Several years ago, I had a friend tell me his story about climbing Machu Picchu. He was pretty out of shape at the time, and every time he looked up to see how much farther to the top, he had a keen sense that he’d probably die.
Somewhere along that climb, he started saying to himself, “One step at a time. Just the next step. That’s all I have to take.” As soon as he embraced that idea, each step got a little easier, and before he knew it, he was at the top – basking in the glory of the Incan countryside.
He told me that story as a metaphor for life, but it meant nothing to me, really. At the time. Until today.
Today, I inherited a king-sized mattress, something I’ve been dying to have for quite some time. You look at king-sized mattresses in the store or in your home, and you’re all, “Eh. It’s a bed.” But it’s not a bed, people. It’s a monster. The size of Miami, weighing approximately 30 unconscious bodies stuffed in a bag. Do NOT ask me how I know this.
The caveat was that I had to move the bed myself. And, well, it ended up being ALL by myself. You know how you can test if you have friends? Text them all and see if they’ll help you move a bed. If you don’t hear back from any of them, you know you have friends. It’s a rule.
Determined as a thong wedgie, I vowed to myself that I could do it alone. Only I forgot about the 18 steepish steps and relatively narrow staircase I had to traverse.
It took 45 minutes of sheer painful effort, probably two gallons of sweat, and what I’m sure is a strained back, but I did it. And one stair into the journey, I started thinking, “Okay. One step at a time.” And it was all I could do. Just one step. At a time. Slowly. But with great will and grunting.
Suddenly, I got it. That’s all you can do. One step at a time. Ever. In your whole blessed life.
So, What About Your Natural Health?
Many of us were brought up in rather unhealthy ways. Fast food, harsh cleaning products, excessive hair coloring, you name it. We’re on a path now to something a little more gentle and real, but it’s still so gosh-darned confusing sometimes. Just try reading a sci-fi food label. Y’know?
And then … then when news comes out that brands like Kashi are actually using GMOs in their products, or that the new organic labeling decisions are to include the acceptance of many, many synthetics, it gets even more confusing.
You can’t just pop over to Whole Foods and pick up a guilt-free dinner anymore.
It’s enough to make you want to say, “Whatever. Good grief. I can’t deal with this anymore. EVERYTHING is unhealthy.” Isn’t it? Seriously, I remember back in the late ’80s when stories started to surface that aspartame could cause cancer. I remember what everyone said.
Everything causes cancer these days. Jeez. Even breathing. Might as well just eat and drink what we want. We’re going to die anyway.
And that’s true, my dears. You are. But the enormous conscious and ethical reasons for living a more “crunchy” and “real” life actually pale in comparison to the way you feel, the energy you have, and the glow your skin takes on when you start making more natural, healthier choices.
It’s just … a little exhausting sometimes.
Take It One Step At A Time – Here Are Some Steps
I know many of you are well on your way to living a natural, real-based life. Many of you are probably light years ahead of me, even. What can I say to you? Keep taking those steps. One at a time. You’re an inspiration to us all.
Many of you, though, have barely dipped your toes into more natural living, and to you I say this: This is your time to shine. This is your time to explore and walk, little by little, into something more authentic and fulfilling.
Each step that I took with that Goliath of a bed, I thought about the steps I’ve taken to become better as a person (not just in a crunchy way, but as a whole). And none of those things happened overnight – often, I reverted for a while. But it made me want to share little steps YOU can start taking – right now – to clear your life of anything unnatural or unhealthy. By all means, do NOT try to do them all at once. One step at a time, in whatever order you feel comfortable with.
Simple Natural Living Steps You Can Take This Summer
- View everything you buy at the store (especially packaged material) as suspect. It pains me to put it in these terms, but that is how I started, many years ago. Just because something says “natural,” doesn’t make it so. Labels lie. Remember that. When you’re at the store, consider your options and never take a claim at face value – especially with packaged foods. This is an extraordinarily simple step, but it will open your mind to alternatives.
- Vow – right now – to only buy your produce at local farmer’s markets this summer. The time is upon us, and this is the most significant step you can take. Again, it’s an easy one, because what’s more enjoyable than chit-chatting with farmers in the bustling friendliness of the market? And when you go, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags.
- Start using baking soda for everything. Baking soda is our dear, dear friend – and it’s good for almost anything you need to do around the house. In fact, I had a (unrealized) challenge planned last year for Crunchy Betty in which we were going to only use baking soda and vinegar to clean with for a week. Clean your pots and pans with baking soda. Clean your bathtub, your toilet, your counter tops. Wash your hair and exfoliate your face with it. You can even do your laundry with it (and finish with a vinegar “clothes softener”). Try it for a week and see how far you get without laying a hand on a harsh cleaner.
- Wash your face with honey. If you haven’t taken the Crunchy Betty Honey Challenge, this is a great time to start.
- Grow something. Pick one edible thing to grow this summer, if not 10. Just grow something you can eat. It’s so simple, you can even hang it on your wall.
- Make at least 3 home-cooked meals a week. Use that produce and meat from the farmer’s markets. If you’re crunched for time, make meals you can freeze in individual servings and then pull out when you’re ready to eat your masterful home cookin’.
- Read Folks, This Ain’t Normal. You remember when I talked about Joel Salatin and his gloriously wild farming ways? Well, his publishers were kind enough to send me his latest book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, and I promise you – I PROMISE YOU – it will change the way you look at the food you eat, and the way you want to live your life. The best part about this book is at the end of each chapter, he gives actionable steps that you can take to move into a more conscious life with your food. Heck, you’ll probably find yourself owning a chicken or two when you’re done. (I would have, if my apartment complex would only let me … fascists. Heh.)
What Were Your First Steps?
I’m really, really interested to hear where you all got started. What was the light that went on for you, when you decided to start moving in a new (less advertised) direction?
What brought that about? What was the first thing you tried?
And what is the next step you have planned?
Over a year ago, a friend made a Facebook post about her adventures with OCM. She was always really smart, kind, beautiful (inside and out), and she’s a nurse in a PICU. So I thought, while part of me was only thinking Eww, why, I should look into this. So I started reading anything and everything I could find on Oil Cleansing.
Then I decided to try it. What’s the worst that could happen, right?! After all, my skin is worse now, in my 30’s than it ever was as a teen. And, holy crunchy crap, it worked so well that my husband, who is totally adverse to anything even slightly “hippie”, tried it too. Although, he did so in secret for a while, because he’d given me such a hard time about it at first. I think my super soft, beautiful skin after a few weeks of OCM, convinced him.
Then I kept reading (mostly this wonderful website, and a couple of others), wondering what other unnatural things I could replace in my life and get better, not to mention healthier, results. So I started replacing other bath/body products. It’s better for me, they work better, and, by golly, I am actually having fun making them.
