What a wild and emotionally exhausting couple of weeks we’re experiencing in Utah and beyond. Spring cleaning is feeling especially significant this year given the recent COVID-19 outbreak and many of us transitioning to work and school at home. As we discussed in our recent blog post, spring cleaning doesn’t require harsh chemicals to effectively disinfect. As the Coronavirus was just starting to dominate our psyche in the US we had the privilege to interview Karalynne Call, a certified nutritionist and mental health advocate. Karalynne’s own health journey inspired her to create resources for the home and a line of body care products to help others live a less toxic life.
You may know Karalynne as ‘Just Ingredients’, her social media account that has grown exponentially as she’s become a trusted source for transparent and practical suggestions for real-food based nutrition, fewer toxins, and better health. As a mom of 6, Karalynne has inspired countless people to make changes to their nutrition and environment, resulting in happier lives. She’s very approachable and we love her down to earth message that “if she can do it, anyone can”.
Tell us a little about what started you on your health journey and how it’s changed your life?
“15 years ago, I had severe, suicidal depression. I was given different treatments and asked the doctor if it will help heal my depression, but found it was mostly just addressing symptoms. I know our bodies are meant to heal if we enable it. After some searching, I found a doctor who would help me heal by looking at inflammation, hormones, organs, etc. I eventually healed from the depression and it’s been a 13-year journey since.
I saw so many friends and family members dealing with fatigue, autoimmune, and chronic conditions that I wanted to share my learnings that what we eat and what we use in our homes could be contributing to illness. I started to give little tidbits on Instagram with the hope that it would help. Through that channel, I identified a need for cleaner beauty products and started manufacturing those to my standards. In the future, I hope to expand this to even more categories. This whole journey has really shown me that people are wanting to live less toxic lives.”
As we’re all ferociously cleaning our homes during these uncertain times, what are some of the cleaning staples in your home?
- Baking soda: for a variety of places including the microwave, oven, carpets, with laundry.
- Vinegar: great all-purpose cleaner and I’ll add a little lemon.
- Branch Basics: perfect option for people who don’t want to make everything at home, I use it as an all-purpose cleaner.
- Force of Nature: great for heavier cleaning, kills viruses, good for showers or if someone gets sick or has an accident.
- Bon Ami: effective, soft abrasive cleaner.
Are there certain sneaky ingredients we should be careful to avoid in our home products?
“Anyone can put ‘natural’ on any product, which doesn’t give us much info about what’s inside. ‘Non-toxic’ is tricky too because it’s an individual measure (some people have broader definitions for toxic ingredients). Here are a few things I look for: phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors, formaldehyde which is carcinogenic, and ingredients that have 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct (learn more here).”
Karalynne also created a non-toxic cleaning guide on her website.
What excites you about the growing movement towards less toxicity?
“I believe we have a pendulum that’s swinging. It originally swung to the left with man-made chemicals and processed food. We then saw an increase in certain illnesses, such as migraines, fatigue, autoimmune, infertility, etc. Now it’s swinging the other way. I love that there’s more research on these chemicals and that there’s a big push for wholefood ingredients. People now have the education and are demanding transparency from companies. They want to know that products work well and what they’re made of.”
Why is it important for people to pay attention to the ingredients in their cleaning and beauty products?
“Once people realize the 3 main ways we get toxins in our body is through digestion (the foods we eat), through beauty products that we absorb on our skin, and by breathing them in (such as cleaning supplies). The lightbulb goes on that ‘it’s not just my food I need to be worried about’.”
What has been your experience with the connection between mental health and the things we eat or use in our home?
“I’m cautious not to say any one thing causes or fixes depression, but here are some of my learnings. We know that inflammation, hormones being out of balance, and your adrenals not running properly can all be a root cause of depression. We create serotonin in the gut, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a huge role in depression and mental health. All of this is connected to the foods we eat, and our hormones can be directly impacted by the food we eat. People hate hearing that food cures depression, but it can contribute to healing.
Here’s a metaphor I like to use; depression, cancer, and infertility are like your body is telling you it’s on fire. If your house is on fire, you don’t put one hose on the fire. The fire department comes in with multiple hoses to approach it at all angles. One hose might be your doctor, others are exercise, counseling, food, alternative medicine, etc. Different hoses work differently and we have to take a more complete approach.”
Where do you advise clients ‘get started’ when moving towards less toxic cleaning and self-care products at home?
“Choose one item and when you run out of that, replace it with a better choice. When you run out of toilet cleaner or all-purpose cleaner, buy a better choice. If you’re looking to get started somewhere more specific, the one you use most often is the one you should replace first.”
Karalynne has a bunch of great suggestions in her shop.
Since we are a home goods company, what are 3 of your favorite home products that help you live better?
Given that we’re in a really interesting place of uncertainty right now, what are some things to keep in mind for the upcoming weeks and months?
“It’s so easy to panic with the surrounding news. It’s important to know the facts and be prepared. This can calm down your fears, you know you have the power and control to do what you need to within your own home and with your family. Know that you have a good cleaner at home and you can clean everywhere if someone comes home sick. We have water, clean air, and immune boosters and being prepared with the products we need in our home. A lot of the perpetuating fear is from people not being prepared. This is a wake-up call for everyone.”
What are some of the products that you make at Just Ingredients and where can people find you?
“We have a face wash, face serum, deodorant, and lip balm. Your skin is your largest organ, you need to feed it good food made of real ingredients that come from nature. Our ingredients are 100% organic, very nourishing, and no questionable ingredients.