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If you’re interested in learning how to transition to a more natural, non toxic lifestyle, this post is for you!
Once you fall down the rabbit hole of research, it can be overwhelming to realize that many of the products you use and (even some of the foods you consume) on a daily basis, may not be good for you.
It can seem like a monumental task to transition to a natural lifestyle at first. But the key is to take small steps.
Every action you invest in your health, however tiny, makes a difference.
BEFORE WE DIVE IN
I don’t want anyone reading this to feel judged if you choose to life in a way that’s contrary to some of the tips in this article. Sometimes our budgets or life situations don’t allow for us to live a completely non-toxic, natural lifestyle. And that’s okay.
Do your best and don’t stress about the rest!
We are all at different points in our healthy lifestyle journeys, and I will be the first to tell you that I don’t always live a perfectly healthy, non-toxic, and natural lifestyle.
I do take daily steps toward living a healthy life. But I will be honest that I’m still working towards some of the things on this list.
The tips in this post should be seen as goals to aspire towards, and not rules that are set in stone.
It’s my hope that this post will help you get closer to your healthy, natural living goals and make you feel empowered that you can achieve them!
11 Easy Ways to Transition to a More Natural Lifestyle
1. START READING LABELS
It’s easy to buy pre-packaged food items without a thought, especially when the front label says natural or organic.
But it’s important to check the ingredient label because many so-called “natural foods: contain hidden sugars and/or chemicals.
Familiarize yourself with ingredients you should avoid. Once you do, you may be surprised how many “healthy” foods are actually highly processed and filled with non-food ingredients!
2. EAT REAL FOOD
This is probably the most important, yet most difficult step towards living a more natural lifestyle. The old adage, “you are what you eat” is SO true! If you eat junk, you’re going to feel like junk.
Fuel your body with whole, unprocessed foods that make you feel good.
I like to keep things simple and focus on eating
- Animal proteins
- Healthy fats
- Veggies (including starchy vegetables)
- Some whole grains and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
DITCH THE DIETS
Diets can be tricky. For some, following rules around eating can be so helpful and life-changing.
For others, it leads to feeling restricted, “falling off the wagon”, and huge fluctuations in weight. Not to mention, feelings of guilt and hopelessness for “failing” their chosen diet.
An easy prescription for this problem is to forget diets altogether and instead, simply aim to consume quality, whole food without additives or preservatives.
Can’t pronounce an ingredient? Don’t eat it.
Cook wholesome meals for yourself and your family, and most importantly relax and enjoy your food!
3. BUY ORGANIC + SUSTAINABLE (WHEN YOU CAN)
Buying whole foods from local farmers is ideal, but many of us just cannot afford to buy from the farmer’s market on a regular basis.
Thankfully, organic food options that most people can afford are becoming increasingly available in the United States.
Now, even Aldi offers a wide range of organic produce, and even organic canned and dry goods. They also carry some grass-fed and free-range meat and poultry options!
You may not be able to always buy organic, and that’s ok. Do your best with what your budget allows.
4. AVOID REFINED SUGARS + PROCESSED GRAINS.
Most of us have heard that white sugar and white flour are bad for us, but avoiding foods that contain these ingredients can be a challenge. They are EVERYWHERE in restaurants and stores.
Thankfully more people are waking up to the pitfalls of the standard American diet, and grocery stores are noticing and making changes.
Look for healthier sweeteners like raw honey, organic maple syrup, and coconut and date sugars in your supermarket. and learn to cook with these ingredients.
It can also be helpful to learn how to bake with grain-free flours such as cassava, arrowroot, and coconut flour.
Some people can process grains without a problem. If you fall in that category, try to purchase organic whole grains and legumes when you can.
I like quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas, but really there are so many options out there to try! Be adventurous! 🙂
5. TOSS THE TEFLON.
Many people love the convenience of cooking with Teflon coated pots and pans. You can get foods super crispy in a Teflon pan, and its non-stick coating makes cleanup a breeze.
Unfortunately, non-stick pots and pans contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). When heated, Teflon releases toxins into the air that can kill birds (true story) and harm humans (1).
Although some may argue these dangers are only a concern when non-stick surfaces reach very high temperatures, I choose to avoid these toxins altogether and opt for cookware I know is safe to use regardless of temperature.
SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO NON-STICK
Cast iron cookware is a much better alternative to Teflon. When properly cared for, cast-iron builds its own non-stick coating and sears like a dream. It’s great for everything frying and sauteing to braising and boiling. I trust this brand and love this pan for making quick one-pot meals on busy weeknights.
Stainless steel pots and pans are also a safe alternative to Teflon, as is glass bakeware and enamel covered cookware.
This glass baking dish set is awesome because each piece comes with a lid.
I think every kitchen needs a quality Dutch oven like this one for delectable soups and stews. It even can be used for baking bread!
6. SWITCH TO CLEAN SKINCARE PRODUCTS.
What we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in it.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and chemicals found in skincare products absorb into the bloodstream.
For clean, natural skincare, I really love Earthley Wellness.
Earthley is a family-owned company with a commitment to high-quality, natural products that never contain chemicals, synthetic ingredients, or fragrance.
(They’re also very affordable compared to other natural skincare brands.)
