Gradual Changes for a Healthier Life

wellness image

2019 has thrown our family some curve balls.  I’m not going to get into WHAT those are at this moment, but it has prompted my entire family (parents and brother included) to make some changes.  As a whole, we are pretty healthy peeps.  We are all pretty active and decently aware of what is good and what is bad.  For me personally, the past year I have really cleaned up my diet.  And I would say, in the past 3 years, I’ve just made minor changes that have become permanent.  BUT, hey……I know, You know, We all know….there is ALWAYS ROOM to improve.

I’ve always been this weird nutrition researcher nut; any opportunity I can get to put my blue light blocking glasses on and hit up my friend google into a deeper dive, I’m up for the challenge.  Only now days, I have more resources, like podcasts, blogs, audio books and documentaries to supplement my nerdy-ness with.  I’m not a doctor, but I did take nutrition courses my junior and senior year at IUPUI.  I mean, for a hot minute, I thought about being an RD.  But then, you know, I didn’t.  haha.  Regardless, over the past 20 years or so, I’ve always been a sucker for nutrition information and ways to lead a cleaner, healthier and “greener” holistic life.  No, I am not and do not want to be the lady wearing hemp clothes I made myself, while harvesting my own crops and beheading my own chickens, making my own soap and cleaning everything with said said soap.  Sorry, literally, I’m laughing at loud at that last sentence because I think I just described someone I can guarantee you I will never be, unless the zombie apocalypse happens.  In which case, I’m going to MI to live with my friend Andria who knows how to DIY everything out of virtually nothing.  I’m sure we could totally set up a bunker and survive with our families in tow! haha.

I do believe, however, that there are really crappy things in our every day lives that we could clean up a bit to be healthier.  I also believe that gradual changes are everlasting in the long run and that you will feel and look better when you adopt some healthier lifestyle changes.  I completely 100% believe that beyond genetic factors, our environment, and the foods we choose can play a big role in making us sick.  On the flip side, knowing that, we can do things to prevent those diseases sometimes by taking extra time to care for ourselves and our families.

Here are some simple swaps for a healthier life:

Household:

Laundry Detergent:  Swap out the Tide for Seventh Generation or Honest Co laundry detergent.  The “fragrance” in traditional laundry detergents are horrible to put on our bodies.  Anything that breaks my kiddos’ skin out immediately when they come in contact with it, is something I don’t want in our home.

seventh generation products

Dishwasher Detergent: Swap whatever powder or liquid you use for the lemon Seventh Generation liquid dishwasher detergent.  It smells great and doesn’t have all the chemicals!

Dryer Sheets:  Instead of chemical filled Bounce or Downy sheets, I use Method organic sheets (I buy them at Target).  You can also buy wool balls and put lavender essential oils on them and toss them in the dryer.

Home Fragrance:  DO NOT USE PLUG INS!!!  Swap them out (yes, even the Bath and Body Works plug ins) for organic candles and/or a diffuser and some high quality essential oils.  It’s hard, I get it.  I love the B&BW plug ins….especially in the summer time.  But really, they are just emitting chemicals we don’t need in our body.  My favorite thing to do in the summer now is to diffuse tangerine and lemon in my diffuser.  You can grab a diffuser on Amazon for 20.00 and they last forever!  There are several Etsy shops that carry natural candles as well, and the bonus is that you are supporting a local business!

Cleaning Products:  I mean, most of these are horrific and I think most of us know the chemicals in them are horrible for us to breathe in.  I’m not an expert, but I was brought up with my parents using white vinegar to clean most things; which made me want to use natural cleaning products for the most part.  In fact, before my OCD diagnosis in 2014, I never even used Lysol or bleach products, because I was scared of Brayden breathing them in.  Since then, I’ll admit, I’ve used Lysol more than I should and bleach bathroom cleaning products more than I care to own up to.  But, little by little, I’m going back to my old ways of using natural products when I can.  I mean, life happens and people get sick, so I don’t think it’s bad to have a can of Lysol or strong cleaning products on hand for that situation.  But, for the regular routine, I’m switching to more naturally derived products.  My favorites are Honest Co surface cleaner and Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner, along with good ol vinegar.

Outside:  Please don’t use Round Up or like products to kill weeds and “treat” your lawn.  The end.

 

Foods:

Meats:  Limit red meat.  No, I did NOT say exclude it.  Just limit it.

Also, beef should be organic, pasture raised, not just grass fed.  Grass fed can actually mean a plethora of things.  Google it.

