Why Natural Living?
Living a healthy lifestyle is not impossible, nor especially difficult and can be done economically.

Maybe you just do not know where to begin. All you see is a huge list of research to read of have-tos, shouldn’ts and can’ts — and not a
whole lot of extra time or money to get any of it done. Yes, it can seem overwhelming. I get it. I have been there myself.

My journey started with my parents. For a myriad of reasons, they followed what we now call a natural lifestyle.  I have maintained and
added to many of their handed-down practices.  And yes, it warms my heart when I learn/or see my daughter and her family now use some
of the same practices. I think of it as an ongoing process, a journey toward living a more natural lifestyle, with bumps in the road. I certainly
do not do everything perfectly even now — probably never will. But there are some ways you can jumpstart your success in living a more
natural life. The following four areas will give you a place to start.

First, replacement products.  When I started trying to eliminate chemicals in my life, I initially thought I had to make everything myself, and to
be honest, it was an overwhelming idea! Even now, I do not make everything. Further, as a goal, it is probably not the best way to start your
journey.  The easiest, and maybe best thing you can do is find natural products to replace the conventional ones you were using.

“Take care of your needs first.” — Unknown

Repeatedly applying non-organic substances on our skin can have serious long-term side effects. What we put on our bodies is just as
important as what we put in it.  Our skin is the largest organ in the human body and chemicals found in skin care products are absorbed into
our blood stream. Ask yourself this question as you go through your daily routine. Does this make my body, home or life better or healthier?
For example: “Does hair gel make my hair healthy? Do I really need it? (Hint: try aloe vera gel instead!)

One of the first natural body product lines I found is Tom’s of Maine. I have been using the deodorant and toothpaste for a few years. I just
have to add that the toothpaste actually removes plaque.  

Switch to whole foods.  I was inspired by my parents. We had a backyard garden, where they grew and canned many of our vegetable, etc.
They always used and cooked whole foods. I have followed this practice most of my adult life, mainly because it is cheaper in the long run.

The continuous ingestion of certain ingredients, preservatives and chemical compounds found in pre-packaged food and flavor enhancers
could never be good for our health. I am a big believer in “you are what you eat!” Just by cutting out boxed dinners and pre-made food, you
will eliminate a whole host of chemicals and preservatives that our bodies were never designed to ingest! Five minutes of peeling and cutting
potatoes will save you several dollars, plus all the additives! The same can be applied to almost any food you can think of.

Fuel your body with whole, unprocessed foods that make you feel good. Thankfully, organic food options that most people can afford are
becoming increasingly available in the United States.

Now, even Aldi offers a wide range of organic produce, and even organic canned and dry goods. They also carry some grass-fed and free-
range meat and poultry options!

Natural Cleaners. Let’s look at your home. What kind of chemicals does your food pick up when it touches your counter top? What about
when your toddler touches (or licks... don’t ask) something you just power cleaned? Are your cleaners safe enough so that you feel
comfortable letting your child or grandchild help you clean?

You do not have to be a scientist to notice the toxic fumes that many household cleaners emit during normal use. Just the warning labels alone
on some cleaners are enough to scare me into never using them. Just like with my personal care items, I like to make some of my own when
I can. Luckily, when I cannot, there are now many non-toxic products available.  The important thing is to have an arsenal of natural cleaners
in your cabinets. Thankfully, now there are MUCH healthier alternatives that are easy to use and will not break the bank.  

Here are three common, natural, non-toxic products every home should have for cleaning: Vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Here
are just a few tips. Mix vinegar with a little water to make a great all- purpose cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used for disinfecting.
Baking soda is perfect for polishing stainless steel and has loads of other uses as well.
“You’re life doesn’t get better by chance. It gets better by change.” — Unknown

Everything that surrounds us impacts the quality of our lives. Our air quality can greatly affect our
moods and health. The products we use in our homes can often be toxic from repeated exposure.
There is a misconception that anything well-branded and widely-available in stores is trustworthy. Do
you agree? Well, it is not necessarily so. Seek information. Get educated on what is good for you and
your family, and what is not. Ask yourself, how does it add value to my life? Does it care for the
environment as much as I do? Does it contain any toxic chemicals?  Once you fall down the rabbit
hole of research, it can be overwhelming to realize that many of the products you use and (even some
of the foods you consume) on a daily basis, may not be good for you. The good news about all of
this is — it is in our hands; we can control these things now.

“Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the type of world you want.” — Anna Lappe
Cut down exposure to plastics.  Plastics are everywhere in
our environment and unfortunately, they are very difficult
to avoid. But it is worth it to try to reduce your personal
exposure to plastics. Many plastics contain endocrine
disruptors and carcinogenic compounds. Even mainstream
sources acknowledge that we should try to reduce contact
with certain plastics.

Here are just a few ways to reduce your plastic exposure.
Never cook or microwave food in plastic containers. Do
not put hot or warm food or drinks inside plastic vessels.
Use porcelain and glass instead of plastic cups and dishes.
Store food in glass storage containers, for example try
using Mason jars. Avoid consuming canned foods when
possible (the lining of many cans contain BPA). Avoid
toys and other materials containing PVC. These can be
identified by the recycling symbol with a “3” inside it.

“At first they will ask you why you’re doing it. Later, they’
ll ask you how you did it.” — Unknown

I hope this information has inspired you and given you
some good starting points for your health and wellness

Follow me at
www.artofnow.org for a repost of this
article and additional information about specific natural
options I use and a couple of new one’s I plan to add to
my routine.

Update: My blood pressure is returning to a normal level.  
Slower than I would like, but I am happy for the progress.