I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.
I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
In my last update, I let you all know that due to stomach upset, I was taken off of all of my supplements for a few days until I saw my CN again. I saw her, and she instructed me to take Antronex tablets three times a day, and to take these for one full day before beginning everything else I had been taking, with a couple of small adjustments. Today (4/29) I began everything again. I added the HVS chemical liquid (at the center they call it "the chemicals") to my water bottle, with about a liter of water. I drank about two cups or so of water while taking my other supplements this morning. Within a very short time I could tell my belly was off. The connection was undeniable. I immediately emailed the Clinical Nutritionist and informed her that I was discontinuing the HVS. Over the next hour or so I ended up feeling so sick I though I would vomit. I knew that once the water and HVS passed through my system I would be fine, so I continued on with my day, but YUK! For a while there I felt pretty awful. Once the stuff passed my stomach I started to feel much better right away, but still felt a bit off for quite a while. Later in the day I received a response from the CN instructing me to stop the HVS until Sunday, then start with 1/4 capful in my water bottle to see how that goes. I wrote back saying that I would prefer to find another way to achieve our health goals for me. The stuff makes me sick. I don't want to take it! I haven't heard back from her yet, but I intend to stick with my guns with this one. I realize that holistic practitioners say that when you are "detoxing" you can go through a period of feeling unwell, but this is ridiculous. I'll stay toxed, thanks. Anyhow I am continuing to take everything else, and I feel fine with that stuff. It'll be interesting what the CN suggests next. It may determine how I feel about continuing with all of this stuff. I am a lotta dollars out, and not a lotta better. I want to keep on and make it work if possible, but not enough to feel physically ill like that. Sighs. I'll update when I hear from her.....
I wanted to add this info., for any of you who might consider making a worm composter. After setting our bin completely up, I found a piece of paper in the box the worms had come in. It had basic information on it, but I found one thing especially important: when they arrive, they will need a drink! When we got our bin all together, there was about 1/4" of water in the bottom of the bin. I was a little concerned that this would be a problem. In fact, the worms all went right to the bottom, and by the night time, the water had been absorbed by them! They were thirsty. They are shipped in "bone dry peat" which, according to the paperwork, protects the worms during travel time. It reduces the chance that they will freeze or overheat. But when they arrive, they want to get wet.
It's really fun to watch them. They are producing castings (soil) already, and are breaking down the materials in the bin. I am absorbed with them! =) I need to find out how often to put scraps in the bin. They've got quite a bit to work with at the moment, but there are 500 of them, and they apparently are capable of doubling their numbers every 90 days!
At long, long last, the worm compost bin has become a reality. After finally getting our bin together, complete with drilled air holes (thanks, hubby!) we attempted to get red wiggler worms from our local bait shops. They informed us that they are also trying to get their hands one some. Funnily enough, when I mentioned that we wanted them for composting, one bait shop guy responded, "I know, I know." Ha! Guess we're not that odd around here after all. Anyhow, I went online and ordered 500 red wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm in Spring Grove, PA. I realized that once I had placed the order, I really had to get things together for this thing!! I put our bin out and collected all of our appropriate table scraps in it (fruit and veggie left-overs, but no citrus, etc.) Then we waited....
They arrived today. Here's what the package looked like:
The first step in preparing a worm composting bin is to find a bin with a lid. The size will depend on you. Ours is a former bird seed box cum rock holder. It's clear, which I love, has a lid that opens 1/2 way, and has a carrying handle. Perfect!
The first thing we did was to hand-shred a bunch of newspaper. There's no accounting for taste, but the worms allegedly love it!
We filled the bin about 3/4 full.
My daughter went out to the back yard and collected a handful or two of both soil and sand, and a few leaves.
Add the soil mix and mix it into the newspaper.
The worms! 500 red wigglers heading for their new home.