Turkey and chicken should be organic and free range, cage free.  Local is even better if you have access to it, but just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s not pumped full of antibiotics, so make sure it’s all the things listed above as well.

PS–just as a side note for ya…organic bison is actually really really good.  Keep it in mind when shopping next time for your red meat fix.

Dairy:  Keep it organic.  Local organic if possible.  Yes, milk delivery still exists in some places.  It’s really important to keep meats and dairy organic because of all the growth hormones, grains and antibiotics that are fed and injected into animals.  I know so many farmers and have picked their brains (would you expect anything less?) and they swear up and down the reasons for doing what they do (as far as raising beef and chickens), but I know there’s a cleaner way.  I mean, most of us have seen it and know it IS possible.  Is it traditional?  No.  Is it possible?  YES!  All I can suggest is to keep asking around.  I think if you are local, you can order from Tyner Pond in the Fortville/McCordsville area and they deliver for free!

Tyner Pond info

Fruits and Veggies:  My thought on these are to make sure to buy organic if it’s grown in the ground.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, root veggies etc.  I personally do not buy potatoes of any kind at our house…which is totally a personal choice.  Starchy carbs…not a fan.  But, that’s for another day and another post.  Also, I like to buy organic for all of our berries, lettuces, and apples.  Oranges, bananas, peaches, lemons, limes, pineapple, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and avocados I usually buy non organic.  I mean, I probably should be buying organic peaches, but I don’t buy them often and when I do, it’s usually at a local orchard, so I just wash them with a natural fruit and veggie cleaner really good before I peel them and eat them.  As far as canned fruits and veggies go, I buy organic because of the coating on the insides of the cans.  I just always have, and always will.  As far as frozen fruits and veggies…I usually just buy organic green beans, corn, spinach, and berries.  I dont really buy a ton of frozen fruit and veggies only occasionally since I really prefer fresh.

 

Beauty/Hygiene Products: 

If you use nothing else organic on your body, USE ORGANIC DEODORANT!!!!!  Especially if you are a woman.  Think about it.  It’s literally right next to your boob.  With breast cancer as popular as it is in this world today, why would you not use something as natural and organic next to that area of your body, knowing it soaks into your skin/bloodstream.  My favorite brand (and I’ve tried about 5 kinds) is called Native.  I can work out, I can be outside all day….I can do all the things with it on.  I love it.

We also have always and will always use organic body wash/shampoo/conditioner.  I use Honest Company body wash/shampoo for the kids.  Yes, even my almost 11 year old uses lavender or orange vanilla body wash/shampoo, because, well, those are basically the only scents they have right now haha.  If Honest is not available, I will pick up Burt Bees.  I just have never, ever even thought about buying the boys something that’s not naturally derived.  I also use the Honest Co lavender body wash myself.  When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I will use paraben and sulfate free brands.  Not organic, but much better than “the usual”.  Some of my favorites have been Living Proof and certain types of Biolage.  I also use some Alterna Caviar products as well.  I’ve been eyeing a new brand called Navy that I may try out soon, since their finishing spray looks like a life changer!

honest co products

When it comes to sunscreen, I will use 2 brands.  I use Rodan & Fields on myself because it does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, which is very harmful because it’s a hormone interrupter, or vitamin A (while good for skincare, very bad for sunscreen).  While not a “natural” product, R&F sunscreen proves year after year to provide excellent coverage and protection.  The kids use Kiss My Face natural sunscreen.  It may seem strange, but there are some REALLY bad chemicals in sunscreen.  Not just bad for us, but actually bad for the ocean and little critters in the ocean.  I say no thanks to putting anything on my body that could not only harm me, but also the fish swimming around me in the ocean.  How crazy is that?  Just remember, oxybenzone.  Stay away from it.

Skincare.  I know what you’re thinking…how can you publish a post on using natural and organic items and sell a non-natural skincare line as a side hustle.  Welp kids, because it’s really super simple, Rodan & Fields Unblemish is THE ONLY PRODUCT that has worked for my acne and cleared my skin up and I’m forever grateful to those 2 superior Dermatologists that created the entire Rodan & Fields product line (there’s actually 4 main types of regimens and several other types of amazing products, I just use the acne regimen called Unblemish, for those who aren’t familiar).  Here’s the thing, I’ve looked at the ingredients in Unblemish and several other R&F products I use.  The Unblemish does not contain parabens or some of the other harmful products out there that are commonly found in most brands on store shelves.  R&F also does NOT test on animals and is considered safe by dermatologists in the USA, Canada and Australia where we have expanded our line thus far.  (PS…we are expanding to another country very soon…lips are sealed right now though).  Also, as a side note, this will probably come as no surprise, but other countries are a lot more strict on the products they use than the US…unfortunately.

