What Not to do When Your Friend Jenn is Expecting

Hello my loyal readers!!!  Thank you so much for sticking around these last couple months!!  I haven’t been missing, but in case your haven’t heard, my husband and I are expecting a baby.  :)  As I’m slowly sliding out of the first trimester, and starting to get my appetite and energy back, I should finally be able to post at least somewhat more regularly.  I cannot make any promises, however I really miss writing so I am hopeful that my energy allows it.

With this new chapter beginning in our lives, I thought I would write about some things that really annoy me now that I’m pregnant.  Actually, they are things that annoy me anyway, but now that I am pregnant and people will want to ask questions and drop annoying clichés, I thought it would be fun for me to give people in my life a heads up.  So here we go…

First and foremost, I am not ‘preggers’ or ‘preggo’.  I don’t know who came up with these two words, but I do not like them.  I don’t think they are cute, and if you say those words to me, I will most definitely roll my eyes at you and let you know that I do not like to be called those words.

The second thing, which is just as annoying as the first, is when people ask me if I want a boy or a girl.  If you think about it, it really opens a can of worms later on.  If I said I wanted a girl, and then had a boy, I would then get the comments about how maybe someday I’ll get my girl or some other silly thing like that.  I would never want my child to feel unwanted, or hear about how I really wished they were the opposite sex.  I just think that’s mean.  So please don’t ask.  I am happy to be blessed with a baby. Period.

Third on the list of things not to do is to not touch my belly, unless you are given permission by me.  I don’t know why being pregnant automatically makes other people think they have permission to touch me in any way, but it does not.  Even if I know you.  It’s still my body, so please do not put your hands on it without an invitation.  I will not be held responsible for the actions that may follow.

Fourth on the list, really goes along with number 2, asking if I am excited.  I really don’t understand why people ask this question.  It’s a very exciting time, of course, how could it not be?  And if I were to answer ‘no’, what would my future child think of me if they found out that their mom wasn’t excited about having them?

Number five has to do with telling me your stories.  I will ask for advice or opinions when I want them.  Please do not go on and on about how this or that happened to you.  I’m not comparing my pregnancy to anyone else’s, and neither should you.  I might compare it to my first pregnancy, but that makes sense because it involved me and my body.

The next one has to do with knowledge.  I am normally a fairly open person; however there are some things I will keep private.  If this offends, or hurts you, please get over it quickly and move on.  This would include family and friends.  No one is entitled to any information about our pregnancy; anything anyone knows is a result of my husband and me agreeing to share that information.  That being said, I will be sharing some information about what’s going on, just not everything.

Now a note about buying gifts:  Understanding that it’s been 17 years since I’ve had a baby, I would love to have a baby shower!!  I understand that some people just like to buy things they like, or think we would need, but in my case, I encourage anyone who would like to give us a gift, please make sure we are either registered for it, or we have told you personally that it is something we would use.  I am grateful for all of the generosity we have been shown so far, and being a giver myself, I understand wanting to give all I can to someone.  Because I care so deeply for all of my friends and family, I do not want anyone to waste their money on something that I’m not going to use.  I am pretty darn picky about what items we would like for our little one.

That about sums up the big stuff.  I’m not writing any of this to be mean, so please don’t anyone who knows me go taking any of this personally, because that would be silly.

What about you?  Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to what people say or do when you’re pregnant?  Please share below or on my facebook page.

Thank you for reading!

Jenn

p.s. As I mentioned in my first blog post, negative comments will not be tolerated.  If any of you have any negative feedback, I, again, ask you to send me a private message.  Thank you!!

I don’t brush my teeth with toothpaste.

As my life has been steaming full speed ahead, though I haven’t finished my post I was planning to post last weekend (sorry!), I did want to answer some questions about what I use to take care of my whiter than pearly whites.

