Alexx is the woman who has built an on-line following of 44,000 in just three years based on living a Low Tox Life. How? Well as it happens, Alexx Stuart explains to Chris Bath how we can all lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle with ‘no guilt’, ‘no pressure’ and above all by ‘just doing the best we can every day’. But why did she bring a 50-year old pan to the interview?
A Low Tox Life is not just about the food you eat (although that’s important of course), it’s also about how you cook the food which nourishes your family, it’s about what you put on your skin and about the very contents of your home. But she says it’s psychological too, with an “element of living a light and better life, opposed to being heavy or angry with the world for being imperfect”.
From small actions like checking the labels before buying products; to making more informed big-ticket purchases can impact your life and the environment for the better. However – and we think this is the clincher – the most important thing according to this realist is to keep it all stress-free. Don’t lose sleep at night over what you haven’t accomplished yet, be happy for what you have!
Sounds good to us.
To hear this fascinating interview, just hit play. But if you prefer a read, you’ll find the transcript below.
To find out more about Alexx and the positive community who share her ideas, go to LowToxLife.com – there’s more there about her workshops and E-courses too.
CHRIS: Alexx, Low Tox Living. What is it?
ALEXX: Ok, so when I first started writing, it was about my discoveries of the things that we could do to live a better life, for ourselves, for our own health, but also for the planet, and I quickly came to realise that the things you put in you, it wasn’t enough to live a ‘Low Tox’ life, if you like, because what we were putting on our skin is just as important, but also, really important, is what’s going on in here [points to head] as we make these changes and discover some seriously freaky stuff about what’s permissible on shelves and supermarkets and pharmacies, if you like, and that can be stressful. So the stress piece is really important to me to diffuse straight away. To be truly Low Tox, we have to feel relaxed and empowered about the changes that we make for the better because they are better and they’re awesome, and whatever you can do from today is enough today, you know? So, Low Tox Life has this element of living a light and better life, opposed to that heavy, angry with the world for being imperfect, kind of, does that make sense?
CHRIS: So you shouldn’t blame yourself for having plastic in your cupboard?
ALEXX: Don’t blame yourself, don’t blame other people! We’re all just doing the best we can.
CHRIS: Because, when I started reading about you and the principles that you live by, I opened my cupboards, I looked at them and went ‘Oh my God!’ instant stress, so how do people get around that? Because I don’t feel worthy! I’m very toxic!
ALEXX: It’s hard to explain. It’s why I decided to create educational programmes, and this is so not to sell anyone on anything, but the idea that two or three hundred people at a time get together, bizarrely, on the internet, and make these changes day by day that message that I absolutely insist on from Day One, which is ‘No guilt’. Not allowed. Because we are only doing the best we can, with the knowledge we have, with the budget we have, with everything we have right here today and that just gives people permission to be at whatever level they’re at. And really your level is going to be different from my level, and really, I’m still making changes today. There will be a bigger ticket project now that I’m working on, now that I’ve done all the little things, that’s the next time we replace our mattress, you know? I’m not going to feel guilty every night. Or despair, if you like. And so, you just have to let go, and think, what’s the little thing we’re working on today? Great. Get the family on board, this is why, and just do what you can.
CHRIS: So what would you start with?
ALEXX: My favourite thing to start with is the body lotion, because obviously our skin is our biggest organ, and so we’re lathering on some pretty serious surface area there, so that’s just an easy swap out, and there are so many beautiful, natural, gorgeous brands these days that are showing that you can be profitable and still be good for people’s health and the planet, which I just love. Because to me, to make everyone start to care about this stuff, everybody has to do their little bit and we have to still feel like we can be beautiful women, and sexy and buy gorgeous things, and luckily now there is just so much fantastic stuff out there to inspire everybody to make change, and not just the environmentalists – which I think is incredible that they do, of course, don’t get me wrong – but really about getting a wider community to care, and the body lotion is one of my first favourite things to suggest.
CHRIS: Because I think for a lot of people, when they think about Low Tox Living, they think about food, but one of your big things is that you need to think about what you’re cooking food in too, because I know you brought a saucepan in with you today, to show… what?