The bottom line is this….while I do not owe anyone an explanation for this, I choose to explain, because I want people to know it’s very important to do your own research.  I look at it like I had spent so much time and money on natural and organic lines that didn’t work on my acne or skin tone at all.  So if I use a brand of skincare that works, and yet doesn’t contain a lot of the harmful chemicals listed out there, I’m winning; whether it says natural or organic on the label or not.  And also, have you read all of the above that I am doing, and am using organic for?  As for the kids, they don’t use a separate skincare line yet.  The Honest Co body wash/shampoo works great for their little faces right now.

Makeup: I’m a big Tarte Cosmetics user.  I love their eye shadow so much, their eyeliner and Shape Tape are also a few faves.  I think Tarte may be a cleaner option, though not 100% natural by any means.  I actually want to try some eye shadow palettes from Beauty Counter though, as I think they seem pretty clean.  I think cosmetics are kind of hit and miss.  Some of the products in a line can be “safer” than others.  Again, I think it’s important to do your own research.  Don’t be fooled by words like “bare” and “clay” and “naturals” or “minerals”.  While these are all words we may associate with nature and association with nature may be “clean” and “natural”, it’s just simply not true.  Watch out for ingredients like talc.  Talc used to be very popular back in the day, but it’s very dangerous to our body.  PS, don’t use baby powder that lists talc as an ingredient either.  I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable with using because there will be probably more bad than good when it comes to cosmetics.

 

Misc Items: 

Sheets contain high levels of formaldehyde….did ya know that?  So I try to shop for organic bedding as much as possible.  Also, think about next time you have to spray for bugs outside.  I mean, I feel ya sis, I don’t want a spider infestation or bees swarming me when I walk outside either, but just do some research and see if there’s a “cleaner” way to get rid of them.

 

There ya go, friends.  Those are the main items I choose to swap for (hopefully) a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for our family.

I’m no chemist.  I can’t tell you why harmful ingredients are harmful and so common with certainty.  But, I can tell you what I’ve researched and what I’ve learned along the way; and I can also say with some certainty that no one is going to be perfect and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.  You notice that I used the word gradual in the title of this post, and there’s a reason.  If this all seems overwhelming to you, just try to change 2 things a month.  These are pretty easy changes, but they do take time to incorporate and probably a little more money.  Cheaper than doctor’s visits though! 🙂

I hope you found this helpful!  If you make different swaps, comment and let me know!  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, all!

xoxox

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

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Vitamins and Supplements the Kids & I Take Every Day

Good morning friends!  Happy MLK Day to you all!  If you are off today, make the best of it, if not, make it a great day anyway!

*Also, before I get into today’s post…please know I’m not a doctor/nurse/caregiver.  These are simply just my opinions.

I wanted to write a short post on what vitamins and supplements the kids and I take every day.  Why just the kids and I and not Brock?  Well, because Brock doesn’t take anything…#TypicalDudeProbs.  I have always thought health was equal parts interesting and super important.  I took nutrition courses my third and fourth year of college because the science behind nutrition has always amazed me; so much so, that for 5 minutes, I thought about being a dietician.

I don’t really think anyone gets all the nutrition they need from food these days, unless you are eating a perfectly balanced menu every single day.  I didn’t really start giving the kids vitamins until they entered the petri dish known as school.  Also, I never thought to give them probiotics (partly because I never knew they were freakin’ magic) until Mason was 3 and having lots of constipation issues (sorry, TMI) and we were literally trying everything to get him regular (FYI…he’s still not, but it’s much better than it was).  So basically I learned and still am learning as I go, but I have done my own research and looked at 5 million reviews on what we take.  There is still a lot to learn and if anyone has any suggestions for additional vitamins and supplements, please comment and let me know.

I’m breaking this down by morning and night, though most of what is taken of a morning is taken by me.

Taken in the AM:

Mason (5 years old)–1 elderberry gummy (We use a brand called Nature’s Way and Sambucol).

Brayden (10 years old)–1 elderberry gummy.  (We use a brand called Nature’s Way and Sambucol).

Mary (like I’m going to tell you my age!) — 1 Vitamin C (1000 mg, Nature’s Way), 1 Vitamin D3 (5000IU, Naturewise) 1 bio-identical testosterone trochee (1.5mg).

Taken in the PM:

Mason–1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Way or Sambucol), 2 Immune C with zinc and echinacea gummies (Lil Critters), 2 multivitamin gummies (Garden of Life My Kind Organics), 1 probiotic (Garden of Life Organics).

