One of the first lessons I was taught in Yoga Teacher Training was on The Yamas and Niyamas. They are laws or guidelines, or as I like to think, a compass for life. The first five guidelines are referred to as the Yamas—a Sanskrit word that translates to “restraints”—and encompass nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, non-excess, and non-possessiveness. The last five are referred to as the Niyamas, or observances—purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.

The focus of this blog is on the observance of purity. This one resonates with me on so many levels. First, I love a good Spring clean or a cleanse – for my house and my body. I love a reset. Out with the old and in with the new (in moderation).

One might also call me an early adopter of pure things. I grew up in a household where our breakfast muffins were made with oats and applesauce vs flour and sugar. There were really few sugar products even in our home and my brother and I would fight over the raspberries. At the time there was no such thing yet as “clean eating” or “detox” or at least I never heard those terms in our household. I just had a mom who loved a variety of squash, meditation and exercise. When I was of age and left home, I may have not been baking applesauce muffins or attending meditation retreats, but my mom’s lifestyle would peak its head here and there. I loved yoga and exercise and eating a well-balanced meal. I remember walking into my first Whole Foods over 25 years ago when I was living in LA. This was well before the Amazon acquisition. I found my place, a place for it all – deodorant, food, cleaning products, and I even tried their makeup. Ok, the deodorant was not the best and I abandoned the makeup because it did not go on like my Trish McEvoy, but I liked the concept. There were no toxins, products were organic and ethical. Back then, this was not as prevalent as you might see today, even in California.

This idea that we can feed and treat our bodies with a little more love and a little less toxicity is part of my upbringing. I am not advocating self-deprivation or any special diet. We are all individuals and it is important to listen to your body and consult your team of healthcare professionals. I just love studying products and finding the best, the tastiest, the most luxurious, purest, and the cleanest products on the market that are still good and good for you.

Here are my favorites and a little explanation as to WHY…

*I want to acknowledge that just because something is non-toxic, it does not mean it is 100% safe for everyone.  Nothing is one size fits all and what might be good for me might not be good for you. 


Gulten Free (GF) Bread:


First, the taste. They carry four different breads and each one is delicious. But you must toast it. It is only good toasted. A lot of GF breads have preservatives…not this one!  All real ingredients.


Nut Cheese:


Honestly, I am not a fan of any other vegan cheese. I think they taste gross. This is the only one I like. Also, they carry my favorite GF crackers – Top Seedz which is also worth ordering if you are GF.


Substitute for Coffee:


I love coffee but when I am trying to fight inflammation, it is not the best thing for me. Dandy Blend is my go to so throw it in some warmed non-dairy (or dairy if you tolerate it) milk and it really tastes like coffee (to me at least).


Non-Dairy Milk:

Malk Milk

Most almond milks have gums. No bueno. Malk Milk has 3 ingredients – Filtered Water, Organic Almonds, Himalayan Pink Salt. Done.


Parfum, Makeup and Skincare:


A little self-promotion here. I started using Beautycounter 10 years ago. It was the first of its kind to be both high-end and 100% safe. Now I am an advocate for Beautycounter. The mission is to transform the beauty industry by creating clean, safe, high-performing products —while fighting to change the laws that control what can and cannot be used in products so that everyone has access to safer beauty. My favorite product right now is the Parfum because it is fragrance-free. Yay!


Natural Deodorant:


It is clean and it works. I cannot tell you how many natural deodorants I have tried. Either I get a rash or I smell. Not this one! Plus, the owner donates a percentage of sales to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees so you smell good and you do good.


Air Freshener/Aromatherapy:


I’m obsessed with all the products. I love the spray because glade gives me headaches while the Indu spray makes me happy and relaxed. The lotion is used in yoga studios all over the country to massage hands and feet. I used it on my daughter when she was a baby and it would help her sleep. It is magic, also known as the “nectar of the moon.” It is so luxurious and I can’t get enough.    


Home Cleaning:


I wanted something effective that kills germs and is safe. I love the microfiber cleaning clothes and Probiotic hard surface cleaner. It is easy for me to get carried away on their site so I would start there.


Favorite App:

EWG.org or download the app

EWG stands for Environmental World Group. Download the app and look up any products you might want to know more about. When a product is EWG VERIFIED®, it means it meets EWG’s strict, scientific standards for transparency and health.


Written by Halley Firstenberg, ChildLight Trainer