Switching to living a more natural lifestyle can be overwhelming, filled with conflicting information based on which corner of the internet you have looked in.
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of my top easy steps to start living a more natural life. This is a quick and easy way to jumpstart your journey.
Know the concept
First off, let’s define what natural really is. This will help you distinguish what products are what they say they are and also help you find what in your house may need to go.
My general rule of thumb is if I can’t ingest it safely, it shouldn’t be in my house. When I wash my dishes with something high in chemicals, I’m likely to be ingesting them as well. If my dogs lick their paws after walking across mopped floors, I don’t want to worry that they’ll get sick.
The same also goes for what I apply to my skin. Being our largest organ, the skin absorbs whatever we put on it, so whether we like it or not, we are ingesting it. A basic principle of natural living is using and eating items in their natural state.
While it isn’t always possible in our modern world, it is good to make an effort to use things in their most natural state. This also means reading the label, and if there is an ingredient you don’t recognize, look it up. This is an excellent opportunity to educate yourself on what’s really in the products you use every day.
Some of the harshest chemicals in our home can be found in cleaning products. Some of the natural cleaning products are vinegar, liquid castile soap, baking soda, salt, hydrogen peroxide or even lemon juice.
Making your own natural cleaners or switching to natural cleaners can help eliminate toxic chemicals from your home and make you and your pets healthier.
Personal Care and Beauty Products
You must carefully choose personal care and beauty products, such as shampoo, conditioner, skincare, and deodorant. It is essential to look for products made without parabens, sulfates, artificial ingredients, and aluminum.
Be aware of any ingredients that you are not familiar with. Ensure that you read the labels and know what you are putting on your body.
You want to make sure these items are made with real ingredients, not just a list of chemicals.
Almost anything you put on your skin absorbs into it and can directly impact your health. You can even get adventurous and make these products yourself with DIY recipes.
Laundry items I felt deserved a section all to themselves as they are something we don’t think of as having a large impact on our health.
There are toxic effects of the chemical components of laundry detergents. When it comes to fabric softeners and dryer sheets, the risks outweigh the benefits, in my opinion. Both fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain dangerous chemicals.
Look for natural options using the ThinkDirty App, or get adventurous and make your own.
Use cookware made from cast iron and stainless steel instead of toxic non-stick. According to the Environmental Work Group, non-stick coatings can “reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 3-5, releasing 15 toxic gases and chemicals, including two carcinogens”. This means that despite how healthy the food you are cooking is, it could be coated in dangerous chemicals because of what you are cooking it in.
There are some non-toxic, non-stick pans on the market, but you need a bit of research on them before purchasing. I prefer to avoid them altogether as there are many great alternatives such as cast iron, ceramic, stainless steel, glass, and enamel.
As with anything, make sure you are buying a quality product free of chemicals. Here are some of the favorites that I recommend: lodge cast iron skillet set and lodge dutch oven.
Reach for the natural remedy first. Don’t just run to the drugstore; try a natural remedy first to help.
Many natural remedies can work fantastically for allergies, minor injuries, colds, flu, and many other ailments. There is no need to stop consulting a doctor or change any current medication without consulting a doctor.
However, for simple illnesses, there is often a natural remedy that will work just as well as the drug store meds.
Instead of using disposable products, switch to reusable ones. It is easier than you would think to eliminate waste in your home. Here is a list of my top easy zero waste swaps!
Try swapping out your regular paper products for hemp paper products. Because hemp can be recycled several times more than paper, and hemp plants mature within four months, it is a more sustainable product.
Recycle and compost everything you can. When these items aren’t disposed of in a landfill, they can go on to be reused as something else or become a nourishing organic matter for your garden.
When recycling, make sure you know what can and cannot be recycled as some plastic items cannot be recycled.
When you buy locally grown foods and handmade items, you are not only supporting a small business, but you also get to know where your food comes from, how it grows, or how it is made.
Local shopping provides a sense of connection to the items you are buying and a healthier product in the case of food.
It’s important to support people raising or making quality products when we can, as their products are likely produced in a more sustainable fashion, and you are supporting an individual instead of a large corporation.
Even though we cannot always shop at the farmer’s market or local shops, we should still do our best to support local businesses.
It’s easy to take foods at face value when they say they are natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, etc.
Because we see all their values, we assume they must be good for us. While sometimes this is true, reading the label is very important as you would be surprised how many so-called “healthy” foods are actually highly processed or filled with nasty preservatives.
If you don’t know exactly what an ingredient is, do a quick search to find out. Beware of ingredients that are not food-derived.
Knowing what you are feeding your body will help you become more aware and healthier.
Eat more real foods
It was said some 2,000 years ago by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine.”
There is no better medicine than food, so fueling our bodies with natural, whole foods will make us healthier.
Cut out the highly processed foods and instead eat more whole, unprocessed foods; your body will thank you.
The five ingredients or less rule is a great way to stay on track here. If it has more than five ingredients, don’t eat it! You still want to make sure you read the label and know the ingredients, but this will prevent you from eating many highly processed foods.
Don’t forget: any step towards living a more natural lifestyle is worthwhile. You do not have to take all of these steps at once.
It’s a journey to live a natural lifestyle; you don’t get there overnight, and remember that no matter how small the step, it counts as progress.
Just by reading this post, you show you’re going in the right direction, and I’m proud of you!