Clean eating will make a noticeable difference in your quality of life, happiness, and energy level. This is a great step to self-improvement and it is a commendable goal towards which to work.
Once you’ve got that down and you’re feeling your energy level rise, I suggest coming up with a health exercise routine. I’m not suggest bootcamp, soulcycle, or weight lifting – unless that’s your thing and then, absolutely yes. I’m merely suggesting taking a walk every morning, stretching before bed, getting familiar with the way that your body works. What are your limits? Where are you strongest? Where do you want to get stronger? Are you fast? How fast do you want to be?
Little steps are so important when establishing an exercise routine and it’s largely about being consistent. Take a walk at the same time every day. Stretch at the same time every day. Get your body used to expecting something. Skip it when you have to. Go double when you’re feeling it. And boost your distance or speed as you’re able.
One way to maintain a balanced diet, is to balance each meal. This sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many people think that they can only have carbs or fat or sugar at one meal per day. This will only make you crave it more often. I suggest balancing every meal with protein, carbohydrates, and good fats in equal and responsible measure.
Limit the obvious things: fat, sugar, and salt.
And finally – and this is the one that so many people have a hard time with – alcohol has literally no nutritional value. It does damage to nearly every system in the body, it’s expensive, it’s bad for the brain and the body, and it’s generally not clean. Think briefly about how much PROCESSING goes into alcohol. Clean eating is mostly about limiting the processing of your food, because processing is largely what removes the nutritional value from what you consume. So, I’m not saying to quit alcohol cold turkey, but maybe limit the amount consumed and find a healthy replacement like THC, CBD, or microdosing mushrooms.
Clean eating is a reflection of principles, but also a reflection of a dedication to self-care. Our bodies need certain elements to be healthy and at their most productive. While many of us choose to meet our nutritional needs by shopping at GNC, which is a fine choice and works for many folks, I’d like to discuss some of the ways that clean eating can eliminate the need to take supplements or vitamins.
I suggest eliminating processed foods as much as possible from the diet. No fast food, no microwave meals, no packaged chemical-laden snacks, and nothing generally unidentifiable. This will ensure that you’re eating fresh whole foods rich in nutrients and vitamins.
Because fresh whole foods can be less filling than high protein animal products and overly processed options, you may feel yourself needing to eat more and more often. I suggest planning about 6 small meals throughout a day, all of which a good combination of protein-rich legumes, fruits, vegetables, and limited carbohydrates.
I try to never suggest eliminating sugar intake – but instead, consuming responsible sugars in limited quantities. Honey and maple syrup are great options for a healthy responsible sugar fix.
And finally, talk with your primary care provider about running a blood panel and seeing where you are nutrient deficient. There may be lots of ways to meet those deficiencies but not if you don’t know what they are!
Whether you do all your food shopping at your local Jewel Osco for deals, at the World Market for international food items, or both depending on your mood, your eating should reflect your principles. If you make a point to clean with natural and non-toxic prodcuts, you should also make a point to eat natural and non-toxic products.
I’ll be starting a blog soon to discuss some clean-eating ideas and tips that may make it easier, less intimidating, and more affordable to eat a responsible and clean diet. Hit me in the comments with your contact information if you want to be kept updated on the new blog. I’m also looking for guest contributors to share your own clean-eating tips, recipes, and health benefits!
Oh and while we’re on the subject, keep in mind some of the peculiarities of a ceiling fan: don’t forget to dust it at least once a year. And don’t forget about the directional spinning. There’s a tiny switch on the side of your fan that you’ve maybe never noticed: During the summer the fan should be blowing cool air down, keeping you cool, spinning in a counter- clockwise direction; during the winter it should run more slowly and clockwise, pulling cool air up keeping you warmer. Depending on your fan, the switch will be up or down to reflect its direction.
So twice a year – the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter – you should plan to dust the blades and switch the direction of your fan.
While cleaning, regardless of the temperature or season, I keep my windows open and my ceiling fans turning. Often, my apartment doesn’t necessarily feel dirty, it just feels closed up and claustrophobic. Especially a few months into winter, when my windows have been sealed up for weeks, no fresh air has come in, no stale air has gone out, it’s like living in a closed up little box and it’s not mentally or physically healthy.
So while cleaning, I open all the windows and turn on the fan to create an air exchange system.
The fresh air is good for your health and introduces necessary allergens and irritants into your environment. Allowing the trapped air back out into the world cleanses the air inside. And the fans help to blow it all around, bring up settled dust so you can vacuum or dust it up.
It’s also a change to turn off your HVAC heating or cooling for an hour or two, let the system rest and clean out a little bit – saving energy and a little bit of money.
