Have you ever done something because you thought it was good for you and then later realized there was an actual term for it? If you’re nodding yes – you know what I’m talking about. For me, it was understanding what the term ‘clean eating‘ meant. When I first heard the phrase, I envisioned a kitchen that was actually cleaned up from cooking before eating. Not that I ever have done that, but that’s what I thought ‘clean eating’ meant.
Not exactly clean eating. Clean eating is eating (and cooking!) healthy, wholesome foods that are good for you. Yes, we eat clean now but we didn’t start out doing it. We’ve come a long way…
Let’s back up 25-years to when we got married and I started cooking. Processed food from boxes, quick dinners, and yes, a microwave to make it happen fast. We were DINKS (double income, no kids) and worked long hours. We also had a money pit of a house and worked on that, too. Food was just to keep us from going hungry. Our home on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. had two grocery stores close by but they hardly had a produce section between the two of them.
After a year of living without a kitchen – it was completely gutted – we finally finished ours. With running water and official plumbing (the waste water from our kitchen used to go directly outside), I traded our microwave oven for a fireplace mantle to go in our dining room. It was time for me to learn how to cook. Slowly, I started cooking and experimenting with foods and vegetables I had never even heard of – collard greens and Swiss chard.
When we had kids, I began paying attention to the ingredients that were in the food we bought. Although I was cooking and baking more, we still bought quick foods – baking mixes, box dinners, and kid-friendly foods. It was fine but not great. Brad, my husband, packed a lunch sometimes to take to work but he went out for lunch more than was healthy for him. Finally, we decided to step up our healthy living efforts and that included cooking more at home – and from scratch. The food that came from boxes we were eating all tasted the same and I never felt good after eating it.
The thing with clean eating is that it can’t happen over night – if you want it to stick to it and have it become your lifestyle. The process has to be gradual so that you feel and see the benefit of it. If you had told me 10-years ago that we’d rarely ever go out to eat at restaurants and only cook and bake from scratch, I wouldn’t have believed it. Don’t even get me started on the beans and grains that we buy in 25lb bags. Who would have thought? Certainly not me!
There’s no magic pill or easy way to get healthy in life – it takes effort to make things better. Our food habits are finally healthy and we cook from scratch every day. The best part? Both of our kids have healthy and adventurous eating habits – and they can cook. The worst part of all this cooking? Our kitchen is rarely clean and we run the dishwasher every single night.
Once we felt like the eating was on track, about 2-years ago, we decided to start reading the labels on our cleaning supplies and consumer products. The verdict? The junk we were putting into our bodies through processed food was gone but our home was full of chemicals and anti-bacterial items that we brought home in the form of cleaning supplies.
So, we began eliminating ‘store bought’ cleaning and consumer products. Slowly, and over about 2-years, we switched out our chemical-full products (not that you can see what’s in most cleaning supplies since they don’t have to list the ingredients) and migrated to good for the environment, simple ones, that we make at home. What have we found? We are healthier than ever.
My husband’s asthma and allergies are gone. Brad’s had terrible asthma and allergies since he was a toddler. Now, he hasn’t needed to use his medications in well over a year. Me? I’ve completely eliminated an itchy-rash that has bothered me for years. I used oil, cream, and two different types of lotions after showering to help the rash from itching. Now, it only flares up when I shower at a hotel.
The result of all this clean eating and clean living – and green housekeeping? It’s a winning combination. No, we can’t eliminate every single chemical from our lives but the ones we can control – food and consumer products – we do. It’s a winning combination – truly. Our family has never been healthier and we have saved a bundle on food costs, cleaning supplies, and prescription medication. Yes, when you’re self-employed like we are those prescription asthma medications can really add up!
Anyone can make these changes in life and it’s easier than you think. It’s also worth it. Our health and our lives are worth the effort. Being healthy, eating wholesome, real food and switching to chemical free cleaning and laundry supplies has changed our lives – for the better. I hope you’ll consider this winning combination. It’s been a life changer for us and I know it can be one for you, too.
Please check with your medical professional before changing or eliminating any prescription medications.
Did you know what ‘clean eating’ meant or were you like me – thinking it was a clean kitchen?
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