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Baby Steps to Natural Living

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If you’ve been around here for long, it’s no secret that I l.o.v.e. doing things naturally. I love learning and researching how to eliminate chemicals and toxins from our home and keep them from going into our bodies. I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and it certainly hasn’t been easy (not in the least!). But it has been fun! I see each aspect of change as a challenge. I envision what it must have been like to do these tasks or create these foods 150 years ago over a hot, wood-burning stove in the middle of summer with 15 layers of clothes on…and it is amazing how much funner (yes, that’s a word…ok, it’s not but I pretend it is) these tasks become. No joke!

Life, Naturally

But, what does “naturally” mean? Well, my definition would be this:

naturally – nat*u*ral*ly, seeking to live life with as few artificial contributions as possible. Put simply, do it myself.

“Ok, you’re crazy,” you say. Possibly. But I’ll tell you why “naturally.” For me, it is a conviction. As a follower of Christ, I have a responsibility to care for this body He has given me (as well as those in my family). Many believers teach about the sins of promiscuity and the need for moral integrity, etc. (which is good!). But how about the sins of gluttony or laziness? Did you know that your everyday lotions and beauty products contain ingredients that are very, very harmful? This is true for most of the products we use, whether ingested, injected or used topically. So is using these things helpful or harmful to my body? I believe it is honoring to God for us to be aware of what we are taking in; we wouldn’t want our children ingesting second-hand smoke on an on-going basis or watching pornography. Many of the commercial products we use are just as harmful to our bodies, yet we continue to down them and drink them.

Now, a lot of amazing things have come from labs, factories and plants in the past 150 years or so. But a lot of bad things have come out of them, as well. Particularly, the demand for ease and deserving attitude that is so prevalent in our culture. Think about it…we microwave leftovers instead of pulling out a pot three minutes sooner. We don’t want to take a few extra steps (or in many cases, including mine, don’t know how) to make chicken broth so we buy it packaged in the store. We buy the latest gadget/cleaning product/fitness routine/meal-plan/diet/immunization-suggestions that promise immortality, to shave time off that task, or get the results we want while “eating our cake, too.” But there’s a cost. A very high cost, at that.

The Cost of Convenience

For instance, buying just about any food bought in a conventional grocery store has the potential to save you money….short term. Heck, it even has the potential to make you money if you shop right. (I used to get those deals and they were exhilarating!) Unfortunately, those products in bright boxes and cool bags contain unnatural ingredients.

Yeah, but they’re FDA approved, so what’s the big deal?

The problem is that many of them, while FDA-approved, wreak havoc in our bodies in very, very serious ways. The chemicals in food products, cleaning products, toiletries, immunizations, etc have been proven to be harmful to our bodies – they are making us sick as a nation. They are lowering fertility, creating higher infant mortality, causing cancer/celiac disease/asthma/ADHD/allergies, etc, etc, etc. (If you haven’t watched this documentary, I would highly encourage you to do so. Genetic Roulette will be life-changing! …in a good way!)

What To Do?!

Fortunately, the art of making things ourselves is one that is pretty easily learned and, like I said earlier, fun. Does it take more time to make these items like cleaning products, home remedies, and foods than it does to buy them in the store and pick up a prescription. Most times, yes. But the payoff is amazing. My food is fresher. My family is healthier. I spend less money on chemicals (cleaning products, ingredients in packaged foods and medicines) and more on…food. Seems like a good trade-off, right?

However, it can be vaaaastly overwhelming and nearly impossible to know where to start. Of course, there are many “12 Step Programs” for the conventional American to take. I’ll simply (pun intended) give you my suggestions:

1. Pick one area, then one item.

Is it the food that you buy/make/eat that bothers you? Is it the cleaning products? What about your toiletries? Or your health and hundreds in Rx costs? Pick one area and then hone in on one aspect of that area. If it’s your health, what natural remedies are there for your condition? If it’s cleaning products, which do you use most often? If it’s food, which item concerns you? And then…

2. Research.

Search the internet. Read articles. Ask questions. Find someone who is “a step ahead” and become their apprentice. Make no changes until you feel confident in your decisions to make changes. Unfortunately, the marketers are doing a great job in selling “natural” and “organic” products that sometimes are no better than their counterparts. You’ll discover which ones are clever marketing as you dig deeper. Now this can take a while or a few minutes, depending on the item you’re researching. But I can attest that it is well worth turning off that show and spending a few minutes reading blog posts to learn how I can better care for my family (though I do still watch TV, almost every night!….a subject for another time, though =).

