The clean life

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With Lauren Dahl and Kezia Neusch

Definitions & Labels


  • Products: A product with the organic seal must contain 95% organic ingredients meaning they are produced using approved organic farming methods “that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Specifically, “synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used” to produce organic food, meaning that organic food products are not genetically modified and have not been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

  • Produce with USDA seal: Can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. - See more at:

  • Meat products: Regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones. - See more at:

  • Cannot contain GMOs.


  • (Genetically modified organisms) A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. A plant or animal that has been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

  • E.g. Strawberries and tomatoes injected with fish genes to stop them freezing.

All Natural:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does not define or regulate use of the label “natural” on food products. “the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances,” CAN still contain HFCS and GMOs.

  • Regarding meat and dairy: USDA does regulate the word. It must be “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed”. When purchasing “natural” meat, poultry, and eggs there are no artificial ingredients or colors added. CAN still contain antibiotics or hormones.

Fair Trade:

  • Fair trade is trade in conformity with a fair-trade agreement. A movement whose goal is to help producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their products so as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices.

Gluten Free

  • A product certified to contain no gluten, processed in a gluten free environment.

Antibiotic Free:

  • The meaning is not solid and can be easily manipulated. Look instead for ‘Organic’, “no antibiotics administered” or “no antibiotics added”.

Free Range

  • Means only that “Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.” There is a lot of room for interpretation ! Look instead for ‘pastured’, which means what we would expect Free Range to mean.

No spray

  • An unregulated term – ask instead what is used to grow them. On a local level it may mean more but ask more questions!

Sugar Free/Fat Free etc

  • Always look at the ingredients! Sugar free usually then means artificial sweeteners and far free usually means a high sugar content! Always ask yourself – what are they NOT promising on the label, because that is usually what IS in the product.

**NOTE: Differences between food and personal products.

  • At least some food labels are regulated by the FDA, for body products though, there is no regulation system. So don’t rely on any label, look at the ingredients.

  • A useful website here is the Environmental Working Group: They are the best resource for looking up any brand to see how it ranks for toxicity. Also gives you brands that are safest.

Diets or Eating Lifestyles:

  • Only eating food that hasn’t been heating to about 118F. A raw vegan diet includes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and nut pastes, grain and legume sprouts, seeds, plant oils, sea vegetables, herbs, and fresh juices.


  • Different interpretations but in general not eating any animal products. Mostly this means meat and dairy but it can also include honey, and not wearing any animal product such as leather.


  • Not eating (and sometimes not wearing or using) anything that involves the killing of an animal.

Seasonal Eating

  • Not all food grows year round! Seasonal eaters choose to eat only (or mainly) foods that are in season local to where they are. This means that the food has not been artificially ripened or travelled long distances, which makes it more nutritious. Is also is believed to give the body what is required at different times of the year.


  • Based on the notion that for optimal health, modern humans should go back to eating real, whole unprocessed foods that are more healthful than harmful to our bodies. 

  • Focuses on eating whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation and avoiding foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and the laboratory-concocted Frankenfoods found in the middle aisles of your neighborhood supermarket.

In the Kitchen
What we keep on hand:
Food processor: e.g. Vitamix, Blentec, Ninja

Coffee/spice grinder

Blender e.g. Cuisinarticer


Other items:

Knives – a few good ones


Storage: Mason jars (Buy locally at Winco), recycled jars, Bees wrap

Tools: Veggie peeler, Spiralizer, skillets, garlic press

The Beginning – Purchasing Food

        • Road-side stands

        • Grow your own

        • Look around the area – I’ve found persimmons, pomegranates, pears, plums, blackberries, figs, apples all free just from finding trees – keep your eyes open!!!

        • Orchard Nutrition – Best for all organic, locally grown produce.

        • Craigslist – great for bulk buying seasonal local food, often you can find good eggs here too.

        • Azure Standard: Best for low prices on healthy and organic items, when bought in bulk.

        • Amazon – often has the lowest prices on products, for not buying bulk.

