Experiments in Clean Living

Was reflecting on all the ways I have reduced my exposure to toxins over the last few years and all the benefits I have experienced as a result. Here is a list of the things I have recently eliminated from my life either through diet and/or changing personal care products:

Meat - Stopped eating animals more than 5 years ago and have enjoyed better energy levels ever since (read more about this here Why I Became a Vegetarian)

Dairy - cut dairy products out of my diet in 2008 and my body got leaner and my energy levels increased yet again (read more about this here Why I Became a Vegan).

Aluminum - This year, I stopped using antiperspirants which include the controversial ingredient Aluminum Zirconium. This was a tough one to give up, but I switched to deodorants for a short period and then cut them as well and now use baking soda as my “perspiration manager” (read more about Aluminum here Things I Quit – Antiperspirant and Deodorant)

Parabens - Last year, I stopped using shampoos and soaps that contain cancer causing parabens. I enjoy peace of mind of knowing that I am reducing my exposure to carcinogens.

Wireless - This one is on my radar. I used to sleep with my blackberry beside my bed (in case an important call came in during the night??), but now I make sure the phone is off during the night to reduce my exposure to any radioactivity that my phone might be giving off. I plan to reduce this one further.

Sugar - A few years ago, I starting avoiding sugar/fructose and all other processed sugars. This is a tough one to eliminate altogether,  since there is sugar in so many foods, especially if you eat out, but I have virtually eliminated it by avoiding sweets and processed foods and by eating mostly whole foods. Now I don’t get the same energy spikes and crashes that I used to get from sugary foods (I had/have a sweet tooth) and my teeth are happier  (read more about carbs here Good Carbs and Bad Carbs).

Aspartame and Sodas – Last summer I was staring at the list of ingredients in the energy drink I was consuming and decided that I would no longer drink energy drinks or any other kind of soft drinks. Amongst the reasons was a decision to avoid aspartame and shortly thereafter I also stopped chewing sugarfree gum and eating anything that contains aspartame (to read more see Things I Quit: Energy Drinks).

Caffeine - Stopped being a slave to coffee last year. This was another tough one because I really liked my coffee, but I did and I am convinced I actually became more energetic during my days, plus sleep is so much better now (see Quitting Coffee).

Alcohol – I enjoyed my fair share of drinks in my school years, but since then have generally been a very low volume drinker. To begin with I am constantly hydrating so I avoid diuretics and even having a couple of drinks will wreck my sleep, make me foggy in the head the next day and ruin my workouts, so except for red wine I typically have one or less drinks a month.

There are still plenty of things in my life that I can “clean” up. I am far from perfect, but I don’t try to do it all in one go. I make a change, readjust and then set my sights on other things I want to cut out.

This may all sound like a lot of sacrifice, but I can hardly remember when these things were in my life. I eat an amazingly tasty diet all day long and my wife is a wonderful vegan cook. I have more energy than ever. I sleep better and I feel better than ever. Its hard for me to consider this a sacrifice in any way. All of the things I have cut out of my life, have improved my life.

  • Helen

    I am right there with you. I feel like if I can't or won't put something in my mouth, I shouldn't smear it on my body either. So there goes lotion, makeup, deodorant, shampoo etc. Baking soda is king! I use it for cleaning my house, cooking, washing my hair, and making homemade deodorant. So far, nobody has complained and I feel my house and body are cleaner than ever!
    Love your blog. Very inspirational. I wish more people were on your wave length! I also wish people would understand the power we have as consumers. We can absolutely change the world by mindful living and judicious spending.

  • http://www.eliotburdett.com/ Eliot Burdett

    Thanks for stopping by Helen and for the kind words. Gandhi had it right “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

  • Melvin spinoza

    when (no doubt never)will we get all the junk out of super markets;and when(no doubt never)will we get an FDA that does what is needed :outlawing all supplements with stearates and cleaning out(or at least put warning labels)on all food store items which are bad like we do on cigarette packages.That is the only way the producers of all these junks will clean up their poisons and put lots of doctors out of quackery drug pill issuers clothed as medications and the BS word therapy;proving we have no FDA since nothing is done by them and when it is it is because you do not belong to their private”club”.Like when they allowed aspartame to pass as a safe additive;and thereafter poison the un-educated public into believing it is safe.These are some of the reasons it is next to impossible to follow a proper diet in the USA and other so called civilized countries.

  • http://www.eliotburdett.com/ Eliot Burdett

    Melvin – thanks for dropping by. Anyone who cares about their own health would be wise to learn about what they eat rather than relying on a government agency to take care of their health. Eliot

  • Ricky Ferdon

    Thanx, Eliot – found you through Jacob at Sensophy, he mentioned your book collection in his post of 20 quotes from “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I made big changes too, beginning with becoming vegan in the wee hours of January 4th this year after viewing the film “Earthlings”. As time has unfolded, I’ve given up all animal products, also dangerous deodorants, commercial soap and shampoos, bought a distiller and use distilled water for cooking and drinking (look into it), try to buy organic when possible, otherwise rinse veggies and fruits well, given up caffeine as well, fallen in love with smoothies, etc. And my mother has Alzheimers. Anyway, happy to have found your blog and will subscribe today! Namaste!

  • http://www.eliotburdett.com/ Eliot Burdett

    Ricky – great to hear from you and kudos on the seriously big commitment to living consciously. Keep me posted on how it goes!
    Eliot.

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