Not sure what I will try next, but I have an ever growing list of things to try. I can’t thank you enough! Crunchy Betty, you’re the bee’s knees!
CRUNCHY FREAKIN’ BETTY. I LOVE YOU.
I don’t even remember what got me wondering about quitting using shampoo but once I found your no poo article here things started to escalade (And boy oh boy I am GLAD they did) Just a few days ago I began using Baking Soda and ACV which as you know is a complete pain but hopefully the results are good… WELL I just couldn’t stop there–one day I spent well, literally, a DAY reading all the different articles here. Now look what you did! I have a list, an actual list written out that has all of my common household products, beauty products, pet products etc that are downright awful for me and my best feline friends. I wrote this list with a purpose: I am slowly filling in all the ways I can replace these chemical infested things that we as 21st century human beings have been raised to believe are necessary. So far my bathroom cabinet is wiped clean of chemicals and replaced with Coconut Oil, Clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil AND the heavenly Thyme and Witch Hazel tincture. Already I can tell a difference–for once in my life my skin is thanking me (I think it would kiss me if it could) Seeing how much these things have made a difference I’ve moved on to COOKING at HOME ‘gasp’. I’m serious I’m actually cooking meals with organic/Non GMO ingredients. Soups for days in this home of mine. Next step?? my GARDEN.. I’m spending this winter planning my future garden which will house all these ingredients that I can use in my household and beauty products along with ingredients for my increasingly tasty soups. Crunch Betty you have absolutely inspired me I always knew I needed to change my devilish ways—you my friend have put the boot to my butt so to speak. I can’t even thank you enough. <3
Seriously, you are such a huge inspiration to me. My mother has taught me to eat well and question food and its labels ever since I could remember, and Ive watched her struggle with convincing everyone around her how nothing is natural anymore, and Im really coming to understand all her suffering. Ive just recently gone gluten free and dairy free, and every day Im adding and subtracting foods from my diet from doing more research. The hardest part for me is being surrounded by people who look at you like youre fucking crazy when youre just trying to spread the knowledge, feeling like youve discovered a fascniating secret about health and why so many people suffer from illness when all they need to do is change their diet and become concious. Its like talking to a brick wall when youre talking to someone who just wants to call you a smelly hippy and stay in totaly denial. Ive recently had a severe problem with ovarian cysts and after getting nothing but a surgery and painpills to patch up the first problem and now with them getting twice as worse, I am convinced it is all the chemicals Ive ingested and been exposed to since I was a child and Im only 21 years old, I shouldnt have to worry about losing my ovaries so young. So I am on a mission that is only snowballing and I cannot explain what a relief it is to find a community that can teach me well and fight the good fight. Seriously, youre amazing.
I started getting interested in food – quality, that is – right after high school. Unfortunately, the popular info at the time was from Susan Powter (“Stop the insanity!”) and I delved deep into low fat vegetarianism… not good for a yet undiagnosed celiac eating lots of hearthealthywholegrains!
Once I found that out, I moved to a more WAPF/traditional/paleo focus – good, natural foods, local if possible, as much from farmers as possible. I started making my own deodorant (coconut oil, starch and baking soda) years ago, and it’s never failed me (and I am much less smelly and sweaty now anyway). Also started using honey, sugar and oils on my skin… I figured if I cared so much about what went in my body, I’d better pay the same attention to what goes on it. Also started using baking soda and vinegar for almost all my cleaning.
Finding your blog inspires me to keep going… laundry soap is my next challenge! Maybe getting rid of dish soap too and just using my castile – soap is soap, right? My busband (boyfriend/husband hybrid) is eyeing me sideways while I read your blog, bc he knows something else is going to change, and soon!
Ulcerative colitis and the anti inflammatory diet got me started. Now that I’m more educated about what I eat its much easier to see the sense of what my skin eats and how everything out there is a vicious circle and a big lie. Be responsible for what you make and eat and you know exactly what you are putting into yourself.
I was always into homemade beauty products, but I guess the first thing I ever did was the sugar + oil exfoliator. Leaves the skin suuuuper silky smooth. 1/2 cup sugar to 1/4 cup olive oil. Of course, I did smell like a salad afterwards.
I’ve basically been taking it one step at a time as well. Slowly but surely I have been changing my lifestyle to… well what y’all call “crunchy” I s’pose 😛
It started out with wanting a more organic way of washing my face because I have always had problems with store bought stuff never working, or making my face break out more actually. I had a friend who boasted that he never used soap on his face and he’s just fine without it. So I searched online and came across the oil cleansing method.
Now to make a long story short, even before that I have constantly been concerned about my weight (as any girl these days) and I starting teaching myself how to cook, then I got a wii fit and learned yoga and then decided to take a class. Years go by and I’m now getting myself into meditation (which btw calms the nerves AND gives your back a good workout! And those back muscles are more important than you think.) I’m more interested in reading than watching tv these days, which I have internet tv to thank for that and the fact that tv has really hardly any good shows on, AND a season is now like 5 episodes these days… (I know I’m exaggerating). But it’s a good thing.
Then I discovered crunchy betty in my endeavor to learn more about the OCM. Since then I have now adopted a totally crunchy hygiene ritual including brushing my teeth with baking soda and coconut oil, washing my face with honey, washing my hair with baking soda and ACV, a sugar scrub made of sugar and coconut oil, and after using the scrub I can shave without shaving cream with no razor burn. I still use the OCM but only on days I wear makeup since the ocm made me break out too. Ive also tried the keeper (and if you don’t know what it is I’m not going to tell you lol), plus going to farmers markets and trying my darnest to grow food in my small north facing third floor apartment. I’ve got tomatoes, mint, parsley, cilantro, chives, and dill.
Last but not least is that I’ve also gotten myself into knitting and crocheting which I hope will expand even further to learn how to sew to the point where I can completely make all my own clothes. Idk ’bout you but I would love for someone to come up to me and say, “ooh thats cute, who are you wearing?” and I’ll be all like.. “me” 😀
Well anyways, thats my summation… and just the beginning to what I hope will be a very long and crunchy happy life.
Thanks for this blog! This is the first blog I have ever followed, but it’s pretty much everything I’ve dreamed about since I was a teenager throwing loose chamomile tea into my bathtub with no idea what it was supposed to do for me. I can’t wait to try out your recipes and I’ve been putting tons of stuff on Pinterest.
also, yay king sized mattress! you never you needed so much space to sleep, until you have it. and even more awesome that its inherited.
