It’s all about balance.
That’s why things don’t work sometimes. Diets, exercise, your chili recipe. Balance. You need the yin and the yang. Nature made it this way for a reason. You will drive yourself nuts otherwise, or lead yourself down a very unhealthy path. Be careful not to become obsessed with making things perfect. I did this when I first learned about organic, healthy products. I never wanted my babies to ever bathe in soap containing sulfites, parabens, or artificial colors again. I became a nervous wreck. So guess what? All the craziness that went into making sure my children had the most wholesome food and chemical free products on their skin made me a stressed-out Mom. In the end the kids felt my stress, and therefore were stressed themselves. Let me tell you first hand. IT’S NOT WORTH IT! Do everything in moderation. Start slow. Work your way up. Yes, it’s true organic foods and chemical free products are important. But, if you go all gung-ho on replacing every single product in your home and empty your artificially flavored refrigerator two things will happen; you will drive everyone around you crazy, and you will also become discouraged. Take it from me. You won’t become a pro overnight. Things like this take time. Time to learn, and time to let things process in your brain.
The first thing you can do is just adding healthier options to your refrigerator. You can still get the junk, but by adding healthier options you’re getting yourself more familiar with the healthier products out there and which ones you like. You don’t want to go hungry in case you realize you hate tofu and kale. No problem. Try a few more options next grocery visit. Another great way to start is by juicing. Just this simple change can have a dramatic affect on your life. There are plenty of great recipes for juicing. My go-to: 3 sprigs or so of curly parsley and 3 sprigs or so cilantro, a 2 inch chunk of beet, an apple, 1 or 2 celery stalks, 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, one third of a lime, one big handful of spinach, 3 romaine lettuce leaves, and 3 or 4 big carrots. Heaven.
Next thing to do is just start checking the products you currently use. Look to see if they contain sulfites, parabens, and other chemicals that you wouldn’t want on your body. This can be a difficult area of concern. The options are endless, and not all chemical free products are made the same. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars figuring out which products I like, and which ones I don’t. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a website that does the work for you concerning what ingredients are in your product, whether you’re talking about makeup, sunscreen, or whatever is in your bathroom drawers. However, they DON’T give you recommendations on which you’ll like. This is where the balance comes in. Forgive yourself for using aluminum-laden anti-perspirant until you find something that works, or your favorite smelling lotion on date night. Life is about living. We all die eventually. No matter how many organic products you have in your refrigerator. Just do your best. Try avoiding that can of soda every other day, or increasing your intake of salads. Slow and steady is best.
Elaine Evenhouse is an occupational therapy assistant and natural health advocate.