A year to a clean, green life! Each month we’ll look at timely topics in the following categories: Household Chemical Avoidance, Diet, Body Care, and Lifestyle. Included in italics are ways to take it to the next level, if you’ve already made a clean green start.
Use this series summary page to track your progress in all the habit challenges through the year.
Healthy Habit Challenge, January
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Declutter your house, and clean out the chemical closet.
Next level: Home organization; be cleaned up and ready for life.
- Diet: Detox diets and detox lifestyles; both have a place. Start the year clean!
Next level: after a cleanse: what should “normal” eating look like?
- Body Care: Facial skin care: non-toxic cleansers and lotions that nourish the skin.
Next level: Breakouts? Try these ideas to identify and eliminate underlying causes.
- Lifestyle: Get moving! Find an exercise program which works for you, and become consistent with it.
Next level:Try skin brushing to exercise your skin.
Healthy Habit Challenge, February
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Household fragrances; opt for essential oil fragrances in sprays and candles to avoid carcenagenic chemical fragrances.
Next level: how lovely is your perfume? Romantic personal scents without the toxins.
- Diet: Good fats, bad fats, getting it right.
Next level: buy the best butter, render your own tallow.
- Body Care: Choose non-toxic cosmetics. Watch out: Mineral makeups are not all made the same!
Next level: now that you know what to avoid, use this guide to great products for a great everyday look, and how to kick it up a notch for date night.
- Lifestyle: It’s still winter; get your proper amount of sleep.
Next level: getting baby to sleep through the night.
Healthy Habit Challenge, March ~ Baby Issue
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Change out your laundry detergent, and stain removers for a less toxic alternative.
Next level: rethink your laundry process; soaps, temperatures, method. Are your clothes really getting clean? What about baby and kid stains?
- Diet: Breast milk is the ideal food for babies up to a year. That is, as long as mom’s diet is also idea. Take a hard look at your own diet to make sure you are nourishing your babe. What to look for in a maternal supplement regimen. When should you introduce solid foods, and what is most nourishing?
Next level: consider the advantages of raw milk (from pastured cows or goats) for everyone in your family-not just your baby.
- Body Care: Babies encounter a surprising number of products, each one potentially toxic. Rate the toxin level or your baby’s shampoo, lotion, wipes, diapers, bum cream, powder, and sunscreen.
Next level: thinking about organic cotton diapers and wipes? Get some tips here.
- Lifestyle: SIDS is more accurately called Crib Death in some parts of the world where it has been completely eliminated through replacing mattresses and bedding with ones which do not create lethal gases. Make sure your baby’s bed is safe and adheres to these guidelines.
Next level: don’t decorate the nursery without first carefully considering the toxic load each item brings into your baby’s environment.
Healthy Habit Challenge, April ~ Spring Cleaning Guide
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Get your home (non-toxic) sparkling clean in an all over spring-cleaning. Learn to make some cleansers yourself.
Next level: How to really clean a window.
- Diet: Connect with a local farm for grass-fed meats and eggs. And organ meats; what do you do with those?
Next level: Surprise! Chickens are not naturally vegetarians. So, what’s a good egg?
- Body Care: Choose non-toxic shampoo and bubble bath.
Next level: After all that cleaning work, soak in a salt-bath.
- Lifestyle: Begin your weekly marketing at a store with a wide selection of natural and organic products. Read The Shopping Habit.
Next level: Begin to locally source as many food items as possible. April is the time to get in on a CSA if you plan to group share farm produce this year. What else is available to you locally? Meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, veggies, flowers? Check localharvest.org for leads.
Healthy Habit Challenge, May
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Switch out your dish detergent for a non-toxic alternatives. Read Dish Detergent: Eat It and Breathe It.
Next level: do a cleaning on silverware and glasses to make them shine.
- Diet: Diet can dramatically affect dental health. . . and we’re not just talking about sugar intake. Read Dental Health and Nutrition.
Next level: review your intake of the fats needed to absorb and utilize calcium and phosphorus, the teeth and bone-building minerals. Do you take cod liver oil daily? Do you eat golden butter with all your vegetables and grains?
- Body Care: Switch to a non-toxic toothpaste. Read Toothpaste: the Quest for Fresh, Clean, and Non-toxic.
Next level: for extra non-toxic protection, add xylitol into your day. Check to see that your toothpaste includes this ingredient, and also choose a xylitol chewing gum; our favorite is recommended in Xylitol: Alternative to Fluoride.
- Lifestyle: It’s planting time in many parts of the country. Get outdoors more by growing some food in your own plot.
Next level: use your garbage again; start a compost pile.
Healthy Habit Challenge, June
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Ready for summer bugs? Set some non-toxic traps for your party. Get ready for summer with an essential oil based, non-toxic bug repellent.
Next level: We absorb water through our skin, too. A look at the water we swim and bathe in.
- Diet: You’ll need more hydration in the coming months. Is your water really clean enough to drink? Mix up some fun summer drinks with organic ingredients and fermentation.
Next level: The other side of hydration; choosing a good salt for all your kitchen needs.
- Body Care: Get ready for summer with nail polish, remover, and sunscreen which are non-toxic.
Next level: body brush to tone up your skin for summer.
