Natural, Crunchy Living

As I fell deeper into the rabbit hole of natural living and healing, it became apparent that the chemicals we surround ourselves with every day can greatly impact our health. Oftentimes eliminating these chemicals does not produce overnight results, but I believe that the cumulative effect of their elimination can greatly speed up the healing process. Parabens, aluminum, fragrances, Phthalates, endocrine disruptors, BPA (and other things in plastics), and other chemicals have all been linked to diseases and get readily absorbed by our skin and mucus membranes.

It can be overwhelming to think of overhauling your entire life. That's why I DON'T recommend trying to change everything at once. Pick a few things and work toward your goal. I hope my list of favorite things helps you on your journey toward crunchy living!

Water Bottles and Food Containers


  • The water bottle you drink out of gets used a lot (hopefully all day every day)- don't use plastic. I personally like the Contigo metal water bottle (left) because it has an easy-carry handle, a locking top (so I can toss it in my backpack and it won't spill), and fantastic insulation. I have also included a link to a glass water bottle, if you prefer that instead of metal.

  • Hot food/liquid + plastic = trouble

    • Don't put plastic in the microwave

    • Let food cool before putting it in plastic tupperware for storage

    • Don't drink coffee or tea out of plastic, styrofoam, or paper cups (their inner lining is plastic!)

    • Don't blend hot liquids in plastic vitamix or blender pitchers

    • Never leave plastic water bottles in your car to cook in the sun

  • If you use plastic tupperware only keep cold and room temperature foods in them

  • Avoid bottled water, if possible. You don't know where they were stored, and they may have hung out in the sun cooking.

Stuff You Breathe


  • Strong smells and perfumes = chemical garbage

  • Natural air fresheners:

    • Citrus magic is nice, as long as you don't have issues with citrus​. They are strong enough to cover strong poo smells.

    • Poopourri does a great job at covering up poo smell, but doesn't get into the air as much as a spray. It also has good, non-toxic ingredients.

  • Don't use dryer sheets! They are loaded with VOCs and crap. Now that I haven't used them in a long time I can smell them a mile away. It's really freaky to smell dryer sheets outside of an apartment or a house and realize that I used to smell that strongly all the time, too. I once purchased a box of used maternity clothes off craigslist and some of the shirts still wreak of dryer sheets even after 15+ washes!

    • If you can't go dryer sheet-less yet, try using wool balls to soften clothes. I do not recommend adding essential oils to these balls. Oil + clothes = oil stains.

  • Swap out your glade plug ins and air fresheners with an essential oil diffuser! Make sure to use good quality oils (I like Nature's Gift) and use caution around children. I do not recommend diffusing ANY oils around children under 2 years old unless you consult with a trained aromatherapist like Shannon Becker in Raleigh.

Body Care Items


  • I think shaving is the most important thing on this list. Why? Because any time you cut yourself you're giving these chemicals access to the rest of your body! Yikes!

    • When I use my razor I like the Kiss My Face shave cream. A little goes a LONG way. I use 2 pumps per leg and I have long legs.​

    • Even better, though, is an electric razor! Then nothing is getting through cuts in your skin. I have this Panasonic razor and really like it.

  • I don't really use lotion anymore. Any lotion you use is going to get absorbed into the skin (how else would it disappear?), so this is the second most important thing in this section. I use coconut oil on my face, body, and legs after shaving. I carry this one in my purse, though (it smells great!) :)

  • I don't really wear makeup much anymore since having Jess, but I have heard good things about Beauty Counter cosmetics. As of July 23rd, 2017 Laura Schoenfeld is a rep for this company (link to her page).

    • For removing makeup, I really like microfiber makeup remover cloths- they REALLY work! I have a Makeup Eraser brand cloth (an MLM company) that I got at a fair, but I don't know how to order online... But this product on Amazon (left) seems comparable.​

  • I have experimented with natural deodorants for years and wrote a review article earlier this year. My current favorite deodorant is Native brand, but it isn't available on Amazon. If you use this link you can get a free travel sized stick of Native :)

  • Toothpaste and mouth wash are a big topic to tackle in a blog post some day. Summery: Don't go near Fluoride and don't try to kill everything in your mouth (you're supposed to have germs in your mouth- madness, I know). Check out this video (below) about "bad breath" and you'll see mouth wash is all just marketing BS.



  • Strong smells = chemical garbage

  • Be careful of anything you spray. Spray = small droplets that you might breathe in.

  • Check out this article that discusses how this Method cleaner stacks up against cleaners like 409 and killed 99.8% of bacteria.

  • When Mike and I got our first pet (a beagle named Ralphy- rest in peace, boy) I decided that I didn't want to use "normal" carpet cleaner. We really like Backout for stains (leave it to soak for a few hours so the enzymes work their magic) and carpet cleaning. Here's the two main reasons we switched when we got Ralphy:

    1. Pets live their lives close to the carpet. They nap there and their nose is never far from the floor.​

    2. Pets noses are way more sensitive than ours. Just because we can't smell something, that doesn't mean we're not giving them a chemical-induced headache.

    • This same logic applies to babies and children.

    • (Also) I think it's just better for us big humans, too.​

  • This is the brand of natural laundry soap we use. It works on the stinkiest stuff but doesn't irritate my skin. When I was pregnant with Jess my legs got really itchy (I don't have psoriasis or eczema) and it interfered with my sleep. The laundry detergent we were using at the time was supposedly hypoallergenic (I believe it was All brand), but I decided to switch it and see what happens. I noticed an immediate difference (itching vanished) and we have used it ever since.

  • See my above note on dryer sheets- they're a chemical soup. Just use wool dryer balls (or nothing at all!) instead.

Miscellaneous Stuff


  • Vaginas have a microbial community, and I worry that glyphosate residue in tampons is creating vaginal dysbiosis. That is why I recommend switching to cups and organic tampons.

  • Tea bags may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals. I prefer to brew loose leaf tea in a ceramic mug and basket (below).

  • Apartment dwellers don't have a lot of options for water filters. After reading this article on Natural News I tossed my Brita and got a Zero Water (also available in a larger dispenser). Zero Water is also available at Bed Bath and Beyond. We get RO water from Whole Foods, too, when we're out of ZW filters.

  • Coconut oil works great as a sex lube, but is not safe to use with condoms. There are many natural-er options that should be safe for condom use.​​

Note: The links in this article are called "affiliate links", so if you buy something from my link I will get some kind of a commission. It's probably like $0.03, but I'm still obligated to tell you that.

Now I'd love to hear from you!

What are your favorite natural products or tips? Is there something I didn't include on this list?

If there is, I'll update it!​

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