Its so funny that you mention Joe Salatin and his book in the same post that gets us thinking about when and why we decided to be more “crunchy.” The first time I saw the movie Food, Inc. it changed my life. I had just been to the grocery store and after seeing that, I literally returned all of my groceries. The woman at the customer service desk asked what was wrong with the food, or if I had found out that I was pregnant and thats why I was returning it, and all I could say is “it doesn’t mesh with my lifestyle anymore.” haha. Its been one step at a time since then. When I discovered how real food made me feel so much better, I got to thinking about how other items in my life were probably making me feel. And then I found this blog, via a crunchier than thow friend. Like many others, I’m completely addicted to impacting my life with wholesome truer to nature things. Sometimes, convenience throws me back into my old ways of buying stuff I could make myself, but I always notice how differently (and terrible) I feel. So I think the more I am able to learn about how to do things in a more naturally, the more likely I’ll be to stick with it and grow.
The first steps I took followed my decision to eat healthier foods. It was a while ago, but I think the first things I did were: 1) replace conventional lotion with olive oil 2) replace face-wash with honey/water/other natural things 3) ditch my face makeup.
…and I haven’t gone back since! 😉 I’m interested in trying the harder stuff again, like shampoo and deodorant.
Krystal Marie Rose Schrot
I use the baking soda for everything. I wash my face and hair w it too, haven’t used shampoo for over a year. I have 4 tomato plants, some herbs, and kale planted. I make a lot of my own beauty products when I’m not lazy and use more natural and organic beauty products.
ALSO! I’m excited cause I planted my celery butt and green onion roots into water and they grow!!!
I’m with you on everything but the housecleaning. I etched the crap out of my lovely 1920’s Art Deco tub with some vinegar–baking soda concoction, to my eternal regret.
You might check out a book called “Speed Cleaning,” written by some guy from San Francisco whose name I can’t recall at the moment. He did a detailed study of cleaning products and their effects on health and the environment, and he found that consumer-grade cleaning products are horrible, carcinogenic nasties, and the only warnings you get are for immediate reactions, like drinking them (duh), or combining chlorine and ammonia.
But professional-grade products are judged more harshly, according to OSHA standards, because people are using them all day every day.
He convinced me that bleach and ammonia — used judiciously — are perfectly fine, and not harmful to the environment or one’s health. F’rex bleach is always marked with an expiration date, because it breaks down into water and salt quite easily.
And yes, he has a line of products, and I’ve bought some of them. I like the concentrates: They’re soy-based and non-toxic, and you mix them with water in your own spray bottle.
The book first appealed to me because I used to be a bartender, and if you clean the same little space from top to bottom four nights a week, you develop a system. I’d never been much of a housekeeper, but seeing that kind of approach applied to the whole house was a revelation for me. YMMV.
I wasn’t crunchy at all until about a year ago when it happened mostly by accident. I had just started a job in a food processing plant making salad dressings and mayonnaise, and after a 10 hour day pouring ingredients into tanks I’d come home with splashes of salad dressing in my hair, and a face that broke out constantly (a crisis I never really had even as a teen). Conventional facial cleansers dried my face terribly and shampooing every day made my hair feel like straw, even if I conditioned. So, one fateful day I went online to find out if there was anything I could wash my face with, and wash my hair with, that would work and be gentle enough to use every day. Enter OCM and BS/ACV. It saved my skin and hair. And that was the beginning.
I stumbled upon Simple Organic (now Simple Homemade) and discovered cleaning with baking soda. I spent 20 minutes cleaning my nasty shower and BEHOLD! It looked shiny, brand spanking new! Then I started thinking about what I was making at work and what went into those salad dressings and mayonnaise. Do you know what “rework” is? It’s the product that’s about to expire or was out of spec that food manufacturers can put into stuff they’re making today. It can only be up to a certain percentage of the weight of the whole batch so that the flavor of the rework can’t be detected by the consumer. And I promise you, EVERY FOOD MANUFACTURER DOES IT. Combine that with coworkers I watched skip allergen washes (even though signing off on one when you didn’t do one is totally illegal), and that totally turned me off to manufactured food. My nephew has a peanut allergy; our plant didn’t handle peanuts or tree nuts, but I thought if my coworkers are doing it here, people in plants that do use nuts are skipping those washes too. What if my nephew ate something they made that contained peanut but shouldn’t have? I shuddered to think of it.
I’m still baby stepping. I want to compost and garden but haven’t figured out how to really do that in my apartment with 3 roommates. I have a hard time eating pizza without drinking a soda too. But my fellow crunchies give me hope; it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Reading this blog is like hearing my best friend tell a story…I love your style. We’re all in it together, and as long as we keep on rollin’ we’ll be doing all right. 🙂
I began my journey to crunchiness four and a half years ago when I was barely pregnant with my first daughter. I had been told by my OB that my hormone levels were low and she prescribed me some synthetic hormones. I did my research and opted for wild yam cream instead. I then switched to a home birth midwife and changed all my soaps and such for preparing to cloth diaper.
I didnt change much else at that time, but cloth diapers kept me in the world of crunchy things for a couple years until I really jumped head first into the crunchy lifestyle a bit over a year ago.
It can certainly be overwhelming to change too many things at once, so thanks for the reminder to take it slow. And good job moving that bed all by yourself. Wow!
This ended up being really long, so I hope you don’t mind but I posted my answer here;
I love reading everyone’s stories, it is so encouraging to know how many of us are on this path now!
My nephew was diagnosed with autism ten yrs ago. At that time, I thought to myself, “Folks, This Ain’t Normal.” Since then, I have constantly been confronted with things that solidify my opinion that we are poisoning ourselves. It has been one step at a time, and just when I get to the point where I think ‘okay, I’ll focus on this, this and this’ I read another article or become aware of another poison in my life. It is like a small leak in a dam. Once one begins to dig for the truth, it quickly becomes a flood.
I am seriously impressed! A king-sized bed is like another continent. What you so wisely said in your post is similar to what a friend of mine always asks me when I’m overwhelming myself with a daunting task: “How do you eat an elephant?… one bite at a time.” There are lots of sayings like that (a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, etc.) because it’s true and it’s something we all need reminding of.
Crunchy lifestyle-wise, lots of groundwork was laid when I was growing up (bran and wheat germ in everything, no sugary cereals or junk food, etc). The key eye-opening moments in my adult-portion of this life-journey: When I learned the truth about margarine and switched us to butter… When we started making/crafting almost all of our Christmas gifts… Discovering Almost No-Knead Bread (stopped buying bread)… Growing our own tomatoes… Getting laid off of my job and wanting to eat as cheaply AND healthily as possible… Being inspired by a friend to make my own laundry soap… Discovering this blog and all the empowering things I’ve learned to make and do from mouthwash to cough syrup.