During my detoxifying my body process, I learned a lot about how fluoride is actually not that great for you.  This blog post I read by Cheeseslave gives some insight as to why.  So, after some more research of my own, I ditched the traditional toothpaste, mouthwash and floss I had grown accustom to using for so many years, and started using some better stuff.  Some of the websites I visited to do some dental research are the Weston A Price website, and the Oral Wellness website.  There are a few more articles and studies I have read as well, but those 2 websites are good places to begin.

So what the heck do I use?

First up, Toothpowder and Gum Serum!! Here are the products I currently use, though I have also made my own remineralizing tooth powder that I alternate between.

Next, I have recently made a remineralizing mouthwash, minus all the mint, because I’m not a mint person.  This is kept in the fridge, and I think that gives me the ‘freshness’ I might be missing from mint.

What about floss?  I simply use one that I buy from Whole Foods that has Tea Tree oil throughout, instead of fluoride.

But wait! That’s not all!!

I also do oil pulling!!! What in the Sam hill is oil pulling you ask? Well, it’s basically swishing coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes, and then spitting it out. I have heard of people using other oils, but I prefer coconut.  Why would I do this?  Because I like the taste, of course! Ok, not really, though its not too bad.  There has been a lot of buzz about oil pulling recently, and I’m willing to bet you could find all you ever wanted to know about it’s benefits by doing a Mypoints/Google/Bing search like me, but here are a couple places I recommend going first. Check out OhLardy’s post hereand Grassfed Mama’s post here.  It is controversial, of course, because who would want to believe that something so simple and inexpensive could be good for you and improve your health when you could be spending more money on other products and medicines.  Oh well.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.  If you do try this oil pulling thing out, I do recommend starting with a small amount at first.

Anywho, that about sums up my mouth care plan.

Thank you for reading!!

Jenn

ps Please head on over to my Facebook page, and give it a like if you wouldn’t mind.  I appreciate the support! :)

pps I do not receive compensation for referring you guys to any of these links by the way… but I might some day.  I would let you know if I started using affiliate links.  I think it’s actually a pretty good idea because it doesn’t cost you guys anything. Stay tuned…

Where have I been???

Thank you to all of my faithful readers!!  I have been working on a couple of projects lately and just haven’t had the time to sit down and type all my thoughts onto one post.  The post I am going to do next has to do with a sort of self make over so-to-speak.  I am even going to try and add some photos, finally!  I plan on posting it next weekend, after the final stage is complete.  I am really looking forward to reveling a new me that has really been there all along.

In the mean time, I have also been reading several books.  The latest one is about hypnobirthing, and no, it’s not what you think.  As many of you know, Nick and I are planning on having a baby in the very near future (not pregnant yet) and it is my wish to have a home birth.  I haven’t decided how much to share on this blog yet, but I would really love to share some things since this would be a pretty major part of my journey through life.

Also, I am about to start reading ‘Eat the Yolks” by Liz Wolfe.  I am super excited, and plan to share a review on here as well.  Liz is one of the people I look up to, as she is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and even studied through the same program I plan on going through.  She has a great sense of humor, and loves to quote movies, and those are reasons why I know her book will be pretty cool.  Check out her website!

Okay, stay tuned folks. Thank you for reading!

Jenn

p.s. Have you checked out my facebook page?  Head on over and give it a like, would you please?

Have a little cheese with your whine.

Today’s post is about some whining I have been hearing lately.   Some of you reading may not like me too much after reading this, but that is ok.   If you take this post personally, maybe you should.   If you think this is directed only at you personally, it isn’t.  This also applies to people that probably won’t read it, and the person creating this post.  I don’t write any of this to be mean, but if you know me, you know that I don’t sugar coat anything.  Not only that, but it is my blog after all. Please know that I care about each and every one of you reading this.  I say all of the following out of love.

