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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Scenting Sensibly

My post cancer regime of cutting down on as many toxins as possible has made one remarkable change in
my life. I have regained my sense of smell, something I never realized was missing until I found it again.

After CT scans, radiation therapy and the ensuing mammograms, I consider myself lucky not to be a Wicked Witch of the West  shade of shimmering green. I can't do much about the radiation I have been given but I can resolve to be smarter about what I put in, on and around my body.

After reading the David Suzuki's Top Ten  Dirty Dozen list of substances to avoid, ( I began to take a reality check through-out my bathroom and kitchen cupboards.I couldn't believe how many toxic products I was using!

So many that I couldn't afford to simply trash them all and start over, but since ending treatments four years ago, I began to transform my collection of beauty and cleaning aids with healthier choices. The easiest and probably most important was throwing out my chemical immersed dryer sheets for hard plastic re-usable dryer balls. I use one plastic ball and one Norwex  wool dryer ball to completely eliminate static cling a more health-friendly way. Between them and the unscented natural cold water laundry soap I insist upon using, there is nothing but clean clothes travelling with me and my skin every day. That same skin is washed with a coconut all natural salt scrub and my deodorant and hair gel are also all natural and unscented. which means head-to-toe I only retain a slight coconut aroma. Not the usual cacophony of  five-to-seven over-scented products between hair, make-up and skin products. Start thinking about it. How many aromatic products are you sporting every day? Would you have ever guessed that this onslaught of scents is slowing down that sniffer of yours? (Then again, maybe it's for the best if you're really piling them on?)

 It took a bit of talking myself into omitting that daily shot of "Angelic"(pseudonym) between my breasts and just slightly south of my navel every morning and the slathering of Angelic cream onto my arms and legs, the dusting of Angelic body powder across the bee-hind but before long, I realized those extra few minutes every day could all add up to a second cup of perk-me-up ( called Bengal Spice tea by Celestial and it's the best Chai tea you've ever sipped without the sweetener or caffeine). On top of giving my skin a chance to breathe, I was reducing my scent over-load; something I'd been reading was a no-no when entering hospitals and clinics, places I am still prone to frequent.

Sometimes I find my "new" self being overwhelmed by the smells around me. In a restaurant, my nose goes crazy with my brain in hot pursuit as I try to discern a fragrance. I can tell a smoker from a non-smoker at a dozen paces which might be a handy tool IF I was a life insurance agent. I can often tell if you own a pet (other than a fish) and sometimes what you cooked for dinner last night (especially if it was a fish).

 This new realization of all the smells drifting in the air helped me relate to people with scent allergies. Some scents are enough to reduce me to coughing and gagging fits, red, watery eyes and sneezing. All because someone ELSE wanted to smell like something else.Or maybe didn't know that something smells so strong to someone else.

I wonder how animals manage these smells with senses much more amplified than ours? A dog has 220 olfactory receptors to a human's five.

Of course the market is loaded with naturally scented products but again, few are delicately scented, instead giving you a full blast of their lavender, orange or ginger alternatives.So there's coconut in your hair, lavender on your skin, orange counter top spray, lemon scented window cleaner and linen-scented air freshener. Even the all-natural aromas can be bothersome when mixed together, like a cereal bowl of cherries, flowers, lemon juice and cotton. Mmmm. Not.

 Remember the good old days when there was pure soap and the only other smelly thing in the house was cinnamon buns? Cleaning was done with vinegar, baking soda and water. Okay and maybe a little lye. Not the healthiest option there either.

Sometimes the best smelling things are simply the fresh air in your hair, the rain water on your clothes hung from a line or the sunshine on your skin. Could it be so easy to smell so good?