Naturally Inspiring: Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life
Alexx Stuart has been helping people make better choices for a few years now over at Low Tox Life and we wanted to share a few words from Alexx on going low tox at home - without the stress or guilt.
- by Alexx Stuart
The reason I decided on “low” and not “no” tox, was after thinking about what makes for effective and happy change in people. Our environment will never be ‘no tox’ and so from the outset to suggest that we could be completely toxin free seemed an unattainable goal - a failure before be begin, so to speak.
It was those feelings of chasing perfection and feeling like a failure, back firing for me in diet land in my 20s that made me choose the word “Low”, for it allows for grey area and exceptions and elements of ‘go with the flow’ in a world where nothing is black or white. I’ve met and chatted with thousands of people since, I’ve heard their concerns, I’ve helped them meet their challenges, and to that end, I thought I’d outline a few common challenges people face when going ‘low tox’ around your home and what to do about it. It’s a life time journey of integrating a new way of thinking, being, choosing as and when the timing is right, and most importantly feeling that we WANT to make those changes, rather than ‘have to to be a good person’.
So you want to make your home a beautiful and ditch all the nasties and then you find… oh wow. This is a HUGE project!
True story. That’s why my end-of-course booklet for Go Low Tox is over 500 pages long and 140,000 words. It turns out everything from the shampoo to the couch to the candles to the food storage to the kid’s bean bags needs your careful consideration. Then, you get online and realise there isn’t one article helping you do it one way with ease, there are 10 different sites with different points of view. ARGH! Darn internet can cause more confusion than clarity with all the information on there, right? My suggestion is go by topic or area of the home or even by single object, always prioritising. Say “Today, I’m going to swap out the pillows and look for a natural fibre pillow” or “Today, I’m going to research reducing electromagnetic fields while we’re sleeping at night” or “Today, I’m going to replace the soap we’ve just finished, with a non toxic one. It’s that simple. Have a think about the areas you want to work on most and create a set of short, medium and long term priorities.
I’ve been at it for a 15 years now and I’m still not done and I’m very relaxed about that. Your bed for example that you bought a year ago and have now realised it’s less than a low tox sleep haven you were after? Don’t panic and don’t start tossing big items into council pick ups and landfill because that doesn’t work for our planet either. Instead, consider a mattress topper made of pure wool or organic latex and know that what you’re closest to when you sleep is a beautiful natural fibre. A couple of hundred bucks vs a several thousand dollar upgrade on an item that technically has years left to give is a beautiful low tox trade of. You’re enough. The mattress topper is enough - in fact it’s perfect for you for this time in your life. As much as I’m sure we’d all love to, going low tox in one day for one’s entire house just isn’t an option. Make peace with that. Celebrate your wins.
I’m the only one in my family who wants to switch to more natural options
Ah… So many of us know this feeling well. Brené Brown’s research suggests that doing something differently to the people you’re close to, is actually the most difficult thing you will ever do. Oh, great! Don’t despair. Here’s what works. Don’t be the preacher or the ‘bad guy’. Leave such a role to the scientists and the research paper findings. Instead of “You’ll need to change your after shave and deodorant because it’s toxic” go for “Will you watch this documentary with me? I’m a bit concerned about exposing the children to some of the stuff science is starting to suggest is harmful, and I’d love for us to watch together and see what WE think?” That way you’re in it together. Whole team on board. (even if, let’s face it you’ve probably already watched the documentary yourself, made notes, googled 387 research findings and created a shopping list spreadsheet) To the comment “You’re not going to turn into a hippy are you?” I like a reply like this “There's a very big difference between joining a hippy commune and simply choosing natural versions of everyday products that are better for the family and the planet. It's cool and you won’t have to lift a finger. I've got this and I'll be buggered if we're going to be swapping to anything that doesn't actually work, don't worry.” Resisters resist because a) they think everything’s going to change and b)it will be hard work. Eliminate both concerns with confident and go ninja on your home bit by bit.
I feel guilty for “poisoning my family all this time”
Guilt is a completely wasted emotion. You cannot feel guilty for what you didn’t know yesterday. It makes no sense. No. Be excited for everything you’re going to change from today and moving forward as things need replacing. Your family need you to be positive about the very fact that going low tox is a positive act. Leave the past behind. Laugh at what you used to find ‘cool’. Be excited for your home morphing into a place that you’re truly proud of at a deep, conscious level.
Your home is your haven. As a priority list I’d suggest what you breath in through fragrances around the home being number 1. Eliminate air fresheners, scented fabric softeners scented candles and ‘fresh air systems’ and replace with essential oils and diffusers or simply a good old fashioned open window - totally free! Then move onto what you sleep against - pillows, toppers and sheets. Anything easy no-iron is treated with nasties to make it so. Ditch and switch to organic fair-trade cotton as your material of choice wherever possible. Funds issue? Use your birthday and festive pressies exchange times of year to make the most of the swaps you want to make and ask flat out what you would love to receive. Then just move through the home room by room, get the support you need from people like me and many more wonderful people on the internet and make it a journey of simplicity - Often you’ll find yourself not even wanting to replace certain things at all, being content with less because what you DO have all of a sudden is more precious and meaningful and good and true.
It won’t happen today or this week or even this year so relax, set some priorities and I can guarantee you that the process of detoxing your home will be one of the most joyful, empowering and awakening experiences of your life that will change you forever in the best way possible.