What does it mean to live an organic lifestyle? When most people hear the word organic, they immediately think of food, but this isn’t the only aspect to organic living. The organic certification, which I talked about in a previous article, also extends to items other than foods, like cosmetics and household products such as organic bedding and towels.
When I talk about living an organic lifestyle, I think of many diverse aspects which affect our lives and are the best for both our health and the health of the environment. When we make the best choices for our health, it usually is also best for the planet, how cool is that?! Living an organic lifestyle also means enjoying and respecting nature, breathing fresh air, exercising and taking care of our health from an emotional, mental and physical perspective.
You might wonder how to get started living an organic lifestyle? One of the keys to success is to start with small changes. Perhaps replacing certain staple items on your shopping list to start with, and adding more over time. Slow and steady wins the race! You can also choose one area to focus on and then built on it slowly over time, so as not to get overwhelmed by too many changes at once. For example:
- Focus on replacing your cleaning products with non-toxic alternatives one at a time, whenever you run out of one
- Look for products without phosphates and phthalates
- Learn about natural cleaners and disinfectants like lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda
- Try following the Dirty Dozen list
- Switch out items in your pantry with organic ones slowly over time as you need to replace them
- Whenever you need to replace one of your cosmetics, take the time to find a non-toxic version instead, and go from there
- Set goals to go walking or hiking in nature on a weekly basis
Take time to consider how small changes can have a large impact over time. A small change now can make a big difference to your health and the environment in the future. Small changes accumulate exponentially and can be very rewarding in the future!
Do Your Own Research
Research and find out who your local farmers and food producers are. Start by checking out any farmers’ markets in your area and talk with each vendor. Building a relationship with the people who grow your food can be an incredible and powerful force to help you in improving your lifestyle. It will in turn provide motivation for the farmers to continue doing the hard work they do!
Another important aspect of research is to get in the habit of reading the labels of any processed food you buy. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, research it. Over time you will become well educated on the subject and be able to make decisions you can feel good about.
Set Realistic Goals
Set achievable goals for yourself. Try setting some time aside for yourself, to do things you enjoy and maintain a balanced emotional and mental health. Prioritize keeping your body and mind active in a healthy way. This doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated, simply going for a walk in a park or a short hike in the forest can do wonders for our overall health. Studies have proven that connecting with nature can even lower depression and anxiety.
Another great way to connect with both nature and your food is to start a small garden. Even if you only grow one tomato plant in a large pot on your balcony, reconnecting with nature and how food grows is one of the best way to increase our appreciation and awareness of where our food comes from.
Make conscious decisions, respecting your body and the planet. Living an organic lifestyle encompasses all of this.
Here are some other things that can be done to live an organic lifestyle:
- Use hygiene/beauty products which are as natural as possible and contain a small list of ingredients – Less is more!
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Buy a fuel-efficient vehicle
- Plan your routes when running errands to reduce CO2 emission
- Don’t leave your car idling
- Walk, ride a bicycle or take public transportation if you can
- Buy foods grown locally to where you live to further reduce transport pollution
- Try to reduce food waste by using your fresh produce before they go bad
- Eat food and buy products that are produced following organic certification standards. This helps your health, the planet but also helps to protect the farmers’ health as well by reducing their exposure to chemicals. This also supports companies who are taking the lead in adopting organic standards.
- Find a local organic farm that offers a CSA program
- Prepare and cook your own meals whenever possible using whole foods
- Assess the building materials in your home for harmful chemicals and keep those in mind when renovating, such as carpeting and glues
- Reduce the amount of plastic used in your household, for example, look for reusable beeswax-based food covers instead of using plastic wrap, or reusable containers instead of using plastic bags
Most of all, don’t get discouraged because you feel overwhelmed, or that you’re not doing enough. Do what you can. Your current situation may not allow you to make every change, but make the ones you can, and improve whenever possible. Celebrate and appreciate all the small changes you make. Share what you’re learning with your family and friends, but don’t make others feel inferior if they don’t follow the same organic lifestyle principles as you are. Humbly set a good example for everyone and encourage them in their own changes.
Go organic! GoPure!