RebeccaLeVander.com is a multimodal advice blog promoting healthy lifestyle products and habits. On the website and its various social media channels, visitors can browse how-to’s, recipes and tips across three broad categories: home, beauty and food.
Food was where it started for Rebecca LeVander, a Woodbury mother of two. When she and her husband were having difficulty conceiving a second child, LeVander, an avid reader of self-help literature, thought the solution might lay in a healthy lifestyle. She recalls that the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman made a particularly strong impact. Subtitled “The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss,” the book makes an argument for Fuhrman’s popular nutrition diet plan. While LeVander and her family do not follow this diet plan, one of its major pillars—noticing how different foods and products affect the body—remains at the core of LeVander’s life and lifestyle philosophy to this day.
It was only a matter of time before LeVander broadened her research, learning about the long list of chemicals present in everyday household items. What LeVander calls her “total life purging” quickly became an obsession—and, she admits, not a wholly positive one. These days, LeVander is as passionate as ever on the subject, but she no longer aims at perfection. “That was no way to live. What I learned was beating people over the head does not work,” she says. “Leading by example is the way to go.” This is the approach she takes with her kids, now 11 and 7. “I get them involved with cooking. We watch documentaries. At the store, I have them look at ingredients, and I ask ‘If you can’t understand it, how do you know what it’ll do to your body?’”
LeVander says that RebeccaLeVander.com represents the culmination of almost a decade of research, much of it personal experience. “Natural products are great, but they don’t always work so well,” she says. “Why should you waste your time trying out 10 different mascaras, when I’ve already done the work for you?” Recent product recommendations have included everything from “beauty swaps” like deodorant and body oils, to “pantry swaps” like salad dressing and ketchup. In each category, LeVander also offers a streamlined list of “top ingredients of concern” and recipes for homemade versions of everything from Oreos and gummy snacks to foaming hand wash.
Many of her articles are supplemented with blogs and links to further reading from outside sources. Last May, LeVander added Facebook Live sessions to the mix. “My girlfriends tell me, ‘Thank you so much for making a video; I don’t have time to read an article,’” she says.
Making the transition from journaling to blogging was no small step; she was even nervous at the prospect of sharing the link with family and friends. “I got butterflies. What if nobody responds? What if nobody cares?” Less than a year since its launch, it appears those fears were unfounded: RebeccaLeVander.com now boasts almost 500 subscribers.
As LeVander says on her disclosure page, she is not a medical professional; however, she does have a degree in retail merchandising with a minor in business. Which might explain how, in just a few months, she has taken her blog from hobby to source of income. Still, the most immediate reward remains a humanitarian one: “After my post on juicing, I got a text from someone I don’t know super well, telling me ‘I just bought a juicer.’ That’s a moment where you think, ‘Wow, I can really help people!’” Looking ahead, LeVander hopes to include more tips that are both health- and wallet-conscious. “That’s a big concern for some people,” she says.
Tips from Rebecca:
1. Start with what you use the most: Food. Bring a cheat sheet to the grocery store until it becomes second nature.
2. Find a community. You don’t have to figure this out on your own.
3. Preparation is key. When your kids are hungry, they want to eat now. Have a big cooking day once a month so you always have health snacks on hand.
4. Off-gassing of pollutants found in your furniture and carpets can make the air in your home more toxic than the air outside. Use house plants like aloe, English ivy, and Gerber daisies to purify it. The recommended number of plants is one per 100 square feet.
5. Simplify. Do you really need ten different cleaning products, or could you use one or two?
6. Remember that it’s all about reducing your toxic load—not perfection.