* Boring Alert- if you aren’t interested in health food/lifestyle topics this post may bore you. Proceed with caution!
Ahem. SO, this was probably the most interesting and easy-to-write post in this whole series for me! I really love learning new things about health, natural living, and real food. Unfortunately though, my new food/lifestyle choices have officially categorized me as a “hippie” (according to Luke’s brother Bryan)! I mean I have nothing against hippies, but I hardly feel I deserve the term because of a few changes to our lifestyle (well, maybe I do deserve the term… You can be the judge yourself!).
Anyway, Luke and I have made some changes to our diets, the products we use, and the way we take care of our bodies. And I’d love to share with you about it!
1. Food: So first things first… food. It is definitely the building blocks when it comes to physical health! We decided to do a type of cleanse for this first month of January (also known as a “fast”). Basically, we cut out caffeine/coffee, refined sugars, gluten, dairy and meats. “What do you eat then!?”, you may say? Well, we eat a lot of stuff – vegetables, fruits, quinoa, lentils, rice, beans, honey, oats, potatoes, corn and eggs (I’m sure the list goes on…).
Literally, there’s been plenty to eat (we’ve just had to get creative with what we make!). But it’s fun because it’s forcing us to try new recipes. The point of our diet change was to rid our bodies of certain addictions and clean it out. And it’s been great – we’re sleeping better, pooping better (TMI? Haha), and overall feeling better.
I mean, I definitely can’t wait to eat donuts and pizza and drink coffee again… but our desire is to incorporate those things sparingly while still maintaining the healthy parts of our current diet. 🙂
2. Products: Purchasing new products has been a slow process, because let’s be honest – we don’t have a billion dollars to buy all new everything! But we’ve decided to buy a handful of new natural products and try them out. The main ingredients I’ve been trying to avoid in my purchases have been sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, fluoride, parabens, paraffins, and aluminum. There’s a ton of information on the web on why these ingredients are bad (linked to cancer, skin irritants, toxicity, etc…) so I won’t bore you with all the facts. AND, I am also aware that there are tons of other “bad” products out there… these are just the main ones I wanted to avoid.
Basically, I simply wanted to buy products that were not crammed full of synthetic materials. Have you ever looked at what’s in your shampoo? More importantly, can you pronounce/identify the products in it? I can’t get my brain around how much JUNK is in the products we use – especially on our bodies! Our skin is a living organism that absorbs whatever we put on it!
Anyway, rant over. SO, I started my search for natural products and ended up with some winners!!! Here they are:
Whole Foods 365 Shampoo, Conditioner, & Bodywash
LOVE this shampoo, conditioner and body wash! It suds well, smells great, and is very natural. Luke even likes to use it! 😉 We tried the Mint haircare products and the lavender body wash.
Whole Foods 365 Cleaner
Unfortunately, I found out this cleaner still had sodium lauryl sulfate in it (but it was advertised as being “sulfate free”)… so boo for that. But fortunately, most of the damage of sulfates can be removed with water – which I’ll be doing as I clean things. So this products is a toss up – cleans well, but isn’t 100% natural & honest. Once I run out of it, I’ll have to try a new brand.
Earth Friendly Product’s Ultra Dishmate Soap
This stuff works great – still sudsy and cuts the grease without harmful products. Smells great too – we tried the lavender!
Physicians Formula Makeup
I really have wanted to switch to a more natural makeup brand, but it’s hard to know what brand is good without requiring lots of $$$. So I thought this would be a good trial run with a new makeup. Physicians Formula has some organic products and also some that are paraben free. And for the price? It was only a couple dollars more than the regular brand I use (which is just the cheap stuff).
Anyway, I’ve been using it for about a week and I love it! The makeup feels light, stays on all day, and is very natural looking. I purchased the BB Cream foundation, powder, and concealer in light/medium. I also got the pH-balanced blush and the organic mascara (which is by far my favorite – doesn’t irritate my eyes or smear!).
TJ’s Antiplaque Toothpaste (no fluoride, with myrrh , fennel and propolis)
Very impressed with TJ’s toothpaste. Love all the natural ingredients! The flavor is a little, er different… but we got used to it in a couple days. I actually really enjoy it now! And it leaves our breaths fresh and our teeth clean. Wahoo!
