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10 Simple Tweaks for a More Natural, Organic Lifestyle

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This article provides simple tweaks you can make for a more natural lifestyle (or organic lifestyle, depending on particulars). These changes can only benefit your mental and physical health. 

More and more people are moving towards a natural or organic lifestyle with time, because of increased awareness about the risks or dangers of the modern conventional lifestyle. Fortunately, the Internet and sites like ours makes getting tips and information particularly easy nowadays.

I used to think my lifestyle was very healthy, where I worked out almost daily and avoided “junk food.” Although I lead a pretty healthy life compared to most of my friends and family, I was still far from living a natural or organic lifestyle. In fact, I had a lot to learn in terms of natural lifestyle practices. 

My lifestyle was “healthy” in the sense of getting a lot of exercise and avoiding excessive calories, but my priorities were staying slim and fit. I didn’t focus on whether some of my habits were actually healthy for me. For instance, whether a sugar-free smoothie or meal replacement bar had wholesome ingredients. 

Having kids inspired me to actually research into what ingredients and substances were healthy versus harmful in our foods and environment. I wanted to minimize the consumption of and exposure to as many toxins and questionable substances as possible.

Thus, I quickly moved towards a more natural lifestyle, which was actually quite easy. I also strive for an organic lifestyle in the sense of trying to use as many organic products and ingredients as possible. 

As a side note, I realized that conforming to a natural, organic lifestyle made achieving my prior goals of staying slim and fit very easy with less effort. Eating wholesome, healthy foods allows me to look and feel healthy without paying attention to calories or working out as strenuously. 

If you want to adopt a more natural lifestyle, or even a more organic lifestyle, then transitioning is easier than you may think. You only have to identify what changes to make and sustain those changes. This guide should help you with those steps so that you can also live a more natural, organic lifestyle.

Natural Lifestyle Changes – Healthy Eating

1. Eat Whole Foods

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Buy whole foods whenever you have a choice. That means, fresh produce, meats, and dairy instead of processed, packaged items like frozen dinners, pasta kits, and boxed or bagged snacks. 

In other words, try to get foods in their whole form, like you would find on a farm. You can then use them to cook your own, healthy meals or food items instead of relying on a company-manufactured product that may be full of unhealthy oils, additives, or preservatives.

Although buying organic foods can minimize the consumption of toxins or chemicals, don’t worry about it if you can’t get organic. The key for now is to try to stick to whole foods, whether organic or non-organic.

2. Read Ingredient and Nutrition Labels

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I can understand the urge to buy packaged snacks or foods sometimes. I still buy snack bars, jerky, or crackers on occasions for treats. It’s okay to splurge every now and then so long as it’s not a habit, or you pay attention to what’s inside. 

If you buy premade or packaged foods, you should carefully read the ingredient list. Some products actually contain pretty wholesome ingredients, while others only claim to or try to promote the image of healthiness. For instance, you might assume an “organic” label equates to a healthy product, but many “organic” packaged foods actually contain many unhealthy ingredients.

In reading ingredient labels, you should avoid certain oils like partially hydrogenated oils and soybean oils, which are unhealthy. Additives like food coloring can also cause ill effects.

Sugar is another culprit that a lot of packaged items contain in excess. Although high fructose corn syrup received a particularly bad rap, you should avoid all forms of sugar in excess. To find out how much sugar a product actually contains, you can check the nutrition label for the number of grams per serving.

3. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

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Although artificial sweeteners promise sweetness without calories or blood sugar responses, some studies have shown negative health effects associated with regular use, including ties to cancer and dementia.  

Also, studies have shown that consuming artificial sweeteners can actually increase your risk for weight gain and associated conditions like diabetes. 

You can read our article, What is the Best Alternative Sweetener?, to learn more about different types of sweeteners, including natural sweeteners.

4. Consume (and Make!) Fermented Foods

yogurt in instant pot

Many sources tout fermented foods for increasing the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Having a healthy gut flora is critical for maintaining your physical and mental health. 

Many people who practice a natural lifestyle (or organic lifestyle) make their own fermented foods or drinks. For example, you can check out our guides on making homemade kombucha or homemade yogurt as easy options. Or try our Stupid-Simple Fermented Vegetables Recipe for Beginners (8 Steps), which is the perfect introduction for beginners to fermentation.

5. Start a Vegetable or Herb Garden

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Growing your own vegetables or herbs can be cheaper and way more gratifying than buying the same from the store. Studies have shown the benefits of gardening on mental health. It’s always satisfying to see (and eat!) tangible results from your labor.

Handling dirt and plants is the epitome of a natural lifestyle. You can even ensure your produce is organic by avoiding the use of chemicals and toxins in your garden, thereby furthering an organic lifestyle.

Please read our Beginner’s Cheat-Sheet to Starting Vegetable Seeds in 6 Easy Steps and other step-by-step garden guides if you’re interested in starting a vegetable garden indoors or outdoors. 