I suddenly feel like I’m writing in your yearbook (have a fun summer and K.I.T.!!! – ha ha ha!) What’s next for me? Trying some different bread recipes, figuring out what to do with all the herbs we planted this year, and exploring more home remedies (I’ve even started a binder for it).
I LOVE baking soda, love love love!
I don’t really know when or what my first step was, to be honest. But I think it might have been in middle school, when I realized how bad (and useless) soda was for my health, the planet and in general. That lead to several things: my intellectual curiosity in trying to know as much as possible, making more decisions that are better for my health and the environment and my realization that I can actually quit things cold turkey. Soda was so easy for me to give up, it’s a wonder why I was so afraid or thought I couldn’t do it. That’s why I’m not so afraid or hesitant to make good changes. The changes just need to be slow and steady.
I might be one of the luckier ones transitioning to a crunchy lifestyle. I developed an ability and willingness to make better changes easily. It’s just really slow,haha. But there is no reason why it has to be fast and I’d rather make slower, longer lasting changes than abrupt, short-term ones any day (women going on feeding tube diets to lose weight for their wedding come to mind… ugh). Slowly and steadily, I’ve been losing weight, gained energy, smoother skin and silky hair. All while learning more about where everything in my life comes from and how it affects me.
I can’t be grateful enough for your blog betty because coming across it has been one of the most important and influential “steps” I have ever taken.
For me it started when my mom was dying, and the doctor gave her a morphine patch, because that was more effective than the morphine pill she’d been taking. And I started thinking, hmm, what is being absorbed into my skin? It’s grown from there: now I make all the medicine and body products my family uses (except my partner’s shampoo & deo), living on a farm, raising some of our own food. I often need reminders to be gentle with myself, because I’m never doing as well as I hope. But progress is progress, even if it isn’t always direct…
I also have to say that becoming a political radical (due to my partner’s deployment to Afghanistan) has also helped. I no longer believe most of what the government says, why would I believe a private corporation? The realization that corporate profit drives what I eat and how I feel about my body was so eye-opening, and helped me cut the last few ties that bind.
Heather :) :) :)
OH, awesome post…and congrats on moving that bed all by yourself. I have a king-sized pillow-tip bed and it’s absolute heaven to sleep on. I remember when I moved about a half-block down the street and I have to move everything myself with no car. I carried everything by hand one box at a time and it was hard…but I did it 🙂 🙂
What got me started on my journey? It was hands down reading “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan Rubin. He suffered with Crohn’s disease for many years before turning to a real food diet…and then he went into remission..I have ulcerative proctitis…and I thought, Wow, he had many simialr health issues that I had, he ate a natural/real food diet…and look what it did for him. If it can work for him, it can work for me…and i”m experiencing real success. That’s what started me down this road. My immediate next step is to write about my personal experience, and one of these days to start container gardening 😉 🙂
Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂
Last year I started looking into the effect of diet on allergies and asthma- and I went sorta crunchy from there! It has been so fun and freeing. Right now I’m getting my friends to wash their hair with baking soda and their faces with oil!
Such an interesting post. Especially since I just read yesterday that some of the ingredients in sunscreen may give you skin cancer! I have wondered many times just recently, if all my crunchiness is worth it. So many of the foods I reach to buy end up back on the shelf because I don’t want myself or my family to be exposed to all the chemicals and refined ingredients in them. It is really frustrating for me (and my kids when I refuse to buy them goldfish).
The first crunchy thing I tried was making my own laundry detergent. That was a huge success, so I tried making my own deodorant. I’m sure everyone around me was happy I was at least using something instead of nothing like I did for a while. Phew! I have since gone no ‘poo, and make my own lotions, lip balm, and toothpaste. I have been using the OCM for a couple months now and love it, too. I don’t use harsh chemicals for cleaning either. There’s nothing that a little baking soda or vinegar can’t clean. Oh, and I make my own hair gel (flax or chia seeds) and hair spray.
I guess for my next step, I need to focus more on the foods we eat. I dislike cooking (and especially the cleaning up part) with a passion. I have started by buying only organic produce and grow my own vegetables, but I know I need to do better for us to be healthy from the inside out. Got any suggestions for someone who doesn’t like to cook?
Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to keep it simple. You don’t need to be a doctor to treat scrapes and bruises, and you don’t need to be a chef to feed your family. My husband also assured me that it doesn’t need to taste good all the time, and it certainly won’t at the start. Sometimes we make bad food, and we eat it knowing that its just one meal and tomorrow we’ll make better tasting food.
Generally, I cook a veggie and/or meat combo in the skillet (last night was everything that was about to go bad: peppers, onion, lima beans, cabbage). Then in small pot I have some type of starch boiling – pasta, rice, or potato. Finally, I take the more watery veggies (tomato, cucumber), and make a raw salad to which i add some lemon juice, olive oil, and a dash of salt. It’s not fancy, but it’s two sources of veggies, some protein, and some carbs. Washing consists of a cutting board, knife, skillet, pot, and salad bowl.
Oh, and then the next night take the leftovers, put them in the skillet, add a couple eggs, and you’ve got fried rice, or a frittata, or a breakfast burrito in the making.
I only started cooking on a regular basis since last month. I’ve heard casseroles are easy, but I have no idea how to make one or even what goes into one. I’ve also heard crock pot cooking is easy too, but it intimidates me as well.
I have long regarded all commercially-produced food as suspect, and used to be blessed to live in a very crunchy-friendly community. Sadly, I had no choice but to move to a city that is the polar opposite. (One tiny farmers’ market that I can’t even go to because it’s at 8:30 am, only one organic grocery a half hour drive away, no locally produced organic meats/dairy…I could go on but I’ll spare you. The only plus side is that here I can grow a few of my own vegetables.) Then I ditched dryer sheets because I’ve always hated the waxy feeling they leave on my clothes and I heard they contain carcinogens; shortly thereafter I started making my own laundry detergent, because I had a friend who had good results with it and because one of the product groups I’m MOST suspicious of is laundry stuff. (Seriously, I nearly pass out from the perfume pollution when I have to go into that aisle in the store.)
The rest kind of happened all at once. I adopted a rescue dog a year and a half ago. He has a very sensitive tummy but is determined to get into everything bad for him. I have spent hundreds of dollars on this dog’s vet bills due to his “dietary indiscretion.” So I started looking for non-toxic cleaners–just in case. When I realized I could clean almost everything with baking soda and vinegar and it would only cost pennies, I was sold on a whole new lifestyle. Meanwhile, I was already interested in using herbs for health and beauty, as there is a long tradition of herbalism in my family, and that dovetailed perfectly with my new crunchy cleaning regime.
