Last week (read here), I brought you some information I learned about the USDA organic label. I’m not gonna lie, it was rather disheartening. It’s almost as if we can never win. So what are we supposed to do? We might not be able to live a perfectly clean life, but we can chose to do the best we know how. We no longer have to live in ignorance. With knowledge comes power.

1. Do your research. What does organic mean? It means derived from nature. According to “organic” laws, only synthetic compounds cannot be used. Therefore, chorine (an organic compound) could (and is used) in organic production; as well as other undesired compounds.  Don’t get mad about this. It’s well within the laws of “organic” for these types of chemicals to be used. It is you and I that mistakenly believe “organic” is synonymous with zero chemicals. It’s important for you to know exactly what is going on, so you can make informed choices.

2. Use caution. I will venture to say that certified organic food is a much better choice than it’s conventional counterpart. Not only is it better for the environment (despite the flaws), but it significantly reduces your exposure to unwanted chemicals. Not only that, but it almost eliminates your consumption of GMOs. However, organic is not the “end all be all.” You need to know where your food is coming from, and don’t assume because it is “certified” that it’s the better choice.

3. Shop local.  This one’s tricky for me. Does local mean in your city, in your county, in your state, or in your country?  So it really comes down to what you believe. If you feel comfortable and are willing to eat local to your city and state, then you don’t need to find certified organic farms! Get to know your farmer. They may farm better than the USDA guidelines for organic. However, if you can’t eat/won’t eat strictly to your city and state, then eat local to your country. I would chose organic for non local (state) foods. Don’t buy foods imported, organic or not. Not only is the nutrient content lowered, but the regulations for incoming foods are abysmal (in the news story I referenced earlier, the products that tested for pesticide residue all came from Mexico, just so you all are aware).

4. Don’t stress. Don’t stress about organics not being truly “organic”. Don’t stress about eating conventional foods. Do what you think is best, and let that be that. We all must pick and chose our battles.

5. Grow some of your own veggies. I understand you may not have that much space. Neither do we. But Pinterest is loaded with ideas on gardening in small spaces. If eating truly organic is a priority for you, you may not have any other option.  Just check out some of my pins (and while you’re at it, follow me!) and see if you can make it work. :)

What are your thoughts? Do you buy local, organic or neither? 


I stumbled upon something that is very disheartening. I guess I was being willfully ignorant until now, and I feel violated. I was lead to believe that by making the choices I was making, I limited exposure, helped the soil, and fed the safest food for my family. But after the research I did, I’m crushed. The dismal truth is, we simply cannot trust our food system. The USDA never ceases to amaze me. From deeming GMO’s safe for “human consumption” to making raw milk ILLEGAL in certain states, I don’t know why I chose to trust them when it came to “organic foods.” Continue reading


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Urban farming and it’s desire to be sustainable has a few caveats: one being very little outdoor space, and two being living in close proximity to other people. This creates a problem when it comes to composting your food scraps. We tried having the compost pile be the corner the farthest from the house (and consequently other homes as well) but the chickens thought it was there’s and went crazy. It also drew a lot more flies than I would have liked. So, we set out and made a smaller version that was way more efficient. It’s great for those with very little room!

What you’ll need:

1 galvanized trash can w/ lid

Durable drill and drill bit (the largest size bit)

Instructions:

  1. Make sure your drill is all charged up and ready for use.
  2. Begin to drill holes along the sides of the trash can. We drilled from top to bottom (about and inch between each hole) creating four “lines” down the side of the trash can. image-6
  3. Once done drilling on the sides, flip trash can upside down and drill holes in the bottom. We did a big “X” on the bottom, spacing the holes about an inch apart.
  4. Find a nice sunny spot to keep the compost can (preferably onto of dirt so worms or other bugs can crawl into it).
  5. Begin to save your cooking scraps and garden scraps and put inside, leaving the lid on at all times.
  6. You may need to occasionally stir the composting bits around, but you won’t need to do this very often. Maybe once a month or less.
  7. Compost should be ready in about a year. :) image-4

Do you compost? What has been the most successful for you? 


Yes, this is how I describe the way I believe. My faith has uncertainty, even outright doubt, woven into it. Nevertheless, I embrace the risk of a leap into the unseen. (The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse)

I want to explain why I chose to eat and live a Paleo life. I’ve got a bit of “backlash” and quite frankly, I think I may be misunderstood. I try my very best to respect other’s opinions and lifestyle choices. I know that not everyone will agree with the way I’ve chosen to feed my family. That’s ok. I’m simply asking for people to understand why I eat the way I do, and respect it. And perhaps give it a try for themselves.  Continue reading