- Lifestyle: Reduce the amount of dirt and toxins that come into your home by instituting shoe removal at the door. Read Clean Floors: Bliss to My Feet.
Next level: Make your entry an easy place to remove and store outside shoes. Consider house slippers or socks set ready at hand in the entry.
Healthy Habit Challenge, July
- Household Chemical Avoidance: How does your garden grow? Finding non-toxic weed and pest solutions.
Next level: tips on freezing and jamming summer fruit.
- Diet: Fresh veggies! Some great salads and dressings.
Next level: Try summer vegetables on the grill.
- Body Care: Hairspray, gel, mouse; give your stylers the non-toxic challenge.
Next level: highlights and hair color; what’s least toxic?
- Lifestyle: The power of the sun: using sunshine for bleaching laundry.
Next level: tips on hanging out the laundry.
Healthy Habit Challenge, August
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Check your cookware. Are you poisoning your food? Here’s a guide for grading what you have, and finding better options.
Next level: Make a Christmas wish list of the kitchenware you’d like to replace.
- Diet: Fermenting vegetables; a great way to get probiotics into the gut.
Next level: herbs in cooking, fresh, dried.
- Body Care: Feminine protection; why organic cotton is important.
Next level: consider if a cup is a good menstrual option for you.
- Lifestyle: Home improvements: a healthy home structure.
Next level:clean out the garage and sheds of toxic liabilities.
Healthy Habit Challenge, September ~ Kids Issue
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Toxic exposures with craft and school supplies, hand sanitizers; teaching our kids to avoid what’s harmful.
Next level: make home made salt dough.
- Diet: Kid friendly lunches and snacks which nourish and build strong bodies.
Next level: What are the most essential child supplements? How do we stay healthy as we enter the cold season, and treat non-invasively if we do get sick?
- Body Care: A look at toxic products marketed to children. Chapstick, bubble bath, shampoo.
Next level: Bumps and bruises; the natural first aid kit.
- Lifestyle: Plastic toys, electronics aimed at kids; some ideas on household rules. Encourage outdoors play by creating a fun outdoors space.
Next level: Here’s a hot topic: vaccinations. Some ideas to consider in making a thoughtful, informed decision.
Healthy Habit Challenge, October
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Remove the most dangerous plasticware from your kitchen; water bottles should be either glass or stainless inside. Learn which plastics are less of a concern, and how to treat them properly in my article Plastics: the Numbers Game.
Next level: begin to collect better containers for food storage, such as glass. Canning jars are easily obtained, and fit well on pantry shelves and in the fridge.
- Diet: Boost your immune system, heal your gut, and build your blood and bones with homemade bone broth. Read about my easy crock pot method for poultry and beef stocks in Bone Broth: Body Builder and related articles. Then treat your family with steaming bowls of French Onion Soup.
Next level: become a great soup maker. Stock your freezer with several batches of broth for all your creations.
- Body Care: Replace your deodorant with a non-toxic version. Read all my product reviews, and why this is one of the most important products for you to replace in Deodorant: Love-Hate Relationship.
Next level: replace shower soap with a natural bar, check to see if your razor has a “lotion strip” with questionable ingredients, and suggest a better deodorant for your spouse. You can check ingredient lists against chemicals to avoid listed in my Consumer Wallet Guides (print, clip, and keep in your wallet for easy reference).
- Lifestyle: Rethink “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” in the article Thinking Like Grandma. Then make kitchen recycling a habit by Creating a Recycle Center like I did this month.
Next level: in addition to recycling rather than throwing away, think of ways to Reduce and Reuse in your home. Leave a comment on the Thinking Like Grandma article with your ideas!
Healthy Habit Challenge, November
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Switch out a bathroom cleanser for a non-toxic alternative. Read my post Bathroom Product Change-Out.
Next level: update your whole bathroom cleaning regimen. Read my post How to get a Really Clean Bathroom and my series on Washing the Bathroom.
- Diet: Get off to a good start each morning by making breakfast nutritionally sound. Read my post Breakfast: Off to a Great Start.
Next level: Culture your own dairy.
- Body Care: Choose hand and body lotion wisely. Read my post Body Lotion: Quench without Consequenses.
Next level: go through your entire lotion cabinet and pull the ones with risky ingredients. Include all sunscreens and face lotions in your detective work.
- Lifestyle: Improve your personal environment by letting some fresh air into your home. Read my post Indoor Air Quality: Home Smog.
Next level: in addition to the open-window habit, tackle the other suggestions in the article: clean up your chemicals, install a CO2 detector, clean up problematic mold spots, leave your shoes at the door and wet-mop the floors weekly, and grow house plants.
Healthy Habit Challenge, December
- Household Chemical Avoidance: Avoid winter household mildew growth, and the chemicals used to clean it up.
Next level: Cleaning the oven after baking.
- Diet: Soaking grains, nuts, and lugumes for better digestion.
Next level: a look at digestion and digestive aids.
- Body Care: Making a salt scrub for yourself or a gift.
Next level: eczema and natural soothing aids.
- Lifestyle: Is it important to have allergy testing? Who should consider a gluten free diet?
Next level: some tips for finding a good doctor.