8 Tips For Transitioning to Non-Toxic Living
By Marilee Nelson |
Dipping your toes into non-toxic living for the first time can be overwhelming, but it's an exciting opportunity to change your life! Where do you start? How can you make sure you’re doing it correctly?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to transitioning to a non-toxic lifestyle. We all have our own health issues, routines, habits, and favorite products that make up our everyday lives. Something that is tough for one person to give up (e.g. fast food or scented candles) could be easy for another. Today, we’re sharing tips on how to approach the changes that come with starting a non-toxic lifestyle, how to build new habits, and how to alleviate the stress around wanting to “do it all.” Use our tips to ease into this next phase of your life!
1. Focus on one thing at a time
Focusing on cleaning up one area of your life at a time is the best way to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. We have step-by-step categories on our Toss The Toxics page to help you toss toxic products by category, and many blog posts in our Wellness Center to help you swap out toxic products with clean, healthy ones.
We do recommend that pesticides, toxic laundry, and cleaning products be the first few groups of products you remove from the home. After that, it is really up to you to choose which area works best for you. For example, those with endocrine disruption may want to eliminate fragranced products after they have removed their pesticides, laundry, and cleaning products. Each individual step taken makes a difference!
Most important, it’s all about making sure you have thoroughly removed all products in a category before moving to the next. For example, that one bottle of cleaner under the bathroom sink responsible for your child’s asthma, if not removed, will continue to undermine health.
Overall, these things take time and energy. Give yourself time to adapt to your new “normal” and then move on to the next.
2. Consistency is key
It’s all about consistency. When you take this transition slowly, you’re able to give yourself time to adapt to your new normal, which makes you more likely to stick with it. Things in your life might look and feel a bit different for a while, but you will adjust! For example, switching to non-toxic deodorant comes with being just a little bit smelly for a week or two while your body detoxes from conventional deodorant. Commit to committing, and you’ll stay on track!
3. Choose the path of least resistance
Make it easy on yourself if you have people in your life who may object to removing certain toxic products. Keep quiet, don’t make an issue of removing these products, and continue to remove the other categories that they will not even notice or care about missing. As you learn, you'll be ready to open their mind to trying some new products when the time is right!
4. Build new habits
Making healthy changes that stick involves creating new habits. However, one unique aspect of eliminating harmful products from the home is that once they are out, it's over! It doesn’t have to be repeated.
However, tossing toxins in the kitchen requires a bit more repeated effort and thought. Try habit stacking - a form of implementation intention that lets you piggy back new habits on old habits. It works by taking advantage of the strong neural networks your brain builds around existing habits or established skills. Instead of going through the time, effort and brain-training required to create a neural pathway that supports a new habit, you simply tack on your desired new habit to an established one.
For example, after you clean the kitchen each evening, soak any beans, grains, or seeds you might need for tomorrow’s food preparation. Before bed, check your water filter and fill it up if needed. Want to practice grounding each day? Take the first few sips of your routine morning coffee outside barefoot, versus in your desk chair.
5. Try the buddy system
There’s a reason the buddy system is talked about in the fitness world… accountability works! Do you have a friend or family member who has been interested in healthy living? Ask them if they want to be accountability buddies during your transition. Even if you don’t both follow the exact same steps, talking through changes with someone else can relieve stress and feelings of isolation that may come up.
6. Learn how to be your own product advocate + educate yourself
You don’t have to have a scientific background to read labels, evaluate ingredients and find answers these days. In fact, you can vet products very quickly and feel confident about your decisions with some great tools that are right at our fingertips!
EWG Skin Deep is a great place to vet skin, beauty and personal care products. The EWG Skin Deep website is a fantastic tool to look up ingredients. Think Dirty is a great app that easily rates products just by scanning their barcodes. These are just a few tools you can use, but there’s much more you can do to be your own advocate. Read our blog post 3 Tools You Need To Become Your Own Product Advocate to dig in more!
7. Keep an open mind
You’ll be taking in a TON of new information during this transition, and some of it may seem a bit frightening, unconventional or just plain odd at first. You’ll expand your mind which can feel uncomfortable at times. This can be tough! Referring back to tip #5, when you are learning and educating yourself, you get to decide for yourself what the information means to you and what you want to do with it.
8. Be kind to yourself
Make sure to focus on the good things that are coming out of your transition, and not on all things you miss. Remember, when you make the switch to non-toxic living, you're doing right by your own body, those you surround yourself with, and the earth.
Here’s the thing: Non-toxic, healthy living won’t do you any good if your mind is constantly stressed, anxious, worried or overwhelmed. Stress is an emotional toxin, and we believe your mind, body and spirit all needs to be healthy to reap the real benefits. We hope these tips will get you well on your way. We believe you have to live your life (and enjoy it) and give yourself grace. That’s just being human! There will always be situations and environments you cannot control, and in the end, you can only control yourself and your own home.
Making the switch to non-toxic living takes effort, and we’re happy to be a resource for you during your journey! Make sure to follow us on Instagram for daily wellness tips, product swaps and much more.
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.