You might want to switch to a non-toxic, cleaner lifestyle. But where should you start?!
Wondering where to start is often the hurdle that keeps you from starting at all. I’m here to help you clear the first hurdle…and then the next…and then the next.
Below, you’ll find a master list of the easiest places to start making changes in order to begin embracing a cleaner, less toxic way of living.
My approach when moving to cleaner living is to start with the obvious, everyday, close contact foods, items, products, and practices. Getting rid of these and/or changing them over to non-toxic alternatives will make the biggest impact in the quickest amount of time.
Here’s a helpful hint when transitioning to a cleaner lifestyle: small steps have a huge impact. Don’t feel pressure to make a complete overhaul overnight! Just start SOMEWHERE. Swap out conventional products for non-toxic ones as you run out of them. Be willing to start small. Resist the overwhelm!
Another important point to realize is that clean living is every bit as much about what you take out as it is about what you add to your home, body, pantry, or beyond. It doesn’t do all that much good to buy an expensive air filter if you continue to use the same toxic chemicals to clean your house.
For that reason, I like the first steps toward cleaner living to be those of subtraction. Let’s look at what we want to get rid of or swap out in order to make space for health:
Laundry: Swap out laundry products for cleaner alternatives like Molly’s Suds detergent. Switch to wool dryer balls instead of chemical and fragrance-laden dryer sheets. Use Branch Basics Oxygen Boost and All Purpose spray for those hard-to-treat stains.
Fragrances: Trash the fragrances – perfumes, air fresheners, potpourri, scented candles, plug-ins, and anything else that has “parfum” or “fragrance” in the description. These contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals which increase or likelihood of allergic reactions as well as threaten our hormonal health and balance.
Plastics: Swap out plasticware in the kitchen and beyond for glass. BPA, BPS, and beyond are called “forever chemicals” because they are so incredibly difficult to rid from our bodies. Pitch the plastic and instantly lower your body’s toxic load.
Cleaning Products: Use Branch Basics (use discount code TAYLORDUKESWELLNESS) or simple vinegar and water solutions for all of your cleaning needs. We often and unknowingly cover our countertops, sinks, floors, and carpets with harmful chemicals in the name of “cleaning” them. I’m here to tell you it is no good. It’s time to switch to effective cleaning products without health risks.
Personal care products: Don’t slather and lather in chemicals! This includes lotions, body washes, shampoo/conditioner, makeup, toothpaste, and anything else you’re lathering on your body. My favorite brands are Ilia, Primally Pure, Aleavia, Oway, Osea, True Botanicals, and Risewell.
Keep a shoes-off policy. Think of all the things that could be on the bottom of those soles – eek! I’m not just talking about dirt and dust. I’m talking about car oils, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, weed killers, detergents, chemicals, and more. You don’t want to track those through your house, over your carpet, or across your hardwood. Easy solution – take the shoes off.
Open windows daily. This is one of the easiest and least expensive actions you can do to drastically improve your indoor air quality. Indoor air is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. A simple “airing out” for ten minutes can fix that.
Vacuum + wet dust regularly. Did you know that harmful VOCs and SVOCs can actually attach to dust particles, which makes dust a vehicle for harmful chemicals? Dusting with a barely damp rag and regularly vacuuming with a HEPA-filtered vacuum can rid your home of the dirt and dust, but more importantly, of the chemicals that travel on them.
Change home air filters every 3-6 months. This ensures the circulation of cleaner air.
Use the bathroom exhaust fan before, during, and after bathing. Easy and free way to reduce your risk of mold exposure.
Filter your water. You can start with something less intimidating – many under-the-sink filters and all countertop gravity filter systems don’t require a plumber for installation. I like Aquasana (use discount code AQTDW50) and Berkey’s options (use code TAYLORDUKES).
Toss the added sugars and processed foods. Prioritize getting rid of those foods with artificial dyes/colors, preservatives, added sugars, and inflammatory vegetable and seed oils (such as peanut, soy, sunflower, safflower, soybean, canola, and vegetable oils). Also, toss the highly refined carbs.
Hydrate. And if possible, with electrolytes! Hydration is so important for overall wellness – metabolic function, bowel regularity, organ and tissue function, and beyond. I like adding LMNT to my water to get electrolytes. Alternatively, you can use a pinch of unrefined sea salt or take Quinton Isotonic.
Clean up your coffee. Remember when I said I like to start improving the things we’re consuming daily? If you’re a daily coffee drinker, this one is important. Coffee is typically heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals. Go for a cleaner cup of Joe in the morning – Purity, Four Sigmatic, Bulletproof, or Kion.
Tongue scrape: It takes ten seconds, and it’ll automatically uplevel your morning + evening wellness routine. Remember, the entry to the gut starts in the mouth. Oral health is important!
Detox bath: This is such a good way to not only relieve stress but also open up your detox pathways. A lot of Epsom salt or bath salts can have parfum and fragrance. So opt for a clean, one-ingredient-only Epsom salt, magnesium bath flakes, or TDW Ultimate Detox Bath.
Rebounding daily: Lymphatic flow is crucial for proper detoxification. And because our lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump, we need to move in order for lymph to flow and toxins to be transported away.
Dry brush: Dry brushing also encourages lymphatic flow. It’s a gentle detox practice that is very effective before a shower.
Gentle movement daily: More lymphatic love! Moving our bodies helps lymph and bowels to move and function properly. Not to mention the other physical benefits including metabolic and blood sugar regulation.
Sweat: Did you know that we detox through our bowels, our urine…and our sweat?! If you’re not sweating, it’s a red flag that tells us we need to work on opening your detox pathways.
Encourage daily bowel movements: Magnesium (citrate), adequate intake of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and proper hydration can help bowel regularity, which is absolutely paramount for detoxification.
Sleep 8+ hours w good sleep hygiene: You simply cannot heal if you do not sleep. Sleep is when our bodies do their deepest detoxification and rejuvenation work. Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day. Early morning sunlight and evening usage of blue light blockers can be helpful to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
Gratitude journal: Maybe not obvious, but a huge part of detoxification and healing happens in the mind. The physical and scientific benefits of gratitude are well documented. Begin practicing gratitude today, and I promise you’ll start to discover more and more things you’ve always forgotten to be grateful for.
There you have it! Easy ways to begin living a cleaner and more non-toxic style of life. I want to briefly revisit two very important points that I need to drive home:
1. Don’t be overwhelmed by the massive list above. Pick one or two things to start with. Get solid and consistent with those. And then? Pick one or two more. Also, you know yourself best. Maybe you’re someone who needs to do a cold-turkey pantry overhaul in order to get on the right track. Maybe that sounds scary and you want to just start by swapping out your coffee and switching up your breakfast. Do what works for you – whatever feels doable and sustainable!
2. There are so many layers and levels to detoxification. The above includes my massive list of “easy entry” points for a nontoxic living. Don’t mistake that for low impact! These easier and less expensive changes can have a huge, huge impact on the health of you and your family. I do want to mention that there are more rigorous, expensive, and comprehensive detox practices. Some of which I’ll list below:
Austin Air or other whole-house air filtration
Whole house water filtration
Targeted detox with a practitioner
I look forward to diving into detox with you on my Blog and my Instagram in the future – both the “easy” detox practices as well as those which might seem a little more involved.
Now, go ahead and get going on your journey to cleaner living – I’m here to help!!
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