I am on a mission to live simpler, fresher, cleaner, healthier, more naturally, etc. I’ve been on this mission for some time now. If you read back through my blog, you’ll find posts on living simpler, living frugally etc. And I am enjoying this process!
Although I am an avid couponer and sales addict, I purchase only items I REALLY use. However, even looking at my stockpile I see room for change. I’m curious...how better would I feel if I really did know where my meat, produce and dairy came from...and if I ate less processed foods. Now, I’m Gluten Free, so I probably eat far less than the average American consumer, but still GF foods are not always good for you. They compensate the lack of gluten with more sugar and fat.
I am, a sugar addict. I admit that. I was not raised on the healthiest of diets so even the way I eat now is a DRASTIC change from where I was ten, twenty years ago! So I stick to small changes, still. I use Sun Crystals (stevia and sugar blend) in my coffee, and since I hate artificial sweeteners and consider them poison....I can’t go that route. So what’s a girl to do?
Here are my to-do’s. I’ve no idea how long it will take me to complete them, but I’ll keep you posted!
*Integrate stevia and blue agave nectar into diet more. I never could get over the bitterness of stevia, but now that I’ve been using Sun Crystals, perhaps I can. Blue agave nectar has tons of uses, so I need to discover them!
*Use up current stockpile of all items that contain high fructose corn syrup, and multiple chemicals on the label. Really if there are 20 names for chemicals on it, should we be eating it? But I’m not a waster, so I cannot just toss food.
*As we use that stock up, research alternatives for such items. I have goals but I’m also a realist. My children are so damn picky as it is, I’m not going to deny them ketchup. But how about a ketchup without HFCS in it? (Sorry big corn business...I ain’t calling it Corn Sugar.)
*Limit our soda intake. This may mean not buying it anymore. I used to drink soda like water growing up...and weaned myself off of it after years of bladder infections. Somehow, we slowly sunk back into having soda constantly in the house. Once it’s used up...purchase natural sodas without HFCS.
*Drink more Water. This one is not terribly hard, I do drink a lot of water, but could drink more. And for the record people, Mio water enhancer? Really? Dyed water? No thanks.
*Cut back on sugar. This is the hard one for me. I am a sugar fiend. But even I can tell...I usually eat the stuff because it’s THERE...and I don’t truly enjoy it. What I TRULY enjoy is some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or a real homemade gluten free cookie. So why do I buy sugar filled processed candies I don’t love as much?? Time to stop!
*Eliminate or drastically cut back on food dyes. This is more for the kids, but I’m sure the dyes are out there. I also plan to research the dyes. But with one child with Autism, one with suspected sensory processing issues, and just them being boys in general..... I need to limit anything that will hype them up!
*Purchase meats, dairy and produce that I KNOW where it came from. Ok...Jamie Oliver scares me. I am very grateful I send my children’s lunch to school...let’s just say that. If you haven’t seen “food revolution”...you must do so. But I admit, I’m a penny pincher. We are a family of four living on a budget. But our health is most important. So my mini goals in this section are:
*Purchase red meat and chicken only from our local grocery store that sells local/organic meats. This will take some creative meal planning, but hopefully it will be doable.
*Purchase the ‘dirtiest’ produce list http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/29/2010-dirty-dozen-produce-list-released-by-the-ewg/ organic and preferably, locally grown. I have checked into joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) and it’s just not in our budget or time frame. However, there is a local produce stand that I believe purchases items from the local CSA, so that should help work out. Sadly my FAVORITE farmer’s market stand (a huge one!) was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina and he never reopened.
*Purchase locally grown and organic fed dairy products. Now, I do get WIC for my youngest son so we get some dairy products each month...and we are prisoners to what they choose for us to get. But we drink far more milk than we are ‘given’ by the WIC department (which we may or may not have much longer if he doesn’t requalify for the medicaid for children with disabilities). I usually do purchase the local milk where they seem to run a healthy farm....but I would like to try my hand at Raw Milk. This will be much harder to achieve as it is illegal to purchase raw milk and honestly, if I find it...I’m not going to tell you about it! The eggs and dairy are much easier, as there are a lot of companies who make organic, cage free eggs and organic dairy products.
*Exercise more! This one is REALLY hard for me. I admit it, I take on too much. I have a husband, two children, a house, a full time job running my businesses at home (of which requires me to do EVERYTHING...the manufacturing, books, shipping, purchasing, marketing, etc.) I also handle different things voluntarily and choose to do some things for fun like blogging and writing. This leaves me little time to exercise. So my goal is simple: 30 minutes of “Just Dance” on the Wii (or comparable fitness game) 3x a week. We shall see.....