I’ve always been at least sort of crunchy because my mom was as crunchy as she could be (she worked 2 jobs as long as I can remember). I’ve always tried to buy organic and all natural products. I was “no poo” before no poo became popular (or before I got the internet and realized that’s what people called it. Lol) But I was still buying mass produced commercial things. I was still dependent on a lot of store bought things.
My crunchy journey actually started for real with food when I read “Everything I want to do is Illegal” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” a couple of years ago (those books changed my life!) I started making the switch from packaged processed food to whole real foods. And it took a while. Because I had to learn how to cook and learn what things were and how to use them. But a few months back, my husband was telling me about a conversation he was having with co- workers about ingredients in things (I’ve taught him well!) and he said that one of his co-workers wives was opposed to one particular ingredient. It was one I had never heard of so I thought I would look at our food to see if I could find it…then I realized that I didn’t have one. single. thing. in my cabinet, fridge or freezer that wasn’t what it claimed to be. Corn was corn. Beans were beans. Bread was homemade. And I felt such a triumph. It was like a light bulb went off with “AH HA! I’ve finally done it!”…and I didn’t even realize. I had been slowly making the transition and then, all of a sudden, I’d done it. (Not to say we are 100% unprocessed…the hubby still likes his frozen pizza rolls. Lol. And now he asks me things like “hey…can you make homemade fudge rounds?” instead of just buying them at the store) It didn’t hurt that we moved to an area with an incredible farmer’s market, produce store, and local meat shop so that we can buy so many things as local as possible. Somewhere on this journey is when I realized I could actually make other household products at home as well. I think it was around the time I realized that I actually COULD make my own bread…making my own bread opened up all kinds of homemade crunchy doors and windows. I kicked the “all natural” store bought cleaners for baking soda and vinegar. I don’t make my own soap, but I buy mine from a local lady who uses fresh goat milk to make it. I make my own deodorant, toothpaste and the like.
Once you start down the crunchy brick road, regardless of how you start, and you get to skipping along, everything seems to fall in to place and come naturally. It can be over whelming at first (especially if you’re like me and start with food…going from microwaving dinner and heating pasta sauce to making everything from scratch!) but once you start it, its hard to stop. Its like crunchy crack. And it feels incredible.
Those are indeed wise and courageous words. I got started on being crunchy sort of haphazardly just over two years ago. I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic, and in order to get clean and stay clean I had to reevaluate several areas of my life. Without getting into my medical records, I’ll just say that I had to make some serious changes if I wanted to live. It was incredibly daunting to think I had to relearn how to live my life and let go of sooo many behaviors that had become natural for me. In one of my programs, it is often touted that “our way of living has its advantages for all.” That way is just as you described: one day at a time, one step at a time. And, don’t give up because of a setback. So I started to get crunchy when I started to look at the other parts of my life (just a short 4 months ago) that may not be the most healthy way, and if I’m on this holistic approach to being a healthy, whole person, why not try some natural stuff? I have made great strides, but I’ve learned from my recovery that I have to give myself a break and be easy on myself. So, if I meet friends for dinner and it’s not organic or local I don’t stress out. I’ve also learned that, like living a clean and sober life, it is a process that takes time. I need to be open-minded and willing to make the changes. Then, set goals for myself with action steps. I’m so grateful for this informative, often entertaining blog that has helped me to make some changes in my life. I get excited finding new ways to live a balanced life within myself and with nature. My next step is as you suggest and get my produce from the local farmers markets. 🙂
I figured out about 10 years ago that most commercial cleaners gave me and my youngest son headaches. So I started cleaning with vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and microfiber cloths. I was dense, though, and didn’t associate the cleaning product headaches with the headaches I got near the perfume counters/bath shops until just a couple of years ago … Light Bulb! I’m sensitized to some of the common chemicals in artificial fragrances. This past spring, when “Little Changes” by Kristi Marsh was finally published, I read it in one sitting and then went on a hunt for less poisonous alternatives in personal care. It was during a search for a non-SLS shampoo on the interwebz that I found you, CB, and my beloved sorta ‘poo.
I have had to throttle back and NOT try to leap up the whole staircase in a single bound, I wanted to change everything all at once but I know me, and that isn’t sustainable. So right now I’m focusing on preparing the soil for next year’s veggie garden and learning everything I can from my CSA farmer (he is a HUGE Salatin fan and I get to go to the farm and work with him at least once a week!)
I haven’t read “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” yet, but I loved “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer” – I bought it, “Little Changes,” and “The Good Food Revolution” for my mom, MIL, and SIL for mother’s day 🙂
Actually I first started getting crunchy (though I didn’t know it) when I discovered the website FlyLady. I went there because I was sick of my house always being a mess. And the first thing she tells you is “Clutter can’t be organized, you can only get rid of it.” The next thing she tells you is “Soap is soap.” Meaning, you don’t need 5 different cleaners to clean 5 different things. So, between getting rid of clutter–“Do I use this? No? Gone.”–and doing everything with dish soap, I discovered that I wanted less. No point buying what you won’t use.
And then I discovered you. And you taught me to question, to give all the mystery bottles in the bathroom a long hard look. You made me wonder, Just what’s in this stuff? What are we smearing all over ourselves? And what is going down the drain into our water supply? I got rid of the lotions, potions, cleansers, deodorants (okay, that was a friend who posted her own deodorant recipe on her FB page) and especially the nail polish. I went no-poo, though because of our ultra-hard water, I had to give up that one. I switched from drug store hair dye to henna. Smells way better, and doesn’t make my scalp burn.
I never was a big fan of processed foods, and FlyLady is big into menu planning, so we eat a home-cooked meal most nights. Husband’s discovered container gardening, and so we have a big box of okra growing, a box of tomatos and peppers, and a laundry basket full of potato plants that we’ll empty out this autumn. It’s an experiment. We keep experimenting. I’m starting to sew my own clothes, another experiment. I figured, with the junk I keep seeing at the store, whatever I make can’t possibly look worse.
So we find ourselves buying less and less, and we’re more and more content.
I don’t know which my first experience was, but both Pinterest’s link to oil cleansing method and home made dish detergent are probably in the top. Within a few months of that I found out I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dairy allergy which requires and epi pen. And new found label reading skills. So it’s been a year of turning over leaf after leaf, after leaf… And I’m loving it!
