Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Attitude of Apathy

I posted last week about how I have been apathetic towards my diet for my entire life until recently; and not only my diet, but my family's diet. I've spent decades consuming junk, and until recently, my family did as well, and didn't really think much of it. I was never raised to question these things--I always thought..."they couldn't sell it if it isn't safe, right?".
I wondered why I never questioned things before. And not just our diet, but other products around our home. And I really didn't until I had a horrible allergic reaction to Degree deodorant (so, thanks Degree for having something in your fragrances--that they don't have to list the ingredients of by the way--that I am very allergic to) that started me on my journey of researching ingredients and questioning them all. Also, because these companies are not required to list what goes into their "fragrances", I still have no clue what it is I am so allergic to.
So it started with deodorant and morphed into a lifestyle. I realized that I never questioned things before because the harm they cause isn't instant. The effects are long term so they're not as noticeable. Because the deodorant had an instant effect, it sprung me into action. I'm sad that it took something like that happening. I wish that long before now I had taken the time to think about what I put in and on my body and my family as well. I wish that long before now I had had the desire to better care for the bodies God has blessed my family with.
In saying all of that, I think that our attitude of apathy stems from the fact that we don't see immediate results from how these products affect us. And because we don't see immediate harm and they are quick and convenient for our fast paced, way too busy culture, we don't care. It's also a learned attitude. In the local culture in which I reside, my attitude towards health is not the norm; thankfully I am blessed with a few like minded friends, but most think I am a hippy. But I'll be a healthy "hippy" and know that I did the best I can to care for the body God blessed me with.
It's convicting for me as a Christian. I've spent years trashing my body with unhealthy products all for the sake of speed and convenience. And because I was too lazy to take the time to care.
I hear people say, they don't have time to eat healthy. My husband and I both work full time. We have two living children and a non profit we run in memory of our still born son. We have a house full of our personal animals and foster animals. I run a small WAHM business as well. I've always believed that if you are truly passionate about something you will MAKE time for it (that belief is one that convicts me a lot on my Christian walk). So I have made time for my family's health.
And, I can't believe I am saying this, but in the process I have learned to truly enjoy cooking; but not store bought foods--I like taking good locally grown, organic foods, and turning them into meals that my family enjoys. Now, that's not as easy as it sounds. My five year old has become very picky because she's just always eaten popular processed foods like the rest of us, and after two decades of it, I am learning to like some veggies myself. My eyes have been opened to the art of cooking and I'm really enjoying it. (And canning. Everyone on my Christmas list should expect canned foods-ha!). I enjoy the challenge of trying something new and finding a way to serve it so that even my five year old will eat it. So far, so good. (Cate is easy since she was a young baby when we started making our changes.)
I say all of this to challenge yourself to look at the products you use on a daily basis; the foods you consume, the lotions you put on your skin (your largest organ that absorbs those lotions), the deodorant you use, the products you clean your home with, and decide if you are fine with it (I'm sure many will be) or if you want to change something. And if you choose change, I hope you will stick with me on this journey as I share some of the changes we are making and how we are doing them. I would love to hear your ideas as well.

post signature

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15th

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15th is set aside as a special day of remembrance. I find it hard to put into words exactly what this day means to so many people.
As the parents of a baby born still, we remember him every day. As do the siblings and grandparents of all of these babies. We will always remember because we always grieve. We will always grieve because we will always love.
Today, we ask you to remember them with us. I know it's hard. I know it's sad. It's something we carry with us daily. But just this one day out of 365, we ask you to walk beside us. To be a reminder that you acknowledge that our babies lived; that their lives matter. Say their names today. Do a random act of kindness in memory of one of these precious lives.
Participate in the Wave of Light. Light a candle at 7 pm your local time in memory of one of these precious lives. Even if you haven't been affected by Pregnancy or Infant Loss, just remember with us.
I thought this could never happen to me. I was blissfully unaware of PAIL day two years and two months ago. I was unaware that 1 in 4 pregnancies will result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, and I certainly didn't think that I would be that 1 in 4.
 Let their parents know you remember their babies with them. Tell them. It will help them. We aren't asking you to share our pain of losing a child, but we are asking you to share in our joy of being their parents.
"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention their child because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died -- you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift. " - Elizabeth Edwards
post signature

