look into moving when you can? You mentioned that your daughter moved elsewhere, so why not?

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  27. I never burn candles because of my allergies, but I will look into a beeswax candle even if it's a bit more expensive since it sounds worth it!! Also interested as you learn more about Green cleaners!! Oh and I didn't try to get on the health ins website either! Soon!

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  28. I rarely burn candles. I always end up having to clean the wax off of something, so I have the flameless ones and I love them. You can find them on sale sometimes. I usually get them at HomeGoods, but since they don't 'melt' you never have to continue to buy them. They last forever. Beeswax can be purchased in sheets. I think I've seen them at Michaels. You'll have fun making them if that's the direction you go. I'm looking forward to learning from you Brenda.

    I'm passing that honey/cinnamon tip on to my daughter. She lives in Singapore and gets sick about once a month.

    The best tips I can give you are to keep your bedroom as dust free as possible. I'm not sure what you have on the floor, but carpet is a no no, as are drapes and blinds. That pretty much covers all window treatments, doesn't it?! Lol. Lightweight curtains that can be washed are probably best. Wash your sheets once a week, especially your pillow case. Satin pillowcases don't hold as much dust, and besides, they're better at preventing wrinkles ;)..
    Make your own cleaners. I own a cleaning service, and we use green products but I have to say I think most people over clean and use too much product. Sometimes water is all you really need, and you rarely need more than water with vinegar.

    Good luck with your insurance! This country is sure in a mess, isn't it??!


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  29. Hi Brenda! I work for an Asthma and Allergy specialist in NC and I totally sympathize with your issues. I know Oklahoma is a hotbed for ragweed this time of year - have you been tested to see if you're allergic to it? If not, I would recommend it highly. Ragweed is notorious for causing asthma flare-ups. Also, you're on the right track getting rid of the candles. If for no other reason, the fragrance in them can really exacerbate breathing problems. Good luck with your appointment - I hope you get some relief soon!

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  30. Brenda, here is what I use regularly, Saline Nasal Spray. Over the counter. My doctor said use 2 sprays in each nostril in the morning and also at night. I ALSO use it right after dusting or opening storage boxes, etc. where I might encounter dust or pollen in the air. It's very cheap. And, it works.

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  31. Just because something may be natural, organic or green doesn't mean it is not an asthma/ allergy trigger for you.
    Also, My late father's asthma was
    exacerbated by some of the
    medications he was taking for other
    conditions. Read the fine print on
    your meds. You may find that a very
    small percentage of people have
    exacerbation of asthma when taking
    said drug. Do check your drug
    combinations as well. Sometimes
    when taken together, drugs can
    exacerbate asthma /allergy problems.
    It took over 3 years of trial and error
    to find the proper drugs to help Dad
    and not cause breathing problems
    for him. If you've been indoors a lot,
    please read about vitamin D and
    asthma.

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  32. Whenever I read about asthma, I have to think of a guy I knew who went to see an herbalist. The herbalist told him to stop eating dairy products and other mucous producing foods. He started to take herbs as well. He had asthma since he was a boy and he got much, much better. To the point where he no long suffered from it. I don't know what the answer is for you and others. Herbs and simple things really helped my friend breath much better.

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