Natural, Organic Lifestyle Changes – Healthy Home 

1. Avoid Air Fresheners 

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Avoid the use of all commercial air fresheners (e.g. plug-ins, sprays, car decals). Studies have shown that compounds in these fresheners can not only impair your lung functioning, but also impair systems like your reproductive system.

Although burning incense may conjure up the image of a nature-loving hippy, you should avoid burning incense as well. Studies have shown burning incense can release more harmful particles into the air than cigarettes.

Essential oil diffusers have gained popularity in recent years, and are generally regarded as safe. However, be aware that some people have adverse reactions to certain oils. Also, some oils (e.g. peppermint, eucalyptus) can be dangerous around children and pets.

2. Purge Your Home of Toxic Cleaners

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Most commercial household cleaners and detergents (e.g. dish detergent, laundry detergent, hand soap) include harmful ingredients. Even if the product is labelled as “eco-friendly” or “all-natural,” you should inspect the ingredients listed. 

Think Dirty and Environmental Working Group (EWG) both rate different household products according to their toxicity level. You should consult either or both when evaluating household cleaners or detergents.

If you wanted to follow a really organic lifestyle while potentially saving money, you could always make your own cleaning products with ingredients like vinegar and essential oils

3. Evaluate Personal and Beauty Products

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You skin is not only the largest organ on your body, but also one of the primary routes of absorbing toxins or other outside contaminants. This means directly putting toxins on your skin will lead to direct absorption into your body.

Beauty products like makeup, creams, and lotions are all par for the course in introducing harmful substances into our bodies. Ingredients like parabans have gotten widespread attention about their dangers, but are still widely used in personal products (and even some foods!) as preservatives. Other ingredients like perfumes and fragrances also have harmful effects.

Think Dirty and Environmental Working Group (EWG) also rate health and beauty products per potentially toxic or unhealthy ingredients. Thus, you should consult with either or both before buying makeup or other personal products.

4. Avoid Non-Stick Cookware

Many years ago, Teflon products suffered very bad publicity for containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical that causes horrible effects in humans, including cancer.

Although some sources acknowledge that non-stick cookware can be okay if not overheated, chipped, or mishandled, you are still advised to avoid non-stick cookware to be safe.

Safe Alternatives to Non-Stick Cookware:  

(Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Cast Iron Pans

I use our cast iron skillet for most of my cooking or sautéing, whether for cooking bacon, curries, stir-fry, or other dishes. To keep the pain well-seasoned (i.e. adequately greased to prevent rusting), don’t wash your cast iron skillet with soap. Instead, just scrape any grease and debris out, then brush it out with hot water before wiping it dry.

The lack of soap is actually a bonus in my opinion, where clean up is way quicker and easier than with a regular pan!

Stainless Steel Cookware

I use stainless steel cookware for most other stovetop cooking (i.e. not sautéing), whether it be cooking sauces, soups, or gelatin. Stainless steel has a greater tendency for food to stick, so you need to use a lot of grease or oil, or just be prepared to soak the pan afterwards.

However, I don’t tend to cook a lot of sticky foods with my stainless steel cookware. Usually, that’s reserved for my cast iron skillet, Instant Pot, or ceramic cookware.

Ceramic-Coated Cookware

Ceramic-coated pans are the most recent alternative to nonstick pans. Food can still stick on them if you cook at a temperature that is too high or don’t use enough grease or oil, however. I honestly only use a ceramic-coated pan for cooking eggs, since my other cookware fills my other cooking needs, so can’t speak to a wide-array of uses with ceramic-coated pans.  

5. Avoid Aluminum Cookware and Bakeware

Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry indicates that research is inconclusive on whether high levels of aluminum can cause Alzheimer’s Disease. However, a later publication concluded that it can.

The latter concluded that persons can sufficiently consume aluminum through food to the degree to result in neurotoxicity, and that aluminum can accumulate in the brain over a person’s lifetime. 

One study showed that aluminum is more likely to leach into your foods if your food is acidic, such as with lemons or tomatoes. 

Thus, to be on the safe side, better to avoid using aluminum cookware like baking sheets and aluminum foil. 

Safe Alternatives to Aluminum Foil

(Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a great alternative to aluminum foil with baking. You can wrap items in it or use it under items on your baking sheet. My main hesitation in using parchment paper too much is that it feels wasteful throwing the paper out after each use if it’s too soiled to recycle.

Silicone Baking Mats

Silicone baking mats are another great alternative to aluminum foil for baking. They are also non-stick, so you can usually omit using any grease where you’d normally use grease on a baking pan. Best of all, they are very eco-friendly, where you don’t discard the liner after every use like parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Stainless Steel Dutch Oven

If you’re used to wrapping food in foil for cooking/baking, then you can use a stainless steel dutch oven to enclose the food instead. For instance, if you wanted to bake fish in a bag, just bake it in an enclosed dutch oven instead (or use parchment paper).

