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Camping with Chemicals: Natural alternatives

14 May. 2013 Posted by Hannah Mich
camping, natural sunscreen, sunscreen recipe, natural bug spray repellent, bug spray repellent recipe, camping tips, natural remedy for bug bites

During our everyday lives we try to make greener and more natural decisions. However, when we get thrown into events, such as birthday parties, camping trips and the summer cookouts, we unintentionally fall back into our old, unhealthy and unnatural habits. Well, my husband and I are planning our first camping trip of the year and I wanted to be certain we made some healthy and natural changes for this camping trip and all the ones to follow.

As I was sorting through camping "stuff" and determining what I could easily find "natural alternatives" for, I realized just how much chemicals have seeped into a very natural and green activity. DEET bug spray, creams and sprays to treat bug bites, non-stick pans, plastic utensils and water proofing spray for the tent. This is not even mentioning the highly processed foods associated with camping: s'mores, hotdogs, potato chips and sugary beverages. I decided we were ending old traditions and starting new ones, which only seemed fitting with us taking our first camping trip with our 10 month old daughter.

I picked a handful of items to "upgrade" for this camping trip; and each camping trip following this one, I will pick a single item to swap out for a more natural, healthier and greener one. Below are my swaps from conventional to "natural."

1. DEET bug repellent is dangerous not only for the bugs, but you. A healthier solution is making your own bug spray repellent using water and essential oils. Check out more recipes here and here. [Side note: consumption of garlic, vinegar and foods high in B1 are other ways to repel insects.]

2. No more need for all the creams for the nasty bites you do get. Simply mix baking soda with a little water to make a paste and apply to the bite. You can also use a banana peel (inside of peel against skin), lavender essential oil, and mud.

3. Sunscreens have a lot of extra chemicals and unnecessary ingredients. Using natural oils, such as coconut oil, are green and healthy alternatives. If you want a little more protection, here is a recipe for sunscreen. [Caution: if you use just natural oils, season your skin by increasing your time in the sun slowly, and re-apply every 2 hours.]

4. Ditch the plastic utensils and paper plates. Find some old silverware and plates at a rummage sale and use them for camping. We still use paper plates occasionally during camping, but it is drastically reduced because we bring "real" plates and bowls.

5. For food, swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate in your s'mores; and go with grass-fed, all beef, no preservative hot dogs, such as Applegate Farms hot dogs .

I encourage you and your family to explore the healthy and green alternatives for your next camping, or outdoor, trip. If we want to protect the habitat we love to explore, then we must make better decisions when we are exploring it.

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here are purely education and have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are by no means intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Consult you physician before using any natural remedy.


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