We watered down the newspaper/soil mix. It really lowered the stuff way down. Once we placed the worms on top, we shredded some more newspaper and gently placed it on top. We then made a space in one corner of the box, and added our collected kitchen scraps. They are getting a lovely mix of cantelope melon rinds, celery, and other good stuff. I have read that we can add coffee grounds, which we have plenty of in this house. I also read that we should have usable rich soil in about 3-4 months.
I promised to bring this bin to DD's school, and now I want to keep it! But I get it back at the end of June when school ends. I think I'll keep it for a few days, anyhow. =)
In my last update, I mentioned that due to belly-aches, the Clinical Nutritionist I am seeing suggested I discontinue all supplements (I was taking 12 pills a day plus a liquid that I added to my water bottle) until I saw her again. This morning I saw her. First, I had a heart test. The same test I had the very first time I went to the Natural Health Improvement Center. The woman who conducted the test placed a strap around the lower part of my rib cage, and attached a wire to me also. I had to lie on the table, relaxed, without talking, for four minutes. I then had to stand facing the wall, also not talking, for an additional four minutes. She then printed some papers out, and I was off to see the CN. She did a number of tests in the fashion of NRT (holding various viles and bottles of stuff and pressing on my outstretched arm and so forth.) She explained to me, while showing me one of the print-outs, that I am "switched." She said that this means that my body is "doing the opposite of what it should." (???) She informed me that I would be starting another new supplement. This one is called "Antronex." She told me to take this one three times a day, starting today. She said to take only the Antronex today, and to begin the other supplements tomorrow. She reduced the Lact-Enz (probiotic) from 3 a day to 2 a day, and said that this is do to my positive dietary changes. (Funny, I had sort of a poor diet week this past week.....) I am to restart the chemicals in my water (which I am sure caused the belly-ache issues, but what do I know) and restart the stuff I take on my own. (vitamins, calcium, Vit D...) I had to get clarification, because I have trouble making sense of it. She claims that the Antronex is going to "take care of the other stuff" gesturing to a list of the other supplements. ??
I left baffled. But of course I'll read about it all online. As usual, she was not able to explain things very well to me, but I can get the info. on my own. It all seems goofy. But my skin DOES seem to be doing ok. It's not better exactly, but I'm still not using steroid cream (which is amazing and awesome) and it's not THAT inflamed. So that's all good. So...... I continue on....
I am waiting for some information on blocking and switching from the Clinical Nutritionist I am seeing. After getting belly aches several times over the last week or so, she told me to discontinue taking all supplements. She claims that my belly issues may be due to "blocking and switching." I went ahead and did a google search. This website seems to explain it pretty well. It actually explains a few things the CN has done with me that has otherwise not been explained. Like the red light for scars thing. Hm.
For those following my trials with the Natural Health Improvement Center, you might find this interesting. A few days ago I had a belly-ache. I didn't think to much about it. Then yesterday I got another one. Being fairly unusual for me to get stomach-related issues, I was now wondering what was going on. I had recently starting adding Detoxosode chemicals to my water bottle each day, as directed by the Clinical Nutritionist I'm seeing. I thought that perhaps this was causing my issues. If you've read my past posts on all this stuff, you'll remember that when I first started taking the probiotic supplements my CN suggested for me, I was also taking one on my own, and the two of them together caused some gut upheaval for me. I emailed the CN, and let her know what was happening. She wrote back instructing me to discontinue the chemicals for the weekend (I emailed her Thursday afternoon.) I immediately rinsed out my water bottle and having been drinking plain water ever since. Some time this morning I realized I had forgotten to take my morning supplements. This is the first time I've forgotten the morning pills. Even after giving myself a mental reminder to take them when I got home form taking DD to school, I forgot again. I'm sure this is my brain telling me that something I'm taking is causing my issues. Anyhow, despite all this, this afternoon my belly started acting up again. I figured that maybe it takes a day or two to get the chemical stuff out of me, but either way, I again emailed the CN to give her an update. (As she had requested) She emailed back telling me to stop the supplements. I emailed for clarification, as there are a few things I take on my own: vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and fish oil. She confirmed that I am to stop taking everything. She claims that I am either "blocked" or "switched." She says she will send me information tomorrow regarding what all of this means. So I'll discontinue it all. It isn't without some reservation, because I know the vitamin D and the other stuff is important. But as I keep saying, if this is going to have any chance of working, I have to follow the program. So, that's the deal. My belly mellowed out in the evening, and I feel fine now. I have had no problem eating, or had any related issues, just a belly that feels unhappy with what's in it. So we'll see. I will update as things transpire.
