First off, I’ll come out and state that I try to support products labeled as the following (not a complete list):
- fair trade
- certified by a reputable organization
I will also say that leading such a lifestyle is very, very difficult. My husband is the breadwinner in the house. We live off his income. Military income isn’t much. It covers the necessities, which are far more often our bills than our wants, but our needs are met. Yet it gets very disheartening when I see so many others out there able to buy–and get a hold of (another shortcoming of the military lifestyle)!–the products I really want to incorporate into my family’s healthy lifestyles. These seem to have become even more important to me now that I’m a mother.
There are some reading this that have just nodded. This sounds familiar to a lot of people, especially in these hard economic times. I don’t think that anyone wants to buy foods and other products that are unorganic, non-fair trade, GMO-filled mysteries. I honestly don’t. Sometimes, they just don’t have another option–their reasons are their own.
Besides GMO’s, which I’ll touch on in a moment, I think that fair trade products are top on my list to buy when I can. Why? Well, I don’t agree with oppressing other people, which happens a lot when big cash crops like coffee, tea and chocolate (to name a few) are produced and harvested. I don’t agree with how the laborers are treated and how these labor practices affect the local economy. That’s why I try to buy fair trade.
According to the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO):
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers–especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
Of course, I also care about how food is cultivated and grown. I don’t pretend to think that science has not aided the starving populations in our world. It has by making crops grow faster and in greater quantities than ever before. However, how the DNA of the plants and animals produced is transmuted bothers me for several reasons:
- There’s a lack of transparency on what and how it goes on during the manufacturing of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
- Lobbyists pay into big government, and big government protects lobbyists from the justice system
- I’m not keen on remaking what already comes naturally in this world–I think it’s risky at best and more likely dangerous for us, our kids, our health and our planet
I think the steps Washington State is taking are pretty awesome. I also think that it’s high time people get to know what’s in their food. I won’t go so far as to say that those companies who manufacture GMO’s shouldn’t be able to sell their products. However, I think foods with GMO’s in them should be labeled. Let the customer decide, in my opinion…and if the customer decides that GMO’s are out, then the companies should listen and not be forcing their products upon the buyer through sneaky lawmaking. With so many countries restricting or outright banning GMO’s for scientifically-backed health concerns, I think the multi-national corporations should take the concerns raised into consideration.
But, let’s face it, we cannot live toxin-free. There’s no possible way. We can do our best to eliminate fluoride from our water supplies, get rid of GMO’s from our diet, stop eating sugar, buy only locally, stop using products that have questionable chemicals in them, and so forth but the reality is, we’ll still come into contact with them. Every single day. They are everywhere, but that’s no reason to become an alarmist.
(I follow quite a few natural living blogs, and while I highly respect all the bloggers who write the articles, there are days when I think that they are perhaps taking things a bit too far. It seems that they worry about everything. We simply cannot avoid everything.)
The wonderful thing is that our bodies are wonderful miracles. Most often, they can handle those chemicals we come into contact with. It flushes them out, aided by our conscientious attempts to down those 8-10 glasses of water each day and eat the right amount of nutrients to boost our immune system, drain our lymph system, strengthen our musculoskeletal system, nourish our nervous system, etc. We have the capability to cleanse ourselves through diet and exercise–one of the many reasons so many people turn to old traditions like yoga (and with it Ayurveda).
So, with all of this said, how can we lead healthy lifestyles and maintain a modicum of sanity? The first thing, I think, is that we have to stop being apathetic about these and other issues. We have to start caring. We have to do our own research. Yes, while I do the best I can with mine, it’s not foolproof. Always, always read up on the topics that interest or concern you yourself. Don’t just trust what’s out there. Read, and then talk with experts, doctors, friends who are in that professional field or well-read on the subject.
Secondly, we need to take back the power. We need to do things ourselves. Yes, that means it requires more time and energy on our part, but healthy living is worth it. We only get one body and one chance at staying healthy.
Here are a few ideas on how to DIY a healthy lifestyle:
- Grow your own garden
- Make your own beauty products
- Buy skin-friendly fabrics and sew your own clothing
- Make food from scratch
- Subscribe to healthy DIY newsletters for endless ideas
- Make your own Christmas gifts
- Let some things that are affecting your life go
- Find gratitude for those things which you already have
There are countless ways of changing simple behaviors to promote healthy living. Some people will do more than others, but even just one change will better your health and your quality of life. The idea isn’t to become super-health nut, or to become so ashamed you think ill of yourself and your habits. It’s merely to live as well as we individually can.