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Becoming Crunchy: One Step at a Time

BecomingCrunchy

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Are you becoming “crunchy”? Are you becoming “scrunchy”? Or, are you still just “silky” but like to add a “crunchy” choice here and there?

No matter where you are on this walk around the planet, I can guess one thing about you: You are taking it ONE step at a time!  No matter where you’re headed, no matter what path you are taking to get there, you’re taking it step by step. I know because I’m on the same path.  Below you’ll find my journey.

I want to share my step by step journey with you, my friends, because I want you to see that EVERY single step counts.  No matter how big or small, every step is a step toward better health.

 

In the beginning:

Way back in 1974, I was born in a hospital, to a short-haired, semi-hippy, crazy dad and an amazingly strong, beautiful, hardworking mother.  Neither were “crunchy” or hippies.  On the contrary, we were pretty much average.   What I had, was not a “crunchy” upbringing.  Sure the movement was around in the 70’s, but my awesome and amazing parents were pretty much average. Pretty much. 😉

High School:

In school my friends were all over the place, punk, geek, average, long hair band, conservative, hippy, stray… I  had friends from all over the spectrum.  I wasn’t set on any one direction and I certainly wasn’t leaning toward the “crunchy hippy” side of life.

College:

Looking back this was probably one of my first steps toward becoming “crunchy”.  I had always planned to be a doctor, even my first grade teacher was certain it was my destiny. (She was judging by my lack of handwriting skills) However, by the time I finished high school and started college I had determined that 12 more years of school was in NO way what I wanted.  I settled in as a Biology major, intending to work in research, wildlife, or something fun, that required 8 years less schooling. While there I took classes like Backpacking, botany, etc., these were exciting classes and it was then that I noticed my draw to the “crunchy-hippy” side of life.

Did you know you can eat redbud blooms and a bunch of other weeds? Sure enough:  EDIBLE WEEDS!!!

There it was, my first taste of crunchy, redbud blooms and back country backpacking.  I wasn’t fully sold, but the seeds had been planted.  Of course it would take YEARS to even come close to being called “crunchy”, but I started watering those seed; I watered them with little pieces of natural information and tiny sprinkles of organic fertilizer.

Post college:

Pregnancy at age 22 was definitely a huge starting point in my journey.  I wanted a natural birth, I wanted control and I did not want drugs.  Unfortunately that was 1997 and the only option in my area was a hospital. So while I did get my natural birth, I got flat on my back, hooked to monitors and pitocin, natural birth.

The next pregnancy led me to a different hospital, but unfortunately a very similar experience, other than being allowed to get out of bed during labor, everything else was still pretty standard.

However at this time, my idea of a healthy, home-cooked meal,  still meant that I had managed to turn on the oven and cook it.  My husband and children now laugh at my favorite standby of fish sticks, velveeta mac & cheese, and canned peas.  Yep, that was a fresh, healthy, home-cooked meal; hey, it wasn’t McDonald’s.

This was also a time when I relied heavily on doctors for my children.  Every sniffle, every pain, everything, we needed a doctor.   This is also where I started to see the failings of modern medicine.  This is where I learned there is a place for both modern and natural medicine. This is where I started to see the body as an amazing, self-healing machine, and natural remedies as my friends.

It started small. It GREW!

Steps (1)First steps:

My first steps weren’t big ones.  By the time I really started walking I had 3 children, but the third, had been born in a birth center, where, I actually had the natural birth I desired, so I was moving forward, even though I had no idea I was on a specific path.

I was staying home more, working part-time, and the internet was finally becoming a little faster. Enter “CRUNCHY”.

First herb: Garlic, first use: treating an earache.  Yep, that’s it and that was all for a while.  I became an advocate, I learned to use garlic oil for every ear infection, we stopped seeing the pediatrician for ear aches (except for initial diagnoses).

First questioning of modern medicine; having my 2 month old prescribed a medication for reflux that had more side effects than benefits. I was a researcher and I researched all meds, always.

First food “crunchy”, food-dye:   My 2nd child seemed a little wilder than the rest,  it wasn’t just typical boy stuff. By 2nd grade, his focus was lacking.  I was reading and learning about foods and food additives. I researched ADD meds and I KNEW, I didn’t want those in his system.  Some natural moms were saying eliminating dyes helped their children’s focus. So we tried it; it worked, his teacher even asked if we had started medicating him.

First Attachment Parenting: ok, this one wasn’t really a first, I just didn’t have any idea there was a name for it, until about midway through my journey.  I guess I’ve always been a bit crunchy.  I was an instinctual mom, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, co-sleep, and answer every cry for my baby. I had a sling when they weren’t cool and the choices were limited.  😉

There you have it…Itty bitty baby steps.  My journey had begun, but I wasn’t anywhere near the peak; I’m still not there.  However, that’s how it all started, slowly, carefully, studying and weighing every decision for the betterment of my family’s health.

What happened next:

Herbs: LOADS of them. Yep, that is where it really started happening.  I became a herb junkie.  My learning started at Bulk Herb Store and so did my credit card debt. (kidding) I became obsessed with all things herbal.  It started innocently with garlic, then elderberries, and it just grew and grew, as did my herb collection.

herbs  This is just a small sampling of what it grew to be.  These are mostly half-gallon jars.  Yeah, I have a problem. 🙂

Natural Medicine: We have treated strep, pneumonia, flu, colds, staff, high blood pressure,  etc with just herbs.

Don’t get me wrong, we still went to the doctor to get a diagnoses, we have a GREAT doctor, 2 of them actually.  I would see them, they would give me the official diagnoses, write me a prescription, ask me how I intended to treat, and then tell me to go ahead, watch the illness, start their treatment in 2 to 3 days if mine wasn’t working, and to come back for a recheck.  RARE is the time I have ever had to fill one of their prescriptions.

Real Food: This is probably my latest and greatest “crunchy” step; discovering “real food”.  Meaning we cut out, not only dye, but ALL preservatives, chemicals, refined flour, refined sugars, etc. Sure we still have a treat, some sweet tea, brownies, pizzas, etc… but for the most part we cook and we eat food that is minimally processed.  This is by far still my greatest struggle.  I have had to reinvent the wheel to some extent.  How do you make a good old southern breakfast without preservatives and white flour. CLICK HERE to learn. 🙂

Still Climbing:

Of course, I’m nowhere near the peak, I’m still climbing, hiking toward “crunchiness”.  I’m further than I was 20+ years ago, but I’ve still got at least 20+ years to go. I hope to never stop learning, to always be hiking toward better health.  Remember, when you start to compare yourself to other “crunchy” moms, it took that crazy Crunchy Trail woman over 20 years to get to this point and she’s not even halfway there.  Just do what you can, when you can, and enjoy life.

What are you doing?

What are you doing? Where are you on this trail?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter, but I would love to know; comment below with your story. I LOVE to hear from my friends who are hiking with me.

If you make one healthy, real food meal, a month, that is one less sick meal for your family.  Do what you can, where you are.  Don’t try to outdo “Clarissa Crunchy Pants”, who cares what she is doing.  Do what makes your family happy & healthy.  Do what you can, become a little healthier each day.  Start where you are, take one step at a time, then stop and smell the wildflowers along the way.  Don’t let “crunchy” rule you, don’t go overboard, don’t try to do everything at once, just keep hiking, one step at a time.

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