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Cast iron dutch ovens are another enclosed vessel you could use for the same purpose as a stainless steel dutch oven. They are also popular to take camping, so you can make meals in your dutch oven over a campfire without aluminum!

Safe Alternatives to Aluminum Bakeware

(Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Glass Bakeware

Glass bakeware is very handy for casseroles and similar dishes. You can also use it for baked goods like bread and brownies, though the general advice is to reduce a recipe’s temperature by 25°F for baked goods, since glass retains more heat than metal pans.

Stainless Steel Bakeware

Most baking sheets and pans are aluminum, so you may have to order stainless steel bakeware from online or go to a specialty kitchen store to find it. Depending on your how your pan is tempered, your food may stick. To be safe, you can always grease the pan or bake with a silicone mat.

Ceramic Bakeware

For ceramic bakeware, CorningWare set the early gold standard. When I make sourdough bread, which requires using a dutch oven, I actually just use one of our old CorningWare baking dishes with a lid, which works perfectly. Otherwise, you can just use the bakeware without lids to bake anything else that you’d normally bake.

5. Avoid Plastic Food and Drink Containers

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in many plastic products, such as plastic water bottles, food packages, and plastic dishware. It received especially bad publicity years ago concerning negative health effects. Thus, many manufacturers transitioned to making and marketing “BPA-free” products (though many plastic products today still contain BPA).

Yet BPA-free plastic products aren’t necessarily any better. Scientists have found that the alternative chemicals manufacturers use in place of BPA are still harmful. 

Thus, for a more organic lifestyle, you should avoid using plastic food or drink containers whenever possible.

Safe Alternatives to Plastic Water Bottles

(Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Stainless Steel Water Bottles/Thermoses

With the shift away from using plastic water bottles, lots of stainless steel water bottles and thermoses are available now.

You can even find a lot of options for stainless steel thermoses for kids. We use these for hiking and for the kids.

Glass Water Bottles

We’ve used glass water bottles for a while now, whether to keep in the car, in the fridge, or in the bedroom. The silicone protector around the glass normally works pretty well to prevent the bottle from shattering. I’ve dropped glass water bottles many times, but have only shattered one of the six we’ve owned, where the bottle fell at a particular angle against a metal chair leg.

Safe Alternatives to Plastic Tupperware 

(Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Glass Storage Containers

I initially thought glass Tupperware would be heavy and cumbersome compared to plastic, but I quickly got used to the switch. One huge bonus on using glass over plastic is that it is way easier to clean grease out of glass than plastic. I remember having to rewash plastic Tupperware several times to get any greasy food residue out. Not so with glass!

The lids also are very secure, so tend to hold foods and soups in very well. Overall, I don’t miss using plastic Tupperware at all, don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into my food while it’s in the fridge or still hot.

Safe Alternatives for Plastic Kids Dishes and Cups

These options are available for adult use as well, and come in bigger sizes. (Feel free to click on links/pictures for more information.)

Bamboo Dish Ware

We have various bamboo plates and bowls for our kids, and they work great! They are the perfect size for the smaller snack or meal portions that young kids tend to eat. They can break with the right type of fall, however, so try to prevent your kids from throwing them on the ground.

Stainless Steel Dish Ware

These stainless steel bowls have a silicone cover, which makes them way softer to hold and insulates against feeling extreme temperatures from hot or cold food. It also allows a better grip on the table.

Silicone Cups

The silicone sippy cups are nice for toddlers and slightly older kids. The lids have an option to either drink from the straw or spout, where you can close the spout to prevent liquid from spilling out if you use the straw. The only possible drawback I’ve discerned is that my toddler chewed off part of one of the silicone straws, but we still use the remaining part of the straw (albeit a short straw now!).

For older kids, or even adults, who don’t want the sippy lid, you can get the larger-sized silicone cups that are marketed as good for parties or outdoors.

Stainless Steel Cups

Stainless steel cups are another great option for kids (or even adults) when you don’t want to worry about the cup breaking. Silicone sleeves allow a good insulation if you happen to have a cold beverage inside.

Hopefully, you enjoyed our list of simple tweaks for a more organic lifestyle or natural lifestyle. Please comment below with how any of these tweaks work for you, or if you have any questions!

Also, sign up below for our mailing list to receive a free checklist of these and other tweaks to practice a more natural, organic lifestyle.

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4 thoughts on “10 Simple Tweaks for a More Natural, Organic Lifestyle”

  1. This is a great list. I didn’t even think about my kid’s dishes and stuff, because I always use plastic for them. I like the idea of switching to stainless steel. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Love this! I’m really trying to change my family’s lifestyle this year. This list offers great ideas that really aren’t that hard to do. Thank you, and happy new year!

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Jen! My hope was that these tweaks would be simple enough to inspire people to make them. I’m very glad you thought so. Happy 2021 to you as well!

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