Our 80/20 Rule

I’ve written about my wellness philosophy in the past, but wanted to touch on one specific piece of it for today’s post: The 80/20 rule that Anel and I try to follow in all walks of our life.

Essentially it means exactly what it sounds like… 80% of the time we try to live as cleanly as possible, and 20% of the time we let things slide. We’ve found that this ratio is the perfect mix of respecting our bodies and having fun while we do it.

Because we do eat a lot of healthy food and use a lot of organic products, when I share something that isn’t totally clean for either us or the baby, people freak out as if they’re disappointed in me… But that’s exactly the life that I’m trying not to lead. One where I have to freak out over every little thing. To me, that’s no way to live!

So I thought I’d give a little history on how we’ve gotten to where we are, why we make the decisions we do when it comes to wellness for our family, and encourage you to give yourself a break sometimes too. Because what is life without chocolate chip cookies or a glass of red wine on a cold snowy night?

Before I get into it, I want to note that just like my philosophy on motherhood, my philosophy on wellness lives in the fact that every person and every body is different so if this way of living isn’t for you, that’s totally cool!

For us, it started with an extreme…

After Anel and I went through a holistic health coaching certification program and became health coaches (years ago), we were super strict with both what went in and on our bodies, but the stress of keeping up a perfectly organic, chemical-free life became exhausting.

I spent six months as gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol free. I’m not going to lie, I felt amazing for the first month or two for sure, but then I was just unhappy and starving all the time. I felt like I was missing out on everything because I was so strict with my diet.

There was a big element of fun missing, so I brought gluten, alcohol, and a little sugar back into my life and finally felt human again. Realizing how I could feel good without being totally “clean” was a huge eye opener for me. At first I felt guilty about eating bagels or a margarita, but when that dissipated I was able to enjoy life with an ease that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

But whenever I went too far in the other direction, eating whatever I wanted with a blatant disregard for my health, I felt like garbage. After maybe a year of tinkering with it, I realized that 80/20 was my magic health and happiness ratio.

When I eat 80% clean, organic food my body feels fueled, strong, and healthy, but the other 20% of the time allows and ease into my life that makes my mind and emotions feel fueled, strong, and healthy.

About a year later, I had another aha moment when my skin was breaking out like crazy and I realized that maybe I didn’t need to use all organic facial products. I switched to a routine that worked for me and my skin looked clear and glowing.

I need to make a few updates to my beauty routine post but you can get the gist of how I roll when it comes to the things I put on my body. Again, it’s about 80/20.

The same thing happened when we moved into our house and had to start cleaning a much bigger space than we were used to. When I was trying to conceive, we went all organic on cleaning products, and while it may or may not have helped the process (we’ll never know), my house simply didn’t look as clean and as someone with mild OCD, that was not working for me.

Guess what our ratio is for home cleaning products? Ding ding ding if you guessed 80/20! For Amalia’s toys, bottles, and high chair, I use exclusively organic cleaning supplies but for everything else I’m more lenient. When our bathtubs started looking really icky, that was pretty much the last straw for me and my organic tile spray… Although if any of you have recommendations for one that actually works, I’m all ears.

I don’t know where I’m trying to go with this except to say that giving yourself a break now and then is ok. It’s really changed the way I live and look at food/wellness, and takes a lot of the guilt out of things.

So tell me, what’s your magic ratio or wellness philosophy?

Photos by Carter Fish.

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  1. Katie said:

    I am so looking forward to seeing if anyone has found a safe (and effective!!!) bathroom cleaner! (Glass included, please!) I love your 80/20 take on things (and honesty on the blog)—when doing what’s right for you and your family you can’t go wrong— keep it up!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I actually love the Method glass cleaner and we use it for all of our windows and mirrors. It does a great job and smells amazing too!

      3.1.18 · Reply
    • Justina said:

      Doesn’t smell amazing, but vinegar works really well on glass for me.

      3.1.18 · Reply
  2. Summer said:

    So what does a typical day of eating look like for you?

    3.1.18 · Reply
  3. Claire said:

    Very inspiring post! Not sure if you have tried it, but Seventh Generation Tub and Tile does a decent job on the tub and it doesn’t break the bank. It also smells so lemony fresh without the chemicals!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That’s what I used to use and I felt like it wasn’t doing a good enough job! Did you use it with a sponge or something else?