3. Implement.

This is the fun part. All your new findings come together and you excitedly pull some new recipe out of the oven and…it’s a mess. Or you brew your herbs and…your kiddo still has a snotty nose for three more days! Or you wipe down that tub and…your arm breaks off from scrubbing so hard. Yes, it’s possible. Just as it’s possible that that new Rx from the doctor didn’t work so they had to up the dosage. Just as it’s possible that that Hamburger Helper was quite as disastrous. Just as it’s possible that that Soft Scrub caused your arm to grow some serious muscle even though the commercial shows a woman with her hair done up, in her neat little outfit and bent happily over the tub. But I’m telling you, there’s a high – an excitement – that comes from the victory of trial and error and pushing through the “error” part to victory! And knowing that you can do this again and again, which spurs you on to…

4. Pick the next item.

I dare you to stop at number 3. You won’t be able to. It’s just sososo rewarding to know you can do something yourself, save money and give your family something better/fresher/natural.

5. Watch for guilt.

This little booger sneaks up on us like a mosquito, but leaves much worse consequences than an itchy bite. There will always be someone who is further along in this process than me. I can get frustrated that I’m not doing enough or that I don’t have the money to overhaul this particular area of our lives. At the end of the day, did I love on my family? Were they fed and clothed? Did I honor God with my priority-placement? Those are the biggest biggies, right? Everything else will eventually fall into place! So remember to take it slow and find those who are “behind” you who could benefit from your new-found knowledge and experience! Become a teacher!

Over the past few years, these are a few of the changes I’ve been able to make (this is a sloooooow process):

  • Cloth diapers and line drying
  • Switched all processed oils to coconut oil, homemade tallow and a little bit of olive oil
  • Organic produce (EWG is a great resource for what is good to buy organic and what is personal choice and check out the awesome new company Local Organic Moms!!!)
  • Make bread
  • Make household cleaners (vinegar and water, baby!)
  • Soap nuts for laundry detergent
  • Grassfed beef and pastured chickens
  • Raw dairy
  • Eliminated processed and pasteurized foods from my pantry and fridge
  • Make kombucha (a probiotic drink suuuuuuper beneficial to the health of your gut!)
  • Make toothpaste
  • Soak beans and nuts
  • Make handsoap
  • No immunizations

Some of you are probably laughing at how small this list is…leave a comment so I can find you and learn from you!!! =) For those of you who are tempted to be overwhelmed or intimidated by it, please remember…this list is an accumulation of years of “switching.” I didn’t make these changes overnight!

The next areas I hope to tackle are household items and toiletries. I want to find alternatives for things like deodorant, shampoo and paper towels/napkins. I’ve been gathering my information and am about ready to take the plunge in a couple of them! =)

What are you currently working on?

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The Great Shot Debate, part 2

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&tbnid=1s1OW-u2rM7e7M:&imgrefurl=http://www.salon.com/2012/07/10/whooping_cough_outbreaks_another_thing_to_thank_vaccine_conspiracy_people_for/&docid=tnku5h8fvg04jM&imgurl=http://media.salon.com/2012/07/vaccine_rect.jpg&w=660&h=440&ei=8XcQUZbQEJHa8wSptIDQBw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:18,s:0,i:204&iact=rc&dur=620&sig=107410980003096801319&page=2&tbnh=175&tbnw=260&start=16&ndsp=22&tx=87&ty=24I shouldn’t have been, but I was: I was surprised by the huge response to the first part of this series: The Great Shot Debate (if you haven’t read it, start there and take the quick poll, too!). I have received Facebook emails, text, comments and questions galore! Part of why I think this topic is so popular is because we all love our children so very, very much. And, with new information cropping up every day – both pro and anti vaccinations, I think all our ears are tuned in. Each of us wants to make sure we are doing the best thing(s) for our children and to feel confident in those decisions. Which is a good thing. What we shouldn’t be doing is blindly accepting anyone’s recommendations (doctors, mothers, friends, etc) without good research into what is being recommended. After all, our decisions today could very well affect our children tomorrow (or next year, or ten years down the road). It certainly isn’t unusual to do a lot of research into the school system (public, private, otherwise) before you move into a new home…how much more should we be researching what we are or are not putting into our children’s bodies.

