Navigating My Wellness Journey: 3 Paths to a Better Life

My wellness journey began after a series of health challenges rocked my world.

First the diagnosis of multiple autoimmune diseases. Soon after that, I found myself facing a precancerous condition.

These experiences revealed how much environmental toxins were impacting my health.

It was a wake-up call, pushing me to focus on my health and reevaluate my lifestyle choices.

Along the way, I’ve experimented with various approaches, both big and small. 

In this post, I’ll share three of the more significant changes I made.  I’ll be open about the ups and downs I experienced.

Then I’ll offer ten simple, yet valuable tips to kickstart your wellness journey.

These practical strategies were hard-earned along my path. They’ve guided me toward better health and well-being, and I hope they will do the same for you.

Please note that I am not a medical professional, nor am I suggesting a specific wellness path. I’m sharing my story in the hopes that it inspires and benefits you.

The first shift involved non-toxic swaps for household products and cleaners. Although you’ll see how I started going about it was all wrong.

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A Shaky Start to My Wellness Journey

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Transitioning to non-toxic alternatives in cleaning was the first step in my wellness journey. It started in 2009 with the diagnosis of my first autoimmune disease. 

Initially, I fell victim to greenwashing tactics. I thought I was making healthy choices with products labeled as “organic,” “wholesome,” and “clean.” 

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the extent of the deception. The precancerous illness caused by environmental toxins was my wake-up call.

This eye-opening experience caused me to reevaluate my approach to product selection.

Despite this shaky start, I eventually found my footing.

I came to understand that terms like “organic” and “clean” aren’t regulated. And they don’t mean the products are safe.

I couldn’t trust the claims on the fronts of labels, with their greenwashing terms. I needed to find truly safer products. 

Non-Toxic Swaps: My Favorite Non-Toxic Cleaner

Given the risks associated with traditional “greenwashed” cleaning products, I sought safer alternatives.

I wanted an effective cleaner that wouldn’t compromise my health or the environment.

After trying various safer cleaners, I finally found one I love and trust: Force of Nature.

It’s a multi-purpose cleaner that disinfects and sanitizes. It uses electrolyzed water technology to eliminate 99.9% of germs and bacteria. All with no harmful chemicals!

Safe for families, pets, and the environment, it gets my “seal of approval!”

Use my link to save $40 off any Bundle, plus free shipping with the code BUNDLESAVINGS.

Non-Toxic Kitchen and Bathroom Swaps

Beyond cleaners, I learned that many of my “everyday” items weren’t very safe.

I had no clue I had been polluting my own home. Every. Single. Day.

So, I began in the kitchen and bathroom.  I’ll share a few swaps I’ve made and include links to my favorite non-toxic alternatives.

Simple Non-Toxic Kitchen Swaps Examples

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Starting in the kitchen was essential.

Ditch Plastic Storage Containers: Switch to glass containers for safe and eco-friendly food storage. Some of my favorites are this Pyrex rectangular and round set, the Pyrex round set, and this Pyrex 14-piece glass set. I also use mason jars as storage containers.

Skip Conventional Food Wraps: Instead of aluminum foil or plastic wrap, try parchment paper for safer food storage. Unbleached parchment paper is a great choice. You can also wrap foods in parchment before using foil or plastic bags for a better seal.

Avoid Teflon: To eliminate the risk of harmful chemicals leaching into our food, I sought safer cooking and baking alternatives.

Replace Plastic Beverage Containers: Replace plastic containers with glass bottles or metal containers for safer drink storage. Here’s my favorite! It’s big enough to hold most of my daily water.

Choose a Metal Blender Stick: Upgrade to a metal blender stick for blending hot foods like soups without the risk of harmful chemical leaching. The Cuisinart Smart Stick is what I use, and I love it. The Braun stainless steel Immersion Blender has great ratings, too. Plus, it comes with lots of accessories for a reasonable price.

