Detox expert, clean living advocate, author, creator of Ruan Living, and mother of 3 little girls, Sophia Gusheé, knows a thing or two about detoxification – and how to do it in a way that fits into her full lifestyle as a mama and entrepreneur.
She has come alongside thousands of women through their own personal non-toxic journeys and offers countless resources, including workshops, programs, podcasts and published books, to share her life-changing message and to empower others to detox what they buy, own and do. And today, Sophia is sharing it all with you!
Keep scrolling for our exclusive interview with Sophia to learn more about her personal journey to non-toxic living, how to make your home a place of healing, and easy, expert tips to detox – that don’t sacrifice ease or joy!
Please introduce yourself, Sophia! We’d love to learn more about your background and what drew you to pursue (and so passionately share) the power of detoxification?
Hi! Thank you for hosting me. I live in NYC with my husband, three amazing daughters, and our two dogs.
A former investment professional (I used to work in private equity–high risk, high return institutional investments), I saw no reason why I couldn’t both continue working in my dream career AND be the engaged mother that I wanted to be. I LOVED my job.
However, as I started to learn more about the toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what I buy, own, and do, I wanted to master this topic so that I could provide my young family with the healthiest start possible. I was learning that young life has unique vulnerabilities so it was very important to me that I get informed and figure out a practical nontoxic lifestyle.
During this time, I was also developing a new understanding of the medical training of physicians: Generally, there is little or no medical training on how environmental exposures can influence health and well-being.
It was so challenging for me to become informed that I often thought, “It shouldn’t be this hard for a well-intentioned mother to learn how to avoid toxic chemicals from what I BUY!”
As I found it increasingly more challenging and frustrating, I grew increasingly more passionate about empowering those who also want to make practical nontoxic choices. I felt compelled to create resources to make it easier for others. So, at some point, I decided to share–as a book–what I wish I knew sooner about the accessible ways we can avoid toxic exposures.
In 2015, my first book “A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures” was published. It shares what I–as head of a household–wish I knew sooner about detoxing what I buy, own, and do.
It took eight years to write because I had no idea that it would pervade my home, diet, personal care products, beauty products, home furnishings, technology, fitness accessories and apparel, and children’s stuff. But it does!
With over 84,000 chemicals in our environment, it’s impossible to follow a list of chemicals to avoid. The list would be too many pages! More practical is getting informed about “Household Repeat Offenders,” which are the common denominators I found in most risky household products. These are explained in more detail in my first book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures.
In 2020, as more people than ever were reaching out to me for help, I became inspired to share checklists of the budget-friendly tips that everyone can pursue to detox their indoor air, dust, hands, water, sleep, and EMFs through two workbooks: Home Detox Workbook: Checklists to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals and EMF Detox Workbook: Checklists to Recover from Electromagnetic Exposure. These workbooks are designed to quickly share the budget-friendly tips that everyone can adopt.
You often talk about your core pillars of health – especially one that is typically overlooked and unknown. Can you unpack those pillars for us and why they’re so foundational for wellness?
I grew up thinking that there were two core pillars of health: diet and exercise.
In recent years, sleep has become increasingly embraced as a core pillar of health too.
However, fewer people consider their toxic exposures–chemicals, heavy metals, and EMFs–from their home, diet, self-care, and technology. Since small detox tweaks can transform, I am passionate about raising awareness of the practical ways we can reduce our toxic exposures from what we buy, own, and do. Because baby steps can lead to big benefits over our lifetime.
Within my practical nontoxic lifestyle, I have eight pillars that I share at my online D-Tox Academy. Currently, the first four pillars are available: Detox 101, Home, EMFs, and Cleaning. These 8 pillars quickly communicate that our toxic exposures come from many sources–not just cleaning products and beauty products.
Since we spend at least 90% of our time indoors and about a third of our lives in our bedroom, detoxing our home, diet, self-care, and technology can have a meaningful impact.
Chemicals, heavy metals and EMFs are key culprits of health conditions and disease that you focus on in your podcasts, workshops, articles and books. Can you dive a bit deeper into why detoxing is so essential along with a few hacks you recommend to help reduce toxic exposure?
Since World War II, more than 84,000 chemicals have been introduced in American commerce. Few are studied for safety, and less than 1% are regulated. Plus, each country has its own chemical policy.