I don’t judge parents who choose to vaccinate their children. I do not, however, understand vaccinations without research to be sure that each of them are necessary for your child(ren). I do find it curious, though, how frequently I am judged by parents (perhaps I’m misunderstanding?) for choosing not to vaccinate my children. The research my husband and I have done have led us to a different solution and that is all. (For an explanation of what we choose to do instead, click the link above for the original post.) What I would love is a bit of reciprocation for those of us who use alternative methods. 🙂

Recently, I came across an article I thought very helpful for both sides of this issue. The author listed several points from which we could all use a reminder every now and then, I think. Particularly helpful were points 4 and 5 that assure us that parents who do/don’t vaccinate don’t love their child(ren); and parents who do/don’t vaccinate are just “sheeple” and do not do real research! Kate, the author, briefly explains why it’s silly to argue that vaccines are a government conspiracy to harm and kill us all (point 6). And I think both sides will be interested in the final two points:

Point #8: Vaccines Have No Risks

This is one of the silliest things that is ever said. Of course vaccines have risks — anyone who is being honest will say that they do. Whether those risks are major or minor, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks is something else. It is entirely appropriate to say “I believe the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.” Okay — I understand that (I disagree, but I fully support someone coming to that conclusion). To say there are no risks is completely wrong. There are risks to anything! People need to be willing to admit that this entire discussion is about a risk-benefit analysis because there are risks to both sides. Downplaying that doesn’t help anyone.

Point #9: Not Vaccinating Makes Your Child Magically Healthier

While some early studies have shown that children who are not vaccinated have a lower risk of asthma, autism, etc. they have not proven a causal link. Children who are not vaccinated are also likely to have parents who take a healthy diet, supplements, and other aspects of health more seriously. While I believe vaccines play a role in these conditions, simply not vaccinating does not guarantee your child health. There are other steps you need to take to protect your child’s health.

Plus, some parents seem to think that their child will be so healthy from not being vaccinated that they won’t actually catch anything. This is dangerous. If your child isn’t vaccinated (and frankly, even if s/he is), s/he might get sick. S/he might get the measles, or the mumps, or pertussis. All of these have circulated in recent years. You need to learn what the typical symptoms of these diseases are, the signs of complications, when to call the doctor, how to treat at home in minor cases, and so on. You have to accept the risk that your child might get sick. Now — it’s unlikely if your child is not a newborn and not immunocompromised that the illness will be serious or permanently harm or kill your child. But s/he still might catch it. Know it, prepare for it.

To read the full article, click here.

I have been asked numerous times how I came to the conclusions I did. There were many contributing factors, websites, and conversations. In my research I learned that some vaccines contain ingredients that I cannot morally and ethically support (such as aborted fetal tissue). Some contain chemicals that are known toxins to the body. I am concerned by the leap in the number of recommended vaccines as compared with the number of vaccines recommended 20 years ago, in such a short and developmentally critical time.

As far as specific sources of information, many are surprised to know I went to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)! I read through the descriptions of the vaccines/diseases listed here. I wanted to know what the numbers said. So, for instance, polio. There were only 187 cases of polio worldwide last year. Some would argue, probably effectively, that it is due to the development and implementation of the polio vaccine. I and others would disagree. There’s a phenomenal documentary on Netflix (I don’t have Netflix right now so I don’t have the title – anyone want to share it? =) that depicts the reality of polio and how other measures besides the vaccine were just as effective in eradicating this disease. Chickenpox. Almost everyone got chickenpox before the introduction of the vaccine in 1995. Each year there were between 100-150 deaths. That sounds scary, but let’s break it down. Nearly everyone in the US got the chickenpox. Only 150 died each year. There are currently 315,317,389 people living in the US. Comparing the numbers, you can see the percentage of people who will die from chickenpox is staggeringly low. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.6 million people worldwide will die from car accidents each year. My entire family is astronomically more likely to get killed in a car accident than to die from chickenpox!

Another concern I have is the ever-growing number of vaccines urged upon parents for their children. In 1983, http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1093&bih=498&tbm=isch&tbnid=hlN0sgAYVE-ntM:&imgrefurl=http://www.polkmoms.com/forum/topics/pediatrician-immunizations-1&docid=-eWjIndo-1bX-M&imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7lwCgCrwvCA/TTSa5VE244I/AAAAAAAABJ8/oSTM0jqZLfQ/s640/child%252Bgetting%252Bvaccine%252Bi%252Bstock%252Bcopy.jpg&w=432&h=640&ei=ZAobUYrrL4ju9ASmwYCwAw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:3,s:0,i:96&iact=rc&dur=548&sig=113778380035084661098&page=1&tbnh=192&tbnw=127&start=0&ndsp=9&tx=73&ty=52there were 10 vaccines and in 2010 there were over 36. Many of these vaccines are doled out for diseases which have been eradicated. Many are for diseases that are simply a “nuisance.”

