Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ramblings . . .

I'm in the midst of an upheaval of my thought processes towards food and the stuff we use on our bodies. Well, perhaps "upheaval" is a bit strong, but the more I read, the more I think I need to be more natural in what I do. And this I realize is my own personal journey, but I did want to share a few resources in case anyone else is interested in doing a bit of research on your own. First off, I would not describe myself as an "environmentalist"--I appreciate nature, I believe we should be good stewards of what God has given us, but I'm not freaking out about our ozone layer, or melting polar ice caps, etc., etc. But I think we have become a "throw-away" culture. Everything we do is for our own ease and convenience. We buy everything pretty much ready made, plastic containers, diapers, feminine hygiene products, all bodycare products, etc. EVERYTHING has chemicals in it. Take deodorant for instance, the #1 ingredient is aluminum. Ever heard the saying "Don't put on your body what you wouldn't put in it" (or something along those lines) ;o) Anything we put on our body is absorbed by our skin. Some think the aluminum in deodorant might be one of the things that could contribute to growth of breast cancers. Maybe that is true, maybe it is not, but it kind of makes sense to me.

Anyways, I've had a whole other world opened to me lately as I've discovered people (via internet) who do things like make their own laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. out of simple and natural ingredients. And honestly I'm intrigued. Not only because I think it would probably be healthier, but it would also save me a whole lot of money!! (Yes, yes, it does mean more work though, which means more time.) Two blogs I have stumbled upon that are giving me lots of great ideas are: Passionate Homemaking and Keeper of the Home

These sites got me going on coconut oil, which I really think everyone must look into! It is amazing stuff, and so much better for you than using, or other vegetable oils out there. It is also a great skin care product, and many of the recipes I found--like for deodorant--use coconut oil. I have tried it in a few of my recipes in place of the oil/ that was called for. It tastes very good! I think things are moister and fluffier. Wal-Mart carries an organic brand called Spectrum of the unrefined, expeller (sp?) pressed version, which is supposed to be the best stuff, for about $10 for a pound. So, it is a bit pricey. But very tasty. ;o) There are also places online that it can be ordered by the gallon for what I believe would be cheaper (but I haven't done that math yet).

I also read the book Real Food What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. I'm not going to say I agree with everything in this book, but it definitely got me thinking some more about the foods our society indulges in today and what part they may be playing in the diseases/obesity issues we face.

All that to say, I'm baby-stepping my way to a healthier lifestyle. I was always pretty happy with what we ate, for the most part my kids love their fruits and veggies, we do whole grain-breads, we're not eating hot dogs/chicken nuggets/Mc.Donald's for lunch every day. But I think there is more to it than that. And I don't say that to scare anybody or make anyone feel like they are doing everything wrong, because there is a lot of information out there, and it can even be conflicting, and that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and helpless. I do think there is something to be said, for perhaps just starting small, picking one thing God leads you to believe is important for yourself or family and learning to do that well. Perhaps that will lead to other small changes you can make, but perhaps not. I guess that is where I am at right now, and I will see where this journey takes me.


Kris said...

"closest to the way God created it" is always a great motto when it comes to what we put in and on ourselves!

Of course, I'm waaay excited that you're interested in these topics, Janna.

I'm always trying to find that balance of how much can I do homemade w/out sacraficing time needed for other things. It's no wonder in the pioneer days and before that women working in their homes diligently spent from early morning to evening mostly preparing and home processing their food and household goods-and I don't even HAVE to sew our family's clothes and raise a huge vegetable garden!

Mommy K said...

I went through this type of journey over the last few years with my family, too. As I read your "I believe we should be good stewards of what God has given us, but I'm not freaking out about our ozone layer, or melting polar ice caps, etc." it made me laugh because that's exactly how I am. I don't care much for eco-friendly unless it is a benefit to my family. I won't spend more money on a product to protect our earth, but I will to protect my family. I mostly switched over to non-toxic products throughout our home first (using products like Method and Melaluca) and then have moved on to other things like making my own wipes, detergent, etc. I think I struggle the most with the whole "organic" options because on a teacher's one-income salary, we can't purchase all organic food. But, we purchase locally when possible and much of that is organic (or at least LESS toxic) but still lower cost because there is no transportation fees. So, I'm there with you....trying to better the home environment for our children. I'll have to check out the sites you suggested. =) Sorry, I just "happened" upon your blog this evening.