“Cleaner lifestyle”… Is that an intimidating phrase? Does it scare you? Does it freeze you in your tracks? I get it. When you hear someone say that they are trying to live “cleaner”, do you think that they must be on some new diet of kale and cucumber water or that they’ve purged their house of all conventional products in favor of coconut oil? I mean, I’m as much of a fan of coconut oil as the next gal, but I don’t use it for everything.
There are so many misconceptions about what “clean” means. In fact, it doesn’t really have just one, universal definition. People are well-intentioned, but it can be so confusing. For the purposes of what you are about to read, let’s define a “cleaner lifestyle” as one that seeks the best for your body and mind. Plain and simple.
When you get down to it, the details will be different for everyone, but these are things I’ve found that most people can agree on.
Here are 5 actionable tips for a cleaner lifestyle:
1. Limit Processed Foods and Eat More Whole Foods
This one is probably the most obvious when we consider what a cleaner lifestyle means and is certainly where most of my expertise lies. In our world of constant go-go-go, it is hard to slow down and work in the time to make healthy meals and snacks. It can still be really challenging. Here are a few things to start with:
- Stock up on the frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are NOT nutritionally inferior to fresh ones. They are picked at the peak of ripeness right before freezing and some argue that they can be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts.
- Completely or partially switch to whole grains
- Whole grains have more fiber, vitamins and minerals than non-whole grain products do. Why? Because whole grain foods are made with the whole grain kernel (endosperm, germ and bran), instead of the just the inside endosperm, the least nutritious part. Whole grains have much more nutrition to offer your body and, in addition, aid in digestion.
- Start slowly by substituting half of your regular pasta with whole wheat pasta an cooking them together or a half white, rice half brown rice mixture etc…
- Keep an Eye on Sodium
- Whenever you can, grab the low sodium version of your favorite sauces, condiments, soups, and other dishes. High salt intake plays a part in high blood pressure and heart failure, so reaching for those low sodium options in combination with this next tip is the best way to get flavorful food.
- Get to know those spices in your pantry and the herbs in refrigerator! They offer so much flavor! Here are a few of my favorite veggie seasonings and meat rub combinations (wait until you are finished cooking to sprinkle on the fresh herbs):
- smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and fresh parsley
- chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and fresh cilantro
- turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, and fresh cilantro
- lemon pepper, garlic powder and fresh basil
2. Move Your Body
Also obvious, right?! You are smart. I’m not sharing any cutting-edge research or mind-blowing facts here. The reality of a cleaner lifestyle is that it is conceptually simple.
- Maybe you can’t make it to the gym right now or do a full home workout. That is okay! Any movement counts.
- take a morning walk
- do some gardening
- bike around the block
- do some yoga
- run around with your little one(s)
- play some soccer
- take a dance class
- jump rope
3. Focus on What You are Putting ON Your Body
Friends, I am so passionate about this one! For the longest time, I didn’t know why I should care about what is in the products that I use everyday. Here are the reasons I care now!
- There are over 80,000 chemicals on the market today and about 80% have never even been tested on human skin!
- The last law regarding personal care products was passed in 1938! Just think about how much has changed in 80+ years.
- For the ingredients we do have safety data for, many of them are KNOWN hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and carcinogens among other things. We KNOW they are dangerous; however, they are still allowed in products that we use everyday. See the link below for my favorite safer, high-perfomaing products. Leave me a comment if you’d like to know more: Beautycounter.
4. Do One Thing Everyday that Helps You Unwind (clickable links below)
Your mental health is important and constant stress not only wears on your mind but also your immune system.
- Don’t overcomplicate this. It can be as simple as watching the sunset while drinking a cup of tea. Just promise yourself that you will reserve a tiny bit of time for something that you enjoy and find solace in.
5. Reframe Negative Thoughts
All of these are really important points, but this one is truly life-changing! There is so much negativity in our world. You could be doing your very best to avoid it, but it will still find you.
- So, how do you deal with it? You THINK! T-H-I-N-K. I’ve seen this acronym floating around and can’t get enough of it. When you are faced with a limiting belief or a rude comment you just can’t ignore, run it through this set of questions. If you answer no at any point, take a minute to decide if it is worth believing.
Give yourself permission to belive that you are working hard and doing your best and your best is enough. Not “good enough”. It is ENOUGH.Hayley Pfleghaar