Opt for a Plastic-Free Coffee Pot: Switch to a coffee pot without plastic parts, such as stainless steel or glass options, for a safer brewing experience. We love this stainless steel electric percolator and this French press.

Non-Toxic Bathroom Swaps Examples

Here are some swaps I’ve made to reduce chemical exposure in the bathroom.

Ditch Toxic Shower Curtains: Replace plastic, PVC, or vinyl shower curtains with a safer alternative. This is the shower curtain I use in my bathroom, and it’s machine washable!

Skip the Drain Cleaner: Opt for the TubShroom to prevent clogged drains without harsh chemicals. I lose a lot of hair in the shower because of Graves’ Disease.  This TubShroom works to keep my drains clear!!! 

While these swaps were a good start, true wellness requires a comprehensive approach.

Autoimmune Protocol (AIP):

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With the diagnosis of additional autoimmune diseases, I was frustrated and confused.  

Here I learned that the journey to health and wellness isn’t linear.  There will be bumps and setbacks along the way, and that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is wrong.

Realizing the need for inner healing, I embraced AIP as the next step to add to my wellness journey.

What is the Autoimmune Protocol?

AIP entails a 30-day diet that eliminates grains, gluten, dairy, nightshades, alcohol, and more.

The emphasis is on nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods like fresh vegetables and meats.

After the elimination phase, a reintroduction phase may begin. The timing depends on individual responses and symptoms.

AIP isn’t only about food, it includes quality sleep, movement, stress management, connection, and nutrition.

My AIP Experience

Over 2 ½ years of commitment to the AIP protocol, I encountered positives, challenges, and a pitfall.  


Although challenging, the positive impact on my overall well-being was profound. 

  • Significant decrease in autoimmune symptoms, inflammation, and joint pain.
  • Improved digestion.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Better sleep and adoption of stress management techniques.
  • Significant weight loss, although more than I would have liked.
  • I learned valuable meal planning and food prep skills.

Challenges and a Pitfall

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While AIP brought numerous benefits, it also had its share of challenges. 

  • Extensive planning and preparation were required.
  • I had difficulty socializing due to the very restrictive diet.
  • Reintroducing food was a struggle.
  • I developed orthorexic tendencies due to hyper-vigilance about food quality and adhering 100% to such a strict diet. Major pitfall!

Through this experience, I learned that flexibility is crucial. Looking back, I wish I embraced that sooner. 

Despite the challenges, I’d consider following AIP again, if required. But I’d focus on the importance of balance and flexibility.

Recommended AIP Resources  

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, is the AIP go-to. 

These resources were invaluable:

  1. The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne – A foundational guide to the science behind AIP and its benefits.
  2. The Paleo Healing Cookbook: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rachael Bryant – Recipes tailored to support healing through the AIP.
  3. The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber MS OTR and Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. – Over 175 healing recipes for AIP.
  4. AIP-Friendly Spice Blends – Convenient blends to enhance your AIP meals without guesswork!

For more details on these resources and others, visit my Resources Page.

Non-Toxic Swaps for Clean Beauty

Next, I focused on non-toxic swaps in beauty and skincare. And I discovered surprising industry loopholes.

  • The personal care industry is barely regulated in the US.
  • These laws largely remained the same since 1938.
  • Many personal care products contain endocrine disruptors, skin irritants, carcinogens, and more.
  • Our “toxic load” is linked with autoimmune diseases. Read more here: Is Your House Making You Sick?

Our skin is our largest organ. It’s a protective barrier, but it’s also like a sponge. So what you put ON your body ends up IN your body.

That’s when I realized the importance of focusing on what I put ON my body, and when the Clean Beauty part of my wellness journey began!

Challenges to Clean Beauty

The transition to true “clean beauty” was a challenge for two reasons.

  1. With no regulatory standards, companies can define ‘Clean Beauty’ however they choose.
  2. Some of the ”Clean Beauty’ products I tried didn’t work well.

The Solution: Aligning with a Mission-Driven Company

While looking for safer products, I found Beautycounter.  Their commitment and mission aligned with my values.

