Pushing Pink Elephants

Simple Tips By Our Own Board Member

Emily’s Simple Tips for Healthier Living


Emily is a wife and mother of two active kiddos. Like many busy moms she also juggles a part-time job, serving with her church and volunteering locally, plus the time she puts into Pushing Pink Elephants. Life is busy, so Emily gradually introduced simple changes to promote a healthier lifestyle for her family. Here are some of Emily's tips for making small changes toward a healthier future. Every change, regardless of how small it may seem, makes a difference in your health!






Green Cleaning

  • Natural, homemade household cleaners are better for our health and our wallet. I use 2 ingredients for all of my cleaning - distilled white vinegar (a natural antibacterial) and baking soda (a non-toxic scrubber). Vinegar can be used to clean most everything in the kitchen and bathroom. Keep spray bottles in the kitchen and bathroom with 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water. Sprinkle sinks with baking soda, spray with vinegar, and scrub! Find more all natural cleaning ideas here.


Easy, Healthy Eating

  • Drinking greens is the easiest way to boost our nutrient intake. If juicing sounds daunting, try green smoothies instead. My family loves this simple green smoothie with banana, kale, almond milk and chia seeds. Get creative by adding other fruits like pear or kiwi. An optimal greens to fruit ratio is 3:1, so gradually increase the amount of greens and decrease the amount of fruit.
  • Flaxseeds and chia seeds are loaded with omego-3s, fiber, and powerful, cancer-fighting antioxidants. Sneak a tablespoon into your green smoothies or 1/4 cup into baked goods to boost the nutritional value of the foods you eat regularly.
  • Over the past year my family has loaded our diet with raw veggies and drastically reduced the amount of dairy, meat and processed foods that we eat. A mostly raw, vegan diet may sound intimidating, so start small with just one or two vegan meals a week. Soups and chilis are great ways to provide hearty, healthy meals for your family. Check out our recipe section for flavorful recipes your family will love.
  • Sneaking extra vegetables into your recipes is an easy way to increase the nutrient value of your foods. Try getting creative with some of the staple recipes your family already loves by adding a few extra chopped or pureed vegetables. Lightly sautéd mushrooms, spinach and zucchini make great additions to spaghetti sauce and spinach or kale can be added to most soups.
  • Planning menus in advance discourages last minute take out, saves time in the kitchen, and cuts your grocery bill. Before making a grocery list, determine how many meals are needed for the week and choose recipes accordingly. Plan a few larger meals to have leftovers for busy evenings on the run. I base our menus on in-season produce and sale items.
  • Cook once, eat twice. Another easy way to cut back on take out and save time is to cook large meals that can be served multiple times. Double your soup recipes and freeze half to serve later or make meals that can be served multiple ways, like veggies over rice that can double as fajitas the next night.
  • Stir fry is a staple in our house because it’s quick, easy, and packed with cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and fiber. Visit our recipe section to find a few of our favorite stir fry recipes and substitute whatever veggies you already have on hand.
  • Canned goods are often lined with BPA. One way to avoid BPA is to use dried beans instead of canned beans. Who has time to cook their own beans? Believe it or not, cooking beans takes little effort. Not to mention that dry beans are healthier and more economical than canned beans. Here are easy steps for cooking beans in the slow cooker and freezing them so you always have enough on hand. I usually cook two one-pound bags at a time.
  • Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or co-op. Since CSA’s provide weekly pick-ups of pre-picked, farm fresh produce, your shopping list is already decided for you, which saves time.  As a bonus, CSA’s offer locally grown, often organic vegetables for a fraction of the price of what you’ll find at the grocery store.
  • Buying organic may sound expensive, so try replacing one item on your grocery list at a time. Reference the EWG’s dirty dozen list and decide which produce your family consumes most often, like apples or carrots.  Start buying that item organic, then every few weeks replace another item on your shopping list.
  • Keep your organic veggies lasting longer by using green produce storage bags, like Debbie Meyer’s EvertFresh GreenBags
  • After unpacking the groceries take a few minutes to wash your produce, especially single serve items like apples and pears. You’re more likely to grab a healthy snack on the run if it’s already washed and ready to eat!
  • Coconut oil should be a staple in every kitchen. Oils heated past their smoking point can produce free radicals that may lead to aging, tissue damage, and disease. Because of its high smoking point, coconut oil can safely be used for medium-high heat cooking like stir fries, sautés, and popcorn. 
  • Drinking lemon water is an easy way to flush out toxins, balance the body’s pH, and encourage glowing skin. Start the day with 16oz of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice from a quarter of a lemon. Warm water stimulates the digestive system more than cold water, and lemon has an alkalizing effect on the body. Lemon water helps to cleanse the digestive system, flushes out toxins, boots metabolism, and keeps the liver and kidneys functioning properly. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra boost to your metabolism (yes, it sounds a little strange, but the spicy taste is hidden by the lemon).


Natural Beauty Secrets

  • Our skin is our largest organ, so what we slather on it makes a huge impact on our health. I was initially overwhelmed at the thought of changing all of the beauty and health care products my family uses, so I started by replacing those that I thought would have the greatest impact, like lotion, moisturizer and sunscreen. 
  • Many sunscreens are full of harmful chemicals. Visit the Environmental Work Group’s Guide to Sunscreens to see how your favorite sunscreens rank. I was pleased to find a few of our favorite brands ranked as “low hazard.” By using coupons or buying on sale, low hazard, brand name sunscreens can be purchased for less than the cost of the moderate-high hazard, generic options you may have used in the past.
  • In addition to the EWG’s Skin Deep online database, they also have a Skin Deep mobile app. I use the app when I’m shopping to find a new product’s safety rating before I buy it. It’s as easy as scanning the barcode of a beauty or health product, and the app provides the product’s safety rating based on the toxicity and allergy risk of its ingredients.
  • Coconut oil is an inexpensive, chemical-free moisturizer. For a safe, fragrance-free alternative to expensive lotions, massage a small amount of coconut oil onto your face, dry patches on your skin, and lips.
  • The Honest Company offers samples of safe, eco-friendly beauty and household products to test for free. They also offer a no-commitment membership that allows customers to have their favorite products shipped to their door for a flat rate every 4, 6 or 8 weeks.


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