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm an Addict

Yes, I am an addict. I am addicted to sugar. I came to this conclusion pretty recently.
I heard something that said sugar was as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. No, that can't be right. I could quit anytime I want. I would never become addicted to something like alcohol or tobacco. That's damaging to your health.
But, the truth is, it is just as addictive, and in the amounts that the average American consumes, it is damaging to your health.
I'm not one to believe in big time conspiracy theories, and I don't classify all the sugar in American foods as any type of conspiracy theory. It is, however, in large part, a business strategy. Because sugar is addictive, if you enjoy their sugar filled product, you will most likely be a repeat customer. (Think Coca-Colas, juice boxes for your kids, etc)
Guys. It's even in our bread. Unnatural amounts. Curiosity overwhelmed me and I walked to my cabinet and pulled out that 100% whole grain supposedly good for you name brand bread from my cabinet. The third ingredient? HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Why? I make homemade bread from three ingredients (organic): unbleached flour, active dry yeast, and water. That's it. It tastes better, it's better for you, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper. Oh, and it's easy. It's not an art form.
My curiosity wasn't satisfied so I ventured through the rest of my kitchen and I STRUGGLED to find anything that didn't have high fructose corn syrup or insane amounts of sugar. (By the way...fat free =/= sugar free, and you know what your body turns all that excess sugar into that it doesn't know what to do with? FAT). Other than the newer foods I have been buying since we began our household eating habits revamp, almost everything had large amounts of sugar.
So I thought, I'm giving it up. No more. Harder. Than. I. Thought.
I went cold turkey on my Sprite addiction. No more. 10 teaspoons of sugar in ONE drink. I've managed that ok. But by lunch of the first day I was already eyeballing a candy bar and a Sprite. I resisted, but it was TOUGH. My mind wanted that sugar it is so used to.
I've always heard it takes 21 days to make a habit, so I hope that when I check back in with you in a few weeks, we will all be in the habit of eating locally grown, organic foods. I can say that I already feel much better. I have more energy and my body just feels better.
So, this post is my confession. I'm addicted to sugar. I'm counting on you to hold me accountable as I drop the unhealthy amounts (not altogether, just the outrageous amounts) of sugar that are contained in processed foods and drinks.
I'm taking charge of my health and my family's health. I refuse to continue a path of apathy with our health. We only have one life and one body--take care of it!
post signature

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What are you eating?

Do you really know what you are eating? Do you know what you are putting on your body every day?
I think that I can thank Barrett for my new outlook on a few things because when he died, I lost that "It won't happen to me" attitude. I learned "it can happen to me". I've spent A LOT of time reading and researching and checking multiple sources and looking for legitimate studies on so many different things--the food I eat, drinks, beauty products...so much.
I started by ditching my shampoo for natural options. The "detox" was tough but I don't regret it. Since I quit using commercial shampoo, my hair actually has a red tint to it. It is growing SO fast. Apparently, commercial shampoos were not only altering my natural color, but were hindering my hair's growth. My hair has always taken FOREVER to grow. Since ditching my shampoo, it has gone from a short bob to below my shoulders...in just three months.
Then I looked into more. The lotions and beauty products we put on our bodies. Our skin is the largest organ we have. When you think of it that way, it makes sense to take care of it. Your skin absorbs. It's important to look at what you are putting on it.
Deodorant. I didn't think much about this one until all of a sudden I started having allergic reactions to it. I'm talking horrible, painful, itchy rashes all the way from my chest to my elbows from deodorant. AWFUL. So I started looking into ingredients. Aluminum. What? Then "fragrances" <----what exactly are the fragrances? Because apparently something in the "fragrances" of a particular brand are something I am EXTREMELY allergic to. But, guess what? I don't even know what it is I am allergic to because they don't have to list what goes into "fragrances". Comforting, right?
Photo curtesy of: blogs.furman.edu
Food. Oh gosh. That will need to be it's own post. Just look into. Look into the ingredients of foods you eat EVERY day. Foods your children eat EVERY day. Even things such as bread. That whole wheat, whole grain bread I was buying that I *thought* was good for me...yeah, not so much. The third ingredient listed on the packaging (along with a TON) of others is "high fructose corn syrup". Why? I just made homemade bread the other day. I used water, organic white flour, yeast, and a little salt. Cheaper and doesn't have a whole list of ingredients. (And it was SO good, we ate the whole loaf in two days--my family who never finishes a loaf of bread devoured it!). I just gave bread as an example because something that should be a simple list of ingredients, isn't. I encourage you to really look at the ingredients of the foods you are eating.

I also hear that "eating organic and healthy is sooooo expensive". It does cost more. There is no sense in denying that. BUT it's doable even on a strict budget. I have personally cut costs in other places by making my own beauty products (SO much cheaper and LOADS better for you), reusable snack bags instead of ziplocs, "unpaper" towels and napkins, and the list goes on and on (for us it also includes cloth diapering and wipes--another way to be easier on Cate's skin and saves tons of money!).

I was never taught to question things. I learned a lot of valuable lessons growing up, but one thing that was assumed was that you just did what you were told and they wouldn't be able to sell a product if it wasn't "safe". Wrong. 

I'm thankful for my husband who is willing to go along with changes I make (even if he lovingly calls me a hippy while I do!).

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;  you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

^^^That's my motivator. I'm taking care of my temple and those of my family. I know it's impossible to do an immediate complete purge. Trust me, I know, because I am doing it one product at a time. How? Well I'll be blogging about it along the way. This is just your intro. I hope you will follow along as I transition my family from a "commercialized" home, to a natural, local grown home.
post signature