A reflection on my personal health journey and how mindful moderation helps me make thoughtful choices without feeling guilty.
Sometimes I feel like such a sham. I stand on my blog pedestal preaching the benefits of organic food and the dangers of toxic chemicals. I spew out tips for how to green your laundry room and create less waste in your home. Yet if you saw me in real life, you’d know I don’t practice what I preach all the time.
The Truth about my Green & Healthy Journey
If you visited my home you’d see that we aren’t the uber green & healthy family that you might think we are. Yes, we do a lot of great things like composting and making homemade kombucha but you’d be surprised at how un-green we are in some ways.
If you looked in my cupboards you would see a few plastic containers and a roll of food wrap (although you would see plenty of non-toxic, reusable storage containers too).
If you looked in my laundry room, you would see a bottle of (gasp!) bleach – because life is messy and sometimes you just.need.bleach.
If you went grocery shopping with me you’d know that I don’t read the labels of everything that goes in my cart. You’d see that I occasionally buy junky snacks or treats that probably contain GMOs or chemical preservatives.
If you looked in our closets, you would see a lot more than organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. And even though a lot of our clothes are purchased second hand, some of them come straight from the mega-stores we love to hate.
If you check out my shopping receipts, you’d see that I sometimes buy items I don’t actually need – frivolous things like decorations that have no real purpose other than to look pretty.
And if you were out-and-about running errands with me, you might even see me grab a Diet Coke. Yep, I know it’s a nasty, chemical drink, but some days I just have to have one.
Why am I telling you this?
Because, I’m guessing you’re a lot like me. You want to buy organic but you don’t always have the money. You like the idea of walking or biking to do your errands, but you don’t often have the time. You think it would be great to compost but yuck, who wants to deal with that? I’m guessing you really do want to live a greener, healthier life but life’s constraints just keep getting in the way. And that’s completely normal.
What bothers me is the guilt and the fear that I see lurking in the background. Some parents feel guilty for not buying organic milk for their family. Others are embarrassed to admit they use drug-store suntan lotion on their kids. I’ve talked to readers who are conflicted about buying products that are way better than conventional varieties but alas, are not “perfectly safe” or “perfectly green”. And others who want to throw up their hands and say “why bother, we’re all doomed anyway”.
The Beauty of Mindful Moderation
As an admitted perfectionist, I too have felt the guilt and fear of not choosing the healthiest, most eco-friendly route every time. Instead of letting perfect get in the way of good, I’ve had to train myself to embrace mindful moderation!
Mindful moderation is more than just the 80/20 rule, it means to be aware of your choices and to make deliberate decisions, without judgement.
So if I choose to have a donut or a Diet Coke every once in a blue moon, I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s all about balance my friends!
But I do use some mindful principles to help guide me along the way:
- Slow down – Don’t just do something, think first. Do I really need it? Is it a good idea?
- Pay attention – What are my choices? It there a better alternative?
- Gut check – Why do I want it? Is there something behind the desire – stress, fatigue, boredom, lack of time?
If the answer is still YES I want it, than I go for it!
Mindful moderation doesn’t just apply to me – I apply it to my kids as well. I’ve taught my boys the importance of healthy eating, but also how a little bit of candy and junk food can be part of a healthy diet. I’ve taught them healthy habits like getting exercise and taking a break from technology – but I know that sometimes being a couch potato is the greatest thing ever. Like I said, it’s all about balance!
Over the years, I’ve trained myself how to eat mindfully, how to shop mindfully and how to be satisfied with less. I’ve also learned to trust myself and my choices – and that is how mindful moderation helps me live my best life!
What I wish
Life is not perfect. We all know that. Life is messy, crazy, joyous, tragic and constantly changing. My hope for all of us is that we can use mindful moderation to find greener, safer, healthier ways to live, but not feel guilty or overwhelmed when we don’t. I hope that we can go about our lives without being wracked with guilt or fear that we made the wrong choice for the health of our families or the planet. The world is full of opinions on these topics. Is raw milk safe or scary? Should we be eating soy or avoiding it? What’s the most eco-friendly light bulb? There’s no one right answer for everyone.
My hope for this blog (and my related Facebook page) is that it is a place to find information and inspiration to help you live the life you want to life. When you visit, I hope you will feel completely comfortable asking any questions (nothing is stupid!), making suggestions (is there a topic you would like me to cover?) or confessing your own eco-sins. Seriously – I will not judge!
My greatest wish is to create a warm and open community where we can share what it’s really like out there on the eco-homefront and that we can all help each other live a healthy, rewarding, hands-on life.
(Whew! I feel better now. Thank you for letting me vent my insecurities and share my hopes and dreams with you!)
Tell me about your green & healthy journey. Do you have any insecurities, frustrations, dreams or questions to share?