What the Heck is "Clean Living" Anyway!?
If I'm being straight with you, which of course I am, I've gotta tell you: I had no idea what clean living really was until about a year ago. I was doing the typical things to help me feel better about my family's health. More veggies, less sugar, but not really a whole lot more. And I wasn't really making much progress.
Then I discovered the concept of clean living.
I started exploring this lifestyle because honestly, reading labels every time I bought anything was starting to really make me mad. Knowing that the European Union has banned HUNDREDS of ingredients, while the FDA has banned fewer then 20 really got under my skin. Looking up the ingredients on those labels and seeing what I was really feeding my family, and putting on my baby's skin made me really hot.
So, here's a quick summary of clean living and what it means for my family.
There are two main categories of clean living. One of them is clean eating, and the other is clean products (avoiding chemicals and additives in the other products we bring into our homes, like laundry products, beauty products, and cleaning products). In each category, the goal of clean living is to remove all harmful ingredients, and reduce your exposure to unhealthy substances. The way I like to think about it is that I am getting as close to nature as possible in how I eat and anything I use in my home.
I know that sounds daunting! It did to me too. The key is to take it one little step at a time. One healthy change a week, or a month. You'll be experiencing the benefits before you know it.
One major component of clean living is clean eating. When you eat, you're putting stuff into your body. Duh, right? The thing is, every chemical component of those foods means extra work for your body to purify and eliminate that ingredient. Clean eating means sticking to foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This creates less work for your digestive system, and means that fewer harmful ingredients are introduced.
This doesn't mean you can never buy anything that is pre-made or processed (at least for us!). It just means being smarter about those decisions.
For example, check out the ingredients in these two ice creams:
Whoa! Big difference, right? Which one do you think is easier for your body to digest and contains fewer harmful ingredients? And, the ice cream on the right is actually a little better then most.
Now, there are certainly some people out there that would argue that clean living is NEVER eating sugar, NEVER eating anything processed, etc. I get that. But for us, it's not sustainable. We limit sugar, we choose healthier ingredients, and we avoid chemical additives. For us, that's sustainable clean eating.
Oh. My. Word. This is the newest area where we are working to go clean, and it's definitely been a journey! Just YESTERDAY I checked some of my makeup and discovered it contains Parabens. Sigh. We're definitely a work in progress. (On the bright side, I get to buy new makeup!)
So, that's key, really. You need to realize that you can't do this overnight. You don't NEED to do it overnight. Make one change at a time, read every label, and get a little healthier every day.
Now, let's talk a little about finding clean products for your home and beauty routine.
I've already written a bit about avoiding dyes in your cosmetics and toiletries, and you can hop over and read about that here. It's a great place to start. In fact, learning about food dyes and the reactions one of our kids was having to them was the first step in our journey. But, as I've discovered over the last year, there are many more ingredients to learn about and avoid.
- And More!
Not convinced? I highly recommend grabbing your lotion or shampoo and googling the ingredients one by one. Check out what independent sources are saying (not product manufacturers). You can also visit EWG and see what they're saying. I found this exercise very eye opening!
I completely understand how overwhelming this can be when you first learn about what is in your products. It can be terrifying! But you can do it! Just consider one change at a time, and remember that each change makes a difference. You are investing in your long term health and that of your loved ones by making steps toward living clean.
Want More Resources?
I have recently started a series of live videos on Facebook that are all about our families journey to clean and how we're making significant changes without breaking the budget. If you want more tips, encouragement, and practical ideas for making those small changes that will have huge impact, please friend request me on Facebook! I'd love to share these videos with you.
If you want even MORE tips, tricks, and information in your inbox, please subscribe below to my weekly clean living newsletter, called Comforts of Home. This is a separate subscription from my general mailing list, because I only want to send you stuff you really want. I don't believe in spam! So if you want that newsletter, make sure to sign up below.
PS- If you're looking for some clean products for health and beauty and want to know what my favorites are, let me know in the comments! I'll shoot you an email AND a coupon. Now, who doesn't love a coupon?