These chemicals show up in our lives as useful products–like cleaning products, beauty products, home furnishings, toys, electronics, prepackaged foods, and more. Often, it’s hard for consumers to learn which products do not pose health risks because disclosure of ingredients is often not required and safety studies are often not required (or completed).
However, scientists have discovered that too many consumer products expose us to chemicals, heavy metals, and EMFs that contribute to a long list of health issues, like cancer and risks to our brain, nervous system, immune system, reproductive system, and endocrine system.
Our health outcomes result from the complex interplay of genetic and nongenetic factors. So, the more we can optimize any (ideally, all) pillars of health–including reducing our exposures to these toxic or risky exposures–the better our luck will be!
There are so many hacks.
First, since indoor air tends to be at least 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, even in the most industrialized cities, it’s often helpful to open your windows for fresh air circulation when outdoor air quality is good.
Second, read product labels to avoid “fragrance,” which is a broad term that can contain up to 200 chemicals. Look for “fragrance-free” since even “unscented” and “free & clear” can sometimes contain fragrance ingredients to mask other odors.
Third, a no-shoes policy is super helpful since the bottom of our shoes can track chemicals and heavy metals into our home.
Fourth, avoid consuming foods and drinks that have been in touch with plastics. It’s not realistic to avoid it completely (especially if you have kids). But reducing your consumption of them is helpful. Be aware that some chemicals in plastics (like phthalates) can continuously leach into fatty foods (like cheese) over time.
Last, download a free copy of my Nontoxic Cleaning Cheat Sheet. It’s a beautiful 22-page PDF that is so helpful in transitioning to some do-it-yourself cleaning, which is the most nontoxic and eco-friendly cleaning.
We absolutely love and feel so aligned with your mission to make home a place of healing. As a mother yourself (with so much on your plate!), can you share some practical, simple tweaks to create this healing space that are easy to implement and, as you say, don’t sacrifice joy – especially for our busy mamas!
There are three tweaks that come to mind.
First, be mindful of your perspective. Stress and joy are also key pillars of health!
As a result, I often conduct what I call the “Love Test.” So, when I know something probably contains toxic chemicals (like juice boxes), I ask myself, “In this moment, does it bring great love, joy, convenience, or meet a need?”
If the answer is yes (like at a party), I tell my children to just enjoy the party (and enjoy the juice box). Most of the time, however, they don’t drink pre-packaged juices. I focus on detoxing our normal, but I support the exceptions! I just try to make mindful choices.
Second, less is more. Keeping in mind that almost everything contributes to pollution, having fewer things is best. As we know from the trends of enjoying a tidy, minimal place, having less brings great serenity too. I edit our stuff with the “Household Repeat Offenders” (explained in my first book A to Z of D-Toxing). They serve as effective “filters” for eliminating toxic exposures.
Last, integrate nature into your home. Simple ways to include nature are through images, wood, plants, and crystals. Science has proven healing benefits from certain design elements that incorporate nature. Generally, it’s healthier and more healing to choose natural (rather than synthetic) materials.
As an advocate for safe, non-toxic products, we’d love to hear what Primally Pure products you’ve come to enjoy and incorporate in your own clean beauty and wellness rituals?
I have so many beautiful Primally Pure products that I haven’t yet tried. So far, I LOVE the Dry Shampoo, Tinted Lip Balm, Room Spray (Spring), and Hand Soap (Spring). My three daughters and I are looking forward to trying the Mask Trio soon during our first at-home spa evening.
Since I don’t use (or need) deodorant (I’m Asian; Asians don’t usually smell), I felt great giving them to my daughter (she’s half Caucasian) and husband because the ingredients are so beautiful.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your passion and expertise with us today, Sophia! As we close out our convo, can you please share one final thought or message to empower our community to create personal, lasting transformation in their health and home?
Remember that it’s often never too late to benefit from making healthy changes, and that small detox tweaks can transform the trajectory of your life quality!
The most important first step is to learn more. With more awareness, you will recognize your opportunities to make healthier choices.
An easy way to learn more is to subscribe to my Practical Nontoxic Living podcast to listen to fascinating conversations about this topic. And register for my newsletter on my website!