Repercussion for choosing a more natural lifestyle

God gave us what we need on this Earth. We have plants and foods that contain nutrients with the power to maintain and heal our bodies. That is something I’ve become much more aware of and appreciative of since choosing a more natural lifestyle.

A few years ago, I really started learning more about using more natural products in our household. One of the first changes I made was in our cleaning products. The warning labels on products I used to clean my kitchen and bathroom were appalling. These warnings weren’t new. I just grew accustomed to thinking “that’s normal.” What brought the dangers of them to my attention was a local news story about a mother dying while cleaning her bathroom. I looked into natural cleaning solutions and began cleaning our home with vinegar and baking soda.

I didn’t stop there though. Making that switch opened up a whole can of worms: personal care products, beauty products, processed food, and even modern medicine. I continued my “ditch and switch” little by little throughout our home. I ditched the most toxic products and switched to healthier options. I began using essential oils and buying less junk food. I became one of “those people” (you know, the ones who read labels).

Gasp! I went crazy! Well, at least that’s how some people started to treat me, friends and family. I feel like I had it coming. I suppose it’s deserving for the way I treated my dad for so many years. People thought he was crazy talking about toxins and treating our bodies with vitamins instead of running to the doctor for every cough or sore throat. I thought he was crazy. I scoffed. I rolled my eyes. And the worst part of all, I learned to tune out my father’s advice.

Fast forward, and it turns out my dad was right all those years. The studies he was reading about and the people he was listening to turned out to be right. Our everyday products for cleaning house, bathing, and cooking contain toxins that eventually show up in our bodies as health problems.

I wish I had listened to my dad then. Now I know what he felt like when people scoffed at him and gave the argument that we’ve been using all this stuff for years and we’re doing just fine. I used to think if all these products were so harmful then they wouldn’t be allowed to sell them. Ha!

Now I get scoffed at and watch friends and family roll their eyes when I choose not to use a certain product or food offered to me and explain why. I watch it happen to others as well. It’s even gone as far as fellow Christians treating some of us like we don’t think God can heal us directly or miraculously anymore.

Um, excuse me? Say what? I don’t recall myself or the others I know saying anything about not believing in God for healing. I can’t speak for them, but I absolutely believe God can heal. I also believe in miracles. I didn’t realize that choosing a more natural lifestyle canceled out my belief in God’s ability to heal. I’ve just become much more aware on how I can be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to my health.

Let me put it this way. Would you expect God to heal your lung cancer while continuing to smoke a pack a day? I wouldn’t. Part of trusting God is doing our part too. If we are able to do something, we should be doing it. You don’t pray, “God, change my life,” and continue with the exact same routine every day.

I get that those of us who are passionate about using healthier products and eating better foods come across as way too pushy. Sometimes, we get a little too passionate. And sometimes you get a few who have that pushy nature with everything they do. We, unfortunately, also get labeled due to several of the natural product companies being multi-level marketing companies. Whether it’s a healthy shake, essential oils, or a vitamin infused coffee we use, we receive backlash just by the type of company.

Since making the change to more natural products and less processed food in our home, my husband and I have been healthier. I know those who drink their natural shakes and maintain a healthier weight and higher energy levels and have family who experience less pain and more energy by drinking their vitamin infused coffee each morning.

Nature isn’t new. As technology progressed, so did man’s ways of making his own food and medicine. Society became accustomed to the modern food and medicine, even if it wasn’t better for us. Once health problems started rising and some started speaking up, we began to turn back to what was there all along.

So, if you want to roll your eyes, go ahead. If you want to ignore us, go ahead. But I will not be quiet when it comes to questioning my relationship with my Maker because somebody else doesn’t believe that the resources He gave us can do more for us if we use them correctly.

Again, I can’t speak for others, but I am working on educating while being less pushy. I can’t help if some people are just defensive in general when it comes to opening their minds and trying things a different way. And by no means is my household 100% natural, but it’s a lot better than it use to be. Contrary to what some may think, even changing out a few things is better than changing nothing. It all adds up.

So, makes some changes or don’t. I’ll love you anyway, even if you choose to scoff at me.

Be healthy!

Be blessed!

Be brave!

xoxo

Ash

Does Compassion Make You Stronger?

When you hear the word compassion what comes to mind? Being sympathetic towards others? Giving to charity? Helping the hungry?

Compassion is multifaceted. It doesn’t just help those who are being shown compassion either. It can help the one choosing compassion. Showing compassion can make you stronger.

 

Compassion can mean changing your perspective. This isn’t something I’d like to admit, but I used to think that we needed to help everyone in our own country before helping those in other countries. I became desensitized watching the news of impoverished countries and the same commercials asking for monthly support for a child in need.

My perspective changed when people I know personally went and helped others in another country. Seeing them hold children who get one meal a day somehow makes it real. I was able to let go of how I felt before and look at it in a different way. Being able to change your perspective makes you stronger.

 

Compassion can mean forgiving others. We can easily forget when someone does wrong or hurts us it is often due to their own internal struggle or problem in their life. The easy thing to do is get offended and react harshly. And what good does that generally do?

