Today, y'all will be hearing from Mrs Rogers. AKA - one of my best friends. We are army wives together, and while she may be "Crunchier" than I am, I'm not too far behind in some things. I love being around her because she is honest, hilarious and sincere. She is here today to tell us about her dive into crunchie-dom. If you like what you read, which you will, head on over to her blog!
First, I want to say thanks to Jeannie for suggesting this post swap! I'm excited to be here on One Wish Short... sharing with all of Jeannie's lovelies!
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat--I'm a weirdo hippie witch doctor. And a cheapskate. Happy now? Okay. Moving on.
As the world turns, it continues to get more strange...and complicated. We are constantly bombarded with products and practices that are supposed to make our lives easier. Like most people, I just went with the flow of society for a long time. Sort of. I mean...my mom and brother and sister all have ADD, so my mother was all about keeping our sugar intake in check. No kool aide, no coco puffs, etc. Aside from that, though, we were pretty "normal".
It all started when my mom went back to school and did this research project about a "controversial" subject. She chose to address the "Is milk REALLY good for you?" topic. What she found was horrifying on multiple counts. We were milk drinkers. A couple of gallons a week. We drank it with everything. And that came to an abrupt halt after Mom's research project. There was a lot of protest from us, but after I did my own senior year research project to prove her wrong (and accidentally ended up proving her right), I gladly gave it up and haven't looked back.
Since then, my mother and I have challenged the mainstream on almost all fronts. If the government is trying to convince us that cow milk is okay to drink (and that it's actually GOOD for us!), what else are they allowing us to naively bring into our homes and put in our bodies?
Holy crap. Do NOT dive into that subject until you are fully prepared to be disgusted, guilt-ridden, and outraged.
The more homework I do, the more my life changes. I'm not some crazy super-hippie, but I definitely don't live the way society expects me to. I'm fine with that, though! We (my family) are slowly working our way toward being toxin-free, y'all. It's all about baby steps. Everything--EVERY. SINGLE. THING.--I'm about to discuss seemed so "out there" and weird to me when I first heard or read about it. Almost all of it took a few times of seeing or reading about it to get me to a point where I would try it. I would see something and think "Okay, I'm not THAT crunchy..." and, sure enough, I would eventually try it and it would life-altering.
Let's talk cleaning. How many different cleaning products do you have in your house? Count them--kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc. There's stuff for dishes, something else for floors, another thing for carpets, and about ten thousand different items for counters, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, brass, stainless, ceramic, glass, etc. So now that you've gathered all of those things up (or you've got them gathered...in your head...) tell me how many of them you would drink? *crickets* No takers? Okay, how many of them would you let a small child/toddler/baby play with? Still none? Huh. Weird. Guess what my number is? Five. Yup. That's it. And I don't have to lock my cleaning cabinets or call poison control if my three-year-old gets his hands on them. I clean with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, all-natural dish soap, and all-natural laundry detergent. No toxic chemicals. No dyes. No artificial scents. Just a happy, clean, poison-free home! Super weird, huh? I swear they all work! And can we just talk about how stinking CHEAP it is to clean "my way"? No need to break the bank. You could probably get all of the "cleaners" on my list for under ten bucks and clean your whole house. And guess what? I actually just found out about an all-natural home made "bleach" that I really really really want to try. I can't wait to see how it works!
Moving on. Take a look at your medicine cabinet. Ho-lee-crap. Talk about artificial, toxic crap. I won't lie to you, though, I do still have some of that junk in my house. I really should just throw it out, but I've spent so much money accruing my little pharmacy and I wince at the thought of tossing it out...even though I have a natural alternative that works even better. This is where "witch doctor" gets thrown around. When I first heard about this, I rolled my eyes. A big, huge, exaggerated eye roll. It sounded SO hokey to me. I'm talking about essential oils. Hear me out, though! I really thought it was all such a crock until I used some good quality (and by that, I mean doTERRA--internationally recognized as the best, purest essential oils you can get your hands on IN THE WORLD) oils and they worked better than anything I had ever tried. And now I'm hooked. I mean, why take an aspirin when you can use the naturally-occurring form of it (wintergreen) instead. Especially when the natural form works better, faster, and has no negative or harmful side effects? There is no over-dosing. There is no harm when mixed with XYZ. Just all natural health--the way God intended it. It's fantastic! And while everyone else is complaining about their kids getting sick? Mine are healthy and happy and fit as a fiddle. Call me a witch doctor all you want, but this stuff works! I'm a believer for life!
