?

I tend to keep things relatively ‘light’ on the blog, but a few things have been bothering me lately and I need to vent. I doubt I’m alone in this, so hopefully some of you will identify with my ramblings.
It seems like there are so many opinions, theories, and advice about everything in our lives. And to put it simply, I feel like I’m never doing quite the right thingor am I? Herein lies the problem.

 

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I constantly fret about whether or not I am making the most optimal choices for my family’s health and wellbeing. Growing up, I don’t think things were quite like this. Most people just went about their days, trying to make healthy decisions, but it wasn’t all consuming. Not like it is now. It seems that between the news, media sources, blogs, television, and advice books, there is an abundance of contradiction about how we should be living our lives. Should being the operative word. This brings me back to my overarching question: Am I doing the right thing? 

 
Organic vs. non-organic food.
The use of natural sunscreen.
Chemical free cleaners and laundry detergent.
Red vs. White wine.
Gluten Admission.
Motherhood and my baby.
Vegetarianism.
Veganism.
“Clean Eating”.
Working out while pregnant.
Drinking ____ amount of water a day.
Dieting.
Sugar/Butter/Fat/Oil Free.
Clothing Manufacturing.
Taking Supplements.
Pharmaceuticals vs. Natural Therapy.
Going to yoga.
Fast-Food.
Cosmetics.
Sun exposure.
GMO foods.
Hormone Free Products.
Milk.
This list only touches on some of the topics that I find myself continuously questioning. I don’t know about you, but I feel like one day, Harvard puts out a study that completely contradicts an article in the Huffington Post, but only slightly agrees with the research findings at the University of Queensland…etc, etc. Nothing is simple anymore. As a consumer, I feel like we have an abundance of information, but with it comes very little certainty. We try our best to make the healthiest decisions possible, then realize that perhaps our decisions were somehow flawed. A healthy choice today suddenly becomes not-so-healthy next week.
I don’t know. Maybe my concerns have heightened since having a baby. As many parents would probably agree, ‘motherhood’ and the concept of raising your child is one of the most touchy and opinionated subjects out there. People see things in such black and white terms. When you are responsible for another human’s life, choices become that much more important. I find myself standing in the grocery aisle looking at lists of ingredients, doubling the time I used to spend shopping for food. As I browse CBC or CNN, I find myself clicking on the, “Dangers of Soy” articles before reading about natural disasters or political scandals.  When I read information and realize that I’ve made, god forbid, ‘a mistake’, I suddenly develop feelings of guilt, stupidity, and ignorance. I have many girlfriends who also hold similar sentiments. What does this say about our culture?
So, that list above?…
If I eat the skin and it grows above the ground, I’ll try to choose organic. If it’s available, that is. I don’t worry too much about it though. Hot water works wonders.
I try to find sunscreens with components that block (instead of absorb) the rays. BUT, I’d rather use some good old fashioned Coppertone than get a sunburn. Poor Bubs gets plastered with natural zinc sunblock when out in the daytime. It’s pretty stinky, but I feel better about putting it on his skin. However…our favourite sunscreen around here is staying out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
We have allllll the “natural cleaners”. I feel like they don’t clean worth sh*t…but we’re using them because we’re supposed to. Same with laundry detergent.
If given the option, I’ll choose white wine. Always. “But red is higher in antioxidants, etc…”. Okay…when I drink wine, I’m definitely not doing it for the sake of my health (well…maybe just mental health).
I went gluten free for a week several years ago. I had heard it would make me feel “rejuvenated and alive”! Instead, I was one cranky B*, with extremely low energy. No intolerance = not necessary.
Motherhood. I make choices based on what I believe is the best for my son and family. Simple as that.
I could definitely become a vegetarian, but I really love seafood. A lot. And fish are animals, so I don’t think that’s fair.
I will never adopt a vegan diet. Ever.
Clean eating: the most hyped up phrase in the health and fitness industry today! I can’t go a day without reading it on a blog somewhere. I try to eat unprocessed and natural foods as much as possible. Granola bars, chocolate, and crackers are basic staples that still make it into my shopping cart, though. And *gasp* ice cream.
I stayed active throughout pregnancy. It was the only way I knew how to prepare myself for what was to come. It worked.
I should probably drink more water than I do, but I’m forgetful.
Does anyone even know what dieting means anymore? Whatever it is, it’s not for me.