        • Farmers Markets:

          • Schedule

        • Winco. Great for buying well priced bulk dry goods, with a mix of a few organic things.

        • Costco has increasing ranges of organic things both produce and products.

Tips for doing healthy eating on a budget

        • Eating seasonally – food that is in season is always cheaper!

        • Buy in bulk: plan and store so it doesn’t go bad, but on most things buying in bulk will get you a discount (especially with local growers, and at Azure).

        • Purchasing certain things at certain places – shop around. With different seasons, different places have different prices on products. If you have the time and can go to different stores you can save a lot!!

Getting it from the fridge (or garden) to the table
Menu planning – There are many different ways to meal plan. Here are some examples.

  • Plan Everything: Plan each meal and each ingredient needed at the beginning of week. Grocery shop for those and cook according to your schedule.

    • For full examples and detailed meal plans –, and read Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker and Real Life Paleo by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry. There are weeks of meal plans a those places.

  • Weekly Repeat: plan out 5-6 meals each week and repeat them until your family gets tired of them. You might be able to eat same things for 3-4 months then come up with a new rotation. This makes grocery shopping easy because it's the same each week, and you know what to expect to make each night.

    • Monday: Quinoa w/meat

    • Tuesday: Tacos

    • Wednesday: homemade pizza

    • Thursday: Soup and Salad

    • Baked sweet potatoes with grilled meat and a vegetable side

    • Friday: Fish

    • Saturday: Burgers and salad or a raw veggie side

    • Sunday: Eat up leftovers picnic style.

  • Go To Planning: Here you would have normal "go to" meals for days you have less than 30 minutes to cook, but on other days look up recipes with ingredients you have on hand if you have 1+ hour for dinner (good if you have your own garden or CSA box).

  • Freezing: Spend one weekend making several months worth of freeze-able dinner entrees. This is a good option if you don't like being in the kitchen in the evenings. You can spend one weekend and knock out all your entrees for several months. Takes planning ahead to gather all ingredients needed for a major cooking spree.

  • Weekend Prepping: If you don't like to cook each night (or don't have time) you can grocery shop on weekend and prep entrees in one day. Must have meals that can be prepped ahead of time and kept in fridge (sauté veggies and reheat later in week, etc.)

    • Example: This could be used for breakfasts in a busy house.

      • Almond butter and homemade spelt toast, or sliced apples and bananas – Slice and store bread in the freezer, pull out by the slice for an easy breakfast.

      • Paleo Pancakes – make ahead and freeze, then toast and drizzle with maple syrup and sliced fruit. (

      • Make muffins for the week than can be pulled out the night before for a grab and go breakfast. (

      • Cook up a big vegetable hash (dices onions, garlic, sweet potatoes and any seasonal veg) then heat a small amount in a skillet and crack eggs on top.

      • Make smoothies ahead and store in fridge or freezer.

Eating Out – Navigating a Menu
You don’t have to compromise to eat out.

Don’t believe your first look at a menu. Look a little beyond what’s stated and ask what they are able to accommodate.

  • Ask for salads with dressings on the side

  • Ask for sauces on the side.

  • Ask what is in things!

  • Remove unwanted cheeses, croutons etc.

  • Ask for a lemon wedge to dress a salad

  • Ask for extra veggies

  • Ask for meat or fish to be grilled instead of another method

  • Ask for meats and fish unbreaded

  • If you are polite, don’t be afraid to ask!!!

Examples in Redding

  • Moonstone: Best for great local and organic food, well priced burgers

  • Grilla Bites: Large selection of organic salads and meats

  • Fresh Fire Grill: Organic meat and fresh healthy, well priced meals

  • Chipotle: GMO free, some attention to meat sourcing, some produce organic.

TOP 3 STEPS of what to change NOW

      • Free 10 things!

Reading Resources

  • French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon

  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver




  • Danielle Walker for paleo and Meal Planning

  • Raw food real world

  • Just Google ingredients for recipes!

