Natural living has a lot of appeal. Savings. Better Health. Less stress. But how do you get started? Do you have to stop washing your hair and wear burlap clothing to enjoy the benefits of natural living? No. Unless, you know, you want to do that.
What is natural living?
I think the definition is a bit different for everyone, but I think most will agree that a natural lifestyle is one focused on reducing toxic load, environmental stewardship, pursuing production vs. consumption and seeking natural alternatives to conventional … everything.
Natural living could easily be made really complicated, but we’ve chosen to keep it as simple as possible. If you’re new to natural living or need some more inspiration for furthering your journey, take a look at some our favorite tips for creating a natural lifestyle in a simple way.
Reduce toxic load
Chemicals are everywhere. In our homes, our food and nearly every product you can buy. Reducing your toxic load is essential to living a natural lifestyle. How do you do that?
1. Cook from scratch
Get whole food ingredients and a few simple recipes and get to cooking. Pre-prepared foods tend to be a chemical crap-fest. Yes, even “natural”ones. (They’re also more expensive in the long run.)
2. Use essential oils
Essential oils can be used to clean your house, make food tastier and even improve your health. Choose essential oils that are 100% pure.
There are so many products we make ourselves now, like shampoo, bar soap and cleaners. I love knowing that I’m using safe products on my family, not ones that have been shown to cause cancer.
Reducing waste was also done initially so we could save money. I knew that we were spending more on our garbage service than we needed to and looked for ways to cut costs. Here are few ways we’ve done it.
4. Ditch disposables
We ditched disposable items a long time ago and instead use reusable alternatives like diapers, napkins and even feminine care products.
5. Bring in less waste
Choose items with minimal packaging (items from thrift shops are awesome for this) and use reusable bags when you go shopping. I love bags that fold up into their own pouches so I always have them in my purse.
6. Buy in bulk
Buy large portions of food from bulk bins or the farmer’s market using reusable bags/containers. You can also prevent food waste by buying smaller amounts from those places than you normally could otherwise.
Produce food and other products
In a nation of consumers, we need more producers. If you’re like me, you’ll find great joy in producing – the creativity, seeing a plant from seed to delicious fruit, knowing that your hands fashioned something beautiful out of a few basic materials. It’s powerful. And empowering.
7. Grow food
If you can start a garden, do it. Even if it’s a few herbs in your windowsill, you’re still taking steps to healthier eating, producing less waste and a more natural lifestyle.
8. Make your own cleaning supplies
All you need is a few simple ingredients to get started. If you need recipes, you can peruse the internet or buy this awesome book. (It costs more than your typical ebook but worth every penny – I reference it often).
9. Spread the word
Once you start producing your own goods, chances are you’ll have more than you need. While you could stockpile things and save your family even more money, I advocate sharing some of what you make. Spread the word that natural living is simple and beneficial – not by trying to convince others that their way is wrong but by letting them see the results in your own life.
Eat real food
I firmly believe that so many problems can be solved with real food, especially when we can grow our own, share with others and involve our children. Food is powerful. And simple. And oh so delicious.
10. Plan ahead
The best way to eat better and save money on real food is to plan ahead. You can do this a few different ways, which I explain here.
11. Cook from scratch
If you’re already a good cook, try switching out chemically-laden ingredients for real food ones. If cooking intimidates you, spend some time perusing some real food blogs and try to take a cooking class to learn some basic skills (even if you just find something on youtube).
12. Make simple switches
In most cases, you can easily swap out processed foods with nourishing real foods. Here are 9 simple switches you can make in no time. And this book is great for real food beginners looking to make better versions of their favorite foods.
Since I started being more proactive about my healthcare, focusing on prevention with food and natural remedies, I rarely get sick. And I used to feel awful every single day. If you’re tired of being sick all the time, despite your best efforts, it’s probably time to try something new.
13. Alternative remedies
Herbs, essential oils, supplements like cod liver oil and real food are our main line of defense against illness. We rarely have to go to the doctor. Here are some of my strategies for keeping my family healthy year-round.
One of the best ways to avoid illness is to take care of yourself. That means getting enough sleep and doing what you can to reduce stress in your life. Figure out what self-care looks like for you and take steps to make it happen.
15. Move your body
I can’t stress enough how important it is to move your body on a regular basis. And not just 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Move as much as you can. Park farther away at the store. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Squat instead of sitting on your butt to build and stretch your muscles. Trust me. Your body will thank you for it (eventually).