Have you ever really figured out what soy is? I actually didn’t know what soy technically was until about 5 years ago. Before that, I just assumed it was something…actually I didn’t assume it was anything! Just something that vegetarian’s and Asian countries eat. The soybean (aka soya) is a species of legumes, native to East Asia. It is said to be very healthy for us. Everything from being a great source of plant based protein and being cholesterol free, to having the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of certain cancers! Eighty-four percent of Americans believe that soy is a health food, and 32% of US consumers purposefully consume soy at least 1x per month. The USDA dietary guidelines recommends soy products as a protein source, and encourages us to eat it regularly. I find this rather scary to be honest. Soy is not the health food we were taught it was, and here’s why: Continue reading


Summer is winding down here in the PNW. It’ll be our second round of sowing in our raised garden beds that my hubby built. We had a fairly successful Summer harvest. The summer garden included lettuce, broccoli, a few carrots, beets, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, zucchini, crook neck squash, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, and lots of tomatoes. I’ve had so much fun learning to garden. I’ve managed to stock our freezer full of par-cooked vegetables, grain-free zucchini bread and a basement full of winter squash. I also was able to give a ton of veggies and zucchini bread to our neighbors!! It’s been so wonderful. I’m hoping I have success with our fall crops!IMG_1827 Continue reading


I know I’ve been rather absent on the blog for the past few months. I just haven’t had it in me to write. This past year has been one of heartache, turmoil, frustration, and fights. It has taken a lot out of me. I have felt defeated in all areas of my life. It has been a struggle to keep things going, not the least of which is blogging. I’ve decided it’s time to get back into the saddle and start writing again. It brings me so much joy- and I need some more of that in my life! I recently have been diagnosed with PCOS. For those who don’t know what that is: PCOS is short for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Essentially, a women with PCOS has high male hormones and cysts on her ovaries. It causes all sorts of issues- i’ll write a post about it in the near future. However, for today I want to share my journey with you. It has not been an easy one, and I want to bring encouragement for women fighting for their health. This will not be an easy post for me, but a necessary one.

I have always struggled with my weight since I was young. I have tried so hard to lose weight. My senior year in High School,  I lost 50 pounds in about 5 months during swim season. I was so tiny and it felt good. I slowly gained back about 15 lbs my first year of college, and perhaps another 10 pounds while dating/marrying Luis. Normal weight fluctuations. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t lose the weight. After giving birth, I felt good about my body. I had only gained 18 lbs during pregnancy which I had lost in the first week post-partum, and then some.

But then something happened. I gained 35 lbs in 3 months. Continue reading


Ever wonder what those labels “homogenized” and “pasteurized” on your milk carton mean? One of those things that we see all the time, but don’t actually know what they mean. we trust that these terms are “safe” because it is mainstream. The FDA tells us it is not safe to drink unpasteurized products because they run a higher risk of being contaminated with bacteria and food bourne illnesses. Pregnant women, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and children are advised to stay away from anything that is labeled “raw” because they are most at risk. The FDA has even gone as far as to say that raw milk is 150x more dangerous than pasteurized milk. hmmm? The government (not that they should have a right to tell us what to eat), has attached a stigma to raw milk and has literally made people fear for their life when they consume raw milk. On the flip side, we are also told to have what, 3 ‘low-fat’ servings of dairy a day? the national dairy council says that low-fat and non-fat (pasteurized) dairy products are “nutrient-rich.” So, let’s first take a look at the terms homogenized and pasteurized.

pasteurized:

A process named after Louis Pasteur which uses heat to “destroy” human pathogens. I wont bore you with all the details, but basically they use water to heat the milk up to at least 161 degrees F to kill the pathogens. If you want to know the science behind it, just visit this page.

****What I find even more strange is the fact that they are pasteurizing the milk for even the calves to consume??? WHAT THE HECK!?!? Ok, that’s beside the point.****

Homogenization:

It is an agitation process that warms the fat molecules to break them down and make them smaller, resulting in a smoother texture and enables to use milk from lots of different cows to make one milk mixture. Check out this guy if you want to know more.

****also, what I find funny, is the fact that by homogenizing milk, you are actually making the fat molecules smaller, and easier to bind to the walls of the heart’s arteries…making heart disease more probable…again, beside the point.****

So, in order to make something safe for us to consume, it needs to be heated to high temperatures to “destroy” human pathogens, consequently killing the vitamins, minerals and good bacteria (vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, etc) needed to absorb the calcium in the milk and digest it properly, rendering the “3-a-day” of “nutrient-rich” non-fat or low-fat dairy useless for calcium and provides us with empty calories, as well as a rise in lactose-intolerance, and a more likelihood of building fat on the heart’s artery walls…sounds safe, right?

what’s even more of a shocker; if the cows were still pastured, and fed on grass only, it is almost makes pasteurization obsolete…In a PBS interview (ironically a government sponsored program) Michael Pollan states that:

“The problem is that that manure is particularly lethal, because it now contains certain microbes like E. coli O157, is a strain of a common intestinal bacteria which is now very common in the manure of feedlot animals. It’s principally a feedlot microbe. And if we ingest only 10 of those bacteria, they can kill us, because they release this lethal toxin. The great problems that you’ve read about, of contaminated hamburgers and the Jack in the Box episode from several years ago, are a result of this particular pathogen.