Now I want to talk personal care. What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body. Because what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body--so it's basically the same thing. What do you wash your face with? Take a look at the list of ingredients in your "skin care" products. Do you know what every single thing on that list is? Can you tell me why each ingredient is in there and what effect it has on your body? Probably not. Guess what I wash my face with? Olive oil and castor oil. Super weird, right?! That's what I thought the first fifty times I heard/saw it. And then I tried it. My life is changed forever. Guess what else? Also CCCHHHEEEAAAPPP. What do you moisturize with? I have a challenge for you. This is an easy first step into hippiedom. Try coconut oil. No joke. That's all I use (well...I also use some home made body butter that I whipped up a few months ago--but it contains FOUR ingredients--all natural, and one of them is coconut oil) on myself and my children. My husband has switched over too. It just....works. I know what you're thinking--"OIL? You want me to moisturize with OIL?? Gross." But it's not. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts at about 76 degrees. It smells awesome and it's naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal. It is ALSO...an antioxidant. BA-ZING! Now you have no reason not to try it. "But, Ashley, I have a skin condition..." Hold it right there, buster. You are NOT excused! Have you ever heard of keratosis pilaris? KP is a skin condition that I passed on to my son. The doctor prescribed Amlactin (stinky lotion that stung). KP is successfully combated in our house with coconut oil. I even converted a friend who has a bad case of eczema - she tried coconut oil and totally wiped it out! If you take nothing else from this--at LEAST go get yourself some coconut oil.
There are so many other things I would LOVE to talk about today, but no one wants to read a novel on blogger. If you wanted to read a novel, you'd be reading one. So I'm going to leave you with one last crunchy mom topic of discussion: cloth diapers. Don't log off! Cloth diapers nowadays are not what your grandmother used fifty years ago. They're cute! And easy! Sure, you can still get flats and prefolds (what Grandma used), but you can also get cloth diapers that look like...well, diapers. Same shape, velcro and/or button closure, water proof, leak proof, and cute to boot! I first explored cloth diapering when I was pregnant with my oldest, but was overwhelmed and gave up on the idea...until I became pregnant with my daughter. I did some good old fashioned research and I just couldn't bear the thought of using disposable diapers anymore! There are three things that converted me: cost, health, the "green" factor. First off--do you know how much the average American family spends on disposable diapers in a year? $1500. In ONE YEAR. Holy hell. Cloth diapers? Well, you spend a few hundred bucks (varies depending on what style of diapers you choose) and that's it! For the ENTIRETY of your diapering. Sure, some will wear out after a ton of use and you'll have to buy more. But a good bunch of them can be used for multiple kids--the savings just keeps piling up! Second issue--health. There are so many chemicals in disposable diapers. (how do you think they get the pee to gel up?) And they are all right up close and personal with baby's tender parts! Yipe! Cloth diapers...not so much! You've got natural fibers (cotton, hemp, etc.) and whatever laundry detergent you decide to use. We have happy heinies at my house. And finally, the green factor. We are all trying to be more environmentally conscious, right? RIGHT?! I don't think I really need to get into the details about how BILLIONS of disposable diapers are clogging up landfills all over the country every year. Or about how it takes over 500 years for them to decompose. Cloth diapers remedy that problem. Shazzam. And again--so cute.
I dare you to challenge the mainstream. Do a little digging and see how you can simplify your life with natural, non-toxic solutions. I promise you'll be glad you did!! If you have any questions to ask or want to point your fingers and laugh at me from a safe distance, feel free to do so over at Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood. We'll be addressing each of these topics (among others) in more depth in the coming weeks, so be sure to tune in!
This is Crunchy Mamma (a.k.a. Mrs Rogers) signing out!
P.S. At some point we may explore my overuse of quotation marks, ellipses, and exclamation points. Maybe. (I make no "promises"!!!)