Aah, Crunchy Betty…It all got started because of Pinterest and stumbling upon your site there. I’ve always had somewhat “hippy” tendencies–don’t leave the water running when I’m brushing my teeth, turn a light off when I’m not in the room, frugal living, I like to call it. And I’ve always been interested in being better to the environment and my body, but just never knew where to start. That’s where you helped me. My first adventure was no ‘poo. I tried it for a month or two and just couldn’t regulate my oily scalp, so I switched to sorta ‘poo, which I’ve been on for awhile now and am enjoying. I’ve also tried some hot oil treatments, body scrubs, facial masks…I’m loving it. My boyfriend said the other day that I’ve truly ‘converted’ whatever that means. But even he now uses coconut oil for moisturizing his scalp and body. He’s ‘converting’ too, I guess. LOL. I still have to get better about what goes into my body. You would think I’d start with that but I have some poor eating habits that are taking awhile to break. (What can I say, I LOVE a greasy slice–or three–of pizza and juicy cheeseburgers and french fries and ay, I digress). My next adventure is going to be making water kefir because, yes, soda is another thing I love to indulge in and hope that the sparkly, carbonation of water kefir will fool me into thinking it’s just as good as all the high fructose garbage! Anywho, I’m such a huge fan and have been enjoying this much more natural approach to life. 🙂
in earnest “it”started 2 year ago when I became pregnant. That and a professor I had with his passion for food politics: Omnivores’s Dilemma and Alice Waters have inspired my life changes. I love cooking (Now) as a result but still hate doing dishes. I use the OCM. LOVE coconut oil. Gave up all the cleaning products for vinegar & STEAMers, I make my own laundry detergent.. ETC Found you a month ago! I love your humor and honesty; they are inspiring. My next project are yours, DIY deodorant, thyme acne wash…. ANd then there is my daughter:) I cloth diapered and that was a journey in itself and we BF…i wanted these things before I realized I was on the “attachment parenting” wagon, which was happening long before Dr.Sears wrote about it! Its empowering, this “crunchiness” because were not just consumers, we are PEOPLE who care about what goes in, on and around are beings:)
My first realization came from a more-natural-cleaning-products seller. She showed us videos of the horrible chemicals in things like Lysol. I was a new mom at the time and didn’t want to have any dangerous chemicals in the house, so I switched. Then I started to question more of everything…. I switched to chemical-free shampoo when I heard that sodium lauryl sulfate could have been the culprit for my ouchy scalp; now I’ve switched even further to baking soda/ACV, which I love. We’re also on a gluten-free trial as a family. I’ve tried eating “alkaline” in the past because I had no energy, and it worked great, but I didn’t maintain it. (The gluten-free trial is getting me to eat more vegetables again, and I’m feeling better!) I’m sure there have been other things, but those are the main ones that stand out to me. I’m loving your blog here, since you give me more to think about and lots of great resources. 🙂
My doctor gently pushed me towards eating natural in conjunction with trying to get me losing weight by diet & exercise. When I finally began exercising regularly without losing a single pound (seriously, who does crossfit without losing ANYTHING?!), he stepped it up, and strongly encouraged me to go starch free for 30 days. A friend of mine read through the summary of the conversation between my doc & I (which I blogged), and told me my symptoms read like I had a gluten intolerance. Having that herself, and trying to eat naturally healthy, she appointed herself my personal nutritionist (hahaha!), and after I got off the gluten, she gave me a 6 week challenge to get off the artificial flavors/colors/preservatives. Let me tell you, I had a week and a half of painful physical withdrawls over that one, but it just solidified what my doctor had been telling me for years. It has been extremely difficult because the rest of my family refuses to cut the junk food, and the only way I’m able to stay out of their chips is because what they buy is not gluten free and I don’t want to deal with the “digestive issues.” You (yes, I have been lurking for a while) convinced me to use baking soda & vinegar for cleaning, and it took backing soda to actually get my white counter tops white again. So, thank you! 🙂
Our first step was a garden and then eggs from a local farm and then cutting out grains and on and on. We for very little at the grocery store. We cook and pack all lunches and dinners. Our treat is Sushi out because we love it. And this is from people who ate junk food and fast food DAILY!
Came across your site in mid February and:
my first step was meeting Alvin Corn. 🙂 I made the glass cleaner then i made the all purpose cleaner, unfortunatley my husbadn hates the smell if it no matter what herbs or EOs i use. 🙁 so i use a frugal cleanr of liquid dish soap and water. Not super crunchy but better than breahting 409. I moved on to the honey face wash and still use it most mornings. I used the no nonsense daily face scrub but i put some dried herbs in it and now sneeze like crazy when i use it. Need to make a plain batch and see what happens. I moved on to BS/ACV no ‘poo the first part of march and still use it. Sometimes Dr. Bronner’s in a pinch. I made various masks from your site and the ACV toner. I just tried the OCM Sunday and it was ok. I’ll try again in a few days. Might be a nice twice a week thing. I pick one or 2 things a month (or more) to try depending on what i have and what i need to get. My new favorite thing is to Google “how to make….” (fill in the blank). It’s amazing what you really can make yourself. We grow a garden every summer and i grow herbs. I just wish i had more time and money to get some of the items, essential oils and such. almost had vanilla EO until i remembered i had swimming lessons and field trips to pay for, it went back. Maybe another time. Baby steps. 🙂 keep all the wonderful stuff coming!
I love this post! I recently became a mother and while I was pregnant I really started to look at what my husband and I eat and the products we use in our house and it was a real eye opener. We have started to make our own laundry soap, body soap, and cleaners, but it can be a challenge … Luckily, now I always have my daughter to keep in mind. When you run out of laundry soap and you have been up nursing a baby all night literally getting the life sucked out of you, sending your husband to the store to buy some Tide seems like an easier option, but then you remember that it breaks your poor daughter out, so you suck it up and get out the soap grinder.
I break out from almost all commercial soaps, and if you’re ever in a pinch the only one that keeps me from getting rashes is Tide Free and Clear. I’m not sure what they left out, but it’s the only one I’ll buy from a store!
It started with my kids. My two little boys (ages 5 and 2…and one more on the way!) have always been prone to getting rashes. One day I decided that enough was enough…I looked into natural soap products and decided that we would try Dr. Bronner’s for them. No more rashes! I started using Dr. Bronner’s in the shower and for shampoo, and my husband tried it, too. I really liked how my hair was so shiny with just the castile soap. I ditched my hairspray, mousse, and gel. Then I read about the oil cleansing method and started that. Next, washing my face with honey. Then I started making some of my own cleaning products (I need to buy baking soda and vinegar in bulk!). And most recently, I made body oil for me and the kiddos (scented with lavender and sweet orange essential oils) and some lavender room spray for my co-worker who was feeling stressed. The kids LOVE their oil and beg for it at night – it’s become this calming bedtime ritual for them.
We still have a ways to go in our crunchiness (I’m going to make my own deodorant when I’m on maternity leave and I want to make sunscreen bars, the homemade Vapo-rub and the homemade Vaseline), but I’m so enjoying what I’ve been learning from you, Betty. And I’m trying really hard to “spread the crunch”!
