Clean living refers to making more mindful lifestyle choices. When we become more aware of the products we use and consume, and the activities we partake in, we realise that some can be healthful and some can be harmful. We should want to be more mindful of what we put into our bodies, reducing our environmental footprint, and maintaining a wholesome family environment at home. Ultimately, the aim of clean living is to create lifestyle habits that lead to a better quality of life and allow our mind and body to feel good.
There are 3 aspects of clean living:
1. FoodEating clean is not a diet but a whole lifestyle that the family can follow. It generally involves incorporating mostly foods that are closest to their natural state. That means limiting processed foods that have added preservatives and artificial ingredients. This automatically reduces the amount of added fat, sugar, and sodium in the diet while increasing the amount of beneficial nutrients from fresh foods. Processed foods that contain excess saturated and trans fat, sugar, and salt often leave us feeling sluggish, and in the long run can contribute to an increased risk of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. Eating cleaner with simple, whole foods naturally gives us a sustained boost of energy and puts us in a better mood, a win for the whole family.
Another part of eating clean is also preparing or cooking most meals at home rather than going for takeaways or pre-packaged meals. This allows us to be in full control of what goes into the meals so we can ensure that they are free of unnecessary artificial ingredients. It’s important to have well-balanced meals with all the food groups, especially with growing children, so they can reap all the nutrients for optimal growth and development. While making most meals at home might take some time and planning, it’s also a good opportunity to get the whole family involved and help out with the prepping.
2. Household and Beauty ProductsHousehold products like cleaners and laundry detergents are a big part of our lives. However, some have labels such as flammable or toxic which gives off the idea that they aren’t that safe to leave lying around. It’s true, some chemicals can indeed be harmful with high exposures or when mixed together, especially if you have young children at home who are more vulnerable. Some ingredients in commercial household products are also toxic, non-biodegradable, and come from non-sustainable sources, which can negatively impact the environment.
Clean household products can be categorised in different ways. They could contain ingredients that are non-toxic, biodegradable, or free from artificial colour or fragrances. On the other hand, they might still contain conventional chemicals and ingredients, but instead use sustainably sourced ingredients or recyclable packaging, which still makes a positive impact on the environment.
Clean beauty is also a growing trend. This is because consumers are becoming more aware of how some ingredients in beauty products can be unsafe for both people and the environment. Common ingredients in beauty products that have been a concern include parabens, fragrances, formaldehyde, refined petroleum, and hydroquinone. They can be found in a variety of products - from moisturisers to shampoos. The good news is, as more consumers are raising their concerns, manufacturers are slowly finding new ways to formulate products with cleaner or safely synthesised ingredients.
Making some clean swaps with what we eat and the products we use is naturally a step towards being more pro-environmental. Other simple steps to take could be living more sustainably and reducing plastic waste by bringing our own shopping bags for groceries, containers for takeaways, or using our own utensils.
Buying local produce and products is also a good way of supporting the local market and reducing our carbon footprint. The process of importing products results in an increase in carbon emissions due to the many transportation methods involved. This can’t really be helped as Singapore relies heavily on imports. Still, we can try to do our part in reducing carbon emissions by walking to the supermarket instead of driving or purchasing products that have been sustainably farmed or processed. These little efforts will add up!
This whole spectrum of clean living might seem like a lot to take in, so just remember that clean living should be simple. Think about going back to the basics, and allow yourself to be flexible to suit your lifestyle.
Adlyn Abdul Halim
Aguirre, Sarah. “Learn How to Start Eco-Friendly Cleaning in Your Home.” The Spruce, 16 Oct. 2019, www.thespruce.com/what-is-green-cleaning-1900463.
Fleming, Olivia, and Jenna Rosenstein. “The Ultimate Guide To Clean Beauty.” Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Apr. 2020, www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/skin-care/a28352553/clean-beauty/.
Yasa, Dilvin. “Everything You Need to Know about Clean Living.” Body And Soul Au, Bodyandsoul.com.au, 17 June 2016, www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition-tips/everything-you-need-to-know-about-clean-living-/news-story/ac9c6b3c535962c0801e2f6a327486d4.