  • Jamie Oliver

Watching Resources

    • Food Matters

    • Knives over Forks

    • Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

    • Fed up (On Sugar)

    • Jamie Oliver (for philosophy and info and inspiration.)

TOP 3 STEPS of what to change NOW

  1. Strategically plan meal prep time

  2. Get rid of synthetic/refined products: artificial sweetners, margarine, white bread, white rice, candies

  3. Add one piece of fresh produce to each meal

On the Body
Simplify – Look through and work out what do you really need, declutter and reprioritize!
Brands to buy and places to shop:

Dr Bronners

Honest Beauty

The honest company

Locally – The Art of Skin Care
Making your own:

  • Hairspray


  • Deodorant

    • Equal amounts of cornstarch and baking soda. Add in just enough melted coconut oil to make it a paste.

    • Works amazing, but could irritate underarms after several months of use due to the baking soda.

  • Tooth Powder

    • Baking soda and add a small amount of stevia until the saltiness taste disappears. Sprinkle on toothbrush, and then brush!

  • Dry shampoo

    • Equal amounts of cocoa powder and arrowroot powder

TOP 3 STEPS of what to change NOW

  1. Coconut oil/olive oil moisturizer and make up remover

  2. Look up 1 of your personal products on EWG

  3. Soap

Further Reading

  • Environmental Working Group:

    • Best resource for looking up any brand to see how it ranks for toxicity. Also gives you brands that are safest. Anything you can think of: sunscreen, shampoo, deodorant, etc.

    • Wellness Mama

    • A great first article to read!

In Your Home

Reduce, reuse, recycle

    • Think before trashing! Could it have another use? Is there a way to avoid that type of waste next time?

    • Bigfoot

    • Dump (takes 1 and 2 grade plastics only)

    • Goodwill, Salvation Army, Craigslist (paint and chemicals, old appliance etc)

    • Compost

Cleaning your home:

  • DIY Recipes for cleaners –

    • All purpose cleaner

      • Works on floors (not hardwood), counter tops (not granite), mirrors, windows, carpet, rugs, appliances, toilets, showers

      • ½ water, ½ vinegar, and 8-10 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)

    • Hardwood floor or wood furniture cleaner

      • Fill spray bottle with water and mix 1/8 cup of Murphy’s Oil Soap

      • For floor, use a terry cloth mop with this cleaner

    • Granite & Stone cleaner

      • ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 Tbls dish soap, 8-10 drops of essential oil (optional), and fill rest of bottle with water

    • Furniture polish, hand salve, chapstick, wood wax

      • 1 part beeswax & 2 parts olive oil

      • Heat beeswax in double broiler & mix in olive oil. Pour into container and let it set up.

      • If too soft, reheat and add more beeswax. If too hard, reheat and add more olive oil.

Better Buyable Cleaning Brands: Branch Basics, Dr Bronners, Mrs Meyers, Murphy’s Oil Soap for floors
Simple Remedies and Products:

Toxins in your home: Carpet, bedding, furniture, clothing, pots/pans, plastics, toys, etc.
TOP STEPS of what to change NOW

    1. Cleaning supplies

    2. Pots and pans

    3. Look for organic products in future purchases: clothing, bedding, etc.

    4. Children: anything they chew on (pacifiers, toys, crib, blankets, animals)

Further Reading and Resources

  • Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

  • Slow Death by a Rubber Duck by 

  • Children clothing and toys:

  • Children toys and plush animals:

  • Products (kitchen):

  • Mattresses:

Favourites: People to follow online for inspiration and ideas

FREE places to start!!

  1. Purchasing bulk oats, maple syrup, and cinnamon instead of packaged oatmeal

  2. Make your own nut milk

  3. Get produce from CSA instead of grocery store

  4. Begin meal planning how it best suits your style

  5. Start recycling paper and glass

  6. Start a compost pile

  7. Great "new" creative meals from leftovers

  8. Use reusable bags for any kind of shopping (Target, the mall, grocery, etc.)

  9. Commit to filing up and using your water bottle instead of buying or accepting bottled water.

  10. Make your own household cleaners

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