Where did I start?! What did the process look like and how long did it take?
Below are some steps that I have been taking since 2016 and I’m still slowly switching things out. I can’t remember the exact order of everything, but I tried to start with food and then work on products that I used daily first for the biggest impact. I tried to aim for changes that required minimal effort with maximum impact. I also just swapped some things out as we ran out of things because that helps make the process less overwhelming vs. tossing out your whole house and trying to figure out all of the new products. Just remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!
I would say that I saw the biggest changes after changing the food I put in my body (first switches: less sugar, better breakfast) and getting rid of that one really bad self tanner. That was just within a few months, and then I slowly saw more progress over the next couple of years as I incorporated easy swaps into the mix. Now I feel like I feel so much more energetic, increased productivity, and my head is clear so that I can keep up with my kids, husband, a career and my side passions. I am always looking for ways to incorporate life hacks to get the most out of my day and keep stress down. I’m super excited to share my findings with you and hope your life will be revitalized!
Here are some changes that I made and found impactful that you can begin incorporating into your life.
- Eating “Real Food”. I started buying more organic foods, cutting back on processed foods, and limiting my sugar intake pretty drastically. Those were easy changes that I could switch immediately since I was going to the store weekly. I found out that many non-organic foods are covered in pesticides and those were going into my body and layering on top of the many other products that I was putting in, on and around my body, ultimately making me feel unwell.
The Environmental Working Group has a great “Clean 15″ list and “Dirty Dozen” list that helped me prioritize what foods I should definitely be buying organic to eat more safely and what not to buy in organic to save money and stay on budget.
Reading books from doctors and experts also helped me figure out what kind of eggs to buy, what oils were good & bad, what kind of meat to eat, etc.
- Deodorant. The deodorant I was using was “prescription strength” and included toxic & hormone-disrupting chemicals. These chemicals can build up in your system over time and are linked to many different conditions like memory loss, obesity, diabetes, infertility, cancer and more. Yuck!
Why is this allowed? Well, the American beauty industry allows for ingredients in products to be put on shelves without being independently tested or evaluated by the FDA for safety. Yikes! So cosmetics companies are allowed to determine what they think is safe and sell their products to you. I don’t know about you, but I do not trust those companies to perform safe and unbiased tests. There are some ingredients that are restricted or banned, but there are only 30 ingredients that are banned in cosmetics in the United States vs. 1,328 ingredients that are restricted or banned in Europe. WOW.
Now that you know the danger, put this swap on your radar. You use deodorant daily, and there is an adjustment period, but this one is well worth the switch! Post to come soon on safer alternatives and what to avoid.
- Laundry Detergent + Dryer Sheets. As I learned more about how much your skin absorbs, it only made sense to switch this not only for me and my husband, but for our baby as well since I had learned that the ol’ dreft wasn’t so baby-friendly. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs those harmful ingredients, which make their way into your body, your blood and lymphatic system. So if you’re wearing clothes everyday that are filled with fragrance and other toxic chemicals, you might actually be absorbing much more into your body than you think. Effortless switch!
- Self Tanner. I stopped using my St. Tropez self tanner. And let me tell you, my anxiety and shortness of breath improved immediately! There are now some safer alternatives out there, but if you are using one with artificial dyes, harsh chemicals, preservatives, sulfates, parabens or synthetic fragrances, consider switching to a more natural, non-toxic self-tanner. Refer to #2 about harmful ingredients allowed in the US. You’ll want to use a brand that uses DHA (the ingredient that makes you tan) that is derived naturally from sugar, which is safe. Post on this coming soon!
- Breakfast switcharoo. This one made a big difference in how I felt! I stopped eating pre-bought processed/starchy/sugary focused breakfasts like muffins, bagels, plain waffles, cereal, etc. and switched to organic PROTEIN-packed breakfasts like eggs, clean breakfast sausage, homemade protein pancakes/waffles (recipes coming soon) and sometimes even leftovers from the night before like chicken or steak with veggies. Mornings became better! I could focus & wasn’t starving by 9am. Simple daily SWITCH, done!
- Flavored Coffee Creamers. Man, I loved the caramel ones, and the holiday special edition flavors. Sigh. My husband and I switched to organic half&half with sugar, and slowly cut back on the sugar until it was eliminated. Now it’s just organic coffee beans (Thank you Aldi $4.5 per bag) and a blend of organic half & half, organic coconut oil (healthy fat, brain boost! costco!), cinnamon (to stabilize blood sugar) and a splash of organic raw honey (costco!). Easy daily SWITCH, done, and I can truly say that it is SOO much more delicious!
- Candles + Plugins. Luckily I had already stopped with the plugins because they were giving me a head-ache (red flag!), but I had a hard time letting go of my delicious Anthro candles. We already had an essential oils diffuser, but I was using oils I bought at a place that rhymes with EJ Naxx, which I later learned were also NOT regulated by the FDA and probably doing as much harm as my grocery store candles. Luckily I found Young Living essential oils to keep our home smelling fresh, and also learned about all kinds of awesome natural remedies that I could use them for as well. Multi-purpose use purchase, yes please! There are now more safe options to purchase essential oils, but I do not recommend purchasing from big box home goods kind of stores. More on that another day!
- Body/Shower Soap. Changed my body soap in the shower to Dr. Bronner’s found at most grocery stores. Refer to #2 about harmful ingredients allowed in the US. Easy daily SWITCH, done!
- Cleaning products. Slowly switched out my cleaning products as I needed new ones. I first switched to brands like Meyers, but then found out that those actually have fragrance in their ingredients, which is a no-go for me (I’ll explain why in another post). Eventually I discovered Thieves all-purpose cleaner (by Young Living) and haven’t turned back. The cost beats out any cleaning product I’ve found in stores and because it’s concentrated, I just reuse my bottles so eco friendly as well. I’ll share more about Thieves + other non-toxic cleaning products soon. Easy daily SWITCH, done!
- Beauty & skincare products. I first switched things like sunscreen, face soap, body lotion, face creams, and then makeup products as well. Refer to #2 about harmful ingredients allowed in the US. Swapped out as we ran out. More to come on recommended products!
- Hand soaps, dish soap & hand sanitizer. Swapped out as we ran out of the old. Refer to #2 about harmful ingredients allowed in the US. Another simple daily SWITCH, done!
- Shampoo. I was very reluctant to switch this one because I just felt like it was only touching my hair, so who cares, right?! And then it hit me that your hair grows out of your head and the shampoo can just soak right on in there and be absorbed into your body & bloodstream, sooo…I started trying non-toxic shampoos. Refer to #2 about harmful ingredients allowed in the US.
- Non-toxic Non-stick cooking pan. All I can say is YASSSS!! More to come on this soon.
I’ll do a whole post on this one because your hair & head goes through some changes during this swap out, and it took me a while to find the right shampoo for me.
Here are a few areas that I’m working on now that I’ve made a lot of the swaps in my life. Really trying to focus on FREE foundational changes that I know are proven strategies to improve energy + daily performance.
- Sunlight. Getting out in the sun for short windows of time each day to help with my circadian rhythm & sleep