Wellness Is

Wellness Is

Each day we’re faced with decisions regarding our health and well being. It’s tempting to obsess over the toxins around us and how we might avoid them, but perfection is not the path to wellness. Wellness happens when we find balance in the moment. In a sense, wellness is the path and perfection is a road block. It’s impossible to live a life free of toxins and trying to will make you crazy. Crazy people aren’t well. I’m forever seeking balance, not perfection, and here are a few things I’m learning…

{food} If organic options are available in your area, replacing any amount of conventionally grown food each day is better than none at all.  Frozen organic produce is usually more affordable and so is growing your own if you have the space and time. When you can't afford to buy organic, you'll do your body a huge favor by making your own food instead of eating processed food. If you don't have time to cook and can support a restaurant that uses local, organic ingredients, eat there. When you find yourself at a restaurant that doesn't, order something delicious and enjoy it. Eat less sugar and more fat (yep fat, just make sure it's the good kind!). Minerals are important and magnesium is the best friend you never knew you had. Fermented foods are delicious and can greatly improve your health. If you like bread, eat it! The healthiest kinds don't contain bleached or enriched flour and if you can find a loaf that's prepared properly by soaking, sprouting, or using sourdough starter, eat that.

{water} Drink lots of it! Drink it warm after you brush your teeth in the morning. As far as filters go, a salt-free, whole-home system is about as good as it gets…clean water to drink and shower in, squeaky clean dishes, soft laundry, and a thriving garden. It's an investment though and one that probably only makes sense if you own the home you're currently living in. If it isn't feasible, toss a stick of carbon in your water pitcher and choose an affordable shower filter. Even if it only removes chlorine, that is better than water with chlorine! One day you'll have clean sink, laundry, and hose water and it will be glorious.

{personal care} Minimize. Think about what you can live without, and find safe alternatives for the rest. Organic is best, but non-toxic is key. If there are a few products you enjoy making, do it! Exfoliate. Avoid toxic, preservative laden products that are sold in big box stores and malls. Keep it in perspective. If you're away for the weekend and forget your toiletry bag, the hotel shampoo won't kill you.

{exercise} Sweating rids the body of toxins. Moving your body most days is the goal, but don't get down on yourself when you miss a day or seven. Do something you enjoy and remember that any workout is better than no workout. Just don't forget to stretch!

{clothing} This is a tough one, but more and more affordable organic options and seriously stylish up-cycled pieces are becoming available.  Start with some budget friendly basics like underwear, pajamas, yoga pants, or t-shirts. Hand-me-downs are perfect for kids! If you're buying new, just be sure to choose children's pajamas that are free of flame retardants. Avoid the dry cleaners whenever possible and ditch the fabric softener. Some say the majority of pesticides are washed out of clothing after several washes, so you might consider checking out your local thrift shop. Fashion-forward ones seem to be popping up everywhere so check them out to avoid pesticide exposure, save money and the planet!

{home} Don't throw out your mattress and couch just yet! Save up and when they need replacing, find the safest option within your budget. Organic cotton, wool, and latex are best, but those free of chemical flame retardants and water/stain-proofing treatments are a big improvement from standard options. If you don't want to compromise when it comes to materials, but can’t afford an organic matress, consider a futon or even shikibuton. Or hey, start with a new pillow and build it.  Go ahead and throw out your non-stick pans. Ceramic, cast iron, glass, or stainless steel are safe alternatives. Wood and bamboo cooking utensils are safer than silicone.…and all of these are better than plastic. If you love candles, find beeswax or organic soy scented with essential oils. Give a diffuser a whirl! Cleaning products can be gnarly so read labels. Just keep in mind that detoxing your home is a process and it may take several years if you approach it rationally with a limited budget. In the meantime, open your windows and breathe. Outdoor air is far cleaner than indoor air anyway!

Soak up some sunshine everyday. Sleep in the darkest environment possible and let your strong body work it's detoxing magic. 

True wellness unfolds when we find balance. I'm not there yet. I haven't mastered the categories above, but I'm moving in that direction. I'm living a healthier life this year than I did last year and that's good enough for me. Sometimes we don't have the time or the means to take care of ourselves like we want to. Other times we need to do what makes us happy even if it's not so good for share a bottle of wine (or two) with a friend, eat cake, or get a pedicure...without any guilt or worry.

Taking care of your body is important, but don't forget to break a few rules once in a while. It doesn't matter how many organic vegetables you eat if you neglect your mind and your soul. Put down the electronics. Find a quiet space in nature when you need to. Do what you're passionate about often. Be kind. Help others and accept help when you need it. Be open and continue to learn. Hangout with dogs, kids, and old people. Learn to value things that actually matter over material possessions. Love, make love, smile, laugh and all that other good stuff.