Recently, we did a story on some of the products loved by Latinxs. Although they have been bought and used, generation after generation, these products are all harmful in one way or another. They may contain toxic chemicals, cause health issues, and aren’t part of a healthy lifestyle. We buy these household products — like Vick’s Vapor Rub, Fabuloso, and Mazola — have been in our pantries, on our television sets, and on our shopping lists for so long, we don’t even think to question them. It’s time we make a shift towards something healthier.
But where do you start? What are the other options? Often, making a switch can become overwhelming, as there are so many options, and we don’t automatically know what’s better and why. We also don’t want to spend all that extra time in the aisles reading through ingredient lists (although we should start making this a habit). Finally, buying healthier, organic, and natural versions of products usually means paying way more. It seems like a losing battle.
That’s why we made it a point not just to let you know which ingredients are harmful, but did the research to find you healthy and affordable options so you can make the switch. Here are 15 healthier, natural, and often organic replacements for those items we all know and love but ultimately aren’t good for us.
Instead of Vick’s Vapor Rub, Try…
One of the most recognized and loved products in any Latinx family’s closet is Vick’s Vapor Rub. It’s a sign of a mom’s and/or abuelita’s love, when they instantly reached for it to help you get over a cold. It is an integral part of our culture and our history. Unfortunately, we usually put it up our nostrils, which can be toxic (so is swallowing it); it also should not be used on children under the age of 2. It’s made with petrolatum, which can be harmful. Why not try an option that is way more natural, and good for you? Maty’s All Natural Vapor Rub doesn’t contain harmful petroleum and is free of hydrogenated oil. Instead, it contains natural ingredients, including eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint oils. Enjoy it, but don’t use it on children under 2 either, since it’s not recommended to do so.
Instead of Sazon Goya, Try…
Sazón, is a mix of spices a lot of us use to cook our favorite Latin dishes. It adds so much flavor and color to all sorts of meals. It’s hard to leave sazón out of cooking but you can always go for a healthier version. Although Sazón Goya is great for making Latin food, their particular sazónhas MSG in it, which is not good for you at all. Why not make your own? Epicurious has a simple recipe, that just involves putting seven ingredients in an air-tight container, and shaking it so all the ingredients blend together. That’s it! If you rather buy one pre-made try Loisa’s Organic Sazón. It’s made using only organic and real ingredients, but with the same delicious flavor. Loisa also carries an organic Adobo seasoning as well.
Instead of Fabuloso, Try…
Next on our list of products you should switch out in your household is Fabuloso. Sure, it smells good and cleans great, but it’s toxic! It contains harmful chemicals including, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, and sodium laureth sulfate. But luckily, we have a fabuloso (pun intended), much healthier alternative for you. The Honest Company has a multi-surface cleaner which also features a soothing lavender scent (other options are free & clear, coastal surf, and grapefruit grove). But this cleaner is made without SLS (sodium laureth sulfate)/SLES, ammonia, dyes, chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrances, and methylisothiazolinone. So you can get a sparkling house, minus all the health problems.
Instead of Mazola, How About…
If you watched Spanish-language television growing up, you probably remember the jingle, “con Mazola, no esta sola.” These little jingles and commercials made us familiar with these harmful products, and want to go buy them. Health tip: if the food has a commercial, it’s probably unhealthy food you shouldn’t buy! Mazola, which is 100% corn oil, is no exception. It has GMOs and polyunsaturated fats, which are both bad for your health. Instead, reach for a variety of healthier oils, such as grapeseed oil. Other better oils include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil.
A Good Alternative to Flaming Hot Cheetos Is…
Flaming Hot Cheetos is a major thing in the Latinx community. There are a lot of people who love eating a spicy bag of cheese puffs and getting their fingers all orange. It’s a guilty pleasure, but did you know there’s a healthier option out there that won’t make you feel so guilty? Trader Joe’s has their own version of the popular snack, called Spicy Cheese Crunchies. They’re made without artificial colors and flavors, are gluten-free, made with cornmeal, baked, and made with real cheddar cheese. We haven’t tried them, but are very curious as to how they compare to the original.