Well, you can see that NRT is not helping with my memory at all. But that's not why I go.
Today's visit actually seemed like a visit. That is to say that the Clinical Nutritionist I see actually spent some time with me today. As usual, she asked me how things are going. This question is so general I never know how to answer. I said, "I'm plugging along." "So what's hard?" she asks. As she did last time. Uhhhhhh.... I dunno. I told her that I was doing better with our diets, but that it's a process...blabla...... She asked about my skin, and I informed her that my skin has not been happy this week. I also mentioned that I haven't used my steroid cream in 3 weeks. (I think?) She said that it is not surprising to see a bit of a relapse. Now that I'm not "masking" the issue with the cream, she will be able to see what the underlying issues are. Hang in there. Ok. A reasonable response. Possibly even true. Hm. Anyhow, I'm still skeptical. After all, I've lived with my skin for a long time, and the issue ebbs and flows. But, I am going to give this my all (not just all my $$...) so... She asked about our water. If it's town or well water. (well) Where did I grow up? What kind of water there? Do we have hard water? (Think so....) Do we use a softener? (No) I asked if a filtering shower head was a good idea. Yes. She said tht the water is treated with chlorine. So next came my newest supplement! This one is allegedly going to push the chlorine out of my body. It's a liquid, and it gets added to my water bottle each day. One capful. It's called "Detoxosode", and it's made by Standard Process. She "tested" DS too to see if he can handle it. (He's still nursing) She rounded the visit out by telling me that I'm doing better with our diets. =) I knew that, but it's nice to hear, anyhow. I'm scheduled to go back next week. While I do sort of enjoy my weekly "assignments" I look forward to being able to put a little space between visits.
I have had nothing to say. Nothing. Not one inspiration. I think of it as my "maintenance" phase. At the voodoo center (as I call it - the Natural Health Improvement Center) a client goes through an initial period where the person's treatment is figured out, then the maintenance phase, then the something else - I forgot. But blog-wise, I seem to be in a maintenance phase.
So I guess I'll just update on things that are going on with me.
My biggest challenges at the moment are: Finding time to exercise. Really. I have tried to exercise to the Wii during the day with DS, but after an initial interest that lasts about 1 minute, DS wants to me turn it off with "I don't like this game!" Sighs. Hubby and I have not exercised together in weeks. We were doing it at night after the kids go to sleep, but I'm simply too tired for that. I'm either falling asleep with the kids, or spending about 30 min. with hubby then conking out. So the best I am managing at the moment is to try to exercise in the back yard when I can convince DS to go out. While he plays in the sand box, I jump on the trampoline. While he wanders around the yard, I jog after him. It ain't much, but it's something!
Another challenge is finding time to re-bond with hubby. We really don't spend much time together without it being "family time" which means we may be in the same room, but we're both completely engaged in some child-related something or other. We try, periodically, to get out to dinner together, but with two babysitters who are both very busy people, it doesn't happen often. And at day's end, I'm simply too tired to be much company. I used to stay up every night to watch a Netflix or whatever with him, but I get so tired I can't stand myself anymore, so I simply can't. I know that after a few days or a week of staying up with him I'll be cross-eyed. I do it anyway. Otherwise I don't see him at all. Ak! Then a night comes when I fall asleep while putting the kids to bed. I can't help it! Sighs. And so.