Okay, now that I have that out of the way…

I am going to talk about something that has gotten under my skin ever since I worked in the weight loss industry; whiners.  In this post, I will define whiners as people who complain about something, but their actions suggest that they don’t really wish to change their circumstances.  For example, when someone complains about not being healthy and then a few hours later they are mowwing down on a fast food corn burger- I mean- hamburger and some french fries, and then wash everything down with some carbonated corn syrup- or soda pop.  Or that same person is justifying why they must eat at least 3 extra-large pieces of that nothing-but-sugar-and-flour-with-some-artificial-colorings cake for so-and-so holiday.  I get tradition, but what I don’t get is how we let tradition turn into a catch all excuse as to why we need to make ourselves sick.  Remember, I’m not saying that I haven’t been guilty of this myself, but I have been so aware of this habit that when I do fall into it, I am quick to recognize what is going on and search for help.

If I could just explain something simply, holidays should not revolve around food.  Here is an example; let us say it’s your birthday, and you are really happy about getting together with a few friends and loved ones to celebrate.  How would it make you feel if the first thing someone says to you when you meet up is, “What are we having to eat?  What kind of cake are we having?”  Does that say to you, “Hi there! Happy Birthday! What would you like to do to celebrate?”  Or does that say to you, “I am only here for the food, thank goodness for holidays!”  I’m sure we would all like to think that we care a lot about the real meaning of holidays, but let us be real, most of the time we care about the food.  We care about all the little goodies and treats that are surrounding the holiday.  I mean, look at what is advertised in TV commercials, internet, and in grocery stores.  Every holiday has it’s plethora of color schemed themed junk that people buy for its ability to coordinate with said holiday.   No wonder these junk food companies make bank, we fall for it!  By the way, when I say “junk” food, I mean the processed food that isn’t really food; that I know I used to buy all the time because it was cheaper.  Well, there’s a reason it’s cheaper, and I want better for my body.

It is so interesting to me that we will do so much research, and pay top dollar for a quality TV, laptop, pair of shoes, and/or a piece of clothing, but when it comes to what we put in our mouths, we just grab whatever is the least expensive off of the shelves.  Hmmm, I am recalling a saying I heard somewhere about how we can see what our priorities are by how we spend our money….  So we sit around and complain about our health, and how we don’t like the way we feel, or how our bodies jiggle, and how the cost of healthcare keeps rising, but at the same time, we are complaining about all of this in our name brand shoes with our super terrific handbags driving our super fancy cars with the background of our super big LED flat screen TV playing the TV shows we pay another company to record for us so we can spend mindless hours in front of said TV eating super cheap junk.  Is this making any sense at all?  Am I the only one who can see a problem with this?

Oh and I can hear all the whiney excuses now…  “But it’s tradition,” “But one won’t hurt me,”  “But it’s too hard to eat healthfully,” “But my kids will only eat such and such,” (love that one) “But healthful food doesn’t taste good,”  “healthy food is boring,” “I will just work it off at the gym,” “My husband won’t let me buy the healthful stuff,” “I would eat healthfully but I just can’t afford to,” “But it’s my birthday, “ “But I don’t want to offend anyone”.  Okay STOP!!!  Think about all of these excuses we are giving ourselves because we are so addicted to this junk that we don’t want to give it up.  The scariest thing for me is thinking about how much of what I eat can affect my health, and how sometimes I would sacrifice my health for 30 seconds of flavor on my taste buds.  Are we really okay with being slaves to this processed fake food?  Well, if you are, that is certainly your choice.  I am not going to sit here and tell anyone what to do, BUT, stop all of the whining about how your favorite jeans don’t fit.  Stop complaining about how your energy is gone and you are sick all the time.  Stop talking about how you wish you were in better shape and didn’t have bad skin.  Stop with your “if onlys” and “I wishes”, at least around me, but I still think it’s a good idea to stop whining altogether.

