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Weekend Life

Tales from the Motherhood: Difficult life events call for cleansing

DeOm deodorant, made by Kaylene Shannon of Elgin, contains natural and organic ingredients.
DeOm deodorant, made by Kaylene Shannon of Elgin, contains natural and organic ingredients.

I’m cleaning up my act. No, not my wardrobe (sorry, Holly – she says she wishes she could nominate me for the old television show “What Not to Wear”), but the rest of it.

And no, I don’t mean my house. I mean the important stuff.

A number of things happened recently, including the death of a close friend due to cancer and medical adventures among family and friends, that remind me that there’s so much about life over which we have precious-little control – we’re swimming in a toxic soup of God-knows-what, for one thing, and I’m ticked-off about it – but there are a few things over which we do.

We can choose to feel vulnerable to the possibilities or we can take matters into our own hands and do what we can to minimize the “toxic load” we expose ourselves and our children to. Many believe that it’s the pileup of toxins in our bodies that has the cumulative effect of making conditions ripe for disease. This mama bear’s inclined to agree, and prefers to take action.

Teflon-coated cookware (prone to being scratched and releasing carcinogenic fluorocarbons into air and food)? Out you go. And you, you old, plastic containers of questionable safety? You’re out of here, too. So is the supposedly safe BPA-free stuff for which I already have stainless-steel or glass replacements.
Awesome side-benefit? My kitchen storage woes have all but disappeared, too, but I digress.

It goes without saying that I almost never drink out of plastic water or soda bottles. No thanks. And I’ve long-since ditched those plastic sandwich baggies in favor of the wax paper ones. I’m on a roll. And hit the road for good, Mr. Microwave, with your sneaky radiation and nutrient-killing rays.

What’s that, you say?

“Nooooooo!” was my kids’ chorus. “What about microwave popcorn?”

“What about it?” I replied.

We haven’t made microwave popcorn in this house in well over a year, since I saw that diacetyl, the chemical added to create a buttery flavor, has been linked to debilitating lung damage in microwavable-popcorn factory workers and, in some cases, in consumers.

No thank you. I may be a killjoy, but I’ll pick my poisons.

I’m way past opting for organic milk and produce not sprayed with poisonous pesticides (studies show that some cannot be washed off, no matter how hard you try). Been doing that for years.

I’m also getting pickier about buying meat only from grass-fed, cage-free animals fed organic food.
Pricey? You betcha.

But the way I see it, until our voices are heard and our votes counted, we can pay up now at the grocery store or pay much more later, at the pharmacy and in co-pays.

And what about those meals we eat out? I can only think of two eateries in our area, off the top of my head, which serve organic, “clean” food – the SweetGrass Café at Soup to Nuts in Geneva and Fresh D’Lite in the Geneva Commons. (Prasino in St. Charles was my favorite, until they closed last year. I still miss those fish tacos.)

Is that really it?

You don’t have to be a liberal to be fed up with the added junk called “food” that we’ve been fed, but the “toxic load” doesn’t just come from things we consume. Consider other things our society has long subscribed to, that may do more harm than good, like dental X-rays and fluoride trays used on young children, for example. Why do these every year, as a matter of course? I like to do a “cost-benefit analysis,” if you will.

Is there pain or evidence of disease? Well, OK then. Do an X-ray. Do my kids have “soft” teeth? Had multiple cavities? None and none, where mine are concerned.

So, consequently, we’re forgoing what I think are unnecessary X-rays and fluoride treatments.
Remember, it’s about the toxic load. Less is more.

I’ve also had it with antiperspirant products containing aluminum (long-considered a likely carcinogen), particularly now that my kids are adolescents.

For years I’ve tried other products, those not containing aluminum, thus only possessing deodorant qualities. The trouble is, they tend to leave me sticky and soupy.

Nuff said.

But, two months ago, I finally stumbled upon a product that doesn’t.

Hallelujah! DeOm deodorant, made by local mom Kaylene Shannon (of Elgin), contains natural and organic ingredients and can be ordered from her website (check out reviews on her Facebook page, too, Tickle Body Care).

I’m hoping local retailers will carry it soon as it’s my new deodorant of choice. While not billed as such, it also, in my opinion, works quite well as an antiperspirant. I love, love, love DeOm and will never go back to the other junk! Nor will my kids, if I can help it.

“You’re always changing stuff in my house!” Holly laments, though she does like this stuff. Noah rolls his eyes. (He still hasn’t tried it, but perhaps he will, in time.) But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. That said, every mom (and dad) has her own threshold. What gives me peace of mind may be different from what gives you, yours. Cool. So be it.

Come to think of it, another known carcinogen? Stress.

Worrying too much about this stuff can certainly be stressful, so I don’t worry for long. I just get it done.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at

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