I often get questioned about how to begin living a “green” or “alternative” lifestyle. Occasionally, I meet moms who want to change one or two things in their homes such as finding safe, non-toxic cleaners for their home or wanting to use safer personal care products on their kiddos. More often, I meet moms who are searching for a way to stop using antibiotics, other prescriptions, or over-the-counter medications. And every once in awhile, I meet someone who is ready to throw in the towel on it all because in every nook and cranny (including our kitchen) is fancy packaging and chemically-laden ingredients!
It didn’t happen by chance, for me, that I turned from ignorant to alternative. Rather it is still a continual, winding and often whirlwind journey of trial and error. But it doesn’t have to be seemingly complicated or stressful. Mom can help make the transition smooth, even unnoticeable, to the rest of the family. Small steps in your way of thinking, accompanied by small goals are the best tools. The process of moving into a more natural lifestyle is quite simple and I offer a few introductory steps.
When I first talk with moms, I suggest going into the bathrooms and under all sinks first. Replacing shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, mouthwashes and hand soaps is financially reasonable and often removes a plethora of toxins from a home (and little hands!) quickly. Also, while in the bathroom, get rid of all perfumes and sprays. These items contain undisclosed fragrances that companies are not legally obliged to share with the public. The word fragrance on an ingredient list is often a big warning that that product contains numerous chemicals that are not necessarily safe for breathing.
This sounds simple enough since we all go to the grocery store whether we enjoy it or not! If there are moms like me, grocery shopping used to be a miserable experience with no joy or interest whatsoever. Spending hundreds of dollars a week to feed a family of six (half organically, have conventionally) was a total downer for me. This was because I lacked that learning curve. I was never really taught how to shop effectively. I know I am not the first to admit that families need help at the grocery store. My suggestion is to locate a Health & Wellness Coach in your area to schedule a Shopping Trip. Consider it Grocery Shopping 101 and rely on your coach! He or she has been trained on label reading and proper nutrition. An ingredient makeover is a must when transitioning to a healthy, alternative lifestyle. I have found that the more enjoyable and hands-on you can be the better the chance of sticking with it, especially when it comes to healthier eating. Having a coach, or a well-trained friend, by your side will keep you on your toes and take a lot of pressure off of you.
Go Easy on Yourself
Ready to tackle those detergents, house cleaning solutions, cosmetics, your favorite antiperspirant, and the home pharmacy? Well, take a deep breath for me because this is where mamas often get overwhelmed and think that in order to create a healthy self and home they must give up the hair salon, their favorite lipstick, the Children’s Advil and the Tide Color-Safe laundry detergent. Phew. This is where your mindset needs just a slight tuning. Think in moderation and build a network of like-minded mamas. You do not have to start making your own house cleaning solutions, hand soaps and mineral makeup, nor do you have to stop wearing your favorite shade of red. What I suggest is slowing down and focusing on “once in awhile” as your new favorite phrase. Once in awhile wear all of your makeup. Once in awhile have your hair done at the salon. And once in awhile, enjoy an oversized double decker chocolate brownie!
Now, with your new know-how, as you shop in the store or online, keep your eye open for companies that offer safer alternatives. Ask your friends what they use and if they have suggestions for alternatives. Look for people who are knowledgeable in alternative health and green cleaning and who may be willing to sit down with you, either in person or on the phone for a free consultation.
Want more? Check out the facts about ingredients over on www.ewg.org. It’s a website I highly recommend you bookmark and request email updates from so you can stay in-the-know.
Copyright 2013 Erin Giddens
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