Gone are the days of thinking a night without sleep is glamorous, and baking ourselves on the beach, skin drenched in baby oil: By and large, we’ve entered an era that prizes health and a natural lifestyle.
We’re paying closer attention to the food we eat, the way we treat our bodies, and the chemicals we encounter (just look at the surge in popularity of BPA-free water bottles). People are smoking less, figuring out ways to minimize stress, and prioritizing a good night’s sleep. At the same time, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact our actions have on the planet—and taking steps to prevent future damage. All in all, living naturally feels like the right—and, well, most natural—thing to do.
But if the concept is relatively new to you, how do you begin?
Following a “natural lifestyle” doesn’t require living on an organic farm and scorning material pleasures. (Although if that’s your thing, that’s fantastic.)
Small tweaks to achieve well-being—with yourself and the planet—have a cumulative effect, while merely becoming more aware of how to live naturally will inspire you to continue making minor and major changes.
Here are 6 simple ways to get started:
1. Eat Healthy Fats
Dietitians and medical doctors point to the fat-free craze as one of the leading causes of the rise in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
In the early 1990s, the U.S. Senate called attention to the link between diet and illness, blaming the nation’s love of meat and cheese for the uptick in health problems.
In response, the food industry began taking the fat out of everything from muffins to frozen yogurt and replacing it with sugar; meanwhile, carbohydrates were considered a smarter alternative.
Fast forward a decade, and it became clear that eliminating fats was not the solution to a slimmer waistline and enhanced longevity. Indeed, we need good fats to operate properly.
But the key here is good fats—not the fat you’ll find in a slice of fried chicken. “Choosing the right types of dietary fats to consume is one of the most important factors in reducing the risk of developing heart disease,” Tufts University researcher Alice Lichtenstein confirms.
Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3s, are crucial for your overall health. Flaxseed and hemp oil are excellent choices—simply add to them to your salad dressing or sauce—while avocados, salmon, trout, mackerel, walnuts, and olives are delicious—and all natural—options.
2. Go Organic When You Can
Organic food gets a bad rap for being more expensive than its conventional counterparts.
But the difference in price—if you can swing it—is well, well worth-it: Choosing organic food over conventionally-grown eats decreases your exposure to a host of chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers—toxins that can negatively impact your health over time.
What’s more, organic food tastes better and is richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consider it an investment in your and your family’s health, which, come to think of it, is downright priceless.
3. Switch to Natural Skincare
As little as a decade ago, women used skincare products based not on their ingredients but on the results they were expected to deliver.
These days, we’re becoming more and more attuned to the harmful effects that synthetic additions—like parabens and sulfates—can have on our health.
And while a number of manufacturers claim to be “all natural,” the onus is on you to conduct research and read labels to ensure that you’re using only the most wholesome products.
Our line of skincare is entirely exempt of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, and other harsh chemicals, instead drawing on the bounties of nature and the best science has to offer.
4. Drink More Water
Sodas, sugary juices, beer, wine, cocktails—all should rarely be a daily indulgence.
Rather, embrace a more natural lifestyle by primarily drinking the most natural beverage out there: Water. Refreshing, hydrating, calorie-free, and out-and-out superb for you, water should become your go-to drink no matter where you stand on the healthy lifestyle scale.
5. Head Outdoors
From your television to your laptop to your sofa, it seems that the most common way to kick back is indoors.
And while we’re certainly not shrugging off the need to flop down on the couch and prop up your feet from time to time, getting outdoors is one of the loveliest and most invigorating ways to bolster your connection with nature.
Enjoy a hike, go for a swim (if possible), take your or your neighbor’s dogs for a walk, or relish a bike ride; while doing so, breathe in the scenery. You’ll free your mind, reduce anxiety, release endorphins, and boost well-being.
6. Take a Multivitamin with Breakfast
A good multivitamin operates like nutrition, rest, water, and exercise—it effectively acts as a health insurance policy by providing you with fundamental nutrients.
Keep in mind, however, that not all multivitamins are created equal. Some don’t include super-crucial minerals like magnesium and potassium, both of which can have a tremendous impact on your complexion, metabolism, muscle strength, detoxification, and energy levels.
A high-quality, food-based multivitamin, however, can fortify your immune system and help promote better overall health.
Our advice? Reach for your multivitamin at two of your daily meals, as you’ll begin to equate eating with this new part of your natural lifestyle routine—and will be less likely to forget to take it.
Indeed, physicians remind us that when we take our multi is critical. “To maximize your multivitamin’s benefits,” Dr. Mercola suggests, “you should take a few tablets first thing in the morning and with lunch, or with an early dinner to help optimize your nutrient absorption.”
With time, you’ll realize that living naturally is not only simple—it also feels downright wonderful.