One area that's been challenging but in which I am making progress is diet. I am trying. I am eating better breakfasts. I am trying to cut out sugary crap cereal and that kind of thing. I'm trying to replace "nutrition" drinks for the kids with smoothies with all the goodies in them. I have been snacking less at night. Of course, being asleep helps with this. :/ I am finding that as I make better choices, I crave better things. That's not always true. After a week of eating well, sometimes I purge. Yesterday I had a burger for lunch with fries............ and last night I was snacking on popcorn and chips..... BUT, it's a process, and I want to eat well and feed the family well. Last weekend I planned out the meals for this past week. And it was great. I love having a plan and having all of the ingredients on hand. It makes things so much easier. It's a pain...coming up with meals and a shopping list and all....which is why I fall off the wagon with this....but when I can get myself to do it, it's great. So I did it again this weekend. And when I do it, hubby sometimes gets into the act, and plans his meals. Cool! So, onward with this goal. Onward.
But overall, I'm doing well. I'm no longer the grouch that I became when I was so depleted. I'm not yelling these days. I hated that me. I'm still not back to ever feeling rested, but I can see that on the horizon. Finally! And so on. So that's it. My maintenance phase. =)
I realized the other day that I take 12 pills a day. Twelve pills every day! How did I get to this point? Well....
Vitamins - I take them, as many do, to supplement what I eat, for good health.
Calcium - I read, more than a decade ago, about how taking calcium supplements can help women reduce bone loss as they age. Many women suffer from osteoporosis and related issues after menopause due to bone loss/reduced calcium absorption. I've been taking it ever since. I used to take one tablet a day until my dear midwives suggested I increase it to two per day. I did so about six years ago.
Vitamin D - At a recent visit with my midwife (for general woman care) she suggested I increase my intake of vitamin D. I take one a day.
Fish oil - I have thought for some time that I should take fish oil for the coveted omega-3 fatty acids. I don't eat fish (tuna once in a while...) so I started to take these recently. When I found out that most fish oil supplements contain PCBs, I stopped. I found some the other day at Whole Foods which claim to be PCB-free, so I got them. The bottle suggests two capsules a day, so that is what I take.
Lact-Enz - A probiotic recommended for me by the Clinical Nutritionist I see at the Natural Health Improvement Center. I take 3 a day.
Dermatrophin - Another supplement recently added by the Clinical Nutritionist at the NHIC. She told me that this one is to repair my skin (I see her for eczema/skin issues) I take two a day.
Wheat Germ Oil - Also recommended by the CN at the NHIC, this one gets squirted into my belly button. I know, I know, I think it's weird, too!! I do this once a day.
Yeah, it's crazy. Cave people did not do this. And every time I do any research on foods and health I get another person or group's opinion as to how to eat to treat yourself the best way you can, and they all disagree with each other. So is the best thing to do to eat everything in moderation? To cut out sugar? Fat? Carbs? What? I have no idea. But I'm giving the NHIC a chance to prove, or disprove, their take on things. But it is sort of funny. Hubby jokes that with all of these pills, I shouldn't need to eat!
There is no Whole Foods market near where I live. But there IS one near where my father lives. So every time we visit, we make a trip to Whole Foods. And drop a BUNCH of money. Every time I get a new "assignment" from the Natural Health Improvement Center, it means a trip to a store which sells natural supplements and the like. We have one near us, but it's just fun to go to Whole Foods. They have everything you could possibly want for getting healthy, and stuff you didn't even know you wanted until you saw it.
This morning, we went. Oh my. $140.00 later, we came home with two bags of stuff, including a bottle of PCB-free fish oil supplements ($30.00), organic flax seed oil, which was recommended by the Clinical Nutritionist I'm seeing ($6.50), a 14.6 oz. bag (not big!) bag of protein powder, also recommended by the CN, (!!$22.00!!), Topelo honey, recommended to replace sugar in coffee/tea, ($9.00) and so forth. Yow! The protein powder really through me for a loop. I thought it was expensive simply trying to buy organic produce. The healthier I try to be, the more broke we get. Yeesh. And this is all on top of the supplements I purchase directly from the Natural Health Improvement Center. And the essential oils. I hope it's all worth it.