ALEXX: It’s a funny little old thing, this was my grandmother’s 1972 limited edition Le Creuset. I brought this for two reasons, one it’s cast iron and ceramic – brilliant for cooking. And apart from the chips on the rim here, this little puppy has lasted probably about 50 years. So it’s two-fold, it’s safe cookware for your day-to-day, but it’s sustainable cookware because you’re passing stuff on through the generations, you’re buying the best. We’ve got to start being proud of the things we buy again, because buying a $400 stockpot, sure it’s an investment, but why aren’t we budgeting for that and just pop $20 aside each week until you’ve got the cash for it. And then it’s something that you’re not filling up landfill with these cheap crappy things that are on sale and the cheapest thing already and made from unsustainable materials and aren’t going to last and are off-gassing really weird things as we cook our food. If you look at Teflon, oh my gosh, when I found this out, I was just dumbfounded that this is allowed to happen. Teflon is known to veterinary circles as being something that causes avian flu. Birds who inhale the gases from Teflon pans can die instantly from one single breath in. Crazy.
CHRIS : Wow, I’m going to go home and check out the budgie when I cook.
ALEXX: But, point is, if that’s doing that to birds, teenie-tiny creatures, it’s doing that to us slowly, and you can actually read through the research that says flu symptoms can be had by people who cook at high temperatures with non-stick cookware, that is Teflon-coated. It’s just crazy how this stuff is allowed out there, and I just love helping people responsibly, and as positively as possible, come through the journey of that realisation – just like I had. I am not someone who was born on a hill drinking green smoothies and cooking with ceramics. Trust me when I say, it was pop tarts, microwave popcorn, whatever there is out there, I was doing it when I was growing up – in terms of commercial food and how it was cooked. Lean cuisine, those plastic pouches in boiling water.
CHRIS: We shouldn’t do that?
ALEXX: Definitely no!
ALEXX: Plastic and heat are not friends. It is the most perfect environment for plastic to permeate through the food.
CHRIS: So no glad wrap over food when you’re microwaving?
ALEXX: No, just chuck a plate over a bowl, if you use a microwave. That’s the safest way to do it.
CHRIS: Is microwaving okay?
ALEXX: It’s under debate. There’s as many people that say yes as there are no, so it’s not anything I like to harp on about personally because I think there are more important things where there is definite science behind making a better choice. There’s much more important things to focus on.
CHRIS: Getting your message out there, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
ALEXX: It’s quite often the partners. So quite often someone in the family, quite often find it difficult to get their partners to understand why they want to make all these changes. So it’s like a secondary ‘glitch’ that we have to work on, so I’ve made that a huge part of what we talk about; like how to help other people understand. I remember when I first started getting in to all this stuff, I’m pretty sure I lost a couple of friends, because sometimes people feel threatened, or they don’t understand it, Getting the message out now is just helping convince people to realise that if you chunk it down to teenie-tiny micro-actions, it’s super easy, definitely not more expensive in the long run because you start buying half as much, twice the quality – across food, cosmetics, everything. It’s just about giving people the confidence to go, you know what? Yes it will be scary but I’m going to do this because we should all be doing this.
CHRIS: And just to finish off, I know your role models were probably Bono and Bob Geldof and you were going to join them in changing the world. What made you veer off from them and head towards Low Tox Living. What inspired you?
ALEXX: It’s so funny that you say that because I remember hanging with my first boyfriend when we were both at school, sitting on a rock at school waiting to go on – we were both ‘musos’ – for some sort of concert performance that night and we were dreaming about what it would be like to win a grammy and give our ‘save the world’ speech – I was one of those kids who had ‘Prejudice is Ignorance’ on my wall in my bedroom! Which is beautiful. I think it’s lovely. I look back at my younger self and think, you always wanted to do something and make a difference. I think I came out of that unfortunately and got sucked into that whole societal checklist thing. Got to get the good job, got to get the boyfriend, got to move in, got to get the family going, you know? I think I really hit my stride in feeling that whole head to heart connection with work was when I started helping people just like me feel better and do better for the planet, and it was just like this ‘oh my gosh, this feels great, and I never get sick of it. And I want to do more of it. I was always passionate about making it about discovery rather than deprivation, because deprivation is old, everyone is so sick of being told “You failed, you ate that piece of cheese.” Who needs that in their lives? So I really felt that my gift could maybe be to give people permission to be their own person on whatever speed of journey they’re on and to just hold their hand through it. It was just this weird morph that kind of presented itself, and last year I realised it was absolutely what I had to do, wanted to do. Everything kind of lined up.
CHRIS: Well because of you I’m going home now to clean out my cupboards, so thank you!
ALEXX: You’re welcome! You’re welcome.