Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Natural Journey

This has been a post in the making for a little while, but I finally decided it was time to sit down and write it!  Today I'm sharing with you parts of my journey to living a healthier and chemical free life. I would love to hear your thoughts, so don't forget to comment below after you read, and I'm always looking for new products to try out, if you've found one you love, please share! 

The maturing process that happens once you leave home for the first time is a fascinating thing. When I look back over the last 12 years since I first journeyed out on my own, I very distinctly remember making certain choices that have directed my course to where I am today.  Wait... 12 years, how did that happen?! This makes me feel so old :(  I honestly calculated that a couple times just to be sure! Anyways...

College was definitely one of those times of choosing for me.  In college I was just so excited that I didn't have someone telling me what I should or shouldn't do or eat, can someone say FREEDOM! :) I'd like to say I made a lot of good choices in college, I did make some good choices, but I kinda binged on a couple things, at least at first. I watched a lot of TV and movies, because that was something we didn't do much of at home, and I ate my fair share of junk food, just because I could. We rarely drank soda at home, so standing in the cafe holding my tray full of food, getting to pick something other than water was pretty awesome. (I'm sure the same happened with food choices but for some reason soda just stands out to me!)  I came up with new drink concoctions mixing and matching different drinks, I thought I was pretty cool. Obviously, I was cool!  I remember though, standing in front of the soda fountain one day, and making the conscious decision that I don't really need to drink soda. Even though I had the option, soda made me feel crappy, and I just decided I wasn't going to drink it anymore. I'd like to go back and give my college self a high five!  Good choice Monica! I do still drink soda from time to time but its pretty rare, and when I do I'm reminded of why I made that choice to stop.  Instant headache, bloating, and just overall crappy feeling.  I'd love to say I've reached that point with sweets and chocolate, but sadly that is not true.  They are just so good!  (still working on it!)

Sitting in the OB office for my first prenatal visit was another moment that I remember very clearly. The nurse pulled out a packet of information and was going over the recommendations and medical suggestions they give to all new moms.  After looking at the very short list of over-the-counter medication they suggested taking when pregnant, I remember asking the question, so what do I do if I get sick? The nurse said something like, well if you get a cold try and let your body heal naturally, but if you are really feeling bad and can't seem to kick it come in and we will see if there is something appropriate to prescribe for you.  I left thinking, if they don't recommend you taking anything during pregnancy because it has potential harm to your baby, why are we taking all of these drugs?

I did get a cold or two during my pregnancy and that pushed me to look for natural, drug free remedies to common colds and sicknesses.  Along the way I found some things that have really worked well... garlic, vitamin C, and silver was what I started out with.  I jumped from there to finding chemical free products to put on my skin; deodorant, toothpaste, lotions, etc. These kinds of products are all being absorbed into your body and could effect the baby as well, yikes!  Then once Piper was born, I took one step further and started looking for natural cleaning products that didn't have all the harsh chemicals. One thing that every mother of small children knows is that everything goes in their mouths especially when they are young, and I didn't want to risk them accidentally figuring out the lock to the cleaning cabinet and then ingesting those chemicals. I am still surprised at how smart those little stinkers are! The one thing I loved about switching to all natural cleaning products is getting away from those nasty smells.  Some of the really strong cleaning products used to make me light headed and I would feel like I couldn't breathe, not cool! I also don't have to wear gloves, if it comes in contact with my skin it doesn't really matter!  I also don't hesitate to clean if the kids are around, which I would've in the past.

The last two years have really seen the most change around my house and a lot of that has to do with essential oils.  I had been reading about them online for a while and was very skeptical. The essential oil craze just seemed like another fad to me, and I'm not someone that just jumps in with fads very quickly, nevertheless my interest was peaked. I did a lot of reading, and the more I read about them the more interested I became.  I love the idea of using things God created in nature as remedies in everyday life. What I didn't love was the price, and I had no idea what to start with. At one point I decided I would give it a try and I went to the health food store and bought a bottle or two to try in cleaning products.  I remember attempting to use them but then realizing the recipes I was looking at were calling for a few oils I didn't have. I don't remember if I actually ever made cleaning products with them, but they smelled nice! Finally my birthday rolled around, and I had some extra money burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a Young Living starter kit.  I figured with the kit I would have the most popular oils on hand so I could actually make things, and also be able to try out some of the more expensive oils I wouldn't have necessarily bought outright. I had heard really good things about the company and the quality of their oils, and they were recommended by people I trusted, so I did it!  I definitely wasn't that person who fell in love with oils right away, slow adopter here!  The first year, I just dabbled here and there, my kit came with a diffuser so I did diffuse oils some, but didn't really apply them on myself much, mostly because I didn't know what I was doing.  Looking back now I want to kick myself because they really could've been much more helpful in our rough transition after Toby was born. As I've slowly been learning more and more about what they can do, and I've seen results myself, I've come to the point where I use them daily and absolutely love them! They are definitely a game changer.  I have almost completely replaced my medicine cabinet with essential oils, and that to me, is really exciting.

