I was an “A” student in school and I was determined to be an “A” mom.  I read every pregnancy book and followed my doctor’s instructions to the tee.  I got every shot and took every vitamin, as prescribed.  When my new baby was born, I followed his pediatrician’s advice to the letter. But my infant was miserable – he had a horrible time feeding and sleeping.  I read all the best-selling baby books in search of help – but none of them were helping.  I gave my baby all his shots and medicines, even waking him at night to administer a dose – and nothing was helping.  I tried all the nursing tricks – and he still would not eat.  We were constantly at the pediatrician’s office with ear infections and chronic stomach pain


I was used to following the rules and getting “A” results.  Now I was following the rules and I was not getting results.  What on earth was going on?

After years of trial and error, it turned out I was playing by the wrong rule book.  My toddler was struggling with sensory issues, extreme anxiety, and food sensitivities. None of my New York Times best-sellers mentioned these increasingly common childhood challenges.  My pediatrician did not specialize in these issues.  I needed the rulebook that would help me with these dilemmas. 

It turns out there is another rulebook out there – it is just a little harder to find. I began to play by this new set of rules – I began to search for the cause of my son’s conditions instead of treating the symptoms.  Through my research, I learned about the toxic chemicals in pesticides, medications, plastics, and food (among other things) – and how those toxins can affect a child’s developing brain and nervous system while in utero, through a mother’s breast milk, and in all aspects of our everyday living environment (food, air, water).  We changed our son’s diet and removed the toxic chemicals from our home.  Gone were the ear infections.  Gone were the stomach pains.  His ability to regulate his emotions increased.

We changed our son’s diet and removed the toxic chemicals from our home.  Gone were the ear infections.  Gone were the stomach pains.  His ability to regulate his emotions increased.  

The more I learned, the more surprised I became.  I always assumed that if a product was on the store shelves, it must be safe.  I mean, we live in an educated and advanced country – surely we have the safest products available to mankind, right?  We have the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and all these other acronym regulatory agencies – surely, they keep us safe, right?  I assumed that was their job, so I would not have to do it.  If I played by their rules, my kids would be safe, right?  We would all be living “A” lifestyles.

Boy, was I wrong.  It turns out that toxic chemicals are everywhere – in the air we breathe, in our food, in our children’s toys, in the materials and fabrics we sit and lie on, and in the grass our children run through and our pets roll through.  We do not know all the risks they pose or how these chemicals interact, but we do know there are risks – and more are being discovered each day.  Unwittingly, we are all exposed to different combinations of countless chemicals – many at a time – all the time.  

I also learned that children absorb more toxins than adults and because their metabolic systems are still developing, their decreased ability to detoxify and excrete harmful chemicals leaves them more vulnerable to the toxic substances we all encounter.  On top of all that, babies spend more time on the ground and put more stuff in their mouths – increasing their risk for ingesting chemicals.  More children are suffering with asthma, allergies, developmental disorders (like autism and ADHD), and cancer than ever before.  I learned that reducing the toxins in our children’s environments reduces their risk for getting sick and can improve the health of those children who already suffer with these problems.

I learned an overwhelming amount of information.  Now I needed to decide what I was going to do with all that information.  Our home was filled with toxic products – I mean, every cabinet had a child-proof latch.  (I thought I was being an “A” mom for putting latches on the cabinets – it never occurred to me to find non-toxic products!) I took a deep breath and told myself this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint.  Little by little, I researched and replaced the toxic products in our home – from laundry detergent to snack foods to bug repellant to cookware to shampoo to carpeting.  It has taken several years and I am still learning and making changes.  I am by no means perfect, but every change has been important.


During this journey, I have often pondered how awesome it would have been if I had been able to hire someone to do all this work for me.  Someone who could have pointed out all the potentially dangerous products in my home.  Someone who could have told me the safest, highest-quality (and affordable) products to replace them with. Someone who could have given me a list of the stuff to get; or even go get it for me; or just be my partner in this sometimes-overwhelming process.

In 2016, I unexpectedly found myself in a position to make a career change.  After practicing law for nearly 20 years, I decided to take all this research and knowledge and help others detox their personal environments.  I figured if I needed help learning about and making these changes, then other people do to.  I wanted to build a business that would teach people simple ways to make changes in their homes, businesses, schools and communities.  With the help of my like-minded, creative, and business-savvy friend Lisa, Cleerlife was born.  

Cleerlife stands for CLean, frEE, Real.  Clean – meaning we advocate for safer, cleaner products, homes, businesses, air and water.  Free – meaning the products we promote are free from known toxins.  And Real – meaning our solutions are simple and reasonable and designed for real (and imperfect) people, like us.  We want to make the new rulebook easier to find and safer for future generations.

We want to make the new rulebook easier to find and safer for future generations. 

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FamilyJennifer Helms