6 Months of Natural Living

It’s been over 6 months since we first made the shift to a more natural lifestyle, so I figured it’s time for an update now that we’ve had time to settle in and decide what works for us and what doesn’t. In general, I’m really really proud of how well we’ve stuck to a lot of the adjustments, and I’ve come to terms with the idea that everyone has their own comfort level with natural products, and that is completely 100% okay!! I see superwomen on Instagram who are making their own soaps, their own almond milk, and reusing the pulp from their juices to make muffins and you better believe I am cheering them on every step of the way. That is not my thing, and that’s okay. I’m really happy with where we are now, and the slow and steady path we took to get here.

As far as food goes, we just started eating a plant-based diet to reduce the amount of animal products in our body. Like I said above, everyone deserves to choose their own comfort level, and Brian and I are taking different approaches. I’ve decided to go completely meat and dairy free, since that’s what I feel comfortable with, and what is easiest for me when making a big change. Brian is reducing his intake, and is majority vegetarian. He’s way more aware of what he eats, but he’s more comfortable with reducing intake instead of immediately cutting it out. This is working really well for us so far and we’re both eating a lot better than we were before. I’ll be posting about our veganism more often, to help work through some of the challenges that come along with this diet. (Eating out is the biggest killer)

When I wrote the first post, I waged a war against harmful products in our home because that was a popular fight on social media, and products are fun to shop for. It was easy to switch out our laundry soap, shampoo/conditioner, dish soap etc, but more difficult to swap out all of the plastic for glass, which honestly didn’t stick as well. Over the past few months, we’ve made smaller swaps that work better for our lifestyle, and I would recommend that approach rather than a blanket swap. Figure out what products in your home gross you out (or has ingredients you don’t understand), and change them out one by one with something you’re more comfortable with.

Some products we really really like are:

Dr. Bronners castile soap – we use this for a lot of things, like really greasy pans, cleaning the floor, all purpose spray, washing our bikes….
Common Good dish soap – I trust the ingredients in this soap, and it works. It bubbles enough to keep me happy, and smells amazing. Cute bottle too 🙂
Trader Joes laundry soap – Smells amazing, all natural, and readily available
Whole Foods shampoo/conditioner/lotion – Rated as their premium body care, which means it has the highest standards for ingredients and processing.
Essential Oils – Our collection has grown, and I’ve given up on being a pro. I use them in our cleaning solutions, for diffusing, and mixed with face/body oils. I love them, and I’m okay with not knowing every single detail about every single oil.
Face oils – I rarely use a cleanser on my face anymore, and I use Argan, Rosehip, and Jojoba Oils on my face. Simple, natural, and very effective (for me)
Wool Dryer Balls – The hype is real. These little wool dryer balls work magic with keeping our clothes less wrinkly, more dry, and smelling delicious. LOVE.
Mason Jars – obviously. We’ll always love these. Plus they’re $0.20 at Goodwill, used.

Stuff we thought we liked, but didn’t work out:

Nature’s Gate shampoo/conditioner – I just didn’t love the way it made my hair feel. Super dried out and tangly. WF is way better (for us).
Anchor Hocking Glass Containers – These are not ideal for two people who commute on bikes and need their lunches to stay INSIDE the containers. We use these for storage in the fridge and freezer now, but not for lunches. We’re back to a locking plastic container from Uwajimaya.
Better Life products – Not the worst, but kinda expensive and hard to find. We make our own spray, and use common good dishsoap instead.

New changes we’ve made:

We’ve stopped using paper towels, and we’re using a mix of reusable Bambooee towels and cloth towels. I have a little bin under the sink for dirty towels, and I’ll just do a load of only dish towels when it’s full. This reduces so much waste, and encourages conscious choices.
Airtight containers for produce – Helps us keep produce fresh longer in the fridge, so we waste less food. Also reusable produce bags.
Buying in bulk – As part of our meal planning, we’ve started shopping at the Co-op for most of our groceries. We are able to buy a lot of bulk grains/beans/spices, so we cut down on packaging and reuse our own containers.
Meal Planning – This is more of a lifestyle shift, but it’s helped us save money and waste less food. Eating a restricted diet can be challenging when you’re hungry, since it’s more difficult to just stop somewhere and grab a snack. Planning our meals helps us always have a healthy meal ready to go. It also saves us from last minute trips to the store.
Sustainable Buying – We’ve been way more conscious about not buying things that have a large carbon footprint (caused by packaging or shipping), things with short life spans, or trivial new items. We’ve cut down on Amazon, gadgets, clothes/shoes, and single-use bottles/containers, and it is so refreshing.

Changes I’d like to consider:

Making our own Kombucha – to the point that we aren’t tempted to buy any at the store. This is mostly a Brian thing 🙂
Ziploc Alternatives – My mom washed our ziplocs every night with the dishes and let them airdry so we could reuse them. I have some kind of mental block about this, and I can never remember to do it. I made us some fabric pouches for sandwiches and snacks that we reuse, but I’m thinking about buying some of the heavier reusable bags for juicier stuff.

 

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