Our environment includes the home we live in, where we work and play, whether we live in the city, country, or suburbs, whether we have access to healthy foods or live in a “nutrition desert,” and if we live somewhere we feel safe.


You’ve found your Traffic Lights list of “green, yellow, and red-light” foods. Now, it’s time to give your kitchen a makeover.

That includes getting rid of the four containers of mint chocolate chip ice cream you conveniently “forgot” you had. The salsa that gives you indigestion. The caramel popcorn you got for your daughter’s sleepover that never got eaten. The vegetables that give you gas. Bags of chips you bought on sale. Your stash of peanut M&M’s hidden in the back of your desk. Anything that you have identified as coming from your “red-light” list, it’s time to say goodbye.

Getting Started

The first step to getting a handle on your kitchen is to choose a small area to start with, especially if you get easily overwhelmed. Since we’re talking about edibles rather than dishes and cutlery, perhaps a good place to start is the pantry. The freezer. The refrigerator. The Lazy Susan. A shelf.

Pull everything out of the designated space. Everything. Clean the shelf to signal to yourself that you’re starting over.


What should you do if you have a feeling that your own home might be making you sick? Below are some starting points to consider in order to become your own “toxin detective.”

Improve Indoor Air Quality

In late summer during the past decade, Seattle’s air quality has suffered due to wildfires. When the rain finally returned, it cleansed the air so that we could see the blue sky and be outside without masks. However, if you find you continue to struggle when the outside air returns to normal, it may be a good time to look into improving your indoor air quality as well.

  • Acquire an air filtration unit for your bedroom. Your goal should be to optimize sleeping spaces since they are where you recharge and restore your body a third of each day.
  • Invest in a whole-house air filtration system. The benefits are many: it reduces springtime allergens such as pollen, removes pathogens and smoke during late summer, and improves the quality of the air if you have any sensitivity to pet dander, or if you frequently entertain guests who use perfumes or colognes.
  • Open the windows in any room where you spend a lot of time. It’s also great to do in late spring on a nice warm day.
  • Invest in a few potted plants.
  • Hire a building biologist. Indoor environmental consultants can help you identify and address health hazards in your home environment, from air, water, and biological contaminants to electromagnetic fields from nearby cell towers.



Anything in your home that you love, need, or use, is not clutter. Everything else needs to go.

Emotional clutter, however, is far more complicated, with deeper roots. Consider the host of emotions you might feel when facing purging something:

“I just know as soon as I get rid of it, I’ll need it.”

“Nobody notices that crack in the frame except me.”

“You can never have too many dog toys.”

“My grandmother gave that to me right before she died. I can’t just throw it out.”

“I wear that every other December when we host for the holidays. It’s getting snug.”

Do you recognize yourself in any of them? How can we bust through the clutter in our homes when the thought of letting go of anything causes such turmoil? The answer may lie in unearthing the reasons for the clutter.


Are you sick of saying you’re going to change but never doing it? Are you really sure you’re ready? Then learn how to get massive leverage on yourself, once and for all, so that the change sticks.

Think of change as a series of stepping stones. You cannot cross any river (metaphorical or actual) without taking the first step. What is the first step you need to take to get massive leverage on yourself?

Are You Ready to Change?

In order to change a bad habit for good, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be RAW — Ready, Able, and Willing — to change
  • Know exactly what behavior you want to eliminate and what you want to replace it with
  • Have a supportive community
  • Make it so that keeping the old habit becomes more painful than creating a new one

Let’s take a look at each, including my own experience with massive leverage. And at the end of reading, if you are inspired to change, let’s talk about what that will look like for you.








Before I share my recent experience with forest bathing, I wish to extend deep gratitude to Chloe Lee, affiliated with Cascadia Forest Therapy. She first introduced me to the practice in March 2021. Chloe has a unique and deeply personal way of extending “Invitations” to enjoy the forest.

Last Tuesday, she invited me to join her on a guided walk in the Arboretum. During our two hours, she asked me several questions about my own practice which I thought would make a good introductory blog post. Any errors herein are mine alone.

What Is Forest Bathing?

Put most simply, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is the Japanese practice of self-care and mindfulness that involves opening your senses to all the forest has to offer, from noticing movement, seeking tiny objects, experiencing colors in new ways, or finding a place to sit and absorb whatever Mother Nature offers.

If after reading this post you’re interested in learning more, please visit Cascadia Forest Therapy’s article on a “Typical Forest Bathing Session” or scroll down for some wonderful resources I found on my shelf.