Living with a chronic illness can be daunting (to say the least!), and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands of daily life.
However, I know firsthand how incorporating clean living practices into your routine can help improve your overall health and well-being. (Whether you’re battling chronic disease or not!)
By making small changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits, you can begin to experience the benefits of clean living and take control of your health.
In this post, I’ve got five practical and actionable ways that you can start your clean living journey today for a healthier, better YOU!
Understanding the Link Between Chronic Illness & Clean Living
OK, let’s talk clean living! You may have heard this buzzword thrown around lately, but what exactly does it mean?
Simply put, clean living is all about improving your health by making conscious choices to eliminate harmful toxins and prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
And for those battling chronic illness, it can truly be a game-changer. Studies show that clean living practices such as eating whole foods, reducing stress, and avoiding harmful chemicals can actually reduce inflammation and improve quality of life.
So, it’s time to ditch the junk and give your body the TLC it deserves. Ready to take control of your health and start living clean?
1. Watch what you put in your mouth
First and foremost, let’s talk diet! It’s amazing what a difference the food we put in our bodies can make in either hurting or helping our diseases. (I know this first hand!!)
There’s no neutral food – everything we eat is either healing or hurting us!
Did you know that gut health plays a huge role in autoimmune diseases? Research shows that improving our diets can reduce inflammation, improve energy levels, and even improve mental health.
So, what’s the best way of eating for YOU? The answer is: it depends. Understanding that bio-individuality plays a key role, start by experimenting with clean, whole, unprocessed foods.
If you suffer from severe gut issues, autoimmune diseases, or even cancer, you might want to consider moving towards a strict elimination diet such as carnivore or animal based. By removing all the plant toxins, sugars (even natural sugars in fruit), plus starchy carbs and processed foods, your body can start aligning again.
Slowly, you can add back foods and see how your body reacts to each – but you’ll never know what is causing inflammation until you cut out!
In my personal experience, the ketovore/animal-based diet was a game changer! Read all about it here.
2. Toss the Toxins
Ah, toxins. The pesky little things that seem to be everywhere these days. Did you know that they can actually worsen chronic illnesses?
Research has found a strong link between environmental toxins and conditions like respiratory diseases. And let’s be real, as chronic illness warriors, and we don’t need any more sh*t!
But there are some easy ways to reduce your exposure to these harmful substances without sterilizing your home like a hospital or living on the moon.
Easy ways to get started:
- Start by swapping out chemical cleaners for natural products
- Ditch plastic containers for glass storage containers
- Upgrade your beauty products for non-toxic, cleaner options
Even simple swaps can put you on your way to a toxin-free lifestyle in no time!
One of my favorite resources is mindful momma. I’ve ordered a lot of her recommended clean living products over the last six months.
Here are a few of the clean living products I’m loving right now:
Branch Basics Laundry & Cleaning Product
Glass Containers (vs. Tupperware)
Native Health and Beauty Products – deodorant, lotions, body wash, etc.
Get my full list of the 11 Best clean living Products for Chronic Illness Warriors.
A quick note on EMF’s….
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are areas of energy associated with using electrical power and various forms of lighting.
The jury is still out on the exact ramifications or EMF, but chronic illness warriors should limit exposure to improve overall health and wellness.
This is because high levels of high-frequency EMFs can damage DNA and cells – this can come from your mobile phone, from medical devices like X-ray machines or, even from the sun.
To minimize exposure to EMFs, try turning off devices when not in use, using wired connections instead of Wi-Fi, and limiting electronic devices before bed. (Yes, put that iPhone in another room at night!)
3. Move your Body (at least a little!)
Let’s face it – sitting is the new smoking. And if you’re a chronic illness warrior, the ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle can be even dier.
That’s why it’s crucial to incorporate movement into your daily routine (even if you feel like sh*t).
Not only can physical activity improve mobility and alleviate pain, but research even suggests that it can play a vital role in managing conditions like fibromyalgia.
But don’t worry, incorporating movement doesn’t have to mean becoming a gym rat overnight.
Simple activities like gentle yoga or a leisurely walk can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
Remember, movement is medicine, so prioritize it in your daily routine for optimal health and well-being.
So grab those sneakers and get moving – your body (and mind) will thank you.
4. Catch some ZZZZZ’s
We’ve all heard the phrase “sleep is for the weak,” but when it comes to chronic illness warriors, sleep is actually our best weapon.
Studies have shown that sleep disturbances are common among chronic pain patients and are often associated with depression. (Again, we don’t need any more drugs or anti-depressants, am I right?!)
Even when we don’t feel well, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes avoiding screens before bed, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. (And try to avoid scrolling through your social media feeds before hitting the hay….the constant dopamine hits will keep you wide-eyed and awake!)
Remember, rest can take many forms, such as taking a walk outside or engaging in a relaxing activity like deep breathing.
I know first-hand how difficult it is to rest when you actually feel good – you want to make the most of your ‘good days’ – but creating time and space for rest EVERY day is important for the long haul.
One of my favorite books (recommended by my therapist) is: Scared Rest. It reviews the seven different types of rest we need for a more peaceful and balanced life.
It’s a must-read!
5. Practice Stress Busting Activities
Chronic illness can have a very negative impact on our lives, often leading to increased stress and anxiety that we didn’t ask for!
Studies have shown that stress can increase inflammation and pain in individuals with chronic illnesses.
This, in turn, can exacerbate symptoms and lead to a vicious cycle of poor health outcomes that seems like your life (and health) are spiraling out of control.
It’s easy just to say, ‘relax’ to those with chronic illness – after all, aren’t they hanging out in their PJs all day anyway? Not so fast… Those of us suffering from chronic diseases need your support and understanding. We already feel like sh*t for being unable to contribute and live life with y’all!
Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises are just a couple of techniques that can get you on the path to a happier, healthier, and less stressed version of yourself.
But what really takes the load off a Spoonie is having a support system – it’s the best stress management tool in our toolbox!
My personal chronic illness experience
I spent years working towards what I thought was ‘a healthy way to live’ to learn later the hard way that it wasn’t…
You can learn more about my experience here & here.
I pray that by sharing my story and recovery, I can help those who are on their way to burnout and illness before they get there!
Once the gene expression gets turned on, the disease is here to stay… yes, it can go into remission, but you’ll always have it….
So now is the time to take care of YOU!
The Wrap-Clean Living for Chronic Illness Warriors
I promise it doesn’t take too much effort to create a clean living journey while managing chronic illness.
With just a few simple steps, you can begin your health journey and make small changes that will benefit your well-being over the long term.
And if taking on all five of these tips at once feels overwhelming, start small and choose one to focus on. By implementing even one fundamental life change, you’re sure to feel better than ever before!
If you want to learn more about clean living and chronic illness management, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly! I’m happy to share more about what I’ve learned.