Is The Pursuit of a Toxin-Free Lifestyle Causing Stress?
This is a topic that has been rolling around in my mind for a while now, and having seen a few other people post about on social media, I wanted to sit down and write out my own thoughts on this too. I understand that this might be a niche topic and not necessarily apply to everybody, but hopefully it speaks to the person out there who is struggling with this. Also, it might sound kind of like a rant, which it is:)
When looking into making healthy changes in our lives, one of the places people look at is the products and items they use in their homes, like beauty products, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent. There are now many many companies that make cleaner versions of these items than the brands typically found in stores. Maybe you like I started buying different laundry detergent, hand soap, shampoo&conditioner, deodorant, etc. We swapped the Teflon nonstick pans for stainless steel and cast iron. We got a water filter. We swapped the ziploc bags for reusable bags. And on and on we went, slowly making switches in our purchases and our lifestyle.
However, I slowly started to feel a pressure. Oh we had a water filter but actually we needed this other, bigger, shinier one that filtered out more chemicals. Oh we needed to get a different air purifier/humidifier because the one we had wasn't as good of a brand. Oh we needed to upgrade from cast iron to ceramic dishes instead. Oh it isn't good enough to shut off the Wi-Fi at night, now we need to get an EMF buffer in our home. Oh we can't eat those foods when at a friend's house, so do we bring our own? I even noticed myself hesitating to post on social media for fear of someone calling me out on some product or item I had in my home because it was clean or green or crunchy enough. Spoiler alert: we haven't actually bought any of those upgrades we have supposedly needed.
I just started to feel annoyed, that there was even an implied pressure to live a certain, holistic way. Isn't the pursuit of health something that is a lifelong journey? There is no Holy Grail for living the purest, cleanest life. What matters is that we make sustainable changes for our family that are in our best interest. I have also really been leaning into the 80/20 principle. It is okay if you make decisions on both ends of the spectrum. Yes I ate beef liver and sauerkraut today, but I am also eating some jellybeans as I type this. It all balances out!
Here's the other thing: in the pursuit of a chemical-free life I think we can bring in more mental stress into our lives that outweighs the chemical stress. If you are always worried about what chemicals are in your products, what has been sprayed on your food, the air quality and chem trails, off-gassing from furniture and rugs, the quality of your clothes (cotton vs synthetic/plastic), it can become exhausting constantly being on edge, worried about the next chemical exposure.
So all that being said, I don't have anything against making swaps and changes. What I am against is making health decisions and purchases out of fear. Fearing the environment around you is also a stressor for the body and in the pursuit of reducing your chemical load, I urge you do it from a place of peace and what feels right. My family and I will continue to work on our swaps and changes, but also be realistic about what is under our control. And remember the 80/20 principle. How you are supporting your life during the 80, will help the 20 roll off your shoulders.
If this is something that has been on your mind, I would love to hear your thoughts too!