EARTHLEY PRODUCTS YOU SHOULD TRY:
- Charcoal Facial Bar
- 3-in-1 Soap
- Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo Bar
- Whipped Body Butter
- Rejuvinate Me Facial Serum
7. AVOID CONVENTIONAL HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS.
You don’t have to be a crunchy mama to notice the toxic fumes that many household cleaners emit during normal use. Just the warning labels alone on some cleaners, are enough to scare me into never using them as long as I live.
Thankfully there are MUCH healthier alternatives that are easy to use and won’t break the bank.
Every natural-minded mama should have at least three common, non-toxic ingredients in her home for cleaning:
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
When mixed with a little water, vinegar makes a great all purpose cleaner.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used for disinfecting. Baking soda is perfect for polishing stainless steel and has scads of other uses as well.
This post by Katie at WellnessMama.com goes in depth with TONS of recipes and tips for homemade cleaning solutions that work. I highly recommend you bookmark it and try some of her concoctions out for yourself!
8. EVALUATE YOUR WATER SOURCE.
Many municipal water sources are treated with dangerous chemicals, including fluoride (a neurotoxin). Furthermore, tap water can contain a myriad of heavy metals, pesticides, and pharmaceutical drugs. Definitely not something you want to drink long-term!
I was definitely miffed when I learned that standard filters like Brita leave behind many of the aforementioned contaminants.
You’ll want to invest in a filter that can remove all the harmful components from your water without taking out important minerals.
The most comprehensive and affordable filtera I’ve found are made by Propur USA. They carry whole house systems, as well as more affordable gravity filters for the counter-top. Their least expensive option is a water pitcher that fits right in your fridge.
Propur is one of only a couple filters on the market (that I know of) that completely removes fluoride during the filtration process.
9. CUT DOWN EXPOSURE TO PLASTICS.
Plastics are everywhere in our environment and unfortunately, they are very difficult to avoid.
But it is worth it to try to reduce your personal exposure to plastics. Many plastics contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic compounds.
Even mainstream sources acknowledge that humans should try to reduce contact with certain plastics.
Easy ways to reduce your plastic exposure:
- Never cook or microwave food in plastic containers. Do not put hot or warm food or drinks inside plastic vessels.
- Use porcelain and glass instead of plastic cups and dishes.
- Use a refillable stainless steel or glass water bottle/
- Store food in glass storage containers. I also love using simple Mason jars for food storage.
- Avoid consuming canned foods when possible (the lining of many cans contain BPA).
- Avoid handling receipts (they contain BPA).
- Use a cloth shower curtain (vinyl shower curtains contain harmful phthalates that off-gas into the air).
- Avoid toys and other materials containing PVC. These can be identified by the recycling symbol with a “3” inside it.
10. CONSUME PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS.
Fermented foods such sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi contain millions of live, good bacteria that directly improve gut health. The benefits of healthy gut flora truly extend to the entire body, including the immune system.
I’ve noticed a big improvement in my gut health since I started eating fermented foods. Doing so is a part of my daily health regime that I actually enjoy and look forward to! I love to eat a little sauerkraut with my eggs in the morning, or paired with braised meat.
Fermented foods are now readily available in many grocery stores, but making them yourself couldn’t be easier. The best part about fermenting your own veggies is that it’s so cheap!
To make saeurkraut, all you literally need is a jar, some cabbage, and some salt! Check out this recipe here by Lisa from FarmhouseonBoone.com. She includes an easy to follow instructional video at the end of her blog post if you’re more of a learn-by-watching kind of person.
11. USE ALTERNATIVES TO CANDLES AND AIR FRESHENERS
Many petroleum based candles are composed of paraffin wax which release harmful chemicals into the air such as toulene and alkenes (2). Those are not compounds you want to inhale on a regular basis!
Air fresheners are just as bad, if not worse than candles. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tested spray and plug-in air fresheners and found that 86% of those tested released phthalates into the air (3).
Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors that have been linked to health problems such as cancer, asthma, and obesity (4, 5, 6).
One study found that the offspring of mothers who used air fresheners and other household chemicals during pregnancy had an increased risk for wheezing and lower respiratory infections (7).
Instead of using scented candles and chemical air fresheners, consider diffusing essential oils. If you have children in your home, be sure to choose oils that are safe for kids. This article explains which oils are safe to diffuse around children.
Daily we are inundated with chemicals in our environment, our food, and our water supply. So many of the items we handle and use can potentially contain harmful components.
Since we are exposed to so many chemicals on a daily basis, you may ask, is it even worth it to try to live a more natural lifestyle?
I think the answer is most definitely, yes. You can’t control which chemicals are outside in your environment, but you can control the things you choose to eat, wear, and use within your home.
Start with your body. Fuel it with the right foods. Use the body and skincare products you know won’t cause harm.
From there, move on to your home and the air you breathe indoors.
Adjust your cleaning routine. Cut down on the amount of plastic you use.
Take small steps toward your health every day and the little things will add up!
I hope this list has inspired you and given you some good starting points for your health journey.
Which part of natural living is the most challenging for you? Tell me in the comment section below!
4. Phillips ML. Phthalates and Metabolism: Exposure Correlates with Obesity and Diabetes in Men. Environ Health Perspect. 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892143/
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