I live in a way that I believe majority of Americans, and most definitely Southerners live. I buy my groceries at a chain food store, I clean with Mr. Clean, Lysol, Cheer, Shout, etc., I don't eat organically, I go to mainstream doctors, take Western medicines, and drink Coke and eat fast food on occasion. I have never really felt I lived in an unhealthy way. I always thought this was the norm and pretty much the only way to live. Certainly I have known people who practiced different lifestyles than me, such as a friend who is vegan, but I just haven't been exposed to much of that. Bening a person who is naturally curious (and maybe a little nosy), I have been fascinated with why people choose the lifestyles that they do and how their lives may be different than mine. I watch a lot of documentaries, always have, but this has really increased in the last year. Maybe it was certain things that I was exposed to in college, maybe it was the blogging world, and maybe it was the fact that many of my friends are growing up and the things I see on facebook aren't just trivial "going out for Thirsty Thursday" junk, but I feel like something is changing in me. I have realized that there is a larger world out there and the choices I make are mine and I am the one who has to live with them. Wow, what a obvious thing to realize, but as you get older, that takes on a different meaning. Over the years that I have been an adult, I have felt very drawn to living in a deliberate way. I can remember watching a documentary a few years ago about slavery in our century and how it is a problem. They were discussing how so much of the world's cocoa and coffee supply was harvested from this slave labor and that people were only perpetuating the system by continuing to purchase slave harvested chocolate and coffee (although they didn't realize they were because it certainly doesn't say that on the label). Another thing they talked about in that documentary were child sweatshops and that many people don't know that the clothing they are wearing or the rug in their home was made through these terrible means. That documentary really stirred something in me. I wanted to shout to everyone so they would know about it, but I also felt so tiny and like I couldn't really make a difference. AND how am I to know where my t-shirt came from? AND then for that matter, how do I know where everything in my life came from like my fabric I sew with to the banana I ate for a snack! However, this was kind of a first step for me.
Throughout the years I have had many more situations like these and being an introspective person, I have really wanted to determine ways that I can live to be a better person. Attending church regularly, volunteering and supporting charity, recycling, etc. are all things I have thought about and things that I try to do, although I admit I fail at a lot of these often! More recently I have been exposed to many friends having children. I see talk on facebook, blogs, hear conversations, etc. about birthplans, nursing vs. bottle feeding, homemade baby food, baby led weaning, and the like. Although I am not pregnant, and not planning to be for a while, I also find these decisions fascinating. Cloth diapering is one in particular that I have really been interested in researching, which has opened a gateway of natural living blogs. I see a recurring theme on these blogs in living a deliberate lifestyle. Everyone has to make their own decisions, and should do the research to determine what they want in life in terms of how they eat, what type of medicine they use, etc. (wow, there are a ton of etc. in this post!). Coming full circle, I have realized that a lot of these people grew up in typical American households like me, where they were not exposed to the "alternative" lifestyles they are living now. They had similar feelings as I have had about where do you start and how far do you take certain things. I have really been soul searching for a little while about certain things in my life, particularly my diet, the chemicals we use in our home, and on a lesser extent my footprint on the earth. I felt very overwhelmed when I started reading about holistic living and opened the door that talked about detoxing, acupunture, and all of that! These things are so foriegn to me! But yesterday, after talking a little on twitter with my friend Kate, she said something that turned on the lightbulb even though I knew it. It's not all or nothing! You take baby steps, and you choose what you want to do as you get to it. You don't have to kick the coke habit, throw out all your salt and sugar and replace it with stevia and raw honey and himalayean salt in one day! You just take baby steps. Your never going to know it all, and everything you hear now is how this thing is bad for you and that thing is bad for you. The main thing you need to do and I am going to start trying to do is living deliberately. I have gained 20 pounds since my wedding, I feel like crap, and I eat tons of processed food and white sugar. I have issues with IBS, anxiety, and acid reflux, and a lot of research I have found say that changing your diet is one of the best things to try before medication. My first step in living deliberately and acheiving wellness is going to be to change my diet. I am not running to the health food store and buying flax, raw honey, and going to find where to buy local raw butter and milk....not that it is bad! It is great, but it is about baby steps and my comfort zone.
I hope that this post might help inspire some of y'all that feel like you are living in a processed world and feeling overwhelmed on what are the healthy steps for you to be taking without falling into a black hole you don't know your way around! If any of y'all have info on healthy natural living websites, or want to leave some comments about ways that you incorporate some natural living into your life...please leave me a comment! Have a great wednesday! I am working on editing the pictures for the camera strap slipcover tutorial, so stay tuned for that.