So you’ve realized you have been focusing on the wrong things and are ready to stop whining about things you can change.  Now what?  Now you start to rebuild your health.  Now you do some research and find out what your body really needs to function properly.  Now you politely refuse the junk at the food centered parties because your health is more important to you than it was before.  You find someone who is already healthy and ask them to be your mentor, and/or your accountability partner, and that they won’t put up with your whiny excuses but instead, gently remind you of your goals.   Now you stop making those lame excuses as to why you just HAVE to have a bite of that brownie, because we all know it won’t just be a bite.  Now you start looking at what you spend your money on and ask yourself what is really important to you.  Now you pick yourself up off the floor and become the person you were busy whining about that you weren’t.

By the way, I have some good news; I am here to help you!!  This is one of the main reasons I want to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.  Over the next year, as I read more of the books required for the course I am planning on taking to get my certification, I will be sharing some of the new things I have learned.  My hope is that someone out there will gain some knowledge that will improve their overall health and well-being.

Please share your thoughts and questions below, or on my facebook page.

Thank you all for reading!

Jenn

What have you done for me lately?

If you are singing a Janet Jackson song in your head right now, you rock!  That is what pops in to my head when I think about money these days, because I don’t worry about where my money goes. I tell it what to do.

Several posts back, I touched on how my husband and I handle our money.  Since then, I have had questions about more specifics on how we go about our “budget meeting”, and what tools we use to stay on track.  So, I decided to share a few more details, and share some of our success since we started telling our money what to do.

First, the budget meeting.  We both get paid twice a month, so we typically have our budget meeting the evening before we get paid.  We gather a few things to get started; Our budget binder, current and past bills, one of our laptops, and a calculator.  Our budget binder is something my husband crated that has several sections.  It has our past bimonthly budgets, our current and most recent bills, blank budget sheets, and notebook paper.  We use the zero based budget sheets from the Financial Peace University class we took.

To start the meeting off, we make sure we have the total of what we are getting paid, and write it at the top of the budget sheet. Then, we go item by item and decide how much money goes in each category.   The first category is tithing.  This comes right off of the top, before anything else on our list; before our mortgage, before our bills, before our food money.  There isn’t much discussion about that one, it’s 10% of our income straight to the Lord to do with what He wants (it’s really all of His money anyway, if you think about it). Next we move on to the most important money categories; no, not credit cards, or other debt, but savings, housing, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, and then medical/health.  We move item by item, and talk about how much we want/need to allocate for each.  Next we move to funds such as any insurance, personal needs like toiletries, subscriptions, replace furniture, and my favorite: pocket money (which we spend on whatever our little whiny hearts want to and not feel guilty).  Then we set some aside in our recreation fund for things like entertainment and vacations.

What about our debts?  Why don’t we put those at the top of our list?  The easy answer is that it’s what we learned in the Financial Peace University Class, of course!  More seriously, because we make sure our needs are taken care of first.  Period.  It wouldn’t make sense if we were on time with our debt card- I mean credit card payments, (which we no longer have), but didn’t have enough gas in the car to get to work to earn the money we use to pay those bills, now would it?  So our debts are at the bottom of the list.  This took a little getting used to, but to give you some examples, since we started doing this zero based budget, paying God, ourselves, and our necessities first, we have paid off all of our credit cards (about $6,000),  $6500 on my car loan, and other smaller debts.  At the same time, we saved about $1500 for our summer trip to Texas, about $700 for Christmas presents, and almost $3000 so far for IVF (this one in the past 2 months).  We have also had money for unexpected occurrences like fixing our daughter’s car to pass inspection ($400), having some routine maintenance done to my car before our trip ($500), and a few smaller things like replacing some broken cell phones.  Did I mention we paid cash for all of it?  No more credit cards.  They are chopped, and accounts are closed.

At the end of our meeting, we make a list of what amounts go in which account, how much cash to pull out and put in its designated envelope, and in what denominations.  It’s an extra step, but it really helps us keep track of everything.  The money we keep in our accounts is kept in a Drop Box folder.  If you haven’t heard of Drop Box, it’s kind of like a cloud to store information that can be accessed anywhere (I also store pictures on it).  You can choose whether or not it is public or private.  They also have an app, so files are easily accessible while shopping to check balances.  We can even update the balances from our phones so we have the most up to date information (and so we don’t forget to update then later… I keep my reciepts until I know I’ve updated the balance).   Here is a generic example of what we have saved on ours.  We also have a page of definitions in that folder, which lists what belongs in each fund and where it is located.  Like what is considered a toiletry, and whose account it’s in.

