3 STEPS TO SWITCH TO NON-TOXIC LIVING
Being healthy is about so much more than what you eat and how you exercise. Wellness also includes mental + emotional health, and a lifestyle that supports mindful choices. I took a holistic look at my life to see where I could emulate the same standards I had for my food, to make a positive impact on my overall wellness. Read on for 3 easy changes you can make to support non-toxic living!
First things first, let’s define what toxins are and why non-toxic living is important. Our bodies have the ability to detox 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our body’s inherent detoxification pathways are always running to help clear our bodies of toxins. But, we accumulate toxins on a daily basis through our food, water and environment. This is called toxic load. If we don’t support our bodies in managing toxic load, the toxic burden is too large and our detox pathways can’t sufficiently keep symptoms away. The most effective way to minimize toxic burden is to lessen the amount of toxins entering your system every day, which is why non-toxic lifestyle changes are so important. While there are plenty of foods you can eat to support your body’s detoxification system, toxins exist in other areas of our lives too and there are a few easy swaps you can make to lessen your toxin exposure on a daily basis.
Essential oils: One of my favorite ways to wind down at the end of the evening, set the tone in our home, or end my weekly cleaning ritual is by diffusing essential oils. I swapped out our candles, which often contain toxic scents, for a diffuser, and sometimes burn incense like palo santo. We’ll diffuse tea tree or lavender oil before bed, I prefer earthy scents like basil when I’m working, and I love citrus scents to freshen up the home after I’ve cleaned or before guests come over! I’m loving my Vitruvi diffuser and oil blends!
Cleaning products: I swapped out all our cleaning products for natural and non-toxic alternatives. Everything from surface cleaner, dish soap and dishwasher detergent, to dryer sheets and hand soap can be found in non-toxic varieties. We love Seventh Generation for kitchen cleaning (unscented dish soap + dishwasher pods), Grab Green for laundry (vetiver laundry pods), and Mrs. Meyer’s for everything else (rosemary hand soap + lemon verbena surface cleaner)! PS - my ultimate favorite is the lavender dryer bags from Trader Joe’s. We use them to do laundry, I stick them in our pillow cases, and I throw them into drawers to keep clothes and linens fresh in storage.
Organic produce + responsibly raised protein: Eating organic produce and consuming grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, and wild caught fish is an easy way to avoid common toxins since they’re free of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides and food is one of our largest exposures to toxins. While it’s not always financially possible to consume these foods on a regular basis, we do what we can to eat mostly organic produce and responsibly raised proteins.
Cookware: While we haven’t fully transitioned to non-toxic cookware, we did swap out our pans for cast iron. I love cast iron because it’s easy to clean (as in, you don’t really clean it), it infuses your food with trace amounts of iron, which many of us don’t get enough of from our foods, and doesn’t leech nonstick chemicals (like PFCs, perflourinated compounds) into your food. Plus, it makes whatever you’re cooking crispy on the outside!
Food storage: Since we eat on the go a lot due to work, having reliable food storage is important to us. We switched out our plastic tupperware (which often contains BPAs and phthalates, both xenoestrogens which mimic estrogen in the body and can disrupt our body’s natural hormone production and use) for glass alternatives, and store all our pantry goods and spices in glass too. While K is still stuck on plastic water bottles, I use this stainless steel water bottle.
Menstrual care: About a year ago, I quit hormonal birth control and more recently I’ve started using a menstrual cup! I’m no expert in hormonal birth control (but Dr. Jolene Brighten is, and I’ve used her as a trusted resource). While organic tampons and pads are an improvement over conventional, they can be pricey, generate a lot of waste, and still come in contact with a sensitive part of your body. I chose to switch to a medical grade silicone menstrual cup (here is the one I use), and am loving it so far! It has the added benefit of being more convenient than disposable products (since you can leave it in all day with no worry about toxic shock syndrome).
Manicures + pedicures: One of the most rewarding and relaxing switches I’ve made for non-toxic living was getting non-toxic manicures and pedicures at Base Coat salon. Basecoat uses gel nail polish that is free of the 10 most common toxins, and they make their own regular polishes that are free of the 8 most common toxins. They also make their own scrubs, lotions, and oils for a completely non-toxic experience. My gel manis and pedis from Base Coat stay on for about 5 weeks! Plus, they offer you a custom herbal tea blend (or rose, if you prefer) when you arrive, and the decor is to die for.
Skin + body care products: Last but not least, we swapped out all our personal care products for non-toxic alternatives. From body wash (Peppermint Dr. Bronner’s) and shampoo and conditioner, to toothpaste (Redmond Unsweetened Earth Paste), to makeup and skincare, I overhauled our personal care routines to avoid things like parabens (a preservative commonly used in beauty products). One of my favorite switches to non-toxic living has been using Primally Pure skin and body care products. Their ingredients are sourced with the highest quality in mind, and their products are (mostly) formulated with 10 ingredients or less — all of which you can pronounce. My favorite PP products are:
If you haven’t tried Primally Pure before, you can get 10% off your first order with my code: REALFOODFED
Interested in supporting a non-toxic lifestyle? There are easy and cost-effective switches to be made in every area of your life, and you don’t have to make a lot of changes at once! I started with diffusing oils, and over the course of several years have implemented all of these changes. And, I’m not perfect! there’s still changes I’d like to make that I’ll cycle in when it makes sense for us.