Friday, November 15, 2013

what you need to know about going natural

over the last several years, i have tried to add more and more nature to my life.   you know, not like taking walks.   using more herbs and less meds.   using vinegar instead of shampoo and cleaners.   adding raw foods more than processed.   fermented foods.   that kind of thing.   trust me, i am not nature girl.   some nights, it's late, and we throw a pizza in the oven.    i am adding things a little at a time.   i am learning a bit, implementing, learning some more, and implementing more.    as i do this, here is what i have learned and what i warn people about when they ask about going natural themselves.     that's probably my first piece of advice- take it a step at a time.   do some research about the things that interest you.   look on the internet, pinterest, join facebook groups, ask your friends.   i have been really surprised which of my friends were doing various natural things.   choose one that looks the most doable and try it.   give it time, keep with  it.   once you feel comfortable with the new routine, look into another practice and on and on.   you will keep some and not others.   that's ok.   just be sure to give things a fair chance.

that brings me to my next advice.   realize that designed products force a certain outcome in a short amount of time.   nature doesn't do that.   nature takes time and nature has cycles.   we have put so much science into keeping certain standards at even levels that we have thrown our concept of healthy and natural completely out the window.   windows are actually a good place to start.   look out the window!   see that tree?   it took years.   if you cut it open, it will have rings of different sizes that reflect the difference of  it's growing conditions over the years.   it will not be even rings of the same size and shape.   point is, nature moves slowly and not nice and even and controlled.     it has ups and downs.   if you want to live a more natural life, you have to accept the ups and downs and cycles of nature.   *there will be good and not so good hair days for instance.   you will notice that they will go in cycles though.   you'll have great hair for a few weeks then it will slowly become less cooperative.   you will simply have to adapt to the cycle.*   going natural takes time and experimentation.   it will take days or weeks to adjust to some and  months and even a year or so to adjust to some changes.  *just sticking with my own hair cycles for instance - i wash with just vinegar for quite a while.  it goes great.   then, i have this not wanting to be cooperative time where i use a bit of coconut oil to tame it.   still looks fine though.  then we hit straightening it with coconut oil and a ceramic flat iron.   once or twice a year, i get a day or two where i have sort of waxy hair.   i wash it with dish soap and move forward from there.   it may seem like a fuss but my hair is more healthy, it is cheaper than what i was using and, honestly, i have more good hair days and less hot iron days than before.   plus, since it goes in cycles, i can predict what my hair will be like for the most part.      my tomboy princess's straight hair has a much longer cycle.   she rarely needs a good soap wash.   her hair is mostly braided though, that helps.   my curls are a bit more wild anyway so this is actually an improvement for me and my crazy mop.   **update - after more than i year of the vinegar for my hair, i have not had a waxy time for quite a while.   things seem to have calmed down and the cycles aren't so extreme.   things are starting to even out a bit more than at first.   it has taken time.**

*personal example for both giving it time and taking it slow - fermented foods - i started milk kefir 8 months ago.  i didn't have any trouble when i started but some people have an increase in the health problems they were trying to get rid of for a while.   it's called die off.   sounds super healthy right?   well, it is actually.   imagine all of the little bad things in your body that cause problems.    they are hiding out and burrowed in all over.   when you add the probiotics, good yeasts, good microbes, etc that are in fermented foods, they go in and dislodge the bad stuff.   when you add a little at a time, it dislodges a little at a time and your body can flush it (if you are drinking enough water).   if you jump in with both feet and start cramming in all the ferment you can, you are going to dislodge all of it at a time and that is harder for your body to deal with.   still ok, just uncomfortable at first.   go slow, get used to one thing at a time.   give your body a chance to adjust.   on the upside for us, everyone is healthier than ever before.   when i have a whole winter without being down and out in bed sick, it's a miracle!   definitely worth the little bit of time it takes to do it.  

a few last thoughts -  do try natural things, every bit of natural living that you do, positively affects your life.      don't think you have to be totally off grid to be natural.   ask yourself why you are going with natural practices and just stick with that.   do what fits your life and your expectations.     don't compare your natural path to anyone else.   you might be more or less than someone else.   it doesn't matter.  sometimes i hear competitive or even accusative statements made about not doing enough or trying it at all.   i hear both sides of it.   don't worry about it.   do what works for you.   that is what nature is after all.   nature does what works.   and lastly just enjoy it!