This last year I’ve embarked on a paleo journey of sorts, and it feels so good I just can’t go back. I just keep delving further in to a healthier and better way to do food and living, and keep finding more ways to shop and eat that are really beneficial, not only for me, but for others too. I have to limit myself, because it could get really obsessive…like Chris Traeger obsessive. But it’s not all a bad thing.
We live in Brisbane, Australia. We are very blessed to have access to good locally grown food, I understand that this is much more difficult in other parts of the world, and I want to acknowledge that. I just want to share 3 simple things we’ve implemented in our family life, to improve our own health and wellbeing, and to try and contribute to the parts of society that we like to support.
1. Deliberately sourcing fresh food.
Ordering locally grown organic fruit and vege online sounds like an expensive and uncertain thing to do, and I think thats why more people don’t. But you know, it’s actually not that expensive. I have a little list in my mind of the non negotiable organic produce, otherwise known as The Dirty Dozen. We get these things organic, we top up with non organic other things, like avocados, bananas and pumpkin. We spend $90 per order, and make it last a fortnight, with maybe $30 for top ups over the two weeks. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I really notice the difference in taste and freshness. We also have a butcher that provides us with quality free range/grass fed meat, and amazing service. As a ‘reformed vegetarian’ (as my husband likes to call me) I still find it hard to eat meat sometimes, so knowing that this is a sustainable, local and quality business makes it a little easier. I can’t really eat meat from many other places now. We also buy local milk (Maleny Dairies usually) and free range eggs.
WHY IS LOCAL FOOD HEALTHY? It is lowering carbon footprint through reduced transport emissions, and having fresher food means more nutrition! Plus it might mean you get to know a business owner in your community because you see them on a regular basis. To smile and say hello to familiar faces produces endorphins. (I think.)
2. Supporting local businesses.
We make a point of avoiding the big guys Coles and Woolworths. In fact, we have adjusted our shopping now so that we don’t actually need to go there. Some of the reasons why are shared in this blog post. We do shop a little bit at Aldi, but have reduced our regular bill there from $140 a fortnight to about $90. As I’ve talked about, we get meat from a local butcher, fruit and vege delivered, and our pantry items are from a guy who sells paleo products at markets around Brisbane. There are other bits and pieces like milk and eggs that we get from our local fruit shop.
The company we use for fresh produce, (Farm Fresh Organics) is a small family run business, who are so helpful and obliging. I don’t think this is expensive when you consider the benefits of pesticide free food, and contributing to local people’s livelihood.
WHY IS SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS HEALTHY? It keeps smaller community retail and service centres alive, local business people are usually passionate and experienced in what they’re doing, so will look after you. Small business is hard going in low economic times like this, so keep the income going for families in your area! Coles and Woollies will never be without a meal on their table.
3. Keeping a chemical free home.
As a family we have had a journey over the last few years, finding out more detail about what it is in the things we consume and use. I’m mainly talking about chemicals here. There are thousands of untested chemicals that are legally allowed into products and food. As a society I don’t think we think about it all that much. But it feels like there is more movement to questioning this type of thing, and there is more movement from companies to eliminate dangerous chemicals. For example, Aldi has made a commitment not to use any unnatural colours in it’s food products. This might seem kinda small, but for a major supermarket competitor, it is a massive undertaking to ensure that all of their suppliers are abiding by this. The things to think about when checking for chemicals are what is in your cleaning and personal care products? And what is in your nutrition? Are you getting the best for your money for these things?
There are a number of ‘green’ cleaning products available, or you can make your own! I personally always have a bottle of 50/50 vinegar and water handy, and I also use many Norwex products. Norwex* is an amazing company that produces the best quality cleaning cloths and stuff that I’ve ever used. They make cleaning so easy, (and safe) that it’s actually almost fun!
NUTRITION & PERSONAL CARE
There are a number of great companies producing products without nasties. People are becoming aware that chemicals like Propylene Glycol and SLS etc are NO GOOD. Health food shops often have good ranges of lovely safe products, and the supermarkets are starting to get more range too. One thing to be aware of though is the ‘organic’ labels. In Australia, only 1 ingredient has to be ‘organic’ for it to be labelled as an ‘organic’ product. So it could be filled with rubbish, but have 1% of something nice in it. We’ve found a really good company that uses no nasties, but not only that, invests a lot of research into creating things that really benefit you. We get all our vitamins, nutrition, toothpaste, dishwash liquid, laundry powder, body soaps, make up.. almost everything… through a company called Neways*. It’s an online order, that delivers all this stuff to your home. I love it because I don’t have to shop around to find things, I’ve found that almost everything I use from them is excellent quality, last for ages, and I know that it’s safe for our skins and insides. (Both our daughters had really bad eczema, and this stuff helped so much, but thats another story!) It might be a little bit more expensive than buying el cheapo bulk shampoo and washing powder, but I think that’s false economy as long term way of doing it. We do occasionally have to top up with things that don’t fit into the safest/healthiest category, because sometimes, it’s just convenient.
WHY IS A CHEMICAL FREE HOME HEALTHY? My thoughts are that you often can’t trust big companies making loads of money off cheaply made products. Many chemicals are byproducts of industry, and big business has found a use for them in these things. I just think there is no way that the thousands of chemicals used could have had adequate testing to prove their safety. As a society, our health has been on a rapid decrease as the use of processed food and chemicals in products has increased. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but it seems like there might be a correlation. Good quality, healthy products will generally last longer, and treat your body better. So not only do you get better quality, support a more ethical business, you get longer life too!
So in conclusion, I would like to say that although I don’t know everything there is to know about this subject, I’ve found that my own research and instinct lead to doing these things, and it has helped our health and happiness. I believe that exploring these ideas for yourself and being a more conscious consumer will help your environment and your body be healthier. Make it a slow and steady transition, don’t put lots of pressure on yourself to change everything immediately, work towards 80/20. If you end up doing these things most of the time, you’re doing great. If your body is healthier, you are happier, and if you are happier, then maybe you can be nicer to people, and if everyone was genuinely and abundantly nice to each other, the world would be saved. The end.
*If you are interested in more information about the Norwex, or Neways products, we can actually provide as much help as you need. Please send me a private message on facebook. 🙂