I have MS (and my brother has Crohn's - both autoimmune diseases believed to be caused by genetic and *environmental* factors). In order to keep myself as healthy as possible, and in order to keep my MS in remission, I've been slowly (over the last several years) turning to more natural, healthier ways of living.
Some of the things I've done:
- No shampoo - instead I use baking soda and vinegar
- No cosmetics
- Natural deodorant - I use a crystal mist
- No cleansers - I wash my face with honey and use witch hazel as a toner
- For anything I put on my skin, I scrutinize the ingredients very carefully
- Found lead-free dishware (more difficult than you'd think)
- Got rid of the crockpot due to lead
- Got rid of all our kitchen plastics
- Bought enameled ironware pots and pans (even our "stainless steel" cookware was actually clad in aluminum!)
- Stopped using commercial cleaners - I use vinegar and baking soda, instead, and it works surprisingly well
- Brush my teeth with baking soda and salt
- Try to get enough exercise and sun each day
- Switched to cloth pads (scary chemicals in the disposable ones that actually physically changed my cycle)
- Wear and sleep on natural fibers
- Don't purchase things in cans
- Tossed the aluminum foil and made sure to stay away from aluminum in things like baking powder
- I switched from vegetarianism to veganism a few years ago. Recently, however, I've become a raw food vegan (one great aspect of this way of eating is that I don't really have to worry about additives/preservatives/etc.)
- Buy organics as much as possible
- Grow my own veggies
- Work hard to keep stress at bay
- Listen to my body more now
I still need to switch from tap water to non-fluoridated water (requires a reverse osmosis filter - kinda pricey).
Some of these things save me money (skin and hair care, for instance), while others have cost money (cookware and dishware, in particular).
I recommend Randall Fitzgerald's book The Hundred-Year Lie
. It's a frightening read.
Years ago, I was terribly symptomatic: optic neuritis, vertigo, pervasive numbness, phantom pain, Lhermitte's sign, brain fog, etc. I was wearing an eye patch and walking with a cane for a while (Arrgh!). But, since making these changes, I have only a tiny bit of lingering numbness in the fingers of my right hand and very mild Lhermitte's sign (mostly after exercise). I can't say for certain that any one thing has done the trick, but I am sure that I'm treating myself much better than ever before.
Good luck, and don't try to change everything at once. It takes time and effort. And lots of trial and error.