Brayden— 1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Life or Sambucol), 2 Immune C with zinc and echinachea gummies (Lil Critters), 1 probiotic (Garden of Life Organics).

Mary–1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Way or Sambucol), 1 probiotic (Young Living Life Nine), 1 Vitamin C (1000 mg, Nature’s Way), 2 hair/skin/nails vitamins (Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair with biotin/folic acid/fo-ti/zinc and paba), 1 progesterone trochee (30mg) and 1 Kavinace Ultra PM (NeuroScience, adrenal, GABA support and sleep aid).

In the fall and winter the kids usually take more than what they would take in the summer on break.  Usually during the summer months, they will just take their probiotics.  Also in the summer, I will go down to 1 Vitamin C a day and stop the elderberry.

One thing we will never stop, no matter what season?  Probiotics!  I cannot stress it enough that everyone should be taking a good probiotic.  The more strains of bacteria the better.  My Life Nine from Young Living has 9 (if it wasn’t obvious haha) and the kids’ have 5, but there are some out there that have even more than 9!  My advice is to do your own research and find which one is right for you.  I would start by googling brands that have 9+ strains and then dig into ingredients, cost and reviews.  Gut health is so crucial for every day healthy living.  It’s kind of our foundation to health.  Getcha gut healthy, getcha self stayin’ healthy!

There are several more supplements that I would like to start taking like a good organic Fish Oil, but I just haven’t taken the leap yet!  I also bought Zinc to have on hand, but haven’t been taking it regularly since my hair vitamins have zinc in them.  I also know the kids take a lot of gummies and I hate that they are consuming extra sugar because of it, BUT if it gets them to put some vitamins and good stuff in their bodies that pizza,  pretzels and organic lunchables can’t deliver, I’m here for it.

Just a helpful tip, lady to lady….the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair vitamins are LEGIT and worth every single penny.  Do you know how many hair and nail vitamins I have tried???  Well, let me tell you, I’ve tried at LEAST 10, ranging in price from 80.00 to 6.00 and I’ve never seen results.  Hair Sweet Hair is literally the ONLY vitamin in it’s category that has started new hair growth for me, all over my head.  Also, my nails grow at lightening speed and could be used to cut ….pretty much anything.  How did I find out about this gem?  My blogging friend, Cristin over at CristinCooper.com.  Side note: she’s one of my most favorite bloggers ever and hilariously funny…also, she’s from NC, so she’s already winning at life in my book.  But get the vitamins, they are so good.  So, so good!!

So, that’s it!  I know it may seem like a lot, and as Brock would say, our kids may as well be 80 year olds with day of the week pill holders, but let’s face it, most kids eat like crap.  Yes, mine will eat berries and PB and green beans and occasionally a bite or two of broccoli, but as a general rule of thumb, I think it’s important to try and supplement when possible.

 

Just as a recap, here are the brands I use for our daily vitamins/supplements:

Kids:

Garden of Life Organics Probiotics

Lil’ Critters Immune C with Zinc & Echinacea

Nature’s Way (or Sambucol) Elderberry

Garden of Life My Kind Organics Multivitamins

Me:

Nature’s Way Vitamin C 1000mg

Naturewise Vitamin D3 5000IU

Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair

Young Living Life 9 Probiotic

Nature’s Way (or Sambucol) Elderberry

NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM

Testosterone 1.5 mg (bio identical hormone)

Progesterone 30mg (bio identical hormone)

 

Most of these items can all be found on Amazon or even at a local Fresh Thyme, Whole Foods or a local specialty “clean” store.

You CAN NOT buy the hormones I take over the counter.  You will HAVE to talk to a doctor that specializes in bio identical hormones and have lots of blood work done to find out if you need hormones or not.  Balancing hormones is very important for optimal health, but it’s NOT something you can do alone.  Please reach out to a doctor that specializes in this and do your own research when considering these options.  If you are local to Indiana, and are interested, please send me a message or comment and I can give you my doctor’s information.

I hope you all have a great day, and I’m gonna leave ya with my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quote….”The time is always right, to do something right.”

xoxo

 

 

 

New Year! New Outlook!

What will the New Year bring for you?The New Year is always fun for me. I think it just kind of gives everyone the clean slate they need. Usually December is crazy busy and stressful and then you get to sleep in a few days and wake up with a new outlook.  

