When I see a Natural or Organic soap, shampoo, wet-wipes, moisturizer stocked in the supermarket, I am usually tempted to pick it. Or atleast a dialogue starts in my head whether I should switch to these “chemical-free” products. When I see a baby-product I am almost certain to make that switch.
I mean if you really want to stay healthy, you buy Natural or Organic, right?
A recent workshop conducted by scientists & experts at Johnson & Johnson was almost an eye opener. When we buy Natural or Organic, are they really CHEMICAL-FREE? Are they healthier? Do we, as common-layman understand the twisted labels, ingredients?
An utterly shocking or startling revelation, isn’t it? Let’s understand this one aspect at a time here.
Understanding Natural vs Safe
Milk is natural but it is NOT safe to be consumed directly. It needs to undergo the process of pasteurization to kill the harmful elements.
Water is natural but it needs purification, which essentially means passing though the water purifier, to be considered safe for drinking.
The limited point being, a natural ingredients needs to be consumed in a purified way such that it is safe and toxin free.
Do I see you nodding your head?
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Can you consume 20 litres of water everyday? Or 5 litres of milk every day? Can a crocin tablet be taken 5 times a day? No right?
As I understand, our body needs to consume various items in a certain quality only. If you overtly consume any item, it turns toxic for our body but the same item consumed in the right quality works wonders, keeps us in excellent health. Ofcourse the other aspect is addition of known toxins like pesticides, which is an obvious NO
Are you with me so far?
Decoding the “Labels”
When I see Natural, I assume it’s pure, made with ALMOST NO chemicals. But does the ‘almost-no-chemical’ component comprise 10% or 40% or worse more? I almost never really read the label or if I try to read the label I almost never understand it fully.
Did you know that instead of writing “Sodium Loreate Sulphate”, a supposedly Ayurvedic shampoo may smartly write “Surfactant base” in the list of ingredients, often not specifying the percentage. Worse some may write the longish Sanskrit name of the same chemical, playing purely on our trust and faith for age old nuskas – if it’s written in Sanskrit it MUST be natural. Most of us assume that, isn’t it.
Take another example of a facial bleach. It HAS to contain chemical bleaching agents, then how is ‘Turmeric Herbal’ bleach labelled as herbal?
It’s very likely that by now you may be thinking, is the world such a bad place? Is everything so negative and do we really need to always look at every ingredient through the magnifying glass. Well YES and NO. If you are making the effort and investment to move from an age old trusted thing, then the alternative better be really BETTER. Agree?
Using non-standard products or DIY
Just because something is natural doesnot necessarily mean it is good. I would choose coconut oil for baby massage anyday, but science says the viscosity (thickness) of the oil is very important to avoid friction and discomfort to the baby during the massage. Likewise, I would love to use DIY amla-shikakai-homemade shampoo. But with heat and humidity, does it really work or does it lead to itchy scalp, fizzy hair and eventual hailfall.
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Our bodies are kind of like mini ecosystems. They require balance. And sometimes even our most beloved natural ingredients can wreak havoc on that balance. So standardization in terms of quantity of all the necessary components definitely helps attain the best of both worlds.
The BIG question NOW is how do you know what is good for you? Well, that’s a very subjective question and I am not trying to make a decision for you. At the end of this, it has to be your own judgement. But I have come to believe that a standardized product is definitely better than others – be it Organic or not. Passing globally identified safety standards comes first.
I look out for US FDA certification as they are the most stringent safely standards in the world. Secondly, I am now careful to choose products that have been labeled “PROVEN” vs just “TESTED”.
Drop a line in the comment box if you have any queries or if you found this useful .
so very true Mandavi. I’ve recently realised that I too was falling prey to this marketing gimmick of “natural” “organic” everything. It takes extra effort of course, but now I make sure to read the label and fully understand what has gone into the product before I blindly buy based on these key-words.
Believe it or not, its surprising how most of us fall prey to this. And even when you read the label, you could be misled – like naming the same ingredient in Sanskrit. I am definately more conscious now and I am happy to know about you.