Updated: Oct 30
Clean living – it might sound straightforward, but delving into what it truly entails, why it's crucial, and how to make it a part of your life is a bit more complex than its name suggests.
Defining clean living, often referred to as green living, isn't a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It varies from person to person. For some, it revolves around a dietary overhaul, opting for organic and natural foods. For others, it's a holistic lifestyle shift, encompassing everything from food choices to household products and minimizing their carbon footprint.
Our world is filled with harmful and toxic chemicals, lurking in the foods we consume, personal care products, kitchenware, cleaning agents, and even our clothing! While it's impossible to completely eliminate chemical exposure, many have embarked on the clean living journey to enhance their health, well-being, and the future of our planet.
So, what does clean living mean exactly?
Clean living touches on various aspects of life, including sustainability, dietary choices, and the products we use for beauty and cleaning. It's about consciously opting for healthier options in terms of food, lifestyle, and household items. It's about choosing products with ingredients that promote a healthier life.
But it goes beyond personal well-being; it extends to our environment. It involves making choices that benefit the planet—reducing single-use plastics, supporting eco-conscious businesses, and minimizing waste.
The Connection Between Clean Living and Health
The advantages of clean living are evident for everyone, but they hold particular significance for those dealing with chronic health conditions.
Regrettably, your home can be a source of potentially harmful chemicals, from flame retardants in furniture to non-stick coatings in cookware and toxins in plastic food containers. That seemingly fresh scent might be laden with chemicals linked to serious health issues, including cancer.
Clean eating is all about nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. The benefits are clear: improved heart and brain health, a fortified immune system, and increased energy levels.
Rather than subscribing to a specific diet, clean eating encourages you to make informed choices by opting for whole foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, dairy, nuts, seeds, and plant proteins—over heavily processed alternatives laden with harmful chemicals and toxins.
Clean eating isn't a one-size-fits-all approach; it varies in intensity. Some aim to eliminate all added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors, which, while commendable, might be too strict for most. A more balanced approach is often easier to maintain.
A Clean Environment
Surprisingly, indoor air can be more polluted than what we breathe outdoors, with many factors contributing to this unhealthy environment. Cleaning agents, detergents, air fresheners, and even candles can be culprits.
Maintaining cleanliness in our homes, schools, and workplaces is crucial for preventing the spread of illnesses. However, numerous household and cleaning products contain harmful chemicals, even some labeled as "green" or "natural."
The good news is that you can limit your exposure to these potentially harmful substances by closely examining product ingredients. Unfortunately, regulations often don't compel companies to disclose all ingredients in cleaning products, making it challenging to identify harmful chemicals.
Many cleaning products even contain industrial chemicals linked to breast cancer. Some ingredients used in cleaning products may contain or be contaminated with chemicals associated with breast cancer.
Mindful Personal Hygiene
Personal care products like shampoos, shower gels, face creams, and makeup often contain Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) that can interfere with your hormone system. These chemicals are added for fragrance and extended shelf life.
While many cosmetics and personal care products pose minimal risk, some have been linked to severe health issues, including cancer. In fact, nearly 600 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals in multiple products associated with cancer, congenital disabilities, or reproductive harm since 2009.
Getting Started with Clean Living
Transitioning to a clean living lifestyle is a gradual process requiring patience. Rather than attempting a complete lifestyle overhaul all at once, start by making one change at a time and learn along the way.
Begin by identifying your priorities. Is your diet a concern? Are your cleaning products causing health problems? Or maybe your skincare routine needs an update. Address what matters most to you first.
One essential skill is learning to read and understand product labels. You'll likely be surprised by what you find. If you're unsure about the chemicals listed (as most of us are), resources like Environmental Working Group (EWG) or ThinkDirty can provide valuable information.
Five Simple Clean Living Tips
Prioritize whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods.
Avoid processed foods and artificial ingredients.
Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into every meal.
Opt for organic whenever possible.
Choose minimally processed foods with simple ingredients.
Opt for cookware like cast iron, ceramic, stoneware, glass, and stainless steel.
Avoid non-stick cookware containing harmful chemicals.
Plastic-Free Food Storage:
Replace plastic food storage containers with glass alternatives.
Avoid canned foods with BPA-lined cans.
Use microfiber cloths with just water for cleaning.
Make your natural cleaning solutions using vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and fragrance-free liquid soap.
Review Personal Care Products:
Reduce the number of personal care products you use.
Avoid products with fragrances.
Consult resources like EWG's Skin Deep and YUKA apps
Count on us to keep you informed about the health benefits of clean living. In the meantime, explore our guidelines for a healthy diet and join our empowering community, including our Breast Cancer Survivor & Friends Meet and Greets.
Remember, we're here for you every step of the way on your clean living journey!