DO ONE THING: Cutting Artificial Sweeteners

CUTTING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS | do one thing series

Please note: I am not a doctor, nor have I received formal medical training. I’m just a mom, passionate about natural health who wants to share what she knows! This post contains affiliate links- thanks for supporting my family!

I often have conversations with people who tell me how overwhelmed they are with eating healthy and making responsible dietary changes. I admit, it takes a lot of adjusting (both mentally and physically) to arrive at a healthy lifestyle, but there are many small changes that can be made to add up to a cumulative healthy change. This week I’m beginning the new ‘Do One Thing’ series, teaching you one change per week to make for the good of your health. This week, we’re starting big: cutting out artificial sweeteners.

Calorie counting is both a blessing an a curse to our generation’s health: while many people have trimmed significant weight by counting their calories and adding in exercise, it is often accomplished through the introduction of low-calorie or calorie-free diet foods that are chock full of chemical additives and artificial sweeteners. While this *might* give you the short-term positive payoff of lost weight, it’s wreaking havoc on your body in the long term.

See, when we consume a food that has been sweetened artificially, our body tastes the sweetness and begins to produce insulin to break down sugars. However, because sugar isn’t present, this leaves lots of excess insulin circulating in our bodies, which then leads us to crave sugar even more! So, that diet soda you have with your lunch might be directly related to that candy bar you were craving later that afternoon. Not exactly helping you lose weight like you thought, huh?

Another often overlooked issue with artificial sweeteners is that they are artificial! You are flooding your body with chemicals (many linked to very troublesome side effects- see this FDA release) that you aren’t meant to process. This puts extra pressure on your liver, creates disruption in the digestive tract, and throws the body’s natural flora off balance.

So, what’s the solution? Stay away from artificial sweeteners! Here’s what I suggest:

-Swap diet sodas for all-natural ones sweetened with cane sugar (preferably organic)

-Sweeten your tea or coffee with cane sugar, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, or honey. Avoid any ‘sugar free’ syrups or flavorings, and don’t be fooled by agave- it’s highly processed and likely worse for you than plain sugar.

-Avoid chemical-laden low calorie diet foods and eat real foods instead, like fruits and vegetables.

Have you cut out artificial sweeteners? Did you notice a difference in your health? What was the most difficult transition for you?

5 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

5 Reasons to Eat With The Seasons

While I have always been a lover of good food, it wasn’t until college that I really became aware of the many issues surrounding the food industry and tried to make positive changes in my own life. One of the first changes I decided to make was really making a conscious effort to eat with the seasons- which, doing my undergrad in South Florida, wasn’t actually all that difficult. It wasn’t until I moved back up north three years ago that I really learned just how important eating with the seasons can be!

The basic premise is this: rather than going to your supermarket and picking up whatever produce you desire on a certain day, you learn what is already growing in your region during that time of year and stick to those items instead- better yet, get them straight from the local farmer! Given that the produce is able to be grown locally, chances are that the food will have travelled less of a distance, be grown to better standards (hopefully organically), and the chances of corruption or unfair business practices are far less than buying out of season produce.

Follow me over to the BULK HERB STORE BLOG to read my top 5 reasons to eat with the seasons!

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

40 Ways to Induce Labor

40 Ways to Go Into Labor

Hey there friends!

As many of you know, my due date is fast approaching and we are busy preparing for our little girl to arrive. It’s funny how everyone starts coming out of the woodwork when it’s close to your due date- sharing their stories of how to get labor going, encouraging you to start early, etc. Unlike the necessary and good practice of preparing your body for birth, stimulating labor early isn’t necessary- the body will take care of it on it’s own when baby is ready! However, if you’re past due and getting desperate- here’s a great list of supposed ways to induce labor- from the commonly practiced to the ridiculous. Enjoy!

Please know that I am not a medical professional, and I am not attempting to give medical advice. