Even though I like to think I know everything, I admittedly do not. Being stubborn about your knowledge of DIY projects can make them blow up in your face, so when we’re unfamiliar Matt and I perform research on the recipe’s ingredients… and you should too.
We have such a variety of readers visiting our site (environmentalists, homeschooling moms, Christians, naturalists, minimalists, etc.) it’s impossible to come up with recipes that make everyone happy all of the time, so we don’t try. We focus instead on finding recipes we love and have personal success with, then pass them along to anyone interested.
Because of this I wanted to stress the importance of doing your own research to decide what’s best for you.
What’s best for YOU?
We attempt to write for a broad audience on this website, but we won’t always get it right for everyone. On sites that boasts DIY recipes it is always in your best interest to study out individual ingredients. After all, we believe part of the do-it-yourself fun lies within the task of educating yourself about what you are making.
When buying commercial products, don’t assume someone else knows what’s best for you either. Whether it’s a corporation, writers for a website or magazine, or even a friend, they (most likely) did not have you specifically in mind when creating a recipe or a product. Only you know everything about your body, your beliefs, and your needs. Be the ultimate authority on what’s best for you…don’t hand this job over to someone else.
Study it out
A good example of the necessity for studying ingredients can be found in our homemade laundry soap recipe. Borax, one of the main ingredients, is a confusing ingredient to many people. Some have said they believe it is toxic, and others have assumed it was the same thing as boric acid. In our own research on the ingredient, we have found that not only is borax a salt derived from boric acid, but it is also equal in toxicity to regular table salt. Eat a cup of table salt, and you will undoubtedly feel ill. Eat a cup of borax, and yup, same thing. However, just because we choose to use borax, this doesn’t mean that YOU have to feel comfortable using borax in the laundry soap you wash your family’s clothes in.
We urge you to do the research on anything you allow into your house, onto your skin/hair/nails, and into the mouths of your family. Don’t take one source of information to be the absolute truth on anything, but consider several.
As I researched xylitol recently, I read some content on a website for xylitol products. Knowing that this company was actually trying to SELL something, I kept in mind that the content would most likely make the product sound
very good fabulous. I had to find several other sources on xylitol to determine what was truth and what was savvy marketing.
Research sources to consider
- Internet: Look for sites that are non-biased. Doing a simple Google search or checking Wikipedia for information is a good start.
- A trusted health care provider: Ask a million questions in the most non-annoying way possible (and don’t feel like you have to agree with everything he/she believes).
- Health publications: Articles on products can be very informative, but be sure to look at sources listed for articles in any health publication.
- Documentaries: Again, consider the sources and motivation behind the making of the film. Some can be very well made, and others may have an agenda you do not agree with.
- Knowledgeable friends & family: Talk to lots of people you think might have enlightening information. Don’t be afraid to challenge their ideas and ask where they are getting their information. (Let’s hope they don’t say Grey’s Anatomy.)
Taking matters into your own hands
Once you have found several good sources, arming yourself with ample information about a product or ingredient will allow you to feel comfortable in your decisions. Be prepared to find things you don’t like, or things that utterly surprise you during this research phase. Here are some important questions to ask yourself when researching a product:
- Why do I want to use this product?
- What are its ingredients? (What do I know about the individual ingredients?)
- Is it really natural?
- Where does it come from?
- Is it worth the cost?
- Do I (or family members) have any allergies or medical conditions that could be affected by this?
- Do I trust this company?
- Are there any alternatives to this product that I feel more comfortable with?
- Is this product right for me (and my family)?
Researching products and ingredients takes time, focus, and effort. There are many benefits: peace of mind in the products you are using, knowledge you can share with others, possible savings, resulting health benefits, and a one-up on your family members who are getting their information from Grey’s Anatomy. :)
What benefits have you reaped from spending time researching products? Let us know why this is important to you!