The quest to live more in harmony with nature has become increasingly popular in recent years. ‘Natural living’ or ‘clean living’, as it’s come to be known, usually focuses on eating whole and nutrient-dense food, cleaning up your living environment inside and outside the home, and using sustainable practices for cultivating food and minimizing waste. In many ways, it’s really just how people used to live!
Natural living looks a little different from person to person nowadays, but this is what natural living means for me from a faith-based perspective, including how we parent and live out our faith.
Consider Your ‘Why’
If you have decided to move in this direction of natural living, first of all, you will want to have an understanding as to why you want to do this. When the budget tightens, when long term habits are harder to change, when food preparation is taking longer, or when objections rise up from the little people in your household, it will help you to have your ‘why’ under your belt with conviction. Prayerfully consider why you are doing this, and write down a ‘working’ sustainable plan forward that isn’t too drastic for your whole family.
Below are the main areas to focus on, with a few practical suggestions that you may consider starting with. Once you get started, you will find a natural rhythm to how you bring about and sustain change in your life and your family’s.
Eat Real Food
Eat mostly whole foods in their most unadulterated state, preferably organic. This usually means a traditional diet of some form that includes meat, fresh fish, fermented and/or raw dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds, and legumes.
Try and shop at local farmers markets, the butcher for grass-fed meat, and source produce locally. Become a label reader, do your research, and arm yourself with some great resources so you know how to identify those ‘hidden’ ingredients often disguised as a number. Focus on ‘replace’ and not ‘remove’, so eventually the less desirable foods just get pushed out. Enjoy the journey of change!
- Learn where your local farmers markets are
- Source spray-free or organic produce
- Make homemade stocks
- Collect real food recipes
- Consume raw dairy
- Make kefir and yogurt
- Make your own sauerkraut
- Soak and sprout beans and nuts
- Add in healthy snack choices
- Learn about the benefits of juicing
- Include some nourishing cooked foods daily, and some cleansing raw plant-based foods daily.
Household and Environment
There is much you can do in this area to clean up your home environment, from the smaller things such as what you put on your body and clean your home with, to the larger things such as replacing clothing, linen, and mattresses.
The best place to start is to replace the products you’re using with natural-based alternatives. Many of these are highly concentrated, so you will find you use less per use.
Eventually, you might like to make your own personal care or household products, such as cough syrup, soap, natural cleaners, toothpaste and more. Your skin is your largest organ, so it makes sense to watch what you are putting on it, whether directly or via your environment.
- Switch to quality natural-based brands (read reviews online)
- Use baking soda, vinegar, and natural-based cleaners
- Use high quality essential oils
- Place household plants indoors
- Grow a herb garden
- Use glass and recycle jars, over plastic containers and bags
- Look at adding some high quality supplements to your diet if needed. I recommend finding a health practitioner locally that will work with your family – don’t wait until an emergency!
Lifestyle and Relationships
We can move towards health and wellness for our bodies and homes, but still miss some of the most important things of living naturally that are key to good health.
Here are some further suggestions that are part of the ‘bigger picture’ I hope you’ll consider:
- Make prayer an integral part of your day
- Drink 2-3 liters of clean water per day
- Start exercising every day, even just a small amount
- Get enough sunshine to optimize your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of illness and health issues. If in doubt, get tested!
- Get your children involved in food preparation and shopping at markets.
- Limit screen time where possible, and come together as a family to do more together
- Make your own gifts. There’s nothing quite like being on the receiving end of a homemade gift.
- Slow down, breathe, enjoy the good things in your life.
- Get enough sleep
- Make forgiveness a priority
- Be generous
Listen to your body, and your family, and make adjustments accordingly. If you start to get stressed by the changes, slow down and re-assess your plan. The goal is not to be perfect, but to co-operate with God’s design for your life, and take things one step at a time.
Let me know how you get on!
This article is the first part of The Road to 31’s popular series, The Homemaking Pharisee. This is a look at how Christian’s can make stewardship of their bodies an idol. Where it is good that we take care of ourselves, there is a way to do this that is honoring to God, and there is a way to do this that is very dishonoring. We should strive to bring glory to God in all that we do, and to edify other Christians around us. We should also not make something Gospel that is not. Read this article HERE.