Did you know that Milwaukee is a gold mine for beautiful blogs and natural living advocates?
Because WOW. Today I was graced with the presence of the lovely Becca from Organically Becca!
Becca is a blogger, dog mom, environmentalist, and natural beauty enthusiast living in Milwaukee, WI. After doing research on the products she puts in and on her body, she adopted a natural lifestyle and has been living her best life ever since. From skin care to dog care, she is a great resource for those willing to adapt a natural lifestyle and an advocate for sustainable living. So naturally, I had to know her secrets! Check out our interview below:
1. Tell us a little about your fur baby!
My pleasure! His name is Dexter and he is a 4-year-old mutt. My husband and I adopted him from the Wisconsin Humane Society when he was about 4 months old. He was brought up from Mississippi along with a few of his siblings. We did a DNA test to find out his breed, and he is a mix of Border Collie, Lab, Flat-Coated Retriever, Rottweiler, and Sheltie. I usually just tell people he’s a Lab/Border Collie mix cause it’s easier!
We also like to call him “Nubby” because he has a really short nub tail. He’s a little shy when you first meet him, and sometimes scary things like bikes or vacuum cleaners upset him, but at the end of the day he just wants to snuggle and lick your face (especially if you give him popcorn, coconut oil, or peanut butter). He’s definitely my baby!
2. How would you describe the importance of a non-toxic lifestyle for our pets? Has your experience with your dog changed as you switched to a more natural lifestyle?
It’s so important! A lot of products out there for pets are really cheaply made and have some really horrible ingredients. Sure, they aren’t humans, but they are still our babies and deserve the best! It’s not fun to hear, but the rate of cancers in dogs is rising, and there are a lot less regulations for pet products (like food) compared to products for us humans. So you might have to take extra steps to do what’s best for your pup. I’m always learning new things and making changes to do what’s best for Dexter!
3. What are some of your favorite natural pet products that you have been obsessed with lately? (Food, treats, toys, etc)
Dexter loves Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried food (well, he loves anything you will feed him, really). I also like the little Zuke’s training treats to take on walks. We also got Dexter a Savvy Rest dog bed. It’s made with all natural materials like organic cotton and is made sustainably. Bully sticks are really gross but Dexter also loves those (we get them from Raw Paws pet food). It’s so cool that there are so many options out there for dog parents that want to make better choices for their pets!
4. Have you had experience with frustration/confusion with the pet food industry being a person who is an advocate for transparency and environmental responsibility?
Of course. Like I mentioned earlier, there are just so many products on the market that might be cheaply priced but aren’t necessarily helping your pet’s health. A lot of conventional dog foods and kibbles use by-products or leftover meats from places like China. It’s just crazy the lengths businesses will go to just to make money! Once I started learning about conventional foods and all of the additives and ingredients, it was shocking! If you compare some of those ingredients to what a dog would naturally eat in the wild (like grains, corn, and soy compared to raw meats and organs), it’s no wonder there are so many health issues arising in pets these days!
5. A lot of people I know are very adamant about natural living with themselves but often disregard their pets. What made you start to think about this lifestyle for your animal?
I’ve always been kind of aware of more natural alternatives for Dexter, but the big tipping point was about a year ago when he had two lumps removed surgically. Thankfully they weren’t cancerous, but it freaked me out! I did a complete overhaul and tried to incorporate more holistic and natural things for him. For example, we switched him off conventional flea + tick medication to an essential oil-based one. And I switched him from kibble (which can have a lot of filler ingredients and is usually extruded at high temps) to freeze-dried raw food. Occasionally I even make homemade treats and crock pot meals for Dexter too (spoiled, I know!).
Unfortunately, many pet parents have a scare like Becca did. 1 out of 2 dogs will develop cancer by the age of 10.
6. Let’s talk about greenwashing. In natural beauty, this is a growing concern. It is also prevalent in the pet food industry when it comes to “natural” ingredients. Can you define greenwashing in your own words and talk about how it can mislead a consumer?
Totally, greenwashing is so easy to fall victim to and it really upsets me! Basically, it’s when companies make claims that they are “natural” or use clean ingredients but they really don’t. It’s SO misleading and unfair to consumers that are trying to do better for their health or for the environment. It all comes down to the fact that there are not a ton of regulations in place for certain terminology or ingredient safety so companies can get away with a lot. You always have to research ingredients and learn about them for yourself. I tell people to never trust labels blindly without reading ingredients! And try to do as much research about a company to see if you are willing to support them and their practices.
7. What are some tips for someone who wants to start living clean? Specifically, what are some things that any budget can do to increase their sustainability and decrease toxicity in their lives?
The key is just to start small and to just START! It’s easy to feel like you have to completely overhaul your life and the products you use. It’s just not feasible or attainable and you will drive yourself crazy if you try to be perfect! It took me at least 2 years to totally clean up the products I use and I’m still definitely not perfect. The main thing is to learn and educate yourself and get yourself to a place that you are comfortable, don’t try to live up to someone else’s standards. Once a product is used up, for example, swap it out with something better! Look for sales. Buy products that can be reused instead of single-use items. Sometimes living more naturally can be expensive, yes, but try to think of it as investing in your health long-term vs. spending money!
We cannot agree more. Rather than thinking about the up-front cost, I like to think about the money saved in the long run and more importantly, the investment in health. Preventative care is lacking in our current healthcare system and encouraging wellness at a young age is important for keeping you out of the vet’s office!
8. We love that you promote local businesses and brands in Wisconsin! What are some of your favorites, human or non-human?
Yes there are so many awesome businesses in Wisconsin! First of all we feed Dexter “Stella & Chewy’s” food which is made here in Milwaukee. I also love what “Lost & Hound” is doing, which is a local company that makes accessories like bandanas and bowties for dogs and donates a toy to shelter dogs for each purchase. Another I can think of is “Gracie’s Doggie Delights” which are freeze-dried dog treats made by a young woman with Down Syndrome out of Watertown, WI. And I can’t forget “Dogs of MKE” which is an account that showcases all of the dogs here in Milwaukee and their stories!
And I don’t think it’s local to Wisconsin, but we live near a Bentley’s pet store. They are great because they have high standards for the products they carry and also have a lot of awesome “green” practices!
Thank you Becca for taking the time to talk with me and the Cat Mom Club! Follow Becca on her blog and social media platforms listed below!