Life has a funny way of changing your perspective, doesn’t it? Since 2012, my outlook on life has dramatically shifted. In hind-site, I think being in my 20’s is really the cause of that shift in thinking. Your 20’s are truly a time of growing and learning. These years have given me more than I could have imagined, some bad, but mostly good.
Let’s bring you all up to speed – In 2012, my husband and I were just kids. Conrad and I moved in together around the time we turned 21. Not long into our lease, we developed a loathing for paying rent and decided to venture into the world of home ownership. We were faced with more struggles in that journey than we ever thought possible (a very long story for another time). By the end of 2013, our lease was up, we were living with family, and struggling to find the right house. At the same time two of my family members faced major medical issues, and I was also thrown into my new career. We were stressed to say the least. Fast forward to January 2014 – we were closing on our new home and I had just started my new job. Life finally started to settle down and the weight of all the stress was lifted. I found myself in a desk job, comforting myself with nights and weekends on the couch with allllllll the comfort foods. Cookies, chips, soda, pizza, cinnamon rolls – ALL.THE.GOODS. I thought I deserved it. 2013 was one of the worst years ever and I DESERVED to relax and enjoy my comfortable new life.
Well, this new season of life brought comfort, and 60 new pounds to carry. I hardly recognized myself and was incredibly unhappy in my job and with my reflection. I wouldn’t say that out loud though, especially if I wasn’t ready to change it. So, I waited, and waited, and waited until I was motivated to do something about it.
My mental shift started somewhere in 2016. My job at the time didn’t give me a real sense of purpose and I started thinking of what I could spend my time doing that would. I felt gravitated to real estate as a new home owner. It was one of my proudest accomplishments to buy a home and I wanted to help other people feel that same sense of pride. I explored opportunities within my current company, but was told with no prior experience, I couldn’t move into the real estate role I was looking for. So I started exploring the idea of getting my real estate license.
At the end of 2016, some turmoil in my job caused me to start that journey. I felt there was no better time to start working on my real estate licensing courses. January 1, 2017, I started spending all my spare time working on my hours. Around the same time, I finally felt ready to tackle my physique goals. In my head, I felt like there was no way I could do it – I would quit when the going got tough. I waited for that moment when giving up was easier than staying the course, but it never happened. Three months in, I had lost 25 lbs, my clothes were fitting too big and my outlook on life was slowly starting to improve. I had the confidence to step back into the weight room after a seven year hiatus, and that’s when the results really started coming.
Overall, I was down about 60 lbs – something I NEVER thought I could do. I also tested for my Real Estate License and PASSED. I was so excited and thought, I can’t quit now – getting healthy literally changed my life! I truly realized, I could accomplish more than I ever dreamed.
Up to this point, I had many shifts in my thinking that created a positive and lasting impact on my future. Having a new found appreciation for my health had me curious of other ways I could improve in this area of my life. I started watching a lot of documentaries, food and health related. I learned a lot about what we consume and the impacts it can have to our health. This lead me to read studies about meat products, genetically modified foods, and different chemicals that are literally changing our genetic make up and the way our bodies function. This stretches to prescription drugs, cosmetics, cleaners, and even clothing. Most frightening, is that there is no governing body that determines whether the chemicals in our cleaners, or cosmetics, are toxic to us! This is mind-boggling information for me.
I know this sounds completely crazy but I can’t unlearn this information. When I shop, I analyze every product and decide whether the ingredients are harmful. It is so unfortunate to me that this information is so hidden and unknown to consumers. It has become clear that I need to start making changes to the products that I consume. Here are some of the most staggering facts that have lead me down this road:
Europe has banned 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. Unlike the United States, EU law requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nanomaterials and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes. Essentially, there is NO governing body that monitors what ingredients are being used in cosmetics and whether those ingredients are harmful. (Source: www.safecosmetics.org)
Fragrance suppliers are not required by law to provide full ingredient disclosure to manufacturers or regulators. Any product containing “fragrance” – a word representing a secret mixture of up to hundreds of ingredients – may contain sensitizers, allergens, respiratory irritants, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals, or environmental toxicants. Companies are protected because their ‘fragrance’ is considered proprietary information. (Source: www.safecosmetics.org)
Animals are fed corn, wheat and soy that are grown through intensive industrial farming that use large amounts of pesticides, which can remain in their bodies and are passed on to the people who eat them, creating serious health hazards in humans. (Source: http://www.sustainabletable.org/)
Accessibility is the primary dilemma to using clean, chemical free products and foods. How do you even figure out if something is bad for you? Something sold in a store can’t be bad for you, right? I can go to Target and find Maybelline cosmetics, and Mr.Clean cleaners no problem. Walk into any grocery store and you will find familiar brands like Nabisco, Post, and Frito Lay and an overwhelming selection of produce and meat that truthfully seem just fine to eat. What I have learned though, and plan to share here, are the staggering facts about everything we buy as consumers, and why I just can’t keep going on pretending these risks don’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong, this is will NOT be easy. I still eat things that I know are harmful. I use cosmetics and cleaners that I know are bad for me, too. Education is the first step in changing your habits though. I encourage you to ask questions, read labels, and research these topics described above. What we consume is much of the reason there is disease in our world. Here are some documentaries that I found insightful – some of the studies and information are up for debate if you search them online, but everyone has their own perspective, and I feel that is how we shape our own. The information in these documentaries is a good start to understanding what you consume.
The Magic Pill (Not everyone is a fan of the Keto diet, but the information about farming was really interesting to me in this one)
The Devil We Know
What The Health
The C Word
The “Think Dirty” app is another great resource – scan any product and it will tell show what ingredients could be harmful in a given product. It is a newer app and their database is constantly evolving, but I have found it helpful for understanding those big lengthy labels with the ingredients that are 100 letters long.
Based on my humble beginnings, this might seem like a pretty drastic undertaking, and well, it is. I have decide to ‘Go Big’ in all that I do recently. My goal here is not to overwhelm or scare people. I will not judge if you want to use a product that you love! The reason for this blog is to simply bring awareness to a topic that is incredibly unknown. As I approach the feared 3-0, my health becomes more of a concern for me. Just as my past life experiences have done, this new found knowledge will alter my perception of health. As I gradually switch out all of my products, I will share everything I learn on this platform. I would be so excited if you would follow me along this journey, and I hope I can help you learn a thing or two along the way!