Most of what I've learned and made changes to in my life have come from talking to close friends and family, and from reading natural living blogs. I'm a slow adopter in general so these things have taken a long time to come to pass and I'm still not where I would like to be. By slowly changing one thing at a time I've definitely made progress and looking back its really neat to see how far I've come. This was really brought to my attention when a friend had a cold a while ago and was talking about what they were taking to help manage the symptoms.  I had honestly totally forgotten about most of the common over-the-counter drugs for colds, my first thought was get out the essential oils, pop some vitamin C and hit the garlic shots!

My current philosophy on healthy living and eating is this, get as close to nature as possible. Basically if God made it, then I'm going to eat it or use it in as close to the original form as possible. There are a lot of great things about science, but when it starts messing with how and what we eat, that's not cool. I think its kinda cocky to think that by genetically modifying our food we can come up with a better outcome than what God originally designed for us. The list of modern diseases speaks for itself.  Ok rant over.

So I thought I would share with you what I've done so far.  My goal in all of this is to create something that's sustainable for me and my family.  I don't want to just make changes that stick for a couple weeks or months, but something that we adopt and end up changing our habits for good. Food is still a huge area that I'm working on.  This has been the slowest area of change for me and the most frustrating.  Changing food habits is no joke! The changes I've made so far are primarily in how I shop.  I read a lot of labels, I try to stick with ingredients that I know, and shop the perimeter of the grocery store eating and buying as little processed food as possible, getting as much whole and fresh food as possible. One of my goals for this year is to start eating more fermented foods, really start focusing on gut health, and trying to increase the amount of greens we eat on a regular basis. I won't have an infant this summer or be extremely pregnant, so I'm excited about adding more to my garden and doing more freezing and canning as well! This is an area that I am definitely still learning a lot about, if you have any pointers I'd love your help!

Here are some of the products we've been using and enjoying.

For deodorant, Matt loves using a salt stick, you can get these at any health food store or I've seen them at Giant before as well. I currently use primal pit paste which has worked really well for me, I've been using it for about a year but I'm thinking I might try out some other brands just to see if they are better!

Honest Company
I use a lot of their products and really love them. Toothpaste, cleaning products, vitamins, all of the kids lotions, shampoo, baby powder, etc. I really love their diapers too, they are super cute, but they are kinda pricey :(

I use Norwex enviroclothes and products for cleaning.

Essential Oils: Air purification, wound care, sickness remedy and prevention, cleaning, pest control... this list could honestly be endless, i'll keep it to a minimum!

Some of the blogs I subscribe to: Wellness Mama, Mama Natural, Food Babe

I love essential oils so much that I just recently decided to start a business sharing and selling them! My goal really is to help people in their journey to wellness whatever that looks like! I will be teaching a class each month on different topics, followed by a make and take drop in party where you can use my oils to make things and try them out on your own!  If you are local and are interested in knowing what topics we will be teaching on or would like to attend one of the classes leave your email in the comments below and I'll get back to you or you can contact me through facebook.

And I couldn't leave you without telling you about an awesome promotion Young Living is doing  this month where they are giving a 10% discount off their premium starter kits. (the kit that I started with!) I haven't seen them do this before! These kits are already giving you a great discount on products (value of $300+) so with the February sale they are $144 instead of $160.  This includes the 11 most popular oils and a diffuser plus some samples of their other products!  I'm hopping on the bandwagon myself and adding an additional $10 off just on February 29th. If you've been thinking about buying one or trying out essential oils, this is a great time!  Leave your email below or facebook me!

This was a long post, if you stayed with me the whole time, props to you! :) I wish you all the best in your journey's to wellness.  I love this topic so please feel free to talk or ask questions, I'm an open book!


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