If something comes up that wasn’t expected, we have an emergency fund.  This is a fund we don’t touch unless an emergency occurs.  We have also discussed what constitutes an emergency, so there isn’t any confusion.  For example, a new pair of shoes on sale would NOT be categorized as an emergency, no matter how adorable.  Same with a new video game.  We have to stay pretty strict on that one because should something happen like a car accident, we don’t have to worry about where our deductible is going to come from, because at a time like that we have more important things to worry about.

Now, we aren’t perfect by any means, and we still have a long ways to go, but I think we have a pretty good foundation built for our financial health.

Again, there is a link below to the Dave Ramsey website, where you can get more detailed information about getting to financial peace.

What questions do you have for me?  What suggestions can you offer to someone who might feel a little lost when it comes to doing a zero based budget?  I look forward to hearing what you think in a comment below, or on my facebook page.

Thanks again for reading!

Jenn

No more stink.

First, I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me and this blog!  I am amazed at the amount of people I have reached so far, and I am loving the feedback I am getting as well.  Also, thank you for following me on my Facebook page.  You guys rock!!!

With that said, this post is a review on a homemade deodorant recipe I recently whipped up, and have been using for the last several days.  As some of you may remember from one of my first posts, I threw away all of my commercial cosmetics a few months ago.  Since then, I have been using all natural, homemade, and organic products, one of which is deodorant.  For a while, I used coconut oil and baking soda, which works wonderfully as far as prevention of stink.  The problem was, my skin would get a little raw after a few days from the backing soda and the change in PH. So, I decided to purchase a sensitive formula “primal pit stick” from Primal Life Organics.  This stuff was pretty good as far as not irritating my skin, however, I had to reapply it a few times a day in order to prevent the stink.  I also purchased the regular “primal pit stick” to see if maybe the ratio I was using was what was causing the irritation.  While it certainly took care of the stink and lasted longer than the sensitive formula, it was still a little irritating. So now what? (By the way, this company has some other products I use and love.  I use the “dirty mouth primal package”, and love it.  I also do not get any compensation from this site for mentioning it, just sharing about a company that shares skincare beliefs.)

After a few days of not using anything on my arm pits, (sorry hunny), I came across a recipe on Pinterest for homemade deodorant for sensitive skin.  I had all of the ingredients, and I was going to be in the kitchen anyway making a fabulous whipped body butter recipe, so I decided to try out a batch.  You can find the recipe for the green paste on Oh Lardy’s website here. (I added some lavender and lemon essential oils to give it a nice and fresh scent.)  I love this recipe because it’s simple and it doesn’t require heavy machinery to produce.

The results?  My pits don’t stink, and they don’t turn red.  Ta da!!  I still sweat, mind you, but we are supposed to sweat.  And if you are wondering about the greenness rubbing off onto clothing, so far it hasn’t.  I only use about a peas sized scoop per pit.

What recipes for cosmetics or body care have you tired?  Please share below, or on my Facebook page.  I also have a homemade board on my Pinterest if you would like to see other recipes I’ve tried or am going to try.

Thanks again for reading!

Jenn

New year, new mistakes, new memories, and new avenues.

After last week’s post, I have had some time to unwind, relax, and reflect.  I am definitely in a much better place then I was.   I am starting to feel the passion and excitement for my life flow through my veins again.  I have also made some discoveries as to what avenues I might be led down in the near future.  So let us take a deeper look into a few things… (For some reason this is reminding me of The Lion King when Simba is looking at his reflection in the water and- well hopefully you get it.)

