Thursday, March 11, 2010

Becoming More Grounded!

I often hear young people talk about the importance of recycling. In fact, some become downright adamant about making sure they have the appropriate receptacles for their glass, plastic, metal, and paper throwaways.

I say kudos to this younger generation for taking notice and recognizing the need to sustain our earth.

For years, the “tree huggers” were often called fanatical and eccentric and many dismissed their claims of people being unkind to the earth as quackery.

There has been a paradigm shift over the last few years and people are becoming more aware of the importance of living “green” not only for our earth’s sake, but for our own personal well-being as well.

We always have room for improvement. I think with growth comes a more developed stance that is more consistent and grounded across the board to which others will take notice and perhaps even follow suit.

For example, if I’m going to be proactive about recycling, but insist on eating conventionally grown foods, I’m not being consistent with my mission to be more eco-friendly and so, I may not appear very grounded in my beliefs to others around me.

Does this mean I’m wrong about my recycling initiatives? NO WAY! It merely means that unless I’m open to continued growth and consistency in the area I’m passionate about, I won’t be nearly as believable and respected in that area to others around me.

I’d like to devote this post to educating myself on ways I can be more eco-friendly. In turn, it is my hope you, my readers, will learn along with me so we can join forces to make our earth…a tremendous gift from God…a better place to live. I do believe God expects us to care for the gifts He so graciously gives to us.

Here's what I've found:

  1. Eat Organic Foods

Benefits For Me: This is at the top of my list because I have found the benefits to be endless. The chemicals that are keeping fruits and vegetables free from pests and disease cause many health problems, such as nerve damage, birth defects, and cancers. The Environmental Working Group is a tremendous resource for all of us who are eager to learn more about the health benefits of eating organically grown foods.

Fruits and vegetables are not our only concern. The conventional meat we eat is laced with antibiotics and hormones. The animals we typically eat (cows, pigs, chickens...) ingest foods that have added chemicals, along with animal biproducts (keep in mind...these animals are vegetarians and meat should never be a part of their diet).

There is a ban on feeding organic cows, pigs, chickens...animal bi-product!...Thank God!

Much of the beef has been aged to the point of growing mold!!

Grass-fed beef contains far more health benefits than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed, organic beef contains 5 times the number of omega-3 fatty acids as grain-fed beef.

As for poultry, look for the free-range and organic labels. I call them "happy chickens!" Conventional chickens are packed in like sardines, pumped with oodles of toxins, and they "pick" on each other until they get angry...when this happens they peck one another until they bleed, so the farmers chop off their beaks...hence, these are NOT happy chickens. I happen to believe that if everything is energy and we eat negative energy... we become negative and sickly ourselves.

Check out what Dr. Mecola has to say about free-range, organic chickens.

Personally, I believe there are extreme benefits of opting for vegetarian meals several times a week.

Benefits For Our Environment: According to Jodi Helmer of Natural Health Magazine, the chemicals that are sprayed on our foods are released into the soil, water, and air resulting in contamination of waterways, illness, death of birds and aquatic life, and erosion and air pollution.

Keep in mind, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the vegetarian diet.

2. Reduce the Toxins

Benefits for Me: We use a tremendous amount of toxins on a daily basis that our livers simply cannot keep up with ridding them from our bodies. From cleaners to body lotions and soaps to makeup to hairspray to what we spray on our lawns...and the list goes on and on.

Our skin is a very thin, porous barrier and most of what we put on our skin goes directly into the bloodstream. Often the soaps, lotions, sprays, and potions we subject our bodies to are chemically-laden and are attributed to serious health conditions.

I've often heard it said that if you can't eat it, you shouldn't put it on your skin (or breathe it).

I am personally thankful there are eco-friendly products on the market that I love! Many are made with fantastic essential oils that not only feel nice on the body and smell beautiful...many have emotional benefits as well (for example, lavender and yang yang are relaxing to the spirit). I don't believe this is an accident...God knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to his creation :)

Benefits for the Environment: Chemicals we use on our bodies are washed down the drain and end up in rivers and streams. It's fair to say that what is harmful to us is going to be harmful to our environment...the switch to natural products will send messages to companies that if the demand for "greener" products increase, creating toxic products will decrease.

3. Volunteer

Benefits for Me: According to Beth Welbes from the University of Illinois Center for Prevention Research and Development, heath and social benefits of volunteering are as follows:

  1. Improved life satisfaction

  2. Improved self-esteem and self-efficacy

  3. Improved self-rated health status

  4. Improved educational/occupational achievement

  5. Solidarity and social interaction

  6. Dealing with own fears and apprehensions around a health issue (e.g. AIDs, cancer)

I would add that volunteering/serving helps to bring an inner peace as a whole.

Benefits for the Environment: When you give to others and react to others out of a giving spirit, others will respond to you in kind..."What comes around goes around." The result is a more peaceful society :)

If I were to add a forth category to this list it would be "Ride a Bike or Walk to Work." This is an excellent way to add exercise daily and decrease anxiety. I can see that if I were able to bike to and from work I would arrive at my destination refreshed mentally and rejuvenated physically and would enjoy the people around me so much more. And, the environmental benefits are huge, as it would reduce the amount of CO2 emissions into the air... But, living in the Midwest, I know this isn't always feasible. We can, however, look for other options, such as car-pooling, taking fewer trips to the store, and walk and ride our bikes when we can.

This is NOT an exhaustive list, but it's a start for me to continue heading in a direction I believe God is leading me. I hope this inspires you to look for ways you too can live a "greener" lifestyle.

My decisions truly make a difference for everyone. When I make poor personal decisions, someone else will suffer for it and likewise, when I make positive personal choices others will reap the benefits.

Life isn't just about me...from the tiniest action to the monumental decisions in's essential I take in account everyone around family, friends, acquaintances, everyone!



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