You've probably thought about it. Maybe you've made some changes. But you always hit a brick wall when you realize: WHERE DOES IT END!? For years, I would read an article or watch a documentary and say, "OK, I can do that!" but there would be a little carrot I would follow...which led me farther and farther down the rabbit hole. A list of 50 action steps later, and I would scrap the whole list because it was just way too much all at once!
And that's how we felt for a REALLY long time. Which led to a lot of procrastination.
Sure, buying organic vs. non-organic was a pretty simple transition for us. But everything beyond that seemed really overwhelming. Because once you start making this lifestyle shift, you think about other things. Cleaning products, for example. In my house growing up, we cleaned everything with 409. E-VE-RY-THING. Antibacterial soap was deemed the best soap to use. And so on and so forth. Then the next thing is thinking about the beauty and hygiene products you use...and all of a sudden you're thinking about the containers you put your food and drinks in. My head was just spinning.
Let me be completely honest, we are far from perfect. But in this past year or so, we have made a huge shift in the right direction! But it was really tough to get going.
So what are our tips for getting started? Check them out below! But keep in mind that these are just the start. Like I said, the rabbit hole goes...forever. I'm certain not even I have found the deepest depths of the rabbit hole. So this is not an all-inclusive list. But these are some good tips to keep in mind as you start.
- The most annoying thing here is that the word "NATURAL" basically means nothing anymore. Yes, some companies use it properly, but many do not. So make sure that you read labels (and know HOW to...maybe we should do a workshop on that!) before picking your food.
- A good rule of thumb is to shop from the perimeter (the outside edges) of the grocery store as much as you can, as this is where *most* of the food tends to be fresh and not processed.
- Do try to buy organic whenever you can. There are many reasons (which I can go into more detail about later), but overall your health will improve when we are consuming more organic foods!
- This was a really tough one for us. Because financially, we really hated the thought of throwing out all the products (regardless of how toxic) that we had already purchased in order to make room for the safer ones. So here's my tip, no matter how much it may make some of you cringe: use up what you have. BUT there's a second step to this tip: go ahead and have the new, safe stuff already on hand. The cycle we kept finding ourselves in is that we would wait to buy the new stuff, but then we would wait until it was too late to buy the new, safe stuff...so we kept using what was quick and easy. #oops. Do your research on what you brand you want to use BEFORE you've run out.
- Look for cleaner concentrates from good companies! The cleaner concentrates come with recipes so that you can use it as a base to make basically any cleaning product you would be able to buy in the store, but using a safe, non-toxic base.
- I think you'll already know my first answer here: CHIROPRACTIC. Chiropractic is the epitome of "natural," simply because chiropractic does not add anything to your body! All chiropractic does is remove the subluxation (read: remove interference) from your nervous system, so that your body can do what it was designed to do! It's as simple as that!
- Make supplements a part of your life. Yes, we know you are trying really hard in the nutrition department. But most people still fall short to some degree, even when making a conscious effort (even for people with nutrition degrees!). Also note: The best source of supplements will be a WHOLE FOOD supplement (not the store, Whole Foods...although you can get whole food supplements there, you can get them elsewhere too!). Whole food supplements will be much more easily digestible by your body, which means you will get the most bang for your buck in taking these. Supplements that aren't whole food-based won't be fully absorbed by your body, so some of the nutrients will go to waste. And who likes wasting money?
- Take a good, hard look at your medicine cabinet. This step is going to take some research (and even some talking with your favorite family chiropractor!). What are you reaching for in here that maybe isn't completely necessary? Could some of it be replaced with regular chiropractic care? Are there nutritional deficiencies that might be causing you to "need" them? Or perhaps you could use some essential oils to address the symptoms when you do have a flare up? Sometimes it's tough to remove this safety blanket, but we promise your body will thank you if you do!
- There are two key ingredient families that should set off alarms in your head when you read them:
1. Phtalates: Will show up on the ingredient list, listed similar to "diethyl phtalate" (but diethyl may be a different word)
2. Parabens and Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate. Make sure to look for products that list they are "paraben-free" or "sulfate-free."
These chemicals have been linked to things like childhood obesity, male infertility, and higher ADHD rates.
These two chemical families are considered endocrine disruptor chemicals. That means they mess with your hormone system! And when you mess with the balance of your hormone system, all other functions in your body can fall victim to improper function.
- Don't be afraid to experiment with making some of your own stuff! You can find plenty of recipes online for anything that you would buy in the store!
So there you have it- our start to transitioning to a less toxic life!
If you haven't taken any steps yet, even this list may seem daunting. So take it one step at a time! Over time, you'll find that this lifestyle can be very manageable and your health will improve because of it!