If you’ve followed along with my blog for any length of time it’s likely that you’ve noticed a few things: I love my family, my faith is incredibly important to me, I feel all the things, I love food, and I am constantly working toward living the healthiest life I can. This combination is the essence of what makes me ME, and I am very very bad at doing life well all the time but I also have seen many times the beauty that comes from ashes and the hope of a new day. And at the root of it all I’m pretty unapologetic about caring so deeply about the things that I know are in my life for good reason.
So let me give you an extremely abbreviated overview of my healthy living journey. For years I struggled with disordered eating, and thankfully came out on the other side very healthy. I’ve never (to my knowledge) had any kind of autoimmune disease, have always loved working out, and despite several periods of making unhealthy food choices I’ve always eaten a pretty healthy diet. When I was pregnant with my older son I had gestational diabetes, which I controlled through diet and exercise; that was the first time I ever considered the fact that I am genetically predisposed to Type 2 Diabetes. After that experience I started paying attention to carbs and attempting to make smarter choices in the food I ate. During my pregnancy with our second son, though, I gave in to all the cravings and ate just about anything I could get my hands on. Luckily my height made it so that I didn’t look like I had gained as much weight as I had, but postpartum hormones combined with poor eating habits made me feel just blech.
When my younger son was 4 months old Nate and I decided to give Whole30 a try. After years of mocking the Paleo diet and its devoted following we went cold turkey and learned some new eating habits along the way. We both really started to see how food could help us live better and healthier lives, and started to hone in on how we could incorporate those healthy habits into our everyday lives.
Let’s fast forward to January 1, 2017. Post-holiday stress had long since caught up in every area of life: work, family, health, habits, and finances. It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my Beautycounter journey that I started with this amazing company because I wanted to have an extra stream of revenue. I knew that I didn’t want a cookbook deal to be the end goal of my blog anymore, and that I wanted to branch out and be part of something bigger. The thing that pushed me from a loyal Beautycounter customer to consultant status was simply that I could make some extra side money with a company whose mission I wholeheartedly agreed with.
What I didn’t see coming, though, was that this job opportunity would change so much more of my life than the mascara I was using.
After a few months of learning that I really actually had to be the advocate for myself and my family in regards to the personal care products I started to learn that same thing was true regarding all things: food, exercise, personal care products, house cleaning products, fragrances, supplements, all of it. We – you and me – have to be willing to learn, to not take things at face value, and to fight things like greenwashing tooth and nail in order to make actual educated choices for ourselves and the people we love.
It’s been a journey that has been compounded by two people that I love with all of my heart being diagnosed with neurological disorders that have been shown to be significantly impacted and furthered by a normal toxic load. These stories aren’t my story to tell, but I’ve seen even more this year how incredibly important it is to make the best and healthiest choices we can with the information we have. And the more information we have? The better the choices we can make!
All of that being said, these are the things that have worked for me (I am not a health professional, I am simply sharing pieces of my own personal journey):
- I did a round of Whole30. The great thing about this is that it’s a way to create a healthy lifestyle that is specific to your individual needs. It can also help point you in a direction of discussing potential food allergies with your healthcare professional.
- I started using safer personal care products. Beautycounter is my brand of choice, but I also have used a couple different brands of safer deodorant, unscented lotion, and coconut oil.
- In order to use safer products I started using EWG’s Healthy Living App any time I look at a new product. This rates products based on different safety concerns and makes it easier to make safer choices.
- I kept working out, but also started making opportunities to move even more. Truthfully it’s not hard with two boys, but walking more has been huge for stress relief and health!
- I started learning more about functional medicine and doing research on different nutritional therapies. I’m also still in the process of learning more about how diet can cause or heal issues.
- I have been working on creating more homemade, handmade food for us. It’s hard, I won’t lie, and a work in progress. But my hope is that through cooking I’ll be able to introduce more nutritious and nourishing food for all of my boys.
The tipping point surprised me – that learning about toxins in skincare could possibly change my viewpoint of our entire family’s health. It has been hard work and a tough road at times, but my hope and prayer is that by sharing my journey I can help someone else shed light on their own need for a tipping point too!