A More Natural Way

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; 
to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest 
or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life. 
~ John Burroughs, Naturalist 

I believe many of us are looking to live our lives in a simpler, healthier, more natural way, given how toxic our world has become.  But what does it mean to be natural?  Like so many things intended for good, the word ‘natural’ has been bastardized by the food industry and cosmetic companies.  It is so confusing to read labels and know whether something is good for us.  Many  products are labeled natural but are chock-full of chemicals that can harm our health and that of our environment.  Look here for a listing of harmful chemicals found in many of our cosmetics.  For me, I try to live a more ‘natural’ life by following this definition of natural:  made from organic material, not synthetic; following or resembling nature.  This is easier said than done.

When we started this RV life, I worried that I would not be able to sustain this lifestyle (living naturally), which has been a passion of mine for some time.  I thought it might be difficult to find healthy products, not knowing the lay of the land where we would be parking our home on wheels. It has proven to be easier than I had thought.  Farmers’ markets abound and being retired has allowed me even more time to research and prepare healthier versions of recipes and make many of my own products.

Cleaning products are pretty straightforward to make so I decided to tackle a bigger project; see if I could make healthier and less expensive versions of some of the lotions and potions I buy.  Having been one of those people who thought the more expensive the cosmetic the better (sooo not true), I poured a lot of money into products that did not benefit me one bit and most likely harmed me, given the ingredients in them.  This is proving to be an interesting project, one that is ongoing.

I love products that can find a home on my pantry shelf or in a bathroom cabinet. Coconut oil is one of those products that you would find in my kitchen and bath and it has so many healthy uses.  I buy USDA organic coconut oil at health-food stores, which runs me around $8.00 for 14 ounces.  Not bad considering its many uses and what I have been able to cast aside since discovering this amazing oil.

Coconut oil has some great internal and external properties, such as:

  • antiviral
  • antibacterial
  • antimicrobial
  • anti-aging
  • anti-dandruff
  • easily absorbed into the skin
  • high moisture-retaining ability

It appears that many companies are now getting on the coconut oil bandwagon, purporting other benefits which I won’t even address here as some seem a little far-fetched.

Here’s just a few of this yummy-smelling oil’s many uses:

  • day and night moisturizer
  • hair conditioner
  • body lotion
  • add a spoonful to smoothies
  • cook with it
Coconut oil is a solid at room temps but will quickly melt when rubbed between your hands.  If using as a body lotion, I will work what is left on my hands into my hair, which gives my hair some needed moisture and makes it smell great!
I make my vitamin C serum and after applying this morning and night (along with sunscreen in the morning), I add a light layer of coconut oil, which absorbs well into my skin.
For a more luscious lotion, you might want to try this recipe for body butter, which I found here.  NOTE:  I halved the recipe and used avocado oil instead of almond oil, along with 36 drops of lemongrass essential oil – absolutely heavenly!
a more natural body butter
Just replacing my moisturizer and lotions with coconut oil, I have reduced my carbon footprint by keeping a lot of plastic jars and packaging out of the landfill; reduced my toxic load by getting rid of products loaded with chemicals; taken advantage of all the benefits derived from coconut oil, saved lots of money, and I smell pretty darn good too, if I do say so myself!
I will leave you with this scrumptious vegetarian recipe using coconut oil:

Heavenly Quinoa Hash

  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 c. water
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ t. ginger, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 red potatoes, cooked and diced
  • ¼ c. minced parsley
  • 3 T. coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Rinse quinoa; place in pan with water and salt and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until done (~15-20 min).
  3. Sauté onion in coconut oil until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and red pepper and sauté until tender.
  5. Add potatoes, ginger and parsley and sauté for a few minutes.
  6. Fold in cooked quinoa & heat through.
  7. Add sea salt to taste and enjoy!
I give coconut oil a big thumbs-up, given its many healthy benefits and uses.  So tell me, what do you do to live in a more natural way?
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