I take 1/2 a sugar in my coffee. Butter tastes better than margarine. I don’t use much sugar in my baking simply because I don’t like how it makes me feel- extremely thirsty. Coconut oil and apple sauce are tasty alternatives to butter. I actually like them, so that’s why I use them instead.
Many things in my closet come from China, Vietnam, Taiwan… it makes me feel bad.
I do plenty of research before taking supplements (vitamins, protein) and try to make the best choices I can.
If I am sick enough, I take medication. I did not while pregnant.
I really like yoga because I enjoy stretching. It feels good, especially when my muscles are sore. That’s kind of it, though. Sure, it’s relaxing. However, it doesn’t really bring me to any sort of peaceful state of mind, like it seemingly does for others. Maybe someday I’ll get the full picture.
I used to eat fast food. However, I went cold turkey and cut it out of my diet because I knew it wasn’t good for me. The last time I ate it was a year ago, and it gave me stomach pains.
I try to use products that are free from paraben/sulfates/other crazy chemicals. This started when I found out I was pregnant, and I have since continued using many products that are less harsh. It doesn’t always happen, though. My encounter with natural shampoo and conditioner was enough to mistake my hair for a brillo pad.
I know there is a lot to be said about genetically modified organisms/food (GMOs). To be honest, I haven’t put much thought into it and haven’t formed a final opinion yet, mostly because the food standards in Canada and Australia are different than they are in the States.
We don’t eat red meat, but when we buy chicken and turkey, we try to the purchase free-range, hormone free variety. This is a more recent switch. It’s expensive, but I believe in the benefits. Of course, if it’s not available for purchase, I don’t get too worked up about it. Sometimes I feel cynical and think the worst of company marketing…free range could in fact mean a chicken has walked 10 feet away from its enclosure.

Organic/hormone free milk has also been a recent switch. More expensive, but another hit I’m willing to take to the wallet. Almond milk is a nice change every so often, but sometimes the ingredients aren’t what you’d think.

 

Goodness knows what changes next week/month/year will bring…

When it comes down to it, I think that all we can do is try our best with whatever means and knowledge we have. Teaching the sixth grade, we continuously reinforced the importance of making informed decisions. You don’t just vote for a government leader because their name sounds cool or your friend Bruce is voting for him/her. The same goes for your health. You can’t run out and buy a certain product immediately after your friend says it’s life changing. You can’t alter your entire diet based upon one article you read. It takes time and effort to inform yourself of the various angles before coming to a conclusion about what is right for you.

Making the choice to live a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. There are no apparent rules anymore. I like structure and rules, so this is why I struggle. I think that all we can do is evaluate our lifestyle, do research, and make the best choices for ourselves as we progress through life, no matter how old we are. Having a healthy lifestyle is a continuous and evolving process. We learn as we go, and it’s never too late to make changes for the better- ummm..whatever that is.

2 Thoughts on “?

  1. I think it's important to make the right choices for yourself and your family – not the choice that someone else may sell as the right choice or something that has you locked in a box and obeying by “rules” you hate.

    For me, I can't physically eat gluten – my genes decided that. If I even eat the slightest trace of gluten, it's like a boxing match in my intestines. I *wish* I could eat gluten – and that's exactly why I don't make Jesse eat gluten free. When I first stopped eating gluten I had insane withdrawals and I hated gluten free food – now I love it because I feel a million times better as I'm not causing my stomach to reject itself.

    I'd love to eat organic produce – but we just can't afford it – and we don't have good quality organic food close to us to justify the cost. So we eat “regular” produce – and I think that's a million times better than not eating any produce at all.

    When it comes to super foods, sure they might be fantastic – but my great grandma who lived to 99 and my great uncle in his 80's who has never been to the hospital or has taken any medications wouldn't have the slightest clue what a chia seed is or how on earth to eat spirulina – so are they really worth the cost?

    I often feel like I don't eat enough vegetables as I “should” as I'm limited in the vegetables I can tolerate – but I'm making the right choice for my body – when I eat cauliflower or broccoli my stomach goes into major distress and that's not healthy!

    This is why it's so important for us to choose what works for us – and for me, that too involves eating ice cream for dessert every now and again – and enjoying chocolate and god forbid, sugar, in moderation (and you will never ever find me eating artificial sugars – because whilst stevia doesn't have any health warnings right now, neither did aspartame or Splenda once upon a time!)

  2. Yes, I totally understand how those people with gluten allergies cannot/should not consume it! It's strange how it has somehow become a fad diet though for people who aren't affected.

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