When I began my wholesome living journey, I knew I wanted to focus on food. I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen. And my grocery bill is the largest expense my family has, second only to our mortgage.
But how can I make simple, healthy kitchen swaps that will work for my family?
By making small changes with a healthy home in mind, you can make kitchen swaps that will work for your family.
And that’s the key! Keep them simple!
Getting to the root of the issue
Let’s take a look at our kitchen and realize that food is only a small portion of what we need to focus on. Our true focus should be on the materials we’re using. Aluminum foil, paper napkins, harsh chemicals, plastic waste – today’s kitchens are centered around convenience. I’ll be the first one to tell you – a clean lifestyle is anything but convenient!
So here’s my challenge to you. Before you even embark on this journey, take a minute to truly analyze why you’re doing it in the first place. If you aren’t ready to change the way you purchase your groceries, you may want to head on over to another one of my posts. If you aren’t ready to change the way you prepare food, you may want to head to another blog post.
The changes you make today are going to be time-consuming and come with a learning curve. But if you’re ready for the ride, let’s take a look at some ways to make it simple!
Tip #1 – Start Small
In your kitchen, there is so much that we can make better. You can switch to natural cleaning products. You can convert your food storage to glass. You can ditch the grocery store and start shopping at farmer’s markets. You can cut back on food waste and begin composting your food scraps. You can ditch non-stick cookware and replace it with cast iron.
From this myriad of options, choose the one that sounds the easiest to start with. And then make that change. Give yourself the grace to learn how new products perform under whatever pressure your family puts them through. And then move on to the next change.
If your mind works like mine, simply make a list of the areas you would like to change and prioritize them. You can match them to what you have going on in your life right now and go from there.
Tip #2 – Limit how much research you do
This is directly piggybacking off of starting small. Your research should be small, too.
There are plenty of people out there willing to tell you how you should do things and why everything under the sun is harmful. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it’s going to take you more than a day to make all of these changes.
So instead of letting fear be the driving factor for change, let it be the conscious decision that there are better products for your family. When you find a product you want to replace, look for a few things that are important to you. For my family, that looks like this –
- the morality of the company behind the product
- the durability of the product
- the longevity of the product
- easy-to-work-with return policy
- a lot of great reviews
- availability of other tools by the same brand
My kitchen products need to be able to withstand a lot. But I also want to make sure I don’t contract analysis paralysis and never end up making a switch. When I think I’ve found a product that checks a few of my boxes, I take the leap and make the purchase. But it doesn’t have to check every box to be a success for my kitchen.
Tip #3 – Stay within a certain price point
I am all about quality, but I don’t always have the budget to support it. You should take the same into consideration.
A message we see in the clean-living community is that your health is an investment and it needs to be taken seriously. And that’s true. But it doesn’t have to be at the expense of blowing your monthly budget. Draw on what we’ve already talked about and start by choosing an area of your kitchen you’d like to upgrade. Change those products, give yourself time to get used to them, and then move on to another item.
If you struggle with this as I do, factor price points into your research points! See what’s middle of the road for the items you’re researching and plan on replacing and consider that when prioritizing your switch. Maybe higher-priced items wait for things like birthdays.
Tip #4 – Share your favorite products!
I don’t think there’s anything worse than sitting on a gold mine. If you have found a better product that is working for your family, share it with a friend!
So much of today’s kitchen is about convenience. Aluminum foil, paper napkins, plastic straws, and plastic wrap, just to name a few. One by one, we can switch all of these to products that will have longevity in the kitchen.
Instead of paper napkins, consider switching to cloth napkins. Reusable paper towels are also a thing to consider. Instead of Ziploc bags, consider using glass food storage containers. Instead of aluminum foil, use food-grade silicone baking sheets.
Aside from letting these products live a bit longer in your kitchen, they’re also safer options for you and your family to interact with daily!
Cleaning products took the longest for me to replace in my kitchen, simply because I wanted things that would actually work! And I’m not going to lie to you – it took me a while to find essential oils that I liked and that worked in my kitchen.
A few things to swap –
- dishwasher detergent
- all-purpose cleaners
- anything with synthetic fragrances (dish soap, hand soap, etc)
This advice is specific to me and should be modified to fit your family and your lifestyle. Some ingredients in cleaners work better on different surfaces and for different needs. Be sure to consider that prior to trying any new recipes.
Dish and Hand Soap
Let’s take a look at conventional dish soap. Foaming dish soap isn’t special – it’s packaged in a container that pumps air into the product. Did you know you can emulate that at home with a pump container like this?
There also isn’t anything special about the dye used to color dish soap. In fact, it’s just as useless as the synthetic fragrance that accompanies it! If you want to make a big impact in your health-living journey, do away with conventional dish soap. Instead, mix equal parts sal suds, vinegar, and distilled water in a glass container like this one. Add salt for a chemical reaction that thickens the mixture. Use like you would any conventional dish soap.
The chief reason I replaced my all-purpose cleaner was because it contained harmful chemicals. When I started having children, I know I would be using this on high chairs, countertops, and floors. Each of those locations would be high-traffic and exposed to little hands. So out of fear for the health of my children, I started really looking into the ingredients behind my all-purpose cleaner.
On my own, I created a recipe that’s about 2 teaspoons of castile soap, 10 drops of Thieves, and water. I fill up an amber spray bottle like this one and refill it when I need to! (Psst! Are you on the fence about whether or not you want to use essential oils? I wrote a whole blog post about it. Check out “Are Essential Oils for Me?” and find out if essential oils are for you!)
Cleaning Swaps – Materials
There are a few other ways you can make your cleaning routine a bit healthier for you. Change the materials you’re using! These are probably the easiest swaps you can make. You’re not changing any steps in your routine, but rather changing the materials used to complete your routine.
Instead of fabric softener, use white vinegar.
Instead of plastic containers, use glass containers.
Instead of conventional, all-purpose cleaners, make your own using glass spray bottles.
Instead of single-use plastic bags, use reusable cloth bags.
Instead of aluminum foil or plastic wrap, try beeswax wraps.
In the grand scheme of things…
Making the switch to safer alternatives does a few things. First, I hope it shines a light on the fact that we, as modern families, produce a lot of waste. It’s almost as though modern is synonymous with convenience and fast. And that doesn’t have to be the case!
Second, I hope it shows us that we don’t have to sacrifice some of the conveniences we appreciate so much. Rather, we need to change how we take advantage of those conveniences. All-purpose cleaning sprays have their place. We don’t want to live in a sticky, nasty home! But we also don’t want to live in a home laden with toxins. And we don’t have to! By simply switching to a homemade, all-purpose cleaner recipe and a glass bottle, we have made a big switch in a small way.
Finally, I hope we realize making these switches – one at a time – will have a cumulative effect. All it takes is a first, simple switch. Find something in your home you aren’t too happy with and replace it with a better alternative. Once you realize how easy it is, every subsequent swap will be a piece of cake.
What will you swap next?
I could talk until the cows come home about the importance of realizing what’s truly in your home. But what do you think? Comment on this post and let me know! You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.
More great blog posts
If you’re looking for other, clean solutions, check out my beeswax lotion bar recipe! If you’re looking for more information on essential oils, I have a few blog posts that might point you in the right direction. If you’re unsure about starting essential oils, check out “Are Essential Oils for Me?” If you have been using essential oils for some time but want to try something new, check out my brown sugar sugar scrub recipe!