The story of this pathogen really illustrates the ecological links between the health of these animals and the health of us. I was surprised to learn that E. coli O157 is relatively new — it wasn’t isolated until the early 1980s — and that it essentially doesn’t exist in the gut of animals that eat grass. It is a problem associated with feeding animals corn.”

interesting.

It’s just not logical. We need to make something safer by pasteurizing because it contains pathogens that are lethal when ingested, when the problem can be solved by feeding cows what they are adapted to eat and digest properly? Unfortunately, corn is one of the grains subsidized by the government, making it extremely cheap for dairy farmers to use to feed their cows. And with high demand of beef and milk, and keeping the cost of the products down, it is a compromise that has been made.

And even still more shocking, raw milk is in fact not as dangerous as the FDA makes it out to be…on average, 42 people get sick a year from raw milk. In fact, what’s more dangerous than that glass of milk, your side salad. The Center of Science in the Public Interest says that leafy greens is the #1 riskiest food regulated by the FDA. These “greens” account for 24% of all outbreaks of contaminated foods…but I don’t see the government deeming spinach unsafe…

raw milk is safe. As long as your source practices good farming techniques, making sure the cow’s teats are not infected, raise their cows on grass and grass alone, and practice sanitary milking process, there is nothing to worry about, aside from that salad you order at Olive Garden!

For more information about raw milk, visit the FAQs. Also, join the cause!

I buy my milk at Meadowwood Organics, in Enumclaw.


I don’t go to the doctors. Not when I’m sick. I hold out till “tomorrow” to see if I get better. Tomorrow turns into next week, and it usually works itself out. This time I couldn’t do that. I knew in my heart I needed to go. Even in the midst of a 7 hour wait in the ER, I was trying to wiggle my way out of being admitted. I was fearful. I was worrying. I was trying to fix myself.

I had surgery 5 days ago. Emergency surgery to remove my appendix. I’m recovery quite well; thank the Lord I listened to my husband and mother and went to the ER. I was spared from a far worse fate. I was able to have it removed with minimal invasion and a short recovery time. I’m sore, was a little loopy and unable to lift my daughter for at least 2 weeks. But overall, I’m doing well physically.

Emotionally, this surgery could have come at a better time, but it didn’t. It came when it did, and there’s nothing I could have done to change it. And there’s certainly nothing that can be done now. I’m still thinking in the “what ifs” mentality. I can’t tell you exactly what is going on, but my life is submersed in anxiety. I find myself going over things over and over and over, and over again. Nothing changes. It’s still the same.

No matter how many times I go over this surgery, nothing is going to change. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how many times I try and figure out why I have PCOS, and hypothyroid and food intolerances- it doesn’t change the diagnosis. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how many times I redo our budget, it’s not going to change. I know what we need, and I know what we spend. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how many times I read over the “rules” of my elimination diet, it’s not going to change what it is. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how many times I research how to get healthy, it doesn’t change anything. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how many times I weigh myself, it doesn’t change how I feel. I’m just living in anxiety.

No matter how much I sleep, I’m still exhausted. I’m living in anxiety. 

My anxiety manifests itself in compulsive behavior. I do something over and over and over again. I try and fix it myself. And you know what. I’m exhausted. Exhausted from being tired all the time. Exhausted by thinking the same thoughts. Exhausted because nothing. Is. Changing. And before you go and throw a pity party for me, stop. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. Most of my problems are out of my control. But I still try and control them. I still try and fix them myself. And that my friends, is why it’s not working. It’s why I’m exhausted. I’m not superwomen. I can not do it myself. None of it. I cannot pay our bills. I cannot fix my thyroid or my PCOS. I cannot get healthy. I cannot raise my child. I cannot do anything. And it’s going to be okay.

But only if I give it away and stop trying to do it myself. Until I give my anxiety to Jesus; I won’t feel rested, or powerful, or healthy, or loving. Until I let what God gave me, lead me I will be paralyzed.

For the Spirit God gave me does not make me timid, but gives me power, love and self-discipline.  

2 Timothy 1:7


Do you struggle with Anxiety? Do you find comfort in God’s Spirit, which He has given us? What Scripture do you live by in times of stress? 

 


I’m so humbled when people ask me how I can eat healthy and still stay in budget. So many people struggle with paying the bills and wanting to eat healthy. Story of our lives. Living paycheck to paycheck, wondering how we’ll pay the bills AND eat healthy, nutrient dense foods. Someday I hope we don’t have to live this way, skimping on things just so we can eat nourishing foods. But for now, I’ve had to learn/am learning how to manage a small grocery bill. I’m not about to claim I am a guru at saving money; However, I do feed my family of three grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, raw milk and dairy products, organic produce and chicken. All for around $350 a month. I’d say that’s pretty good. So here’s a few pointers that I’d say have REALLY helped me keep our grocery bill low. Continue reading