And, of course, the argument that there are many health risks post-vaccinations. This argument is one that continues to be debated by both sides. And while I think there is much truth to the argument that the “new” diseases we have (such as the “a” diseases: asthma, autism, ADHD, etc), I am not going to delve into this aspect now.

David and I are both holding this issue loosely. We are not saying “absolutely none, never, ever.” We feel strongly that we will wait on all vaccines till they’re older, then revisit. I hope we can, prayerfully, come to the same conclusions. =) But there may be other factors that change or new ones come into play that might affect our decisions. Bottom line? Our trust is in the Lord. Not in vaccines, or doctors, or chiropractors, or real food, or breastmilk. Beyond our trust in the Lord, we are walking out this crazy thing called “parenthood” to the best of our ability. I’m certain you are, too!

I am often asked which resources have been helpful on this journey. Here are a few that I’ve gleaned from over the past year and a half:

CDC

Maximized Living

Dr. Sears

Dr. Mercola

I would love to hear from you – thoughts, questions, oppositions…feel free to share!

 

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The Great Shot Debate

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&tbnid=1s1OW-u2rM7e7M:&imgrefurl=http://www.salon.com/2012/07/10/whooping_cough_outbreaks_another_thing_to_thank_vaccine_conspiracy_people_for/&docid=tnku5h8fvg04jM&imgurl=http://media.salon.com/2012/07/vaccine_rect.jpg&w=660&h=440&ei=8XcQUZbQEJHa8wSptIDQBw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:18,s:0,i:204&iact=rc&dur=620&sig=107410980003096801319&page=2&tbnh=175&tbnw=260&start=16&ndsp=22&tx=87&ty=24To immunize or not to immunize? That is, indeed, the question. These days, there is always some “mommy war” somewhere online with people debating the usefulness, necessity, safety and purpose of modern vaccinations. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you’re probably very quick to defend your family’s decision on this matter. And understandably so! Who wants to be accused of doing something harmful or foolish for their child(ren)??? Both sides have some really good points and both sides have some serious risks involved. But…isn’t that what parenting is all about? Making decisions based on the information you have available to you and hoping and praying those are the right decisions for your family. I think so, anyways.

In many groups I’m a part of on Facebook and blogs I read, these “wars” become so wearisome. The fighting and debating can get ugly and heated. And that is not what I’m looking for here. I simply hope to provide information for people who have questions so that they can make the best decisions for their families. My husband and I have decided that we will not give our children immunizations because, with the information I’ve read and research I’ve done, the risks of immunizations far outweigh the risks of not immunizing. Our call is to first and foremost provide for and protect our family. We live in a fallen world where sin and death occur. This means that sickness and aging are also a natural part of our lives. Now, of course I am not saying sickness is a good thing, but that for every disease they produce a vaccine for, another one will crop up. No amount of vaccinations will make me live forever. And while I have no desire to outlive my children, few of the diseases we vaccinate for have high death rates. We choose to do other things to keep our family healthy…

For the entire first year of our babies’ lives, they have been adjusted every two weeks. My husband and I have been adjusted for 3-4 years. Since the purpose of this post is not to advocate chiropractic, I will simply say that the need for chiropractic is real. Why? Because all day long, every day!, our spinal columns are constantly being pulled and shifted out of alignment. This causes pinched nerves which results in sicknesses that manifest in symptoms. Getting adjusted corrects the subluxations (try that one on for size!) and allows our bodies to function properly. This in turn builds our immune systems and helps us fight off disease and sickness.

I am also working to reduce the number of toxins we allow into our bodies and put on our bodies. This is a really fancy way of saying that we’re eating healthy. =) Or trying to! It’s a slow process, but I am getting rid of processed foods and the harmful ingredients found in nearly everything in our grocery stores. (Don’t believe it? I didn’t, either. After watching this film, you will: Genetic Roulette – are you playing?) We also are still breastfeeding.

So really, all of this is an alternative to immunizations. It’s one the government can’t mandate or control, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less safe. After reviewing lots of research it seems that these are the best ways for my family to function. And, ultimately, my hope is not in immunizations, chiropractic, organic foods or reducing toxicity. My hope is in Jesus Christ Who is leading my husband and me and giving us wisdom as we ask for it. As I have mentioned, we will get sick, age and die. It is inevitable. But for those of us who are in Him, it doesn’t start there. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

How did you come to the decision you did for your family? What research (websites, books, etc) helped you most? Please share! (Be respectful! =)

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Polls, Real Food, Triplets

 

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