"Baby Steps: Dramatic Improvements For You, Your Family, Your Wallet, and the Planet" by Bree DeMoss

Making lasting changes across every aspect of your life simply can't be accomplished in 1 day! It took us years to build the life we're currently living; it will take at least a few months to change it. So what CAN we do?  We can take baby steps...

Let's focus on the 6 main areas of life where you can start making small changes (baby steps) which, over time, will add up to DRAMATIC improvements for you, your family, your wallet, and the planet:
  1. Food & Drink
  2. Cleaning Supplies
  3. Personal Care Products
  4. Home Environment
  5. Shopping
  6. Transportation
As you have probably seen elsewhere on this site, I like to employ the "Good - Better - Best" technique.  Here's how it works:  first, you need to assess where you're starting from; then pick the option which seems most doable at this moment in time; once you've mastered that option, revisit this page and see if the next option seems more doable now...I bet it does!

You might even want to print this list out and cross items off as you go. How encouraging would that be?!?!


Good:    Make 1 meal per day mostly from scratch
Better:  Make 2 meals per day mostly from scratch; never eat fast food; dine out occasionally
Best:     Make the majority of your meals at home from scratch; dine out rarely

Good:    Buy the organic version of anything on the "Dirty Dozen" list; make sure any and all animal products are organic (to avoid added antibiotics and hormones); avoid GMOs
Better:  100% of food purchased should be organic; eliminate most processed/boxed foods; shop at local farmers markets or join a CSA
Best:     Grow your own organic fruits, vegetables, and greens from heirloom seeds; supplement with purchased or bartered organic foods

Good:    Limit yourself to 1 regular soda per day (no diet sodas)
Better:  Eliminate all sodas & fruit juices, drink up to 1C organic coffee, drink up to 1 glass organic wine
Best:     Drink filtered water, organic herbal teas w/ raw organic honey, mineral water w/ muddle fruits and/or herbs; start drinking green smoothies regularly; drink a glass of water w/ lemon first thing upon waking every day

Good:    replace processed sugar in recipes with natural sweeteners instead
Better:  limit consumption of recipes containing sugar (even natural sweeteners, besides fruit)
Best:     eat only organic fruit for all of your sweet-tooth needs; tickle your taste-buds with herbs & spices instead of sugar (vanilla bean, mint, lavender, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc)

Good:    stop putting plastic in the microwave; if you're reheating a frozen meal, take it out of the plastic tub first and transfer it into a bowl or onto a plate
Better:  stop buying disposable plastic water bottles; instead, start carrying around a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle (having multiples helps: keep 1 in your car, 1 at work, 1 in your gym bag, etc)
Best:     replace all of your plastic in the kitchen; use glass containers for storage; use wooden, bamboo or silicone spatulas; instead of disposable ZiplocÆ bags, purchase some reusable ones


Good:    Buy "green" versions of your favorite commercial cleaning products
Better:  Make your own all-purpose cleaner; supplement with commercial green products
Best:     Make all of your own cleaning products, store in glass bottles (visit my Pinterest Board for recipes)


Good:    Look for commercial products which don't contain the "Toxic Ten"
Better:  Convert 1 beauty routine to a more natural method.  For example: instead of using soap, "wash" your face with raw organic ACV & distilled water on a cotton pad or washcloth; instead of moisturizer, follow with a light layer of organic sesame oil to seal in hydration
Best:     Make all of your own personal care products using organic ingredients (visit my Pinterest Board for recipes)


Good:    turn off lights & electronics when not in use; program thermostat for optimum energy-efficiency
Better:  use energy-efficient light bulbs; plug electronics into an advanced power strip; eliminate all toxic room sprays and scented candles; open windows as often as possible; improve your home's insulation
Best:     use fans or space heaters instead of central air; donate/sell all tvs & components; be out in nature as much as possible; incorporate alternative energy sources (solar, wind, etc)


Good:    Before buying anything new, it must first have both a purpose and a designated place.  For example: before buying a new piece of clothing, you must first find a piece in your closet to donate.
Better:  Shop for sustainably packaged items or ones without packaging all-together; look for locally made items; buy only what you need; make sure everything you buy has staying-power (not disposable or cheaply made)
Best:     Don't buy anything at all - make do with what you have; upcycle or repurpose old items; recycle or donate anything you no longer need; trade with friends; look for ways to barter within your community for goods & services


Good:    carpool to work/school with a friend or colleague; consolidate errands to 1 day per week in a car
Better:  ride the train/bus/lightrail to work/school; use a moped/motorcycle/bike to run errands
Best:     ride a bike/moped to work/school; walk or bike when running errands (may require more frequent shopping trips so loads are lighter)

Bree DeMoss is an organic food activist and blogger for YOWZAlicious.com based in Dallas, Texas (with friendly ties to Rockport). Thanks for sharing your insight with all of us, Bree!


Anonymous said…
Up to step 2 is do-able, to go to step 3, I would be unable to work in order to do these things, Somewhat impractical.
Anonymous said…
I don't think she's saying you HAVE to work in order. I think the point is more about making small changes that create change. Thanks for the suggestions Bree!
YOWZAlicious said…
No - you're absolutely right! It's definitely not realistic to jump straight to the "BEST" option on every section.

Trust me: there are plenty of these where I'm at "BETTER" and a few where I'm only at "GOOD". The Transportation one is my biggest challenge because the city I live in is so spread out. I'm also an apartment-dweller, so unless I move, I can't grow my own food.

But (luckily) this isn't about being perfect. The idea is just to look at your *current* habits and see what you can improve upon --- one baby step at a time. Try making 1 small change from the "GOOD" list and stick to it for a whole month. Then work on a different section....or work on that same one and try going from "GOOD" to "BETTER".

Most importantly: don't stress yourself out about it; there's no time limit. You have your whole life to keep improving...so just baby step your way into better health and greater savings =)

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