Also, I always find myself doing the same two things on New Years Day; watching Clueless and getting on the treadmill while watching Friends….but only the episodes from the first 3 seasons. Apparently something happened to me in 8th grade over Christmas break that was magical because I seem to do these 2 things every year and Clueless came out on VHS on Christmas break my 8th grade year and Friends was in Season 2 that year. Strange how memories like that can make my stress melt away, even just for 2 hours or so.

I was able to be home for about a week and it was just me and the boys, all day, everyday. It was so nice to be able to get up, make them breakfast, play a game with them, read to them, get on the treadmill for 45 minutes during nap time and have dinner fixed. I felt like I actually had “ME” in my life again. Even though I only spent about 45 minutes actually on me with treadmill time, I was able to truly accomplish a few things everyday and it brought such a sense of relief. I mean, BIG relief. That should be a sign. That should tell me something. I need to slow down and spend more time with my kids, I need to be able to fix dinner even though I hate being in the kitchen, I need to have a bit of time for me and get on the treadmill. 

I’m trying this new concept out…..when anxious (which is a lot) or nervous (which is a lot) jump on the treadmill (if I am at home and if the kids are safely occupied) and see where it gets me. I want to escape to the Friends world, even if it’s just for 30 minutes; most likely letting my mind get caught up in my favorite TV show will ease some of my tension.

Aside from trying to spend more quality time at home with the family and fixing meals, I would love to go to a professional makeup artist….and learn makeup tips and tricks specifically for my face. I’m not talking about someone who works part time at the MAC counter on weekends…..I’m talking about someone local that works on television sets or on actual talent that has done makeup their entire life. I also want to be a lipstick wearer! I have always been a bronzer and eye makeup type of girl, but I feel like I want to give lipstick a shot. Nothing like Gwen Stefani red or anything, but just a hint of color with a gloss over it.

Speaking of makeup, another goal of mine this year is to transition to natural makeup. I use organic brushes (most of the time) and organic skin care (most of the time-but for the most part I haven’t found a skin care system I like and trust) and I’ve tried organic mascara with no luck, but now that Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty line has launched, I’m so excited about transitioning to natural makeup! I’m ordering the “everything primer” and eye pencils this weekend. I’ve noticed eyeliner runs by the end of the day and makes my eyes burn. At first I thought it was my mascara, so I went about 3 days without wearing mascara to test this theory and it was still happening and the only thing I was wearing around my eyes was a 3.00 cover girl eye pencil. After I integrate the primer and eye pencils into my everyday routine, then I’m moving onto the powder in a darker color for a bronzer and a luminizer. I’m not sure whether I will switch my eye shadows and lip color yet. As mentioned before, I don’t really wear a lot of lip stick and I’m REALLY set on my MAC lip glass since it’s basically been my favorite lip gloss since I was 19. But, regardless, I feel like I’m doing a great thing by switching to organic products that cover 95% of my face and right around my eyes. The primer will be on my eyelids before applying eye shadow anyways, so there is an organic barrier there. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself.  Seriously though, check out http://www.honestbeauty.com

 They have everything from skin care to foundation, lip crayons, eye shadows, eye plumper and lots of other fun finds. Have questions? The staff is AMAZING at answering any question and they will pack it full of stats and helpful information.  

I also want to spend a little time decorating our house a bit and my husband is planning on building a built in shelving system in our playroom and living room. So that’s really exciting too!

What are some things you plan to get done this year? Please share!

 

 

 

Throw Back…on a Monday

Throwing it way back to November 2012 today with THIS POST 

Enjoy!!

Do It Yourself Carpet Deodorizer

So, who here has animals? Who has kids? Who has husbands? Just kidding on the husband comment (kinda).

If you have carpet in your house, most of the time, I’m sure it could use a bit of a pick me up in the freshness category.

I was searching for our natural carpet deodorizer the other night and when I finally found it, I saw it was completely empty.

So, in typical oily fashion, I started concocting my own recipe. I knew purification was a must because of how well it zaps air odors that animals leave, but I also wanted to add lemon to give it that ‘freshly cleaned’ smell.
It turned out smelling wonderful!! And bonus: by sucking up the combo on the floor, it also deodorizes the sweeper filter!
Give it a try!

Disclaimer: I’m not a DIY’er by any means, but this was SO simple, that even I was able to pull it off!

What you will need:
1/2 cup baking soda
10 drops Young Living Purification essential oil
5-6 drops Young Living Lemon essential oil (you can also use orange, tangerine or grapefruit)

Combine the baking soda and both oils, slowly stirring the oils into the baking soda. Once the oils are completely stirred in (& clumps are gone), it’s ready!

You can store it in any glass container with a lid, after use.

Enjoy!!! 🙂

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