In the past, I cared very little about health and wellness. However, since becoming a wife and mother, my attitude has changed. Being responsible for the well-being of a house full of precious souls has suddenly made living a natural, healthier lifestyle very important.
But where to start? It can feel overwhelming to consider transitioning to more natural living, so my best advice is to do a little bit at a time. Take baby steps, and don't try to do everything at once. Here are some areas in which you can start to slowly change your lifestyle. If you take it in small pieces, you'll soon gain confidence as you build new habits.
1. Get rid of harsh cleaning chemicals
Most mainstream household cleaners are pretty nasty. They are filled with harsh chemicals and artificial scents designed to give that 'clean' smell. Often without thinking, we spray these chemicals into the air, wash our clothes with them, and wipe them on our kitchen and bathroom surfaces. These substances can be especially harsh on small children and their growing bodies.
Now, don't feel like you have to raid your closets and throw away hundreds of dollars in product! Simply replace your cleaners with safer versions as you run out. There are many great cleaning products available that are non-toxic and chemical free. Another option would be to make your own. Here is a wonderful article on cleaning your house using simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar.
2. Change up your beauty routine
Another source of toxins and chemicals in our homes is our beauty products. Makeup, soaps, hair products, deodorants and lotions are often full of harmful substances. Xenoestrogens (estrogen-mimicking chemicals) are especially concerning, since they can disrupt our normal hormones and body processes. Putting these in direct contact with our largest organ, our skin, is certainly not a good idea.
Much like with the cleaning supplies, you can replace your beauty products one item at a time. There are an increasing number of natural cosmetics available, try looking in natural food stores or on the internet. Or, go without. I've personally stopped wearing makeup all together and I find my skin is healthier, not to mention it's better for my budget!
Another option is to try to make your own beauty and skin care products. The internet is full of fun ideas and tutorials on how to make safe and delightful products with ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils.
3. Start cooking from scratch
There are many schools of thought as to what constitutes a healthy diet. Should we eat low fat? Low carb? Low sugar? Gluten free? Vegetarian? The list goes on, with compelling arguments for each option. Often we are so overwhelmed we simply choose not to think about it.
So start by simply limiting pre-packaged, pre-processed, and artificial dye, sweetener, and flavor-filled foods and cook from scratch as much as possible. You'll feel a lot better about what you're feeding your family if you know exactly what goes in it! Cooking from scratch is often kinder on your budget as well. Instead of packing pudding cups and fruit snacks in your kids lunch, try baby carrots with hummus and an apple. Or instead of that boxed lasagna dinner from the freezer section, try your hand at some home made pasta. Also focus on getting as many fresh fruits and vegetables into each meal as possible. And with the money you save from skipping the pre-made meals, splurge on quality organic meat.
After a few weeks or months of eating this way, don't be surprised if you notice that you have more energy, less digestion issues, and maybe even a bit of weight loss!
4. Buy some houseplants
Houseplants are more than just pretty. They can actually help to filter your air! NASA did research in the 1980's exploring what plants were most efficient in purifying air. Here is a list of some of the best. I can't think of an easier way of making my home a cleaner, healthier place.
I'll be the first to admit, my home isn't completely natural or chemical free, but I'm getting there! What are some steps you've taken to improve the well-being of your family?
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net, healthyandnaturalworld.com and hgtv.com.