After five years of using and loving their products, I became a Brand Advocate.

I’m proud to promote cleaner products and advocate for better laws!

And I love empowering you to confidently embrace a non-toxic lifestyle!

My FAVORITE Clean Beauty Products:

  1. Countertime Anti-Aging Skincare Collection – This luxurious skincare regimen combats the signs of aging and promotes youthful-looking skin. Read my post about The Best Skincare Routine.
  2. Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask – Detoxifies skin and minimizes pores with activated charcoal.
  3. Statement Maker Satin Lipstick – Long-lasting, bold color, nourishes lips without harmful ingredients commonly found in conventional lipsticks.
  4. All Bright C Serum – A potent vitamin C serum to brighten and even skin tone while providing antioxidant protection.
  5. Flawless in Five – Customizable 6-piece makeup set for a polished look in just five minutes. Fast and Fabulous!

Wellness is a Journey, Not a Destination

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Reflecting on my wellness journey, I realize it’s not about perfection.  

Small daily changes lead to significant progress.  That’s the goal: progress, not perfection.

Embracing these changes and maintaining a growth mindset about my wellness journey has been transformational.

Still, I understand that my wellness journey will continue and evolve. And that’s good!

Wondering How to Start a Wellness Journey?

Ready to kickstart your wellness journey? Take that first step.

An easy way to start is to journal your wellness goals. Then explore whatever resonates with you. 

What’s your first step? Clean Beauty, cleaner eating, healthy habits, or a toxin-free environment? Or something else?

Whatever it is, your well-being is a lifelong journey, and every small effort counts.

Ten Tips for Starting Your Wellness Journey

  1. Just start: The biggest tip for starting a wellness journey is to begin. Take that first step towards healthier habits. Don’t overthink it or wait for the perfect moment.
  2. Embrace progress, not perfection: Wellness is a journey. It’s normal to face setbacks or obstacles along the way. Don’t strive for perfection, focus on consistent progress toward your goals.
  3. Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Self-care doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top or hard. Anything that nurtures your physical, mental, and emotional well-being counts!
  4. Incorporate movement: Find ways to stay physically active. Choose activities that you enjoy. You’ll be much more likely to stick with them.
  5. Listen to your body: Tune in to your body’s signals. Adjust your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices accordingly to support optimal health.
  6. Balance the pillars of wellness: Wellness encompasses eight dimensions. It’s essential to maintain balance by nurturing each aspect of your well-being. For detailed suggestions, check out my post on the Eight Pillars of Wellness.  You can also grab my free Wellness Wheel and Journaling Pages over there.
  7. Embrace a growth mindset: Maintaining a growth mindset during this process is key. Read my posts about growth and fixed mindset and why mindset is important for more info!
  8. Practice mindfulness: Meditation, deep breathing, and journaling can reduce stress and increase self-awareness.
  9. Be flexible: While it’s important to set goals and routines, be open to adjusting your plans if needed. Life is unpredictable. Circumstances may change. It’s essential to adapt your approach when needed.
  10. Celebrate your progress: Acknowledge and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. Every step forward is a success in itself!

Additional Resources:

Here are additional resources to assist you on your wellness journey.

  1. Learn about 15 toxic ingredients to avoid in skincare products.
  2. Take my skincare quiz for personalized suggestions based on your needs.
  3. Book a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your skincare needs and non-toxic swaps.

Share Your Plan!

After reading my story and the ten tips for starting, what’s your next step?

How will you incorporate this into your wellness journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts or plans!

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Hi, I'm Tina!

A precancer diagnosis, the resulting surgery, and autoimmune diseases sparked my journey to a toxin-free life.

Through countless hours of research and trial and error, I learned about toxins, clean beauty, and the power of small consistent choices.

Now, I’m here to guide you on your path to wellness and clean beauty.

LET’S REWRITE YOUR STORY TOGETHER! LET’S CHAT and see how we can work together to move you forward.

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