Healthier Living Habits

23 Mar

I’m going to change the forecast subject of this post because for the second time this week, there’s something bigger to talk about than what I hinted on Saturday. Though I think being a good environmental citizen is tremendously important for myself, future generations, and the other organisms sharing life on this planet, I think healthy living has a variety of appearances and meanings for different people and we each have our reasons for following our own path in that sense. And that, actually, is why I started this blog. I believe everyone is (or probably should be) constantly trying to improve the way he/she lives in whatever way they imagine that is. We should all probably be trying to make ourselves the happiest and healthiest we can be.

For me, I embrace every decision as one that affects not only my mental and physical health, but also my spiritual well being. I believe I’m asked by God to stay healthy, fit, knowledgeable and wise, and also responsible for the things my lifestyle produces. Part of my obedience in that has been to educate myself on what I eat, where it comes from, how it’s raised or grown, and how that affects not just my body but the place where I live. I also pay attention to the waste I produce and the things I’m throwing away.

Now, I don’t want to push any agenda because I have absolutely no hard feelings toward people who choose to live differently, but if the things I’m talking about aren’t things you even think about…it might be time to take a look at the way you’re living and make your own conscious choices.

Here are some (uncontroversial) things that Hubs and I do to keep a happier and healthier living environment.

Well, first, I clean. Often. And not everything at once, but I generally move from room to room throughout the week and make sure everything is neat and sanitary. I have a particularly hard time getting our guest room to stay neat because that’s where Hubs and I usually wind up changing clothes. (We have a weird closet and storage situation. Just don’t ask.) Okay, I’m not going to tell on myself or my husband but I do an unusual amount of laundry sorting in that room and what I’ve learned when it comes to laundry is this: Don’t make things harder on yourself than they have to be. Put a basket wherever you find you tend to drop clothes. I always keep one in each of our rooms and a third that’s just for folding and holding clothes that were worn but aren’t dirty.

Seriously, when it comes to cleaning and neatening, you can make your own rules. I don’t like my mess to be seen, but if you look in my drawers or containers or closets, things really aren’t that organized. You can keep things wherever they work and take whatever measures to keep the peace and order in your home. I put a bill box directly where I know Hubs writes the checks because I don’t like not knowing what mail can be thrown away and what can’t. It’s not a pretty solution but it works and keeps me from being frustrated.

Also, it helps to come up with a rotating schedule or checklist for cleaning duties. I make a simple schedule every week for this purpose. You may think it’s help motivate me to clean but actually, I do it so I don’t go into overdrive one day and clean absolutely everything (badly) in a few hours. Because I’m a brand new nester, I still struggle with the feeling that everything needs to be perfect all the time. There is that (nonexistent but still mentally present) chance that someone could come over without calling first and that causes me no end of anxiety sometimes. The schedule helps me feel a sense of order and balance, even when things could be a little more tidy.

My comforting checklist.

Next, I pick healthy foods that I love to eat. I don’t try to get fancy and eat tofu (which I hate) or eggplant sandwiches but I find ways to make healthy meals with foods that I love. This isn’t hard for me because I tend to dislike junk foods and gravitate heavily towards fruits and vegetables. Also, Hubs is on a really strict diet called the Paleo Diet and it restricts us basically to meals that consist of lean meat and fruit or vegetables. So meals are simple enough for us and I like to snack on things he can’t have when he’s not here, such as my very own lovely bruschetta which I make for lunch at least once a week.

Our colorful produce drawer.

I normally don’t even buy foods that aren’t good for us but I do have a sweet tooth and sometimes I just have to give in and buy some little candy bars or cookies. When I do this, I hide them carefully behind things that are better for me and it usually works to deter me from overeating. For instance, if I buy a bag of Kit Kats, I’ll put them behind some lowfat popcorn or place cookies behind some yummy yogurt so I can trick myself into a healthy diversion. I do still treat myself to naughty food often enough but it helps. I apply the same theory in our kitchen organization by leaving healthy choices out in the open. I keep our fruit and breads on a rack while everything else gets stashed away.

See?

For my own reasons, I only like to indulge in a meaty meal once a day and the others are vegetarian-ish. I’ll tell you why if you ask but otherwise it’s not something I like to push and I won’t discuss it here. Anyway, this structure in our kitchen and in our shopping relieves a lot of the need to go out and eat because it makes what we have at home look so much more desirable.

One more thing before I stop for this week.

We recycle. In the corner of the last picture, you can see the organized chaos that is our current recycling situation. We don’t have recycling that comes to our house so we have to store it inside and Hubs takes it to a center every Saturday. I feel utterly sinful when I throw away plastic so a lot of what we recycle are plastic bags and drink containers. Also, I have an addiction Snapple peach tea so there are a lot of glass bottles leftover from that. We don’t eat a whole lot out of a can, but when we do, of course we recycle those too.

I take it a step beyond recycling, though, and consider the things we buy to cut down on our waste. For example, I buy the larger water bottles (24 oz.) because then we have fewer bottles to recycle every week. Also, if I’m considering buying fruit, I always pick the kind with less packaging (I do this for everything we buy, actually). Fruit that comes in slices is especially bad for wasteful packaging (think apple dipper bags) so I generally get whole fruit instead.

Okay, I’m going to stop lecturing now because…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! And I’m going to just opt to continue this later. Perhaps next week when we will be considering starting our own garden. Until then…Happy Birthday to me!

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