Lighten The Load

One of the biggest changes that I have made since becoming pregnant with my daughter is my awareness of toxins. This covers everything from what we put in our bodies, what we put on our bodies, to what we surround ourselves with.

 

My husband and I used to frequent drive thur’s such as Taco Bell, In-N-Out, any the like, my pantry was full of conventional foods, my house used to smell of artificial vanilla or some cinnamon roll situation thanks to crazy scented candles that permeated the air - even when un lit. My cupboards were full of plastic food containers, and my makeup bag was full of expensive name brand products. All in all just normal stuff. Just normal people.

 

 A lot has changed in the last 7ish years….

 

I blame it on my daughter. She did this to me. Actually - no, I can’t fully blame her. I also blame an old professor of mine. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember that is was a biology class and she was the first person I knew to talk about the toxicity in non organic foods, birth control pills and a few other things. My rose colored glasses started to clear up. Not too much later I became pregnant with my daughter and that spurred me to do something that I hadn’t done too much before then.

                    Read labels. 

 

I was shocked. What were these words? English? No! They couldn’t be. Should I know what these words actually mean? Because not only did I have NO clue as to what they were, I could barely even pronounce half of them.  [ I am sure I am not alone in this. ]

 

If feel like food was the easiest but also the most difficult to change. Makeup  - tossed it out and switched to another brand. Same with household cleaners. Plastics? Threw them allllllll in the trash at 11:45 at night after we watched the movie “Tapped” on Netflix. (watch it - it’s amazing). Went and bought all glassware. Item by item, over time, changed. 


But….food was a bit more difficult. I was/am a modern day hunter gatherer. Sure I didn’t have to go out and actually kill my own food. [Not opposed to it, but I know it can already be done for me.] But I did have to find out where I could buy the quality that I wanted. And let me tell you, It wasn’t at the conventional grocery store that I had been used to frequenting. Or even Trader Joe’s - that place is pretty much just snack food heaven.  


When I started reading ingredient lists it BLEW MY MIND how much “other stuff” was in my food than there should be. Like, why does this lunch meat have carmel coloring? And why is high fructose corn syrup in here? The ingredient list on the back of my food packages were giving me a minor attack. What’s with all of the artificial crap in everything? Yogurt should just be milk….right?! Where is THAT yogurt - and  PS I need it to be from grassfed cows.


Now my home is filled real foods that come from a few different places, direct from the farm, from our local natural foods grocer, and a home delivery CSA and food share clubs. We still have chips, ice cream, a tons of snacks for the kids - and myself. But these things are always organic, sometimes home made. But one thing stays true. There is never any junk in the “junk food”. So, yes. It’s possible. We do not live off of kale and we fry things in lard. Yes. Lard. (from pastured pigs of course).

So how do you make the switch to buying the real food versions of the things that you love? It’s actually super easy. 


Start looking at the ingredient lists when you are at the grocery store. Would you be comfortable feeding those things individually to yourself or kids? [Food dyes? Nitrates? Pesticides? Fillers? Hydrogenated oils?] No?  Then why compromise when they are tossed into a “food”. Put it down and look for a better alternative.


Switch up your grocery store. Is there a natural food grocer nearby? If so, they still have yummy things, just hopefully without the GMO’s and crazy additives. This is where you will find a variety of fresh, organic, local produce - pastured eggs & meats, and most things organic.


Buy Organic! No -  it’s not just a phase. And it’s 100% NOT a waste of money. It’s literally the definition of real food. Anything else in an imposter. For reals. Pesticides and GMO foods are fairly new developments. We don’t know long term effects of these things because we haven’t been using them that long. Don’t gamble with your or your kids health! There is no doubt that illness are on the rise because of our foods. Organic foods are time tested and nourishing. They cost more. Because they are REAL. A think a really great saying is this - “You pay the farmer now, or the Dr. later”. And as we see in our society….ain’t that the TRUTH.


Don’t get overwhelmed. Which could be difficult depending on your personality. Some people go from 0-100 (that’s me), others need to make a gradual change. And that’s ok! Any change is a step in the right direction. So make a priority list. What is most toxic in your home? Your food, beauty products, household cleaners…..? Make a time line. This week/month I will focus on cleaning up my _______. And then do it! 


Shop online! We all know that Amazon exists, you can even do subscribe and save with a bunch or organic options. Have you heard of THRIVE market? Or Vita Cost? There are a bunch of real food online retailers. And most of them come with awesome discounts. So take advantage of that! 


Ask for help! Reach out to someone that lives the way that you want to live/eats the way that you want to eat. Where did they start? Where do they shop? What tips can they share with you? What is in your area that you could benefit from?



Becoming a mother has changed my awareness on many things. I want to provide the best for my children and their growing bodies. I want my body + mind, along with my husbands, to hold up far longer than the age of 80. So I need to nourish us accordingly. We are not 100% organic/pastured raised/etc. all of the time. It’s more like 90/10 or sometimes 80/20. We are human. I will occasionally get a tostada from our local greasy spoon mexican restaurant, but most of the time our take-out is more along the lines of a grassfed, organic burger. 


What changes have you made since becoming pregnant or having kids? I would love to hear about them! 



The Village Lifestyle Journalist, Rachel Harris