So you have decided to take a natural approach to life. Congrats!! Welcome to the ride. You may be asking yourself “now what?” And wondering where to start.
The truth is, you just need to start where you are. You may feel the need to just throw everything out, but don’t try to change everything all at once. It can be very overwhelming. Make a list of things you want to do more naturally. Prioritize your list. Choose an area you want to improve on the most. Here are some ideas:
toxin-free cleaning products
make healthier meals and choose healthier foods
ditch OTC medications for natural remedies
switch to non toxic bake and cookware
toxin-free soaps and shampoo, etc.
toxin-free and pollinator friendly pest control
ditch artificial scents
use clean cosmetics
safer laundry products
get away from disposable products
make some of your own natural products
If you still are unsure where to start, ask yourself why you want to start this journey? Do you want to feel better? Improve your health? Or concern for the health of a family member? Leave a smaller footprint on the planet? Get outside more? That can help you narrow your focus.
Once you know what you want to improve first, research and read as much as you can so you can make the best choices for your family. I have found there is always room for growth here, so don’t stop learning and adjusting. Science is never settled.
Next, set some realistic goals for yourself. You can get as fancy or minimal about this. Some things I actually made spreadsheets for. When I started cloth diapering my husband was more concerned with if it would save us money, given a single diaper could be $20+. So I made a spreadsheet to show how much we would be saving over 2+ years of diapering, plus potentially how much we would get back from selling the diapers once we were done with them. Other areas I was not concerned about savings as it was a health decision. For something like natural remedies, I was more concerned with effectiveness than cost.
Once you have comfortably tackled one area, move to the next one on your list. Research that and make decisions. You are the boss, so go at a pace that is sustainable for you and your family.
Next week I will share how to eat organically on a budget.
Are you an Amazon Prime member? If so, each year, Amazon has Prime Day with special deals for Prime Members. There is typically a limited quantity or limited time, so don’t delay in snagging a deal if you see one you like.
Here are some deals that are natural products or products for kids. Follow this post or keep coming back as I will continue to add items as I find them. Happy shopping!
American 🇺🇸 adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day 🍫 which is more than 3 times the recommended amount for women and in total equates to roughly 60 lbs of sugar annually. 🍩🍭😳
🌭 1 in 10 Americans have Type 2 Diabetes (more than 34 million adults).
🍬 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes.
🍟 This year 1.8 million Americans will be or already have been diagnosed with cancer and of that amount 276,480 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
🍦 30.3 million Americans have heart disease and every year about 647,000 Americans die from it.
🌮 There’s a reason you can eat 7 tacos from Taco Bell without feeling full.
🍔 There’s a reason you can eat 2 burgers & a large fry from Mc Donald’s without feeling full.
🥞🍕🥙There’s a reason why you can sit down for a meal at Arby’s or Wendy’s and then thirty minutes later feel like you need to eat again.
All of those foods are loaded with processed sugar and (by design, to keep you coming back!) and because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full when you’ve eaten. Can you say, repeat customers?
Refined sugars also cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to sky rocket and when blood sugar levels are too high that can lead to serious health problems.
Having too much sugar in your blood for extended periods of time can damage the vessels that supply blood to your organs; that can lead to health complications such as increased risk of cancer, inflammation, kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, problems with vision, nerves & more.
It’s important that parents are monitoring how much candy/sugar their children are exposed to, especially since having too much sugar can affect your immune system.
Sugar interfers with the body’s ability to fight disease and bacteria and yeast can feed on sugar which can increase the risk of illness and infections.
That’s not what we want to see happen when we are literally heading into the colder months of the year! This is the time to be nurturing and supporting our immune system, not crashing it!
Check out this brief video of Dr. Bradford Weeks, who explains what the best foods are for preventing cancer.
As well as this video of Dr. David Jockers who explains the relationship between sugar and insulin, and how that can lead to chronic disease.
Wondering what an anti-cancer diet looks like? Here Mike Rangers explains:
How much sugar do you think you’re consuming? A healthy amount, or too much? 🍰
Do you have a cast iron pan? 🍳 How do you clean yours?
First rule of cast iron pans is to not use soap. A mild soap is ok for occasional use (like Castile soap or something), but I don’t recommend this as it can mess with the seasoning, and some have said it makes food taste soapy.
This is how I maintain mine.