Houseplants are another great way to keep your home feeling fresh and clean. Many have air cleaning properties, they add a natural element to a home, and they are fun to tend to! While some houseplants like orchids or bonsai trees may require a ton of maintenance, some are simple and communicative! Below is a list of some of the simpler houseplants to maintain. Once you get the hold of these, you may be ready to upgrade to something with more personality.
Succulents are super trendy little desert plants. One reason they’re so trendy is that they require very little maintenance. Set them up in a nice little sunny spot and give them minimal water once a month or so. Succulents are desert plants meaning they don’t take much water. Jades are perhaps the most famous succulents, growing big thick trunks and plump little leaves. They also make great gifts!
The ZZ plant can tolerate low light and needs water once a week or so. It grows high straight branches ornate with little teardrop shaped waxy glossy leaves. It’s simple, easy to maintain, and a beautiful addition to any décor.
Pothos is a long, bright green vine plant that grows heart-shaped leaves of various sizes. They require direct sun, weekly watering, and frequent pruning. Don’t let this scare you off – pruning the pothos plant actually helps her grow bigger and better. Plus, clippings can be put into a jar of water until they sprout fresh roots and then replanted in new dirt. It’s a great holiday or housewarming gift! And finally, the pothos plant can purify the air of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide while also helping to minimize odors. Like many millennials, pohtos plants can thrive on neglect!
And finally, the peace lily is a really easy houseplant to keep alive. When she’s not blooming, she features long, tropical bright green leaves that droop noticeably when she’s thirsty so she’s good at letting you know when she needs attention. And when she’s blooming, she features grand white elegant quite lilies.
One thing I didn’t quite realize until I was well into my late-twenties was that the things we use to clean, often need to be cleaned. So below is a list of things I do to keep my cleaning products clean:
At the end of each cleaning day, I put all brushes and sponges into a mixture of clean boiling water, distilled white vinegar, and some lemon juice. This kills any bacteria that my have taken up residence in the sponge or brush and gets them ready for their next time cleaning. I soak them for about a half hour, squeeze them out, hang them to dry, and put them away until next time.
While cleaning, I often put a pot on the stove with apple cider, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, rosemary, and lemon. This is an easy, simple, inexpensive all-natural air freshener.
Once a week I clean my kitchen garbage disposal by pouring in a half cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar, letting is sit for ten minutes, and then running the water and the machine. I finish by throwing in an ice cube of water, lemon and orange peels and running the machine for a few seconds. I keep a tray of them in the freezer for just this reason.
I put a glass bowl with two cups of vinegar and place it on the top rack of my dishwasher and run a hot cycle. This just keeps the machine clean and clear of food debris.
A Ziploc bag of white vinegar placed on the showerhead overnight will clean the piece and increase your water pressure and direction.
Maintaining a clean, healthy, and environmentally responsible home can also be an aromatherapeutic experience. Any of these oils can be added to some standard vinegar cleaning solutions to create the scent profile you desire in your home.
Tea tree oil and lemon oils create a clean and fresh soundscape. They can be combined to deodorize a fridge or shoe closet, wipe down the floors to create a sparkle. Rosemary is a great antiseptic with a deep herbal scent, it’s great for a load of laundry. Lavender is universally considered among the most relaxing scents – I recommend using it on your bedding and in your bedroom, this being the most zen space in the home. Once a year I combine eucalyptus and lavender oils to create a scrub for my mattress. It keeps my bed fresh and tidy all year long.
Because essential oils can stain some textiles, I advise always testing a small portion of a surface before applying oils to it. You won’t have any need for Febreze or other fabric and air refresher sprays if you keep a tidy home with natural cleaners and essential oils.
Vinegar is an amazing home-cleaning product that can be used in a million different ways to clean a million different things. It’s not as aggressive or abrasive as chemical cleaning products so it leaves some irritants from which you may benefit. Your immunity grows stronger with every irritant it encounters and defeats – eliminating all irritants from your home may actually weaken your immunity to irritants you encounter out in the world.
A simple mixture of white vinegar and water can be a great surface cleaner in the bathroom and kitchen – eliminating dirt, spills, and soap scum without corroding the surface or putting your health in danger. Adding lemon juice can turn this simple surface cleaner into a light disinfectant. Adding dish soap can make for a powerful textile cleaner.
You can also make vinegar scrubs for deeper cleaning needs. Add salt and borax to water and vinegar to create a paste that can do scrub-level work by just spreading it over a stained area and waiting a few minutes before wiping it back up. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can combine with the acid of vinegar and unclog your sinks without fucking up your pipes.
Combining vinegar with olive oil can make a great wood polish.