A balanced and easy approach to healthy living.

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Make Your Home a Toxin-Free Sanctuary

Do you realize that you have the power to carve out a safe space for your family? A space that is free of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and other hazardous substances? That space is your home. 

family at homeHere’s why it’s so important:

Wherever we go, we’re constantly being bombarded by toxins, pathogens, and electromagnetic radiation. As a society, we’re only beginning to understand what this means for our health. Studies of specific toxins have shown that repeated exposure can damage our immune, nervous, and endocrine systems, particularly those of children, who are especially vulnerable. We are regularly exposed to over 70,000 newly developed synthetic chemicals that have never been tested and whose potential dangers are unknown.The list of environmental toxins we encounter on a daily basis includes air pollution, lead, formaldehyde, BPA, pesticides, flame retardants, mercury, and much more.

Toxic overload– along with poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, the overuse of antibiotics, and other factors– may explain why children today have so many allergies, weight problems, neurological deficits, and behavioral challenges. It may explain why, as a generation, they are “compromised.”  Too much of a bad thing can’t be good.

Now, here is the great news:

I once heard Master Herbalist Andrea Candee say, “My home is my sanctuary.” She had been discussing her rationale for not having wi-fi devices in her home. Everywhere else, she explained, her family members are bombarded with electromagnetic radiation. But, at home, they get a break.

Though we can’t protect ourselves from every health threat, our homes are the only places in the world where we have some control over the environment. Just as we think of sanctuaries as a safe haven for endangered animals, so, too, should we think of our homes as our own special, safer, place. In our homes, our bodies can get a break from the deluge of toxins, pathogens, and radiation that strikes us when we are outside. We get the chance to rejuvenate.

This philosophy, “my home is my sanctuary,” guides the decisions I make about the foods we eat, the products we use, and the things we do in our home. It explains why I have a no-shoe policy. It explains why I make every effort to keep out pesticides, heavy metals, phthalates, BPA, formaldehyde, PVC, VOCs, corn syrup, food coloring, and other potentially hazardous foods and substances.

These limits at home enable us to enjoy all sorts of treats and activities that the great world has to offer us. Outside the house, my kids can eat almost anything, they get dirty, and my son crawls around grubby floors in play areas and waiting rooms. We even invoke the “3-second rule” when teething toys or snacks fall on the floor. We get to roam free without worrying too much about germs and other hazards, because having a “sanctuary” means that we’ll have a chance to repair and rest when we go home. And, we are healthy. While my kids get exposed to all sorts of germs and viruses when we go out (which, studies have shown is important in the development of a stronger immune system), they’ve never been hospitalized or taken antibiotics.

The empowering and protective effects of my “sanctuary” matter not only for my kids’ physiological health, but for their spiritual health, as well. It teaches them about balance and the importance of limits. It teaches them that if we are careful a lot of the time, then when we have fun, we can go ALL OUT. (And, by the way, we have a ton of fun at home, too!)

My home is my sanctuary. It’s a safe haven I carve out for myself, my spouse, and my little ones, based on the trade-offs I am most comfortable with. Think about what your trade-off’s are: What’s most important to you? What can you give up? 

Make your home your sanctuary.

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It’s All about Balance

free directoriesHey there folks! I took a not-so-brief hiatus to have a (second) baby, move my family across the country, and finished my doctoral dissertation. No biggie, right? Now that those things are done, I am excited to be back in the blogosphere!

This is more of a big-picture post. As I get back into writing, I want to ground myself in my vision for this blog: making healthy choices, yet maintaining balance in our lives.

In a crazy world like ours, how do we do this??? We are all constantly barraged with new information on what we should and shouldn’t do for out health. The dizzying array of data gets my head spinning. Whether you are looking only after your own health or that of others, it’s so hard to know what to do.

Here is how I handle the dilemma of living healthy in a confusing and sometimes overwhelming environment. 

Though information can be overwhelming, I still believe that knowledge is power. I do my research and use tools (like EWG’s Skindeep database and Dirty Dozen list) to help me make determinations about what to buy for my family. I’ve  also developed a network of like-minded friends that I turn to. You can learn so much from people in the same position as you, even if you are not credentialed experts.

At some point, though, I have to stop asking questions and make a decision. In addition to weighing different opinions, I consider whether the “right” thing to do is going to cause me any significant hardship. Sometimes following the healthiest or safest path is really expensive (like buying only organic food) or very difficult (like making my own fresh wheat grass shot every morning). In these scenarios, I remind myself that the stress and anxiety caused by making the healthiest choice may offset any benefits I’ve gained.

That is why, for me, healthy living is all about MAKING TRADE-OFF’s, weighing pros and cons. The hope is that if you make the right decision for your family most of the time, the times you choose differently won’t veer you too far off the healthy-living track.

Let me share two examples from my own life where I deliberately cho0se the not-as-healthy option in exchange for less stress and more peace.

Example 1: I let my children eat (almost) whatever they want at school, social events, and other peoples’ homes. My policy on junk food is: In the home we eat healthy, but outside the home we can enjoy whatever treats are offered so we don’t feel deprived. This way, 80% or more of the time, my kids eat well; even if they eat junk when we are out, I know they will get the proper nutritional balance overall. By letting go of eating healthy 100% of the time, I reduce fights, tantrums, guilt, and stress. We all have a better time.

Example 2: I often make smoothies, but use powdered greens instead of the fresh version. In an ideal world, I’d have the time and energy to make a fresh green juice every morning. I know it’s the best way to get a huge nutritional powerhouse of a meal, but I don’t have the time or energy these days to wash and cut the greens, make the juice each morning, and then spend time washing the machine. I also don’t like the taste of green drinks. The next best thing to a green drink is a smoothie where you sneak the fresh greens in. Sometimes I do this. But when I don’t have the time or the desire, I use a green powder as a substitute, such as this really yummy one (in orange popsicle flavor!), and I will even add a protein powder to fill me up. I may not be getting my nutrition in the ideal package (fresh, raw greens), but I still get a nice amount and I enjoy it more this way.

In conclusion:

By letting go of the ideal healthy option, I can still be healthy but keep my sanity and peace.

We can only do our best, and chances are, our best is great enough.