      3.1.18 · Reply
  4. Sydney said:

    Not sure if you’ve tried regular vinegar and baking soda in your tub, but I’ve found it makes it nice and bright!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Interesting! Two questions:

      1. What ratio do you use?
      2. Does it smell terrible?

      3.1.18 · Reply
  5. Alyssa said:

    I’m so with you on this. My husband and I eat following what I would consider a paleo template, but we’re not super strict about it. Being strict about it makes me too crazy. I’ve also just learned what makes my body feel good and what doesn’t. I have trouble with dairy but not really with gluten, so I avoid dairy, limit gluten and just take each day as it comes.

    Such a good philosophy. Thank you for sharing!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Exactly! Sounds like we’re on the same page.

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  6. Marisol said:

    I clean with Murchison Hume products and they all work great (and they are natural products, at least that’s what I think I read). My toilet cleaner is by Method and so is my laundry detergent.

    3.1.18 · Reply
  7. Mallory said:

    Julia, thanks for the post. Your balanced approach has been so helpful — I love the organic and all-natural suggestions, but sometimes it just isn’t worth the stress.

    As to cleaning the tub, I do not have a cleaner to recommend, but have you tried any of the products (7th gen., Method) in conjunction with the Scrub Daddy sponge? That think is a miracle worker, and I wonder if you’d have better success with the natural products + that magic sponge!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I haven’t but putting the Scrub Daddy on my CVS list for this week. I’ll see if it works, thanks so much!

      3.2.18 · Reply
  8. allison said:

    Thanks! Love your wellness posts – I hope you continue to do them!

    3.1.18 · Reply
  9. Jillian said:

    Thats so cool that you are a certified health coach! For the past few months, I have been finding new ways to eat holistically..without driving myself insane haha! Growing up, I have had different stomach sensitivities and its amazing how many new and completely natural products that are out their that actually work for me, without making me feel so terrible! It’s so dorky, but i’m always so excited when you do your grocery store haul.. i’ve found some amazing products that I use all the time!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yay! That makes me so happy. I need to remember to do them weekly 🙂

      3.2.18 · Reply
  10. I love the 80/20 rule and your take on it! I try to live my life by the 80/20 rule also. It’s all about balance and being happy. I buy what I can organic but not everything is organic. I read once that anything you eat the skin of (apples, grapes, strawberries…) you should try to get organic and things like bananas and avocados you can skip the organic if it’s not available or too expensive. I try to not eat sweets or drink alcohol during the week and instead load up on smoothies and vegetables. I’d like to clean my home with organic products but like you I feel like they just don’t leave everything perfectly clean! I’ve got slight OCD too.

    3.1.18 · Reply
  11. Reagan Bowman said:

    I would really be interested to see HOW you incorporate eating 80/20. Do you have a cheat meal once a week or just a cookie every couple of days? I love nothing more than a big bowl of homemade pasta or a big slice of chocolate cake, but of course I don’t want to eat both of those together! Balance is hard. I’m such a foodie and I absolutely love to cook and love to dine out. I do get bored cooking light and healthy all the time. I would love to see what your typical week of eating looks like. Thanks!

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Summer said:

      Yes, I agree. I’m a foodie too and find that’s what I have trouble with, total FOMO at restaurants.

      3.1.18 · Reply
  12. Molly said:

    I like to use the EWG’s Healthy Living app. It has a built in bar code scanner to scan health care and home cleaning products to see how safe they are for use. I recognize that it is difficult to go completely green, but I think small changes can have a big impact. This app is not perfect and not everything I scan is listed, but it has been a huge help, especially when trying new products.

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I really need to just remember to use that. I literally always forget! And totally agreed that even tiny changes can make a big impact. Thanks for the reminder.

      3.2.18 · Reply
  13. Allie said:

    I try and have an 80/20 rule too, though I need to get better about cleaning products. Like you it makes me feel good but not deprived, and the 20% is even more fun since it feels like a treat. xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

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  14. I agree with the 80/20 method and I’m working on finding that balance. Sometimes it feels more like 50/50 or 60/40 but I always remind myself each day is a new start 🙂 Thanks for the wellness post!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

    3.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Totally hear you on the always changing ratio!

      3.2.18 · Reply
  15. Courtney said:

    I’m a big fan of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day (lemon verbena) for my kitchen countertops and general cleaning, but nothing seems to clean my tub quite like a magic eraser. I just make sure to wear gloves while using it- but it does a great job with no smell. And I use a Swiffer on my floors and Old English Oil on my wood furniture (which have terrible EWG ratings). . . maybe I need to look into some new options.

    3.2.18 · Reply
  16. I live by this rule too, especially with diet and beauty products. Though I need to get my shit together with clean products… I’m a Clorox and Tide girl through and through and I KNOW I should make the switch to cleaner cleaning products. Would love your recs.

    3.2.18 · Reply