So you’ve decided to take on a more natural lifestyle, and are looking into what kind of changes and actions you’ll need to take…
Already feeling a little out of your depth? For many people, it can be an overwhelming, or even paralyzing arena to navigate. What does it even mean to “go natural”? Is it just buying more products that have “natural” on their label? Does it mean you have to give up your whole lifestyle in one day?
These are some of the considerations you may ponder about this topic, so I’ll offer some guidance in breaking down a few of the most common misconceptions about “going natural”.
First up - what going “natural” means
Generally, transitioning to a natural lifestyle encompasses making changes across a range of different areas in your life, including:
- Food consumption = opting for natural, unprocessed, whole foods that are often organic and non-GMO.
- Health and wellness = opting for herbal remedies and natural supplements over medications or prescribed chemical based pills.
- Personal Care products = opting for ingredients that are natural and free from synthetic ingredients, nature-identical, fragrances and more.
- Cleaning = opting for products with natural and environmentally friendly ingredients, or opting for home made natural cleaning recipes.
- Packaging = being proactive with recycling and composting, avoiding the use of plastic and purchasing plastic where possible, ethical purchasing of products with the environment in mind.
- Consumerism = opting for walking or riding rather than driving, choosing products that are made from more durable items such as choosing wooden toys over plastic toys for children, using reusable coffee mugs.
It’s a big list, and can often feel overwhelming to people who want to start living a more natural lifestyle. The overwhelm and many areas where natural living can be implemented, can often cause people to develop misconceptions about going natural and ultimately avoiding making important switches. So what kinds of beliefs can get in the way of a successful transition to natural living?
#1: We all have to be in it for the same reason
There are so many motivators for making the switch to a more natural lifestyle. For some people, the concern over the environment and the impact on humans’ consumption is the driving force. For others, it’s a health focus on how society can create a cleaner way of supporting our future. For many, it may be a little bit of both. Whatever your reasons are for implementing a more natural lifestyle, these reasons are yours to own and do not mean that you’re not ‘doing things right’. There are countless reasons why someone may choose to invest in more natural products and living and these can remain unique to that individual.
#2: It will be a quick transition
Transitioning into a more natural lifestyle takes time, as there are so many life areas to consider. Those who believe this transition will be quick, can often set themselves up for failure and lose their drive to choose natural products when it isn’t as straightforward as expected. You may feel inclined to throw out everything in your pantry and bathroom at once, but the advice here is to develop a progressive plan and start with what area is most important to you. If you are more health inclined, you may begin with your food and personal care product choices. If you are more environmentally inclined, you may begin with reducing your consumption of plastics and one-use items. Making little changes each day, will boost your confidence and capacity as you settle in and you can begin to tackle additional life areas as you progress.
Some small lifestyle change ideas to start with:
- Make your own herb or vegetable garden and start small with fresh and easy herbs to grow.
- Make your own cleaning products
- Choose organic foods
- Reuse any plastic bags in the house and start to keep reusable bags with you wherever you go.
- Use a cleaning cloth instead of paper towels.
- Find a great natural personal care brand and stick with it! I've got a good idea where to start – all of my skincare products contain natural, vegan and cruelty free ingredients to nourish your skin.
#3: The ‘Natural’ label means what it says
The world ‘natural’ is still a relatively unregulated word in the commercial arena. It does not have to refer at all to how the food is processed, grown, harvested, raised or slaughtered. Though most people think of fresh, healthy, minimally processed or no synthetic ingredients when they hear the word natural, the truth is that the use of this word on labeling and naming products is far from fitting this ideal every time. How to know when it’s just an added word there to make you buy it?
- Choose organic - organic foods & ingredients refer to that which is grown and harvested without any synthetic fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, and without genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Certified Organic is the most trusted, as farmers must adhere to strict guidelines in order to be certified.
- Educate yourself - find information about which brands are in line with your ideals, so that you come prepared when you’re out shopping. Read the labels, if there’s an ingredient you don’t understand - look it up.
At Buddy Scrub, I’m all about sticking to my word and that’s why my ingredients are carefully selected to ensure that they are natural and free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, animal by-products, nature-identical, harsh cleansers, PEGs and other nasties. See the range here.
#4: That everything works the same way
Have patience. Sometimes natural alternatives to quick fix products take more time to do their job. Maybe the peppermint essential oil blend on your temple may not be as fast working as a strong painkiller, but this alternative leaves you without side effects and extra synthetic ingredients in your body. Be patient and allow this lifestyle and the changes in it be a way for you to find a slower pace of life.
Also, just because there are many different alternatives to the regular, processed, unnatural products, it doesn’t mean that all of the alternatives are equal. It’s important to consider quality when purchasing as brands can use different ingredient blends and processes. Educate yourself to be able to check labels and know what ingredients you want in and out of your life. The higher quality goods may mean a bigger price tag, but they will deliver on their promise and naturally enrich your life if you really are ready to invest in a natural lifestyle.
So, the takeaway here is - be gentle on yourself. Celebrate the decision to transition into a natural lifestyle, and then take it step by step. You won’t get it right all the time, but the intention to lead a more natural life and the education you can give yourself in this area will really help you to make a difference to your own life and to the environment. This is your journey, your own path. Enjoy it.