First, I have discovered a few things to enhance my family’s health recently.  I have found a local farm to inquire about a cow share to get some yummy raw milk, a local butcher shop that supplies grass fed meat, and a health food store that carries a lot of products I have had to order online.  Woo hoo!! Not that I mind terribly ordering online because it feels like Christmas every time a package arrives even though I paid for the stuff.  Anyone else feel like that? Anyway, I have some places to check out on my extra day off this week.

Second, I have refocused on how much what I put in my body affects how I feel.  There is nothing like a weight gain, clothes shrinking, all over rash appearing, and mood flying all over the place to smack a reality check over my head.  Not going to dwell on it, but I have been putting the healthful stuff down my chute this week, and I feel much better already!   I have also started sipping an organic herbal tea to help my body recover, along with some more probiotics, enzymes, and upping my water again.  Besides, I need to make sure the soil is rich if the Lord decides to bless us with a new life this year… :)

Finally, I have felt more peace about my future career.  It will be a while till I’m able to go to the class and get certified, but I am learning so much right now and getting more and more prepared to take the next steps.  Who knows, maybe I will have a few letters after my name in a few years?  So exciting!!

A few other side notes; I have switched back to a paper planner after years of not being able to remember to put things in my phone’s calendar. I am also going to utilize the binders I have laying around and organize my papers.  It’s also been a while since I’ve done that so it should feel great!

Thank you for sticking with me as I live this blessed journey!

Feelin a little funky.

Do you ever find yourself in a funk?  Like your life is quickly passing you by and then one day you stop and think, “How did I get here?  I feel like I’m stuck!”?  The past couple of weeks have kind of been like that for me.  I thought that maybe if I share a little about what I have been feeling, not only might I feel better, but maybe someone else out there can relate and not feel like they are the only other person who goes through crap like this.

So, first of all, you might have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few weeks.  While I feel like getting out of a weekly rhythm may cause people to forget this blog even exists, I really have not been in a position to write about anything and be genuine.  That would go against what I want for this blog, and make me feel like a fake. That’s just not going to happen, folks.

Second, I have been in a transition at work, starting in a new department, and that in itself has been an adjustment.  Having to learn a new job can certainly take a toll on someone’s brain.  I love what I do, and I also love to learn, so this isn’t a bad change for me.  I’ve just been busy, like getting handed a project by my supervisor to complete before Christmas break when I wasn’t completely confident in my abilities of being able to complete it in a week type of busy.  I did though, by the way, and I even completed it early.  I love when I surprise myself like that!

Thirdly, there have been some deeper and more personal things going on that I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with.  Does that ever happen to you?  Just out of the blue the lemons handed to you aren’t the good ones you can eat with salt, (judge me,) but the moldy brownish ones you can’t even use to freshen your garbage disposal with?  Yuck!  I am still not completely worked through this situation, but thankfully I have a supportive husband, and a few solid women I can vent to who aren’t afraid to give me some words of wisdom.

Lastly, I have been a little off track, with my health, and with my physical activity.  I have had moments when I chose a lazier path with what to eat for dinner, and how to spend any spare time when I could have gone for a walk or something.  As a result, my skin is a bit patchy, and my clothes don’t fit as comfortably.  And I just feel like crap, to be quite honest.  Thank the Lord that this is my favorite time of year, or I’m not sure if I would have realized how much this funk has been affecting me.

So what is one to do when they feel like they have let themselves and their life go?  I think the first thing is to talk about it with people you trust who care about you, and be completely honest with them.  I believe with all of my heart that lying will get you nowhere good, and I know from experience, dude.  Especially lying to yourself, not cool.  What comes next will depend on what kind of person you are.  Men and women tend to deal with things a little bit differently, actually, a lot differently.  In my case, after I talk about it and hear other’s perspectives, I look at things I have gotten off the paths from, and ask myself what made me get on them in the first place.  For example, why did I start eating real food to begin with?  I am a reflective type of person, so I will  also think about what event’s may have led to my funkiness, and ask myself if any of those issues still need to be addressed.  What I am not, is a self-motivator.  I thrive off of motivating others actually, and prefer to have the same done to me.  I just need to be careful who I look to for motivation.  It is easy to come across another “wallower”, and get stuck even further into funkiness.  Another thing I can do is write about it.  Write in my prayer journal, or write in my blog.  Either way, I welcome feedback, and usually learn something new as well.

