For a lot of people, the idea of switching to a “cleaner” or non-toxic lifestyle can feel a bit overwhelming. So today I wanted to share my story of how I transitioned from Windex and Splenda to essential oils and raw honey so to speak ; )
About five and a half years ago I had my first baby. And it was the first time I’d really had to consider actively losing some weight. So I headed to the gym, but the scale wasn’t moving. So I decided it was time to count some calories. I got a calorie counting app, and 1200 seemed like the magic number to drop some pounds. And it worked. I lost the weight. But calories were the only thing I was concerned about, not nutritional value. I’d bake cookies and cook with splenda. I’d buy low fat cereals and meal replacement shakes (remember Slim Fast??). I’d consider it a good day if I had an apple or some other fruit.
About a year after Evan was born, someone I was following on social media posted about the book Grain Brain and I started reading about gluten-free diets. This was right before the new year started, so health goals were on my mind. It peaked my interest because it was more about the overall health of your body, and how it could aid in your digestion. Gluten free felt a bit too extreme and maybe not really necessary. That’s when I came across 100 Days of Real Food. I started learning about choosing whole grains and whole, clean foods – cutting out the processed junk. I began reading ingredients labels and not just the calorie count. The more I started to read, the more frustrated I would get. And the more I knew I wanted to overhaul our pantry and change our mindset when it came to food.
I noticed so many changes in my body immediately, and I knew I could never go back to the way I had been eating beforehand. I felt less bloated, had less headaches, my digestion improved, and my skin improved. And once you KNOW what’s in the food being sold and marketed on a daily basis, you can’t un-know it. Seriously, start looking at ingredient labels if you don’t already. What the heck is the stuff they’re putting in your food?!?
Left: About a year before I had Evan. My diet was full of processed junk and very limited veggies. Right: a year and a half after having Evan – a diet of whole grains, fruit, veggies, minimal processed foods. I wasn’t even exercising with any consistency at that point. I’m amazed at the transformation and how much inflammation I lost just by changing the types of foods I was eating.
Changing our pantry naturally led into me next changing what kind of cleaning products we used. I knew if I was improving what kinds of things were going IN our bodies, then I also needed to improve what kinds of things we were breathing in and putting on the surfaces in our home. I had a toddler who was getting into everything and I knew I didn’t want him stumbling across and crawling through who knows what kinds of chemicals. I first switched over to Branch Basics because it pretty much could be used for EVERYTHING from surface cleaner to laundry detergent to bug killer. I loved it, and still have a big jug of it in our cabinet. Then I found out about Norwex, and it was even easier to use than a spray cleaner. I love all of the products from Norwex that I have tried. (If you want to learn more about other safer household cleaning options, read our post about it here.)
I then naturally began to find safer personal products. That first started with my kids, especially since Evan had eczema and sensitive skin. I noticed his bottom would break out from regular diapers and pull-ups, and it immediately got better when we switched to an organic brand. His skin also stopped having flare ups when we switched to a safer body wash. That’s when I knew I needed to change over the products I was using too. (You can read about other safer options for your kids in our post here.)
I went in search of safer skincare when I was pregnant with Porter because I was having pregnancy related breakouts and knew I couldn’t use anything harsh on my skin. But the more I began to search, the more disappointed I got. All of the things that looked safe or natural really weren’t. I remember using the dermatologist recommended “gentle skin cleanser” and having my face BURN. I knew something wasn’t right. I stumbled across Beautycounter through a blogger’s post on social media, and I started to learn about the lack of regulation on the entire cosmetics industry. I tried out the products and was in love. I’ve even used a few 100% natural things like oil cleansing and just using a Norwex body cloth in lieu of soap (sounds crazy, but has been so much better for my skin than traditional soap products that strip your skin of its natural moisture).
Another before and after just to show the difference in two weeks of safer skincare!
I’m still learning so much everyday about ways to make our life overall safer and healthier. And we don’t do it 100% right for sure. There’s lots of room for improvement, and there are some things I just don’t stress myself out about. My kids still eat goldfish. We still buy ice cream and cookies on occasion, and my toilets currently have blue water (hey…my hubby went to the store and bought the cleaner and scrubbed them so I am not about to complain about that). But we are doing the best we can. My point is, this has been a progression over YEARS. It takes time. You just have to start somewhere and change things one at at time. It is doable and it doesn’t mean you have to dish out a ton of money and throw everything in the trash all at once. Some things do cost more, of course. But your overall health is worth a few extra dollars.
If you are overwhelmed by the process and want some advice, please feel free to email me anytime! I’d love to help you. And Courtney is so incredibly knowledgable about ALL OF THE THINGS so we will get her help, too! Cheers to safer, cleaner living.