Sip This Instead of Nestle Nesquick
Most of us grew up drinking NesQuik, and pouring the chocolate syrup and/or powder into our glass of milk. Very tasty, but not that good for us. There are several other hot chocolate or chocolate syrup and powder brands that have a great taste but are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. You can still get that rich chocolate flavor by using a much more healthier and natural option (win-win!). Try cacao powder; this one by Healthworks is organic and contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use it in anything you want to add chocolate to like, smoothies, desserts, fruit, and more.
Say No to Crisco and Yes To This
Crisco, which is vegetable shortening, was seen as a healthier alternative to manteca, which is lard, or pork fat. It would seem so, but Crisco is 100% fat, crystallized cottonseed oil. It is super bad for your arteries and your overall health. A much healthier alternative is virgin coconut oil. It’s great to cook and bake with (and you can use it as a direct replacement for Crisco), and you can also use it for a variety of other uses, including for beauty.
No More Vaseline; Use This Instead
Petroleum jelly has been touted as a cure-all, but it’s actually quite harmful. It’s made with hydrocarbon, is toxic, and sits on your skin, not allowing your skin to breathe or for harmful toxins to be released by the body. A better version is Healthy Jelly‘s plant-based jelly with beeswax. It’s all natural, non-GMO, and contains no phthalates, parabens, or petrochemicals.
Like Coca-Cola? Try This Healthier Option
Coca-Cola is a product that is in every refrigerator, office, and celebration. It is consumed by so many people, in large amounts. Unfortunately, it is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, and not good for you at all. LaCroix, maker of delicious sparkling water in a sort of flavors, gives you great taste with zero toxic ingredients — it’s just water! They made their version of cola, which is worth trying out.
This Hot Sauce is More Natural than El Yucateco
Hot sauce is so necessary for a lot of people, and a lot of food. It just gives everything an extra kick of heat and flavor. Some hot sauces can contain harmful food coloring, even if the rest of the ingredients are natural and healthy. Thankfully, there are several great hot sauces that don’t. One of them is the hot sauce classic Crystal.
This Baby Powder is Better than Johnson & Johnson
We have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for decades. We used when we were babies and as adults. We trusted it, but the household staple actually contains toxic talc and asbestos. Women have actually gotten cancer from using this product. Here is a much better option: MADE OF Organic Baby Powder. It is made from 94% organic ingredients and 6% natural ingredients — and zero talc.
Drink Jumex? Try This Jugo
Jumex is the most popular juice and nectar producer in Mexico, and a staple in Latinx business that sell groceries. But products advertised as 100% nectar sometimes have high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and puree from concentrate. This mango nectar, from R. W. Knudsen, is organic, non-GMO certified, and doesn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Jarritos Are Good, But This Is Good Too — and Healthy!
We mentioned LaCroix earlier, but their sparkling water is such a great alternative to soda. You get all the flavor (peach-pear, coconut, mango, passionfruit, lemon, etc.) without any calories, sugar, or other harmful ingredients. It’s literally just water, but more fun. Drinking it will actually improve your health by keeping you hydrated, instead of the other way around.
This Toothpaste Has Fewer Chemicals Than Colgate
Next on our list of healthy alternatives is toothpaste. Big name brands, such as Colgate, have contained harmful ingredients such as triclosan, sodium laurel sulfate, and fluoride. Thankfully, there are many natural options now for toothpaste, including this one by Desert Essence. It contains tea tree oil, neem, and other natural ingredients.
This Can Replace Harmful Clorox
Clorox bleach is trusted for getting your whites ultra white, but it’s also ultra harmful to your health. You can still get your clothes clean and gleaming but in a more natural way. Molly’s Suds makes an oxygen whitener that is chlorine-free, color-safe, certified vegan, cruelty-free, paraben free, and more.