I think an important thing to remember if you ever get into a funk is that you are not alone, and you can always get past it.  It may not seem like it at the time, but it’s true.  As I write this, I am already able to look at a few things that I could do to get my bo-hiney back on the right path.  It makes me feel amazing to know that I have you all out there supporting me as well. Thank you!!

A little piece of my heart.

Since this blog is dedicated to sharing part of my journey through life with you, I am going to give you a little more information about what made my husband and me want to start living a Primal/Paleo lifestyle in the first place.  Like thousands of other couples out there, we have been struggling with infertility.  While I won’t go into many specifics as to how we are affected right now, I will let you all know that our health has had a lot to do with it.

Last year, I made an appointment with a fertility specialist, and one of the things they had mentioned was that my BMI was a little too high.  Wait, what?  I’ve never had this “issue” before, and to be honest, I was a little embarrassed.  I have been so conscious of my weight for the majority of my life that I hadn’t ever really thought of myself as obese.  But there the numbers were, and they didn’t lie.  In addition, I felt sluggish, and my clothes didn’t fit.  What happened to me?  How did I let myself lose this much control?  How could I let my family down like this?

Soon after that appointment, I talked with my husband about wanting to get healthy again. I had been using the Atkins diet as a guideline to lose weight for the past several years.  I thought, “It worked before, why hasn’t it been working for me lately?”  The truth is the diet plan was too open to interpretation.  With their “snacks” especially, it was very hard to stay on track.  The original way of eating that Dr. Atkins talked about had been skewed, and added toxins were creeping up in the plan, hidden by the Atkins label.  I had given in to the new program, and all of its little extras that were supposedly ok for me to consume.   So, what happened?  Instead of losing weight and feeling better, I gained weight and I was feeling like crap all of the time.

I’m not going to go into all of the details of what all made me sick, but artificial sweeteners had a lot to do with it.  The main one was Splenda.  I used to be such an advocate for that brand, believing that it was a safe alternative to sugar.  It turns out that I was wrong.  In fact, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can be more harmful than raw sugar.  I was surprised when I studied the research, but now that I have been experiencing the benefits of eating real food, it all makes sense.  The second big factor was still having processed and non-organic food.  I’ve gone over how these 2 can affect health, but they can also affect the endocrine system, which can affect fertility… Oops.

What led me to try Paleo this time?  The first thing was that a good friend of mine had been doing it for a while.  She had told me about it, and I even bought a book and read about it, but at the time it didn’t seem like a good fit for me.  Looking back, I feel a little silly that I ever thought that eating real food wasn’t a good fit.  Wow, was I brainwashed.  The second thing was that my husband had done a Paleo type diet before, and been successful at weight loss.  We sat down and talked about “going Paleo” together so we could get healthy, for us, for our future, and for our family.  We both read the book I had together, so we could be on the same page about what we were doing, and so we could learn all the reasons it is important to eat a real food diet.  I believe I have mentioned the book before; it’s called The Paleo Solution, the Original Human Diet, by Robb Wolf.  I highly recommend reading this book to anyone who is interested or curious about Paleo.  It not only explains the why of this lifestyle, but the science behind it.  I think it’s important to understand something like this before you try it out, that way you’re not doing it because it’s just some fad you heard about.  Paleo isn’t a fad; it’s been around since humans started to eat.  It’s also not just about what you eat; it’s about how you live.

I don’t think I have really mentioned the whole “how you live and being Paleo” before.  I know I’ve discussed what we put in and on our bodies, but there is more to it than that.  Paleo also means moving like our ancestors, not being glued to electronics, reducing stress, and for goodness sake, sleeping!  I can dig into each of those separately, as they are equally important to our overall health, so these will definitely be a part of future posts.