*Spend more time in bible study. My religion is of utmost importance to me but I do not give it the time it truly deserves. Basically it is due to the same reasons why I do not exercise. But all of those are just excuses. If I cannot draw closer to God, then everything I do is a waste of time! So I’ll start small: 30 minutes of bible study every day. Prayer is a part of my day, throughout the day but you can always do more. I also have a smaller goal of reading the Bible story with my oldest son, so that he can more thoroughly start to understand WHAT we believe and WHY.
*Cleaning and Housework. I’m already a fairly eco friendly housekeeper. I do run a shop that focuses on eco friendly cleaning after all....www.micromops.artfire.com. But I do have weaknesses....and that includes commercial cleaning products and paper products. Those honestly don’t bother me terribly, as it is certain products I use that are commercial made. But if I REALLY wanted to save money, I’d experiment more with natural cleaning recipes and methods! The paper products are my weakness because well, I do enough dishes...paper plates saves me some dishes. Paper towels are quick and easy and when my mother in law is over, she goes through a whole roll practically just cleaning the kitchen. So I keep them on hand. They don’t go bad, and are great to donate and give to the school. So this is one I don’t need to work terribly hard, just make up my own cleaning solutions more.
*Purge some of the plastic. Now, I’m not a nervous nelly by any stand point. I’m pretty much ok with dirt, filth, and germs to a point because it’s our freak out ways that has caused overuse of antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, etc and left our human bodies at a loss on how to fight simple illnesses we used to fight easily generations ago. But, with time and technology we invent things we may not completely understand how they all work. So one thing I know I can change is, plastic. Its common knowledge heating plastic and eating/drinking from certain forms may not be great for you. Since the verdict is still out on much of it, I’m trying to look at it from the “did my grandma us plastic” stand point. Nope, she didn’t. And she lived 30+ years after they told her she’d die of cancer, so I’m gonna go with what she did. This doesn’t mean my house will be totally void of plastic...remember, I’m also a realist. But I will start tossing Eli’s sippy cups if they are not marked BPA free (heck, they probably are getting old anyways.) and slowly reinvest in those awesome metal kids cups. Or, SHUDDER....teach my children to drink from glass!! OH THE HUMANITY!
*Read More! I’ve been working on this one for months, and I’m love it! I finally caved to getting a Kindle and IT IS AWESOME. I really DO read more with it. It fits in my purse, books are always right there, I love it. This is one, I’m rocking, I must say.
*Un-Plug More. Thus we come to the main point of this post. I need to disconnect more. Social networking and technology is fabulous. I love it. I’m an addict. I was a computer nerd from the get go, playing Dream House on my brother’s Commodore when I was six! That was all she wrote. I’ve been a tech nerd ever since. But for much of my life, we couldn’t AFFORD most technology. I only got a cell phone when they started becoming more prevalant because I was going to college and working, driving hundreds of miles a week. Until recenly, we had computers, and one cell for me, but that was about it. We still don’t have a fancy tv, stereo system, iPod, etc...but we have slowly accumulated a few more things...particularly as the internet and social networking became our society’s lifeblood.
Don’t get me wrong, social networking and the net has it’s place. I think it’s vital in today’s world. But I know I tend to get too caught up in it. Unfortunately, I’m rather stuck with it, because I run my business ONLINE. I have no choice but to be on the internet, and I certainly don’t want to toss it aside, it has helped provide me with a decent handmade business! Plus, I can never get rid of the computer....my friends are in there!
But....if I want to actually ACCOMPLISH some of the above things on this list....I need to unplug. I need to remember what it was like to sit on the sofa at 2 in the afternoon and just read. I need to recall laying in the grass and watching the clouds with my boys. I need to make obnoxious paper plate art with my children. I want to get filthy with them in the dirt and wash off in the hose. I want to clean, decorate, read, write, live, love, and laugh withOUT feeling the need to broadcast it on facebook or twitter.
So, it’s time....from June 1st to June 30th... I will disconnect. Ironically I WILL be blogging the progress of this on this blog, but my net time will be limited. I WILL be keeping my shops open...mama’s gotta make some money after all. But you can read my allowable internet activities here: http://blog.mamaslittlemonkeys.com/2011/05/girl-disconnectedcoming-in-june.html
Now, no fussing at me if you see facebook and twitter posts....I have most of my blogs hooked up to auto post! I am not the only one writing for www.realhousewivesofnola.com http://dailyhandamdepicks.blogspot.com or www.handmadelouisiana.com so those sites especially will have posts. But for the most part I will not be allowed online other than to blog the progress and run the shops.
What do I hope to gain? Hopefully accomplishing some of what’s listed above. Also peace of mind and a more in-tune consciousness of how often I rush to get on the computer.
My friend Heather will actually be joining me in her version of girl, disconnected. so check out her blog here: http://heatherscustomsewing.blogspot.com/2011/05/girl-disconnected.html
I will keep you all updated and see you in a month!!