DoTerra Oils: On Guard
You already know we use oils (flashback to Luke’s post last year)… but seriously, these oils are awesome. Specifically, we have been bumping up our “On Guard” oil usage, and I seriously believe my lack of sickness this winter is attributed to it! We were traveling a lot, went on lots of airplanes, and had limited sleep -but we applied On Guard faithfully (topically to our throat/neck and licked a couple drops) and we haven’t even had the sniffles! We use some other oils too, like peppermint, lavender, lemon and Serenity. We love them all, but my heart certainly belongs to On Guard a bit more! 😉
Sprouts Crystal Stick deodorant
This stuff is AWESOME. Seriously, cannot tell you how many “natural” deodorants I’ve tried that either a) made me sweat about 10x more or b) made me stink about 20x more! This product doesn’t have an odor – it’s simply a salt stick! I still sweat (a natural amount) but it never stinks. I can work out, do housework, and then hang out with friends and still my pits don’t offend. Woohoo for a serious winner!
3. Exercise & Body: The last area we’re focusing on is our body… and ways to take care of our tent (bible joke, wah wahhh). This area is not super specific. Basically, we just want our nervous system to operate at 100% and be free from hindrances. To do that, we’re targeting three main areas: exercise, spinal alignment, and prescription drugs.
Chiropractic Adjustment– Luke and I have never had a chiropractor look at our backs before… and we still haven’t (but it’s a goal for this year!). You see, I always thought that chiropractors were only for people who got in car accidents. But, thanks to our Vision Course health class, I learned contrary… EVERYONE needs a chiropractor! Every day we do things to slowly misalign our spinal cords (things like moving heavy furniture, sitting for long periods, falling down, etc…). Even the birthing process can cause misalignment in our spines! As our spines alter from the natural curve, it can begin to pinch/damage nerve endings. These nerve endings are correlated to different functions in our body… So we can experience headaches, abdominal pain, or even allergies based on the misalignment of our spine! Yikes! It makes sense that our whole body is connected, doesn’t it? We want to start taking care of the “command center” of our bodies! We”ll let you know how it goes once we have our first adjustment. 😉
Unnecessary Prescriptions– This can be a very touchy subject… you see, I am not saying that medicine is bad. I have nothing against modern medicine (and if I chopped off my finger or was throwing up uncontrollably, you bet I’d be in the emergency room right now!). What I am learning though, is that our culture has an unhealthy propensity for using pharmaceuticals as a bandaid for every ill or ache. This is not the case for every person, nor do I have the right to judge someone’s medicinal use. I simply believe that it’ll be beneficial to try some more natural alternatives before trying pharmaceuticals.
For example, I have been on prescription cold sore medication for over a year. I get REALLY bad cold sores… like one after another, after another EVERY time there is a season change. In my exasperation, I went to the doctor to get a prescription. It’s worked great. However, I decided to go off the daily dosage of it (as a sort of experiment) to try a more natural route. I’m going to try the vitamin Lysine to see if it helps (so far so good!). If it doesn’t, I’ll still take the prescription for an outbreak. I just don’t want to be on this prescription for the rest of my life!
Anyway, you get the point – not all prescriptions are bad, but healthy alternatives aren’t bad either.
Exercise– I know this is everyone’s favorite topic! I don’t have much to say on it (mostly because it’s been 20 degrees all month and I have only gone running once!). But I’m learning that “good” exercise is all about variation. Some people spend their whole life in a gym exercising for 2+ hours a day. They may look athletic and healthy for those first 6-12 months, but after they “peak” their body will not change at all.
We were created for different types of activity. Some days, that may mean a 2 hour hike. Other days, it may mean 15 minutes of intense cardio or plyometrics. Either way, you’re active. That’s what’s important. Luke and I want to find some new hiking trails in KC this spring, go on more bike rides, and try some intense exercise videos (I’m sure you’ve all seen Luke’s new workout series 😉 ).
Anyway, I hope I didn’t bore all your brains out. We’re on a journey of learning what “health” means, and so we’re still processing and implementing. We’d love your thoughts, ideas, prayers and comments! And be on the look-out for several more “The God-Made Life” topics to be posted soon. 🙂