Today both DS and I had an appt. at the Natural Health Improvement Center. (NHIC) I told them a while back that I wasn't sure I was going to keep DS as a patient. I figure he'll benefit from whatever improvements I make. They agreed, but have him coming once a month. Ok. So Aimee saw us both today.
She asked me how I'm doing. That is a rather general question, but I told her that I have some difficulty with eating well. She wanted to know when I have the most trouble with this. I told her that after the kids go to bed I watch tv and eat junk food. The fact is, this is a nightly routine for me, and I eat a LOT. I am just as happy with healthier foods much of the time, but I eat what I can grab. So I grab Doritos, chips, and other wholesome things. =/ So she directed me to eat less bad stuff. She also asked me what else I could be doing while watching tv. I sort of jokingly said "knit." She then wanted to know where else I had trouble with foods. Try everywhere and every meal. But what I said was that I could use some direction with recipes for breakfast. She wanted to know exactly what our schedule was in the morning, what time we eat, and who is there. I told her that DD does not eat at school. She concluded (as have I) that DD needs the best nutritional start to the day that she can get. I told her that we've been trying smoothies with some success (not too much, but some) and she suggested adding protein powder. Ok, easy enough.
She asked me if I've been giving DS the 1 daily Lact-Enz supplement she recommended last time. I told her I hadn't been. She blah-de-blahd about how healthier eating is good but is not enough....blahblah. Ok, I agreed to try it this time. And I meant it.
She did NRT testing (pushing my arm down while touching different areas on me and on DS, and while I/she held various bottles of supplements.) She told me she was putting me on another supplement to begin the "healing" process. This one is called Dermatrophin. Twice a day.
She said, after testing us both, that we are improving. I do see a difference in our skin, but who knows what is doing it. Maybe the NHIC is helping us. Maybe the essential oils are helping us. Maybe the nicer weather is helping us. Probably all of these things are working together to help us. Right now we're both having good skin days. Subject to change!
I tend to forget things that Aimee said as I"m writing my updates, but I'll add stuff as I remember! But that was the gist of it. I go back next week, DS goes back next month.
Last night I woke up during the night with my head filled with sadness and fear. I had several emotional experiences crossing paths at the same time. Why my head chose to process all of these things last night I don't really know. But there it was. In the night I decided (as I've done before) that I should let someone professional help me process all of these things so that I can move forward with a clear(er) head. Then daylight comes, and I talk myself out of it again. Here's what passed through my head:
My mother's passing. I still can't say the "d" word, though my head can think it now without making me want to fall apart. Progress. And that only took 9 years (almost.) I accept the changes that has brought to my life. Of course. I have had no choice. But there are things that bring up sadness in me. Having kids makes me wonder what I was like as a baby, as a toddler, as a little girl. Was I like either of my kids? I would love to know that. I would love to talk with my mom about being a stay-home mom. It would be really neat to bond in that way. My father doesn't remember. And of course he had a different relationship with us kids than my mom did. I also have some unresolved issues with her. Who doesn't have unresolved issues with someone who has passed? But I was angry about some stuff, and perhaps with more time that could have been resolved. I also would simply have loved for her to know my kids, and vice versa. It ticks me off no end that the kids know the other grandparents so well. It just doesn't seem fair. But I am so very glad that they know and love my father, and vice versa. But for reasons I don't quite understand, he doesn't like to come up here. He will, once in a while. He comes for the kids' birthday parties. But he literally will come up, stay for the party, and leave. Driving 3 hours each way. Once in a great while he'll stay at a hotel over night, but it's still a really quick trip. It's weird. Anyhow. So I've got some issues there. And my father just turned 89 years old. Damn time!!
