Following is a personal story from a good friend of mine, Melissa, on how she found a ‘healthy balance’ in her life.
Finding a “healthy” balance…
There are so many “good” things a caring mother can do for her family that it can be overwhelming. We can buy only organic food, the best vitamins, and research which chemicals to use in our homes if we use any at all. Having a serious health situation in our family – I have considered implementing many of these “good” things. Here is a bit about my journey.
My oldest daughter was 2 when she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. During her course of treatment, her little body was exposed to some nasty drugs. The scariest part was not knowing the long term effect of the drugs. Some were well studied and documented – monthly labs had to be drawn to monitor her liver as well as track the progression of her disease, and some were too new to know. While the human body is amazing and can bounce back from so much – I saw it as my personal mission to make sure she is as healthy as possible. While this mission could potentially lead down an expensive route, I refused to put my family in financial jeopardy and whatever I did do had to make reasonable financial sense. I quickly found out everyone is selling something to improve health – and if you’re not careful, you could end spending a lot of money!
Vitamins are a prime example. While our family does eat good foods, fruits, vegetables and protein every day, I don’t believe it is adequate for proper nutrition. (I often wonder if physicians focused more on nutrition, then altering the effects of poor nutrition, what the world would look like.) I also don’t believe you have to spend hundreds of dollars every month on supplements to achieve proper nutrition. I have a friend who is a dietician and once asked her opinion about a direct sales supplement company. The first thing she told me was, because the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, she is “not suppose” to recommend any of them to clients. However, she indicated many of the over the counter supplements are probably as good as any others. Makes you wonder. I have listened to a few consultants from companies selling supplements – and honestly, some of what they say does make sense. Things like – there are bonding agents in the cheaper vitamins that may not be the best, and the idea the vitamin needs to break down at the right time during the body’s absorption process to have any benefit. Too soon or late and it comes out as liquid or solid waste. Looking at the price of the “high quality” vitamins, that is some pretty expensive waste! The other thing that almost sucked me in was the guilt! How could I not want my kids to take the best supplement? Through my journey, I have empowered myself to say no to these expensive companies and given myself permission to NOT feel guilty.
After doing some research and talking with a friend who is a pharmacist, I have my family on supplements from Vitamin World (just one multi-vitamin – they too have many, many products). Vitamin World claims to not add the extra bonding agents that could upset the stomach and that their vitamins are “time leased”, making absorption optimal. Their price is within out budget for our whole family. Another factor that went into this decision is the longevity in my family. Great Grandmothers have made it well into their 90 – without “proper nutrition”. My decision may have been different if this were not the case. I should note that my oldest daughter is now in remission, keeping our fingers this will be permanent, which is the natural progression for 95-97% of these patients.
While I did explore buying strictly organic food and joining a whole food co-op– the cost again did not make sense. Instead, I decided to educate myself to what kinds of foods we should be eating and why. I have completed a 12 week course called “Transitions” with Nanette LaNasa (where I lost 15 pounds) and followed this blog – mariahealth.blogspot.com. Empowered with new knowledge, I have cut out 80% of the processed food, carbohydrates and the amount of sugar in my family’s diet. Our meals now consist of a protein, vegetable and occasionally a fruit. We sometimes splurge on avocadoes, mangos and pomegranates though they are costly and we still have the occasional desert. We are trying new recipes and continue to make little changes along the way. Pancakes are one of my kids favorite – instead of cutting them out, we found a recipe that calls for of less flour and plain yogurt as a main ingredient. Sharing this knowledge of what foods to eat and why with my kids makes me feel 10 times better than buying strictly organic food!
The other major change I made in my family is reducing our exposure to chemicals. I now clean the majority of my house with water and Norwex microfiber cloths with BacLock™ . If you haven’t tried Norwex yet, I highly recommend it. I clean just about everything with the microfiber; windows, mirrors, counter surfaces in the kitchen and bath and my floors. They are a huge time saver, I have cut down on the number of paper towels we use AND I no longer need to buy anything in the chemical isle at the stores. I have been using Norwex for over two years and still get complements on how clean my house looks (especially the windows!) I often visit friends and instead of their houses smelling clean, I smell chemicals. You know how it is to go somewhere that allows smoking and you wonder how we ever put up with second hand smoke? I now feel the same way about the smell of chemicals; they are over powering and can give me a quick headache. I have tried other chemical free cleaning direct sales companies and liked many of their products, but they make it necessary to purchase a monthly minimum– which always ended up to be way more than I needed!
If you are looking for ways to improve your family’s health, I have a few recommendations. First decide what’s important to you and your family, then do some research – there are some great companies out there that are worth investing in! Once you decide what is important – find a means to reasonably make it happen. Most important – know you are doing the best you can for your family – which is NOTHING to feel guilty about!
~ Melissa N.