How did I get here?
That is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. How did I go from someone that thought nothing of drinking 3-4 Dr Peppers daily and eating Taco Bell multiple times a week, to someone that reads every label on the overwhelmingly organic food I buy, never (ok maybe once in a blue moon) drinks soda and knows more acronyms for healthful food than I thought existed 7 years ago. I am NOT the same person I was 7 years ago. Struggling with unexplained infertility. Working out but unable to lose weight (duh!). Stressed out and overextended in multiple areas of my life.
It all started when I went to go see a Naturopath recommended by a friend. I didn’t even know what a Naturopath was at that time. I just knew I wanted kids and conventional medicine had no answer except fertility treatments and I was not yet ready to do that. I wanted to try something else. I thought there had to be something else I could do.
And there was.
After my first visit, I will admit I was overwhelmed. I actually think I went home and cried. I thought I was healthy. I was not overweight, although I had a little extra around the middle. I worked out 4-5 times a week, running up to 5 miles. I had some GI issues with heartburn, but according to the ads on TV, everyone did. So when my Naturopath basically said I was not healthy but she could help educate me and direct me in a more healthful direction, it was life altering. I got a list of foods that were allowed, and those that were harming my health. I have to admit, it was hard at first. Breaking old patterns and trying new recipes. Learning why certain foods were harming my health. Learning about where my food was coming from, and about conventional agriculture and farming practices.
People didn’t used to need to know about all of this. We used to have gardens and backyard chickens. We used to get beef from the farmer in the next town. We knew where our food was coming from. But not anymore. With the advent and spread of corporate farms and animal CAFOs (Confined Animal Feed Organizations) we as a population have increasingly become disconnected from our food. How it is raised, what it is fed, how it is killed, and how it is prepared and packaged for consumption.
I also had to rethink the products I was using to clean my house, and those I was using on my body. In the US, the FDA will approve any chemical without a safety study. In order for a chemical to be labeled as unsafe, there has to be studies demonstrating its toxicity. This is very difficult to prove- that a single chemical causes an unfavorable outcome, even when we have studies demonstrating that the chemical is toxic. This is the opposite of what happens in Europe. There are over 1000 banned chemicals in Europe, and only 9 here in the US. Why is that? If the chemicals have been shown to be unsafe for Europeans, how are they safe for Americans?
One answer. The corporate lobby.
These are people paid by corporate America to speak with the government leaders to try and influence them in decisions that will affect the company that is paying them. The average American does not have this luxury. Yes, we elect our leaders, but who is advocating for our health and well being once they are elected? Unless your Senator or Representative is, no one is.
This has allowed Big Ag and Corporate America to make decisions that are good for the bottom line but not for human health, all without anyone noticing. Until now.
I have seen the change happening. I have seen the increasing number of people interested in what they are putting in and on their bodies. I have seen the increasing attention to our food system and how it works and how it is being manipulated for corporate profit over human health. I have seen the increase in organic products, both in the food sector and in personal care products, like shampoo, soap and lotion. I have seen people everywhere demand change.
I am one of them.
Once I began learning about how food and the other products I was using were damaging my health, I had no choice but to get educated and change. I initially did it for myself and the family I so desperately wanted. And as I have continued to learn about how our bodies respond to chemicals used in conventional agriculture and our processed food, and in so many of the personal care products on the market I have begun to feel a pull to educate others about the food and products they are using, and thinking are safe and tested, when they are not.
My wish is for everyone to have all the information they need to make informed decisions about what they put in and on their bodies, and what they use to clean their homes. And when people are armed with information and knowledge, they almost always choose less toxic alternatives, and more natural versions of products in the marketplace. I mean, shouldn’t we all have that power and right?