The strong thing to do is pause and consider the cause. Next time someone hurts you or lashes out at you, calmly ask them why they are doing this instead of being quick to anger. You might be surprised at how quickly anger can be diffused when you try to get to the root of it.

 

Compassion can mean doing the little things. Having compassion doesn’t always have to be about some grand cause. You can have compassion in everyday situations. Open the door for the mother pushing the stroller and carrying groceries. Let the person who whipped across the parking lot have the empty space without getting angry. You don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or why they’re in a hurry.

I could go on and on with the little things, but you get the point. Small acts of compassion in everyday life makes you stronger.

Thinking about others instead of just ourselves is not a weakness. I know on social media we really embrace the “take care of you.” That’s fine. We need to take care of ourselves to better help others. Just don’t get so busy focusing on you that you forget to care for others too.

 

“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Col. 3:12

 

Be brave!

Be strong!

Be compassionate!

xoxo

Ash

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What Are You Eating?

Fat-free. Sugar-free. Calorie-free. Healthy?

Eh, not so fast.

If what you are eating or drinking is free of fat, sugar, and calories then what has been put in it instead?

Oftentimes the “____ -free” label means you’re just swapping one thing for another, and that trade-off may be a less healthy choice.

Fat-free products typically mean you end up getting more sugar or more carbs that turn into sugar. To still have a decent taste, fat is replaced with artificial sweeteners and flavorings which provide no nutritional value. Real fats can help you feel more satisfied and help with the absorption of vitamins. You don’t have to completely avoid them.

Sugar-free products have artificial sweeteners instead. Again, artificial sweeteners and flavorings do not provide nutritional value. And these artificial additives can be toxic to your body over time. Aspartame is not your friend, and neither are any other artificial flavors or colors. People tend to eat more and drink more when something is labeled sugar-free also. I was a car hop in high school, and it used to surprise me how many people would order a 44-ounce diet soda several times a day. Sugar-free doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Several European countries don’t even allow many of the synthetic flavors, colors, preservatives, and other additives in their foods or products in general for health reasons. So why do we?

There are American companies that remove banned additives from the products they sell overseas. And I have noticed that a few are starting to remove certain artificial flavors and colors here too. Show them you care about what’s in your food, and we’ll have better options.

Packages are labeled the way they are to get your attention quickly. Don’t make your decision quickly. Flip over that package and look at what they aren’t showcasing.

I know the easy thing to do is just roll your eyes, brush it off, and say you don’t care. I used to do that. I didn’t want to know. If it tasted good and it was allowed on the shelf, I figured it was okay. I know better now. So, I choose better now.

It doesn’t mean I never eat a candy bar or processed food. I just do so sparingly. I choose more real foods, and I avoid certain additives like the plague.

Please, worry less about the calories and more about the chemicals. Do your best to kick the synthetic additives to the curb and eat real food.

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be healthy!

xoxo

Ash

What Are You Listening To?

The music we listen to can affect us. It can affect your current mood. It can affect what you are thinking. It can affect how you treat others. Music can be pretty powerful, in positive and negative ways. So what are you listening to?

Your answer to that might actually depend on your current mood. If you’re happy, you might listen to something different than when you are angry. I know that I have chosen certain types of music to listen to based on my current mood.

I used to listen to angry songs when I was angry. You know, the kind that really gets your blood pumping, makes you want to seek revenge, and really just fuels your anger even more…

I try not to turn to those songs anymore. Hateful lyrics just fuel hate. We have enough hate in this world. We don’t need to make it worse by listening to hateful music.

Last year was an extremely difficult year for me. There were days that music really had an affect on me. The music I chose to listen to really helped me through some heartaches.

When things were not going right, and the ones I love were hurting me, I could have turned on the angry music. What good would that have done though? It would have just fueled anger inside of me, not love. So I turned on KLOVE, my local Christian music station, or my favorite CD (Lauren Daigle’s “How Can It Be”). The songs I listened to helped heal me. The lyrics were positive and encouraging.

Two of my favorite healing songs from last year are Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You” and Ryan Stevenson’s “Eye of the Storm.” The lyrics in these songs spoke to my heart. Listening to them reminded me that there was still hope, and God was still in control, no matter how uncontrollable my life felt.

Right now my power song is “Fearless” by Jasmine Murray. This song has been a great reminder for me to be brave. I crank this song up!

Do you have a power song? Do you have a song that just sparks something good inside you, that keeps you going, that feeds your hope?

I encourage you to pay more attention to the music you are listening to. Pay attention to how it makes you feel. Pay attention to how it affects you. You may realize what you are listening to isn’t really good for you. I’ve been there. I’ve had to make changes.

This reminds me of a children’s song we used to sing in church: “O Be Careful Little Eyes.”

One of the verses goes like this:

“O be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So be careful little ears what you hear”

 

It is a children’s song. It still applies though.

Are you being careful in what you let your ears hear?

xoxo

-Ash

 

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