My parents were “crunchies” from the 60’s. (they were called hippies back then). Organic gardening, churning butter, whole unpasteurized milk from a dairy farmer friend…. While my future husband’s family was frying EVERYTHING (veggies, meat, desserts, breads…yep, everything) my family was steaming, baking, broiling, juicing, and distilling water. My children never had a bottle, never a pacifier, never a jar of baby food, and breastfed until they were over 2 yrs old. Then my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went a whole year doing ONLY holistic medicine before the disease was so far advanced that she had to seek the medical route for relief. After her death I lost ALL hope in anything crunchy. It has been 15 years since I revolted against what I felt was a betrayal of nature. Later I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and after 5 years of complete misery and declining health I finally came back to my roots. Nature has placed my RA in complete remission, never a cold or virus, acupuncture for aches and pain relief, buying from local farmers markets, growing a container garden, removing white sugars and flours out of the pantry, and getting the chemicals out of the house. I feel better. Better about myself, better health, better all around. Thank you Crunchy Betty for encouraging my daily steps back to a crunchy lifestyle.
been thinking back and really it all started at infant school; growing cress on
blotting paper, sewing a pin book from squares of felt, pinching the leaves
from the roses in the public garden next door to make into ‘scent’ (boy, did it
stink after a few weeks, consisting as it did of just rose petals and water),
scrumping apples over a garden fence. I’ve always felt the need and the deep joy in making things
myself, of buying handmade things made by others, and eating fruits and
vegetables just picked. Later, when
I was first married, having a go at making pottery (sadly I was useless, but my
husband was great at it), experimenting
with wine-making kits, baking bread.
For several years now I’ve grown fruit, vegetables and herbs and kept
chickens. More recently I’ve been
making a lot of my own toiletries and foods such as butter, yogurt, sausages. Finding your site and
realizing that there are others out there like me, and I don’t have to feel
like a freak for wanting to live this way was a huge milestone. Now, when I go to the supermarket there
are whole aisles I don’t even walk down.
When I walk through a department store make-up and toiletries section
and realize that there’s nothing there I want, even though it costs a fortune,
I feel wonderfully liberated. I
wouldn’t take these things if you paid me. I watch and read commercials for products that people are
conditioned to want even though they’re so bad for them, and I feel so great
that they have no power over me. I feel healthier and happier every day. And I love, love, love coming here.
Your post resonates with me so much! I also feel liberated when I walk through the store and don’t feel the call of advertising and the “need” to buy things. I LOVE skipping whole aisles at the store (when I do go) and love to look at my bank account and see that we can pay off more students loans instead of buying a facial scrub or toilet cleaner. I too, feel great that advertising has lost its affect on me, it is like my life is suddenly filled with freedom from our crazy world. It’s like peace and quiet while everyone else rushes around trying to fit in and buy things to make them happy. Forget that!
Great timely post. Let’s see, we’re growing 3 tomato plants, basil and garlic (it’s own food group!), I use a mixture of honey and baking soda as a face scrub as well as use baking soda for cleaning, we only cook at home unless it’s a special event that gives us an excuse to dine out, I am getting interested in making my own perfume (no more hormone inhibitors for me!), experimenting with various natural body deodorants, and more all because of you Crunchy Betty!
Two words: You. Win.
Thanks for the reminder of how far we have all come by taking it one step at a time. I also started by dipping my toes in the vegetarian waters maybe 7-8 years ago. That lead me to learn how to really cook…with vegetables! Then I started using more natural household cleaners, eventually just resorting to the Baking soda & vinegar route.
Now, I make my own face care, toothpaste, “shampoo” (from rhassoul clay), bake sourdough bread from scratch, make/drink water kefir every day and started a cooking blog dedicated to real whole foods which I get from the farmer’s market/the bulk bins of the co-op.
Next step, setting up a continuous brew kombucha system in my kitchen.
Sometimes I feel like I still have so far to go – but it’s good to remember how many steps I’ve already taken. Thank you.
Sorry, I think I might have give you some thumbs down, if that’s what those numbers and symbols are below your post. If I did, I didn’t mean it.
I started about a decade ago by reducing how much I cooked with processed foods, which then led to a garden. About that same time I enjoyed re-purposing things into handbound journals and whatnot. Then a few years ago I saw the book Eco Beauty at a local independent bookstore and bought it on a whim and started making my own strawberry face wash which led to my own herbal face scrub and things just continue to snowball – body oils, lotion bars, bath salts, oatmeal baths, lip balm, cuticle oil etc. One step does really give you enough inertia to keep taking one more and one more. Plus, I’ve found that changing one thing at a time keeps it sustainable and real life change. Now I’m converting my mom by gifting her the homemade stuff at every opportunity 🙂
My first step, (that I stuck with) was the BS/ACV hair care. I started that about three months ago, and have not once reverted back to shampoo. I am very proud of myself for that, since I have to make it every single time I shower, and I do so HATE to add steps to my showering process. But I had been realizing just how horrible shampoo and conditioners were, and how much damage they had secretly been doing to my hair, so once I left them behind I never looked back.
I’m excited for my town’s Farmers’ Market, once it gets in full swing. This will be my first year actually going to purchase things!
You’re a shero! That mattress story still has my eyes buggin’ out… Wow!
Although, I confess, I don’t understand your conclusion. If no one helps you move the mattress, that’s how you know you have friends?About my relationship to food: I grew up in Brooklyn, and live in Oakland, California now. I grow greens (7 kinds of kale at last count, chard, tatsoi, more…) and squashes and pole/bush beans and snap peas and tomatoes with some other passionate gardeners here in this rental paradise. And I get eggs from our chickens, warm, just-laid eggs.It’s completely mind-blowing for me, even after four years of this. From Brooklyn, remember?And I frequent two or three farmers markets a week. Thanks for telling us about the Salatin book. I saw him speak a couple of years ago. He (and Michael Pollan) are my food heroes. I will look for his book.Love and light,Sue
Growing up, my mom always eschewed heavy packaging on food and cooked great, fresh food. A couple years ago, she started baking all her own bread, and I think all those things planted some seeds in my mind. However, my “crunch quest” as I call it began about 6 months ago when I signed up for a food co-op and suddenly had all this produce around. I really started to learn to cook in earnest, and tried a lot of new recipes. I also had WAY too many fruits and veggies for one person to eat in a week, so I started finding ways to can and freeze and generally use up as much as I could in interesting ways. So, extra oranges become pomanders, lemon peels infuse vinegar, tons of smoothies, etc.! I also started baking bread and making my own yogurt. While I’m eating well and as crunchily as I can, I’ve had problems with my skin since college, and it hasn’t really gotten miraculously better as I’ve crunchified — but it hasn’t gotten worse! I’m in it for the long haul. The thing I like best about being crunchy is the independence it offers. I feel like I can make anything and have so much more control over what is in my house and body, and I don’t have to depend on what’s in the store, or what I’m being told I have to use to clean my countertops or my skin. There are still a lot of things I want to substitute, and the one step at a time reminder is good for me, since I live in a place that doesn’t have very good access to anything crunchy.
