If you’re among the folks weary of ingredient labels you’d need an advanced chemistry degree to decipher and caustic cleaning products that leave your fingertips dry and cracked, you’re not alone. Many people switch to a more natural lifestyle for these reasons, among others. But how do novices get started with living more naturally?
The good news is, switching to natural living doesn’t require much effort at all once you get into the groove. And you don’t need to instantly ditch all of your beloved go-to strategies to do so. Incorporate one or more of the following tips into your lifestyle, and you’ll be living in harmony with Mother Earth in no time!
1. Think Whole Foods
The phrase “whole foods” may lead you to think of a popular grocery chain, but there’s no need to visit a pricey health-food store to eat more naturally. Choosing whole foods means opting for fruits, veggies, nuts and grains that haven’t undergone processing. Replace artificial cheese curls with lightly salted almonds, and sweeten your tea with honey, not artificial sweeteners.
2. Make Non-Toxic Cleaners
Tons of products clog supermarket cleaning aisles, but you can replace most of them with a simple solution of vinegar, water, baking soda and clear dish soap. Not only will your home sparkle, your family and pets will also breathe easier once you’ve made your household free of toxic fumes.
3. Create Signature Beauty Products
Many over-the-counter beauty and hygiene products contain dangerous ingredients like oxybenzone and sodium laurel sulfate. Instead, make DIY cleansing bars with ingredients like milk, charcoal, aloe and essential oils.
4. Reuse Everything
Be honest: How many times have you carelessly tossed your plastic Chinese takeout container in the trash or recycling bin? Many such containers make excellent storage devices for leftovers. Follow Grandma’s example by rinsing and reusing plastic containers instead of scrapping them.
5. Walk to Market
Who among us couldn’t benefit from getting some exercise while keeping the planet green? Instead of driving to the grocery or farmers’ market a mile down the road, walk there — and carry your reusable shopping bags!
6. Bike to Work
Sure, some days, inclement weather may demand hopping in your ride, but when the skies permit, bike to work if you live close to the office. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint, burn calories and gain the admiration of your co-workers on your commitment to healthy living.
7. Strike a Pose
Yoga has survived for thousands of years for a good reason — it offers natural pain relief and prevents common sports injuries. Start your day with a 10-minute practice, and wind down in the evenings with a brief bedtime yoga routine.
8. Heal With Herbs
Suffering a bout of the sniffles or plagued with achy joints? Opt for healing herbs over ibuprofen. Herbalists have long recommended echinacea for recovering from colds, and turmeric naturally reduces painful inflammation in knees and knuckles.
9. Shop Quality, Not Quantity
Natural living means investing more in quality items built to last over less expensive throwaways. Whether you’re shopping for a new couch or a stunning party dress, think beyond the price tag and opt to pay more now to save money and landfill space later.
10. Opt for Readable Ingredients
Whether you’re seeking a new shampoo or purchasing breakfast cereals, follow the KISS — Keep It Simple, Señorita — rule. Natural ingredients like aloe need little interpretation, and you really can’t go wrong with plain old oats, raisins and milk.
11. Eliminate Waste
Do your office mates carelessly toss paper in the rubbish bin because your office lacks recycling? Take the initiative to repurpose empty ream boxes into bins and volunteer to run to the nearest recycling center weekly. You’ll not only help protect the planet, but you’ll also have a perfect excuse to step away from your computer screen for a bit.
12. Get a Little Salty
When getting wet, that is. Epsom salt baths soothe sore muscles and, in some cases, ease the pain of fibromyalgia. And, unlike drying chlorine-filled swimming pools, saltwater pools leave hair silky soft and skin smooth.
Celebrate Your Natural Living Groove
Switching to natural living offers a host of benefits for yourself, your family and our planet. Start on your journey to cleaner, greener living today!