Update: Organic Lifestyle

Eight months ago, after doing a lot of research I decided to become an informed food consumer. I made a conscious decision to only buy organic produce as well as grass fed meats/dairy, etc. I am happy to say that I still purchase 95% organic or non-gmo foods for my family. It really makes me feel great when I prepare a meal that I know has no antibiotics, no pesticides, and no gmos – especially now that Halley is starting to eat solids.

I’ve had to change the way I shop because the farmer’s market isn’t open during the winter here in NY. So I do most of my shopping at Mrs. Greens. The prices are reasonable and the all the produce is organic. It is also a small store so it’s easy to get what you need and not be distracted a la Fairway or Trader Joe’s.

Do I always eat organic? Unfortunately even in NY, most restaurants don’t serve organic food – so if I’m out or ordering in – it’s most likely not organic. Most of my family/friends don’t eat organic either so if we’re together unless I cooked – it’s most likely not. Does this bother me? A little. I would like to convert my family and friends to organic eating but I have to give it time.

I think the main thing that I have learned from this experience is that we should be eating real food. I definitely wasn’t eating enough vegetables before this. I also think that it opened my eyes to alternative sources of protein (other than meat and eggs) which is more cost effective. I think to a certain degree we all feel better when we do stick to our organic diet.

Have you made any diet or lifestyle changes? What were the results?  Thoughts, comments, share below.

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Empowered Purchasing

It is crazy to think about the amount of money we spend every day. I spent a lot of time not thinking about it until I realized that was a big mistake because having a savings, an emergency fund, etc is important. So I started to save money but now that I am in a position where I haven’t been earning money (maternity leave) I have had to think extra carefully about money and where it is going. Furthermore, who is it supporting?

As someone who is trying to eat healthy and clean, I can’t rightly say that it makes sense for me to spend my grocery money at a big chain like Walmart or Target or even a small chain like Key Food because they don’t have a lot of organic, non-GMO and chemical free options and the options they do have are extra expensive. Although it would certainly be convenient (as these types of stores are everywhere) – if I start shopping with them I will pay more for organic produce and I will be supporting an organization who doesn’t have the same goals as me.

So I have revolutionized the way I shop. Once a week, we stop at a Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and occasionally meat, fish and dairy products. My money supports local farmers who work hard for their money. The produce is less expensive than it would be at any store and it so much better. Seriously, the difference in an onion is absolutely insane – and it’s just an onion – forget about other fruits and veggies. If I can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market or need some stuff that is prepared, I’ll head to Trader Joe’s or Fairway. I won’t buy anything without looking at the ingredients. Here is a reference I use: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/09/27/10-of-the-worst-food-ingredients-to-never-eat-again/ but in general if you don’t know what it is, can’t pronounce it, it is probably not good for you. I know it can be a bit more expensive to shop in the organic aisle but if we keep voting with our dollars, organic goods (no pesticides, not genetically modified, etc.) will become the main stream and the prices will go down.

Next time you make a purchase, think about who and what you are supporting and maybe it will change your mind. I know it has saved me plenty of money just by considering it.

Baby Steps: Switching to an All Organic and Non-GMO Lifestyle

How I plan on going 100% organic and non-GMO: Baby Steps.

Yes, there are plenty of not organic and even processed foods and beauty products in my household but I plan on finishing what I have and replacing them with their organic and non-GMO counterparts as they have been used.

Starting this week, I placed an order with Udder Milk, a creamery co-op for some farm fresh milk, eggs, yogurt, custard and berries. Was it super cheap? No. But I can tell you now that it was completely worth it. Everything we ordered was amazing and delicious and I can’t wait to order from them again. Not only were the products great, but if you aren’t close to a pick up zone or are too preggo/lazy to pick up (like me), they will deliver the goods straight to your house (no delivery fee!). Plus, I totally messed up my first order by accidentally saying I would pick up in Brooklyn (something must have went wrong on my computer that day) and they were able to deliver to me next day after I called them about my issue. It’s nice to deal with people who care about their business and want to make sure the customers needs/wants are met.

Although I frequently go to Farmer’s Markets when I am in the Catskills, I usually don’t go when I am home – which for now is most weekends. I know that the farmer’s market in Union Square can be pricey so I am never inclined to go too often and it’s not very close to where I live. This weekend, I made up my mind that we would go to the Bronxville Farmer’s Market. We were able to get some fresh caught Sea Bass from Montauk and several types of vegetables and fruits- all for very reasonable prices, yes cheaper than buying Organic/Non-GMO in the grocery store!

All in all, I was very happy about my first foray into official organic and non-GMO eating and I am recommending all of you to try it. Obviously, it can be expensive but if you play your cards right you will save money by ordering meats in bulk, buying produce (as much as you can) from a farmer’s market you can really cut down your food budget and still eat clean. Plus the health benefits are tremendous. There’s no need to put excess chemicals into your body when you don’t have to. It’s not the way we were intended to eat.

Now I just need to work on my meal planning and this process will really be taking off!

What Am I Doing Here? Am I Doing the “RIGHT” Thing?