Then there's my friend's recent diagnosis of cancer. That really freaked me out. Really. Freaked. Me. Out. It scared me. It somehow really hit home for me how vulnerable we are as human beings. Suddenly I was scared to death that I had cancer. I felt so scared for her! And I think it brought back some stuff from my mom's illness. Awful. Just awful. And doing as much as I could think to do for my friend has not really relieved my fear and sadness. I did what I could think of to help her, then she informed us what her cancer was. I read about it a bit, and I was sick to my stomach all over again. I feel helpless, and it's terrifying.
And my relationship has some strain. Nothing too serious. But it's there, and it makes me sad. It's totally due to our lack of time together without the children. But they are little, and my older one is very anxious and very attached to me. So I'm with them all of the time. Yes, this time will pass, but it's tough on our relationship. Our friendship. He is tense from trying to balance work and home. He gets frustrated with our messy house. Our daughter's tendency to insist that I help her with things and not him gets him down. And so forth.
It's all tiring, and it's all coming up probably because of M's illness. It'll restuff. I look forward to it restuffing. And I think it's evil that it visited me in the night. But perhaps writing about it helps. So thanks for letting me share. Here's my stomping it all back in. STOMPSTOMPSTOMP!!!!!
Crazy Daisy is thinking again. Uh-oh. I am a member of the Holistic Moms Network, a nation-wide group of, well, holistic minded moms. Every year, this group has a big conference in NJ. I have never been to it, but am very hopeful to be able to attend this fall. I have been receiving emails about it recently. One such email listed ways for people who sell items that might appeal to the holistically minded to advertise their businesses. There are a few ways, but one particular one got my brain moving. A person can pay ($75.00) to have certain items placed in the "goody" bags that each participant at the conference will receive. Now because these folks are environmentally minded, no paper (including business cards) is accepted. (How cool is that?) But people can put logo items in, such as pens, magnets, and so forth. And that got me thinking that I could do something like that with my shop's email address on them. And of course that would mean that I would have to stock the shop with something that such minded folks would be interested in. And THAT got me thinking about ideas such as........ a Go-Paperless Kit. I would, I figure, have to stock the shop with kits that cost something. I'm not going to be able to repay myself for the up-front costs if I'm selling individual items at a low cost. That would take a lot of sales. But if I put together kits that maybe cost $50.00 each, or a variety of kits, ranging from $25.00-$50.00 or more, perhaps I could make it work. Hm. Am I nuts? There is something to lose here. For one thing, money. I could lost the cost of having the items placed in the bags. I would have to order them, of course, and mail them, too. Then if I had any sales, it would take a few to break even, then start to earn. And so forth. So it's a bit of a risk. However, I also have the regular Etsy shoppers to market to. And I have ways of promoting my shop around too. I dunno. It's also a lot of time commitment, and history has definitely shown that I lose interest in making the same item over and over again. However, that is what I had planned to do with fleece hats for a fall craft show anyhow. So. Hm. Maybe the thing to do is to take a month or two, make up a couple of kits, and see how easy it would be to make a bunch up before October. Or maybe I'm overdoing it. Maybe I should make a kit or two and see how they fare in the shop, before I invest a bunch of money in advertising something that won't sell. That feels like the place to start. I've got time. If they do well, I can proceed from there.
During the month of April, I purged NOTHING from our glass stash. On May 5th, I have pulled a bunch of spice bottles (glass and plastic) out of the cabinet, combined some, and simply got rid of some that we've had for a bunch of years.
Green Plan: (From Easy Green Living by Renee Loux)
>Get a low-flow toilet, or make your existing toilet low flow:
>Don't be a drip - fix leaky faucets and toilets:
Hm. I have one to fix. I'll call today.
Holistic Moms Green Plan: Breast feed. Whelp, I don't need a month to work on this. I have been nursing for 5 1/2 years, and we're still going strong. =)
I haven't done well in the area of PURGE in April. Perhaps I can renew my efforts for May. Hmmmm...