Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being Healthier: 1st Steps

Last month, I really felt a strong desire to pay more attention to what I buy to feed my family. I've known some things weren't so great for us, but there were so many more things that I learned over the course of the month.

You guys, I used to think that all those people buying "organic" stuff and worrying about all that were crazy! NOW, I'm realizing that I've been the crazy one, just accepting that food companies would never sell us products that could harm us. It's unfortunately just not true.

I watched several documentaries (Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, part of Food Inc., and the most impactful to me - Genetic Roulette, << here's a 10 minute version of the 90 minute movie I watched) but I took everything I watched with a grain of salt. I didn't go throw out all of our processed food or anything, but it all definitely got me thinking more about the kinds of things that we eat.So here are the baby steps I took over the course of October, and a reason "why?" behind the change:

  • changed our white table salt to real salt - Not only is there no benefit to table salt, there's also some scary stuff in it, so switching to real salt was an easy step (read on their website for better info)
  • kicked my white sugar habit - This is so awful... I was putting 5 tsp of sugar in a CUP of hot tea every morning. Oh, the shame. So I bought some organic raw agave nectar and have been using that instead. Then a week or so ago, when I got a cough, I put some local honey in it, and to my surprise (bc I kinda hate honey) it was AWESOME! So now I rotate between honey and agave. UPDATE: Turns out, agave isn't so good for you... I'll be sticking with my honey!
  • started baking my own wheat bread - After my first failed attempt, I am now happy to say that I have made 2 really great batches since then! And as I said in my October goals post, I keep getting sweet compliments from Jason about how good my bread is! SCORE!! I've been using this bread recipe, with half regular white flour and half whole wheat flour, and without lecithin or gluten so far. We haven't bought store bread in over a month!
  • switched to organic whole milk for the boys - Jack has been drinking whole milk since his birthday, and I typically buy 1% for Jason (I use almond milk). After watching some of these documentaries and discussing dairy with friends, I decided to bite the more expensive bullet and buy organic whole milk instead. Now, to be honest, I was getting a gallon of milk at Aldi for like $3, so paying $6 for organic was a little devastating at first. But seriously, the scary stuff that gets into regular milk these days is enough reason for me not to give it to my tiny precious child. Milk and water is all he drinks, so he takes in a ton of this stuff! What if it had growth hormones and antibiotics and all kinds of ICKY stuff!! Whew. Anyway, Jason is so easy going and didn't one time complain about switching to whole from 1%. Crisis averted.
  • switched to butter made from grass-fed cow's milk - We already use butter (not margarine) so this wasn't a big deal to switch, except for the price. Again, you pay more for something that takes more effort to make. I'm slowly learning that. I bought Kerrygold butter and you can get it at Walmart.
  • switched to organic and "everything free" eggs - I'd really like to get local eggs, but for now I'm just getting hormone free, antibiotic free, cage free eggs from WM. I was buying the cheapest eggs in the world (which are at Aldi, by the way), but in all honesty the eggs I just bought were only like $2.50 instead of $1 for a dozen, which isn't really that bad. And since Jack will eat 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast, I want them to be "free" of all the yuck. {This is a GREAT article that I read about why another family switched to organic chicken, butter & eggs!}
  • started using organic chicken and local grass-fed beef - There's a million reasons why we decided to use better meat, but based on everything I've already said, I'm sure you can guess. Non GMO-fed, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, etc. We have been totally happy with this change and plan to keep it up, despite the higher price tag. Meat is truly where you spend the extra money, so we're trying to use less at each meal to make it last a little longer. :)
  • bought organic veggies that are on the dirty dozen list - This is a MOSTLY true statement. I still have a hard time passing up a huge deal on veggies, but I have been more mindful of this at the store.
  • started drinking aloe vera juice and taking salmon oil pills at night - Okay, so this one makes me kinda weird, but I'm already seeing benefits! The salmon oil pills (like fish oil) are just added omega-3s that I'm not getting otherwise and are really beneficial for pregnant women! Now, the aloe juice is where it's AT! I've always had stomach issues (I'm lactose intolerant) and even when I take Lactaid pills, I will often get sick later (probably 3-5 times in a month). In the 4 weeks since I started drinking 1oz of aloe juice before bed, I have only been sick 1 time. This is HUGE for me! Sorry for the overshare, just wanted to get this out there in case someone else struggles with that. 
Wow! That's actually a lot more than I even realized! I have just purchased these things as we ran out of what we were currently using, except for sugar, salt, and flour. I truly have been taking this one step at a time and for every really great thing on this list, I have about 5 other things that I need to work on - and some things I don't really have the conviction to change yet! I mean, I'm doing all this, but I'm not exercising and I know I don't get enough water each day, so there's definitely room for improvement, but I'm pretty proud of the positive changes we've made! 

And, if you'll excuse me...
I have to go pat myself on the back now. 

Have you made any positive changes towards being healthier?


  1. I wish I could make the break and go organic!! Maybe we'll get a Trader Joe's one day and I won't have to spend my retirement on food! :)

    1. No kidding! It IS expensive... that's definitely why we're doing baby steps. I don't know how people can chuck everything out of their pantry and start over! Too expensive!! (And yes, it still hurts to spend $6 on a gallon of milk...)

  2. Good for you! Sounds like you made some really good, practical changes. Milk and eggs are totally where I focus organic, too.

    1. Thanks Kim! It hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought, since we've taken smaller steps instead of a giant overhaul. (We could probably use the overhaul though!)

      One of my friends has a little boy named Henry and they call him Hank! I showed her Henry's Halloween costume and she loved it! :)

  3. You go girl! I am beginning to think about some of these things myself. Its just hard to imagine giving up some of the things! I am going to look at some of these articles though!!

    1. Thanks Sarah! I guess the hardest thing I've "given up" so far was the sugar in my tea, but since it's still sweet, I don't feel like I'm going cold turkey. Other than that, our changes really haven't been so drastic that I feel deprived in any way! I know there's a lot more we could be doing, but after writing this post, I'm really happy with where we are! :)

  4. So after reading this I found this link online that has natural cleaning products for the home. It doesn't seem too drastic and I'm sure can help assist in those awesome healthy changes you're making! Check it out!


Even if it's just to say "You so silly, Sarah" - please feel free to leave comments!


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