For as long as I have been alive – yes 25 years now, don’t rub it in 😦 I saw so many different career paths for myself ballerina, actress, veterinarian, dolphin trainer, animal sanctuary owner, lawyer, dentist, teacher, psychiatrist/psychologist, doctor, surgeon, accountant, consultant, yogi, translator, wedding planner, environmental org. worker – you name it and at some point it was at minimum a consideration. I have never known 100% what I wanted to accomplish in this lifetime or what my legacy would be, I just have always known that it is important that I am on the track to success.

The one thing that I always knew from day one or (the day one of my memory) is that I wanted to be a mom. At some point a young mom, but up until I was BLESSED and SURPRISED with my pregnancy – just being a mom in the future was enough for me. Now, I have a month until I meet the love of my life and I am constantly asking myself what I need to do to be the best mom that I can be to her?

Do I work? Do I stay home? Will we have enough if I stay home? What kind of job can I do while being with her? What can I do that is meaningful? Most of my time is spent thinking about these questions and researching what other people are doing in my situation. But what works for some does not necessarily work for all.

I can’t explain exactly how most of the last 7 years of my life passed by but they did and a lot of them passed without a definite feel on where I am going. I changed my major four times – psychology, biology, education and then history finally and managed to graduate in 3 years. Where does a history major get you? I don’t know. I ended up working for a string of non-profits and sort of created a little niche for myself. I have no desire however to get further education in the field that I am working in and have never been sure that this is what I want to do. I work hard because I want to be successful and because I morally feel that if you are getting paid to do something you should put in hard work and effort to get it done. My work ethic and natural abilities have allowed me to shine in my current work place and have even pushed me up the promotion ladder.

Now I am faced with a serious challenge about what to do for my family. Do I stay home? I have student loans and credit cards and life expenses that I was not planning on having when I started a family. I also feel somewhat responsible to contribute financially to my household. Additionally, I want to be able to buy a house and eventually have more children. What about healthcare? If we get married, I lose my dad’s healthcare which is phenomenal. My healthcare at my job is great but if I’m working it goes poof!

It was my birthday on Saturday and B was asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him that I want answers. I want to stay home and I want to work but I know the value of a work life balance and I want to be able to work on my terms – not any one else’s so this is where I have gotten myself:

  1. I need a job that I can manage by myself, something that is flexible and can work on a mom schedule. I need to create/provide a service that others will find valuable.
  2. Health and healthcare are very important to me. If we are not healthy, we are not doing our children a service. I want to be in the best shape for my baby and I want her to benefit from the foods I eat. I realize that this wasn’t as much of a concern to me as it should be and I know that my pregnancy would have been even more smooth sailing if I had been doing yoga and eating organic more.
  3. I like to help people/animals (as you can see through my running list of potential jobs).
  4. I want my blog and social media efforts to be part of my future job.

Here is what I have come to the conclusion of doing. For the next few months I am going to do a lot of research and put a lot of effort into making my health and the health of my family a serious priority. Going all organic and removing toxins (as much as I can – we live in NYC), as well as encouraging fitness and yoga in our lives. If I can commit and can see a difference and obviously, I will be blogging along the way. I am going to save and start a plan to become a Nutritionist/Dietitian. A job that I can blog with, I can manage on my own by scheduling my own appointments, a job where I can help other people and a job that helps me focus on my priority of living healthy for my family.

Sorry this was so long. Questions? Comments? Feedback?

things that make me happy: natural living (or attempts at it)

Throughout my “adult” life (post – 20) I have made several forays into eating clean, removing chemicals from my life, trying to be more conscious of the environment that I am partially responsible for creating/destroying. Living in New York City there are several chemicals/waste products that come into contact with my body without me even realizing it – poisons from pest removal, harsh cleaning chemicals, subway germs, you name it -we have it etc.

Some of my choices have been voluntary but others were decided for me. For example, two or three years ago my deodorant started causing a rash on my armpits. After years of wearing antiperspirant, my body had started to reject it. I tried several different deodorants/soaps/etc. but much to my dismay, the rash stayed and nothing worked. So I just stopped wearing deodorant. Now I know that sounds kind of gross but I really do not sweat much and honestly no one around me has noticed a difference. I did attempt at making my own deodorant out of shea butter and essential oils which worked fine except I kept forgetting to make it. One day I will share the recipe.

But I feel great. If I sweat a lot from working out or running around too much, I just jump in the shower. But like I said – there really hasn’t been any negative impact to removing antiperspirant/regular deodorant from my life. In fact, the aluminum present in antiperspirant can block your glands and lead to Alzheimer’s, so I feel even better about giving it up.

My most recent decision has been getting rid of traditional shampoo and conditioner – I was inspired by a post on the Hairpin. I was pretty hesitant being that my hair is so greasy if I don’t wash it every day. I also don’t have curly hair like many I know who avoid washing their hair often. Two months into the process and I wash my hair 3 times over 2 weeks! The only products I am using are baking soda, apple cider vinegar, some essential oils and occasionally, coconut oil. My hair still looks good and it does not look greasy after not washing for a day anymore. & I am pregnant and more sweaty/hairy than usual so I can only imagine this will get even better with time.

Now if only I can get in on eating completely clean and organic – but first, I need another raise 😉

Have you tried to remove chemicals from your life? Are you living organic? Thoughts? Suggestions? Comment below.