What have our results been?  My husband lost about 50 pounds, and I lost about 25.  Our health has also improved greatly, and we are in a better position to create a healthy child when we are blessed with one.  It hasn’t happened yet; however, we are not losing hope.  I still have some things to work out also, like reducing my stress, and getting into a physical fitness routine with my busy schedule.  I would also like to lose a few more inches, and that will come in time.  I have been making progress, and I will continue to work on changing my health for the better.

What about you?  Have you struggled with any health issues and changed them by improving your nutrition/sleep/exercise habits?

We are getting down to the raw facts about dairy.

Growing up, I drank 2%, and eventually skim milk.  I had bought into the whole “fat makes you fat” lie.  (Does anyone else remember the infomercial called ‘Stop the Insanity’? That lady haunts my dreams.)  I remember skim milk was basically like water.  I’m really not sure what nourishment I was expecting from drinking that junk.  Maybe Calcium or Vitamin D? Now I know better.  I have moved on to raw and real dairy.

What is real dairy?  The stuff I used to drink most likely came from a place that houses a bunch of cows forced to eat grain and corn that they are not designed to eat (see my last post for more info on that).  The cows are also most likely injected with hormones and antibiotics, and live in a stressful environment.  The milk was also pasteurized at a high temperature, killing all the good stuff that helps our bodies digest it, and the good stuff that nourishes our bodies.  Real dairy is from pastured cows, spending their days grazing grassy fields and soaking up some vitamin D.  They are not treated with antibiotics and growth hormones, and their milk is collected in a sterile environment.  They are kept a close eye on; making sure their heath is good, before the milk is taken.  Then the milk is quickly cooled. It is oh so yummy!!!

Raw cheeses are delicious as well. The first one I tasted was raw Monterey Jack.  I was amazed at the flavor and richness; so much so, that I almost ate the whole block in one sitting.  I loved cheeses before, but my experiences have now been elevated.

So, what about those rumors that raw dairy is bad for you, and causes illness?  Well, big pasteurized dairy industry would just love you to believe that.  Isn’t it a wonder how such information is distributed with little to no evidence to back it up?  Let me ask you a question, do you eat conventional poultry, seafood, beef, or produce?  Then you have a higher risk of getting sick, or even dying, than if you ate raw dairy.  I read a study conducted by the CDC, and in it, they report that between 1993 and 2006, there were 2 deaths caused by unpasteurized cheese.  2.  And 1 caused by pasteurized cheese.  Does this sound alarming to you?  The unpasteurized cheese was made illegally in a bath tub, and not on a farm that follows the healthful standards I mentioned above.  Oh, and you’ll also notice how often the word probably is used by these so called fact-finding professionals, to describe why they thought the pasteurized cheese may have caused the 1 death.

Now, some of you might be asking about me eating dairy when it’s not considered Paleo.  I have a few things to say about this.  First, I don’t believe that anyone has to consume dairy to be healthy.  We can get calcium and vitamin D from other foods, and humans survived without animal dairy for many many years.  However, raw dairy can be very beneficial in preventing allergies and asthma in children, and helpful in preventing and healing cavities in both children and adults.  That being said, if we are taking a whole foods approach to eating and using Paleo as a template, raw dairy would fit in.  Second, not everyone can tolerate dairy, especially pasteurized dairy, so I don’t believe everyone should be consuming it.  I am merely stating that if you do consume dairy, it should be raw and the animal it came from pasture raised.  And finally, since my body can tolerate raw dairy, I am welcoming the benefits!  Fat soluble vitamins, congregated linoleic acid, and when fermented, gut healing properties.

While buying raw dairy is illegal in most states, for reasons dumber that dirt in my opinion, if it’s legal where you live I highly recommend trying some out.  It is luscious, tasty, and nutritious!!