I have always been a little more on the natural side, but not nearly as much as some. My Mom was not big into processed foods and always had fresh fruits and veggies around so I had that going for me. I loved making my own anything and started making my own facial masks, scrubs, etc in my 20’s. Then things sort of stagnated for a few years until I had children. It was around 2005 (?), I was watching an Oprah Earth day show and I, in Oprah’s words, “had a light bulb moment”. I needed to do more to save the planet, for my children.
I started with reducing electricity use, reusable bags, getting rid of junk mail, easy stuff that did not cost anything and at times saved me money. I am an engineer, so I made a list of things I wanted to do. One by one, I attacked the list. I then moved onto household cleaners and foods.The thing that gets me is that we don’t really know what is going on most of the time. Before I really understood organic, I remember finding out that apples were on the dirty dozen of pesticide use. My son (about 3 at the time) ate an apple EVERY DAY, not organic. I thought I was doing so well, he loved apples! I felt sick! Then I started to see stickers on milk saying, no RBST hormone. I remember not knowing what the heck that meant and thought “Did I need to worry about this before?” Again, I was really upset and mad! That is when I started looking more at foods.
We don’t eat all organic. I still love my horrible for me coconut creamer in my coffee, but we are getting there. Thank you Betty for helping to inform us.
I think I made my first step when I decided to be a vegetarian, back in 9th grade (2003, I think?). I’m a big animal lover, and always have been, so it only made sense for me to go veggie. All the research I did let me know about more than just the effects on the individual animals in the factory farming process. There were so many factors, environmental, social, and economic, that are affected by the meat industry. The thing is, once you open that door, you can’t ever shut it. I’ve slowly been incorporating more local and organic foods into my diet over the years, plus switching to cosmetics and household cleaners that neither test on animals nor use environmentally-damaging ingredients. I’ve even started making my own cosmetics and cleaning products which, if things go right, may develop into a person-to-person beauty business (a la Avon).
But, yeah. If I had never done that research into becoming a vegetarian and taken that big step, I might not be reading this blog right now!
I repeat this advice to myself all the time, and I’ve been at the whole “crunchy thing” for years. It’s hard to really nail down my first steps since some of the things I still do were learned growing up. I think using herbs and things like honey for healing was among the first steps though.
Thanks for all you do Crunchy Betty! I love your blog.
Gosh, the FIRST step was so long ago…and, guess what? I’m still baby-stepping it!
The ideas of change began in college (early 90s). I was a business major with leanings towards leadership in non-profit organizations. Between researching for papers and volunteering in environmental organizations, my world was blown wide open. I was given many canvas bags in my volunteer work and I used them, yep, way back then. The seeds of change…
As for actual change, my health is what prompted me. I had chemical sensitivities and chronic sinus infections and allergies and illness-induced asthma and who knows what else. All starting in my 20s. I started by playing a drinking game. Oh, not THAT kind of drinking game. I had to drink ‘x’ ounces of water before I could drink a soda at lunch and ‘x’ ounces of water before I could drink a soda at break and ‘x’ ounces before dinner. Hmmm… magically, drinking all that water zapped my ability to drink all the soda I used to drink… and, somehow, my skin cleared up and I felt better.
I don’t recall who and what or how I learned about the connection between my chemical sensitivities and common household cleaners, but that was next. Oh, it was a book, but not sure how I stumbled upon it. Anyway, I ditched the household cleaners cold turkey after moving one time. I cleaned the old place and then my new place and gave the products to the old roommate to use and never asked for them back. I used vinegar and water in a spray bottle for any sprayable, water-friendly surface. I used baking soda and a scrubbie just like it was Comet. Old cut-up t-shirts become the dusting rags and they worked so much better than paper towels and Pledge that I no longer needed anything else. If t-shirt rags could work for dust, would they work for windows and mirrors, etc? Why, yes, they do. Huh? The space required for these two cleaners was significantly less than all the supplies I once used, which fit really well into my tiny two-room beach quarters. I was sold.
Slowly, I started getting healthier, which led to more changes…
Great post! It reminded me that I’m not the only one in this sort of a limbo between the ignorant past and super eco-conscious and natural future, which, at times, seems an impossible goal.
For me, the start was garbage. I had to do a presentation on it in high school and while researching I found out about all the problems concerning trash, recycling, chemicals etc. From there I started reading on the subject, but the actual first step I made was throwing away all chemical household cleaners and switching to baking soda and vinegar. I’ve been using only them for 3 years now and have never once felt the need for something else.
First time commenter. I just discovered crunchy betty about a month ago. My first step was BS/ACV shampoo. It failed (long story), but I will try again. My most successful homemade product has been the oatmeal and almond scrub. My skin is clearing up because of it. Currently, I am letting my cleaning supplies dwindle and will replace them as needed (which should be soon!). I have the vinegar infusing with lemon peel and rosemary as we speak.
It’s hard to say what my first step was, because I think I was already well onto the path before I realised what the path was and what direction I was going in!
I started off better than many, I think. My parents didn’t feed me much rubbish as a small child (I’m told that when I was 4 my favourite food was broccoli) and deliberately tried to instill good eating habits and a curiosity for food in me and my brother. It worked.
I’ve always loved cooking, trying new foods, and especially vegetables (and cheese, and ‘interesting’ breads, and dark chocolate) , so that’s a good start. From when I was about 18 I was talking to friends who were linking me to articles and websites about long hair care (generally rather crunchy stuff) and reusable menstrual products. And here I am today!
Generally I think I eat quite healthily, and am slowly working on making my food habits more local, sustainable, & ethical. One step at a time. Being (*cough cheap cough*) an economical sort of person I took to vinegar + baking soda cleaning as soon as I heard of it. But as for other cleaning and personal care type things I’m largely clueless. And that’s why I’m here! My latest step that has stuck with me is the washing face with honey thing, and I’m loving it. I think I’m about ready for another step, the hard part is deciding which one to take!
I think it’s wonderful that your good habits started with your parents. My children also name broccoli as their favorite food (and fresh apple juice with chia seeds as their favorite drink! lol). I hope that my children continue their healthy eating habits and curiosities as they get older (they are 3 and 5 now) and I hope that they are started on a better path bc of the changes I have made in our lifestyle over the past few years. 🙂