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How to live a more natural lifestyle: Tips from food to fashion

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Simplify your life

Today's world is one of modern convenience, yet life seems more hectic than ever! There are efforts to "go green" being put into motion on a constant basis, but some people want more than that. If you are looking to return to a simpler way of living sans chemical-laden products, fast-food drive-thrus and toxic emissions, consider moving beyond green and "going natural." Here we offer some basic steps that will help you on your way to leading a beautifully simplistic and more natural life.

Natural Beauty

During our usual morning routine, we are actually slathering ourselves with loads of chemicals from our shampoo and conditioner to soap and even toothpaste. That's before we even start applying makeup.

The good news is while there are about a million beauty and hygiene products out there packed with not-so-natural ingredients, there are also some really great products consisting of natural ingredients. If you are feeling extra inspired, why not try making some your own? In a jar, combine some honey with a few scoops of brown sugar for a simple and downright delicious body scrub that will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Did you know that blow-drying your hair is bad for the environment? The amount of carbon dioxide omitted by blow-drying your hair for just 10 minutes daily is astounding. Try towel-drying your hair as much as possible, or let your hair air-dry. You might be surprised what a beautiful, natural look your hair has without the blow out.

Natural Food

Getting back to the basics when it comes to nourishing your body is one of the easiest and best things you can do for yourself. Yes, it's very convenient to drive through McDonald's on your lunch break or zap some highly processed frozen entrée in the microwave in the interest of saving time. However, those things are so far from the food that nature really intended us to eat. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Do your grocery shopping at a farmer's market or natural food store where most of the items are natural and fresh. This will help limit your temptations.
  • Take a little time at the beginning of the week to wash, chop or slice produce so it'll be ready to go at a moment's notice. However, don't wash certain items, such as strawberries until you are ready to eat them or they will spoil more quickly.
  • Pack your lunch with healthy and delicious on-the-go items such as carrots and celery with peanut butter or hummus, all-natural cheese, or make a delicious veggie wrap or pita stuffed with your favorite veggies.
  • Just because you are eating naturally doesn't mean you have to give up all the good stuff! Try making your own chocolate-covered nuts or dried fruits (using an organic chocolate), and dip fresh fruit into yogurt mixed with a little citrus juice and zest, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some honey.

Natural Clothing

Natural clothing can be stylish, too! Organic, dye-free cotton, hemp, and bamboo are just a few of the materials that are fashioned into... well, fashions. Check out gaiam.com, which also produces organic linens for the bed and bath.

Don't forget to recycle your threads. Instead of just tossing of old clothing, donate business attire to a women's shelter such as Dress for Success, use old tee-shirts as cleaning rags, and make little hand and finger puppets for your kids from old socks and gloves that are missing their mates.

Natural Baby

You may have heard the statistics on disposable diapers (they can take up to 500 years to decompose), but does the idea of using cloth diapers not appeal to you? Don't worry. There are some amazing advances in earth-friendly diapers. Check out the g diaper, a combination of a cloth and a disposable diaper. The outer layer is a washable (not to mention darling!) cotton bloomer, which holds a disposable diaper insert that can be flushed, garden composted (wet ones) or thrown out (it will break down in just 50 to 150 days).

Natural Lifestyle

Okay, this is a big one. Can you imagine living without your car? For some, it's a place of personal sanctuary. It can also be a big fat emissions-omitting gas-guzzler. But don't ditch your wheels altogether. Reality might dictate your need for a car. However, try cutting back your dependency on your vehicle. Dust off that old 10-speed and put it to the test for weekend errands or trips to visit nearby friends. You'll love the fresh air, the exercise and the extra pocket change you'll have from not having to fill up the tank as often.

Living a more natural, less-is-more approach to life can be very fulfilling. But you don't have to toss your BlackBerry, boycott your favorite retailer or sell your car... all at once. By incorporating a few small lifestyle changes, you can change your world, and the world at large, naturally.

More tips for living natural

Are your natural beauty products really natural?

The truth about natural home care products

Organic vs natural: What you need to know

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