1. I pour salt into my pan and gently scrub.
2. Then rinse well, scrubbing with salt again if needed.
3. Dry gently and slightly with a towel.
4. Then heat on the stove until completely dry.
5. Next I coat with an oil that has a high smoke point. (I use olive oil or coconut oil.) I leave the pan on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
6. Then turn off the heat, carefully and gently wipe any excess oil with a paper towel and allow to cool.
7. I store my cast iron in the oven, even when I use the oven to bake something else.
When I am diligent, my eggs don’t even stick. But I’ve found the key to food not sticking is to heat the pan well before adding the food. If I do have food that sticks and won’t wipe off, I add a little water and boil on the stove for a couple minutes to loosen the food. Then rinse and add the salt to scrub. However, do not allow water to sit in the pan to soak, it will rust the pan quickly. This happened to me when my parents cleaned my kitchen years ago.
I love using my cast iron, but they can just be a pain to clean sometimes, compared to just tossing my stainless cookware into the dishwasher. 😉 They are worth the investment though. Bonus is the benefit of getting added iron in your diet which is great if you are deficient. If you have too high of iron levels, you may want to consult your doctor before cooking with cast iron.
So I was tired and lazy and have not posted each lunch daily, so here are the ones I have missed…
Ham & romaine lettuce rolled in whole wheat tortilla, yogurt with granola, apple slices with peanut butter and water. Oh and a couple M&Ms my parents got the kids against my request (we are about to be hit with Halloween candy.)
Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat cut into hearts, orange slices, grapes and homemade sweet potato chips.
My son also had a PB&J on whole wheat but I cut his into a Mickey Mouse shape. And I ate the extras off their sandwiches… No waste! 🙂
Lunchables are a fairly popular item for quick lunch boxes, but contain ingredients I don’t care to offer my kids, not to mention you can make these a lot cheaper on your own! Men’s Health listed the turkey lunchable meal the kids meal with the most sugar and a group of dietitians for the non profit Cancer Project reviewed 60 pre packaged kids lunches and listed the 5 worst here. Bottom line is that pre packaged, processed foods are convenient, but not good for you.
Making your own lunchable with healthier options of real, minimally processed cheese, no hormone and nitrate-free meat (organic is possible), and whole wheat crackers make a better option. Certainly, a lunchable style lunch is a little more fun too.
It’s actually easy and not as time consuming as you would think. My DIY lunchable was Canadian bacon (ham) cut into triangles, cheese slices and whole wheat crackers. I also included yogurt, granola, strawberries, grapes and an organic “Oreo” for our special treat. Our drink was a treat too, took a break from our usual water and offered raspberry lemonade.
My son had the same, no granola, but I gave him a little popcorn.
My daughter would eat breakfast all day if I let her, so I try to occasionally incorporate breakfast into her lunch. Eggs really get a bad rap. They have nutritional benefits, especially if you can get local yard eggs (what most would think of as cage free, but the cage free term is misleading. Chickens only need to have access to the outside, even if its a measly opening in the giant coop.) Eggs offer protein, vitamins, minerals and iron. Yard eggs also are a good source of Omega-3.
OK, enough about egg benefits. Today’s lunch box contained a scrambled egg wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with a little Earth Balance “butter,” watermelon flower on bed of pineapple and grapes, fresh peach slices and carrot sticks.
The yummy treat is a pumpkin donut for her snack. The recipe is here.
There is nothing wrong with a sandwich now and then, but I like to keep it interesting and not use too much bread. So today was a ham pita pocket. Normally, I would add romaine, tomatoes and mayo, but my daughter is slightly picky at certain things and just wants ham and mustard, much like her mommy at that age! 🙂
With her pita pocket, I included grapes, a gingerbread man shaped watermelon slice, some fresh green beans and marinates asparagus. Our treat was a bit of pumpkin pie. She LOVES the asparagus. You can easily cut the asparagus into 1 inch sections and marinate in Garlic Expression dressing, however, I didn’t have time to go get this, so I created my own knock off version. I used roughly 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbls olive oil (canola may be better), 1 large minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, onion powder and celery seed to taste. I whisked it all together and let the asparagus marinate until we were ready to eat. She loves it!!
I forgot to post yesterday’s lunch. Such a busy day! I think it was her favorite lunch – breakfast for lunch. She LOVES breakfast!
I packed her pumpkin waffles, maple syrup, boiled egg, Canadian bacon rolls and mixed berries. Pumpkin waffle recipe here. They are soooo good.
Today’s lunch was by request, it was a peanut butter and banana roll up, blueberry yogurt, pineapple and Pirate Booty. Pirate Booty you ask? It’s an all natural “popcorn” style snack with aged cheddar cheese flavor. Pretty good and no icky stuff, even if it is processed, but it’s an occasional treat so I don’t fret. Oh her little treat is chocolate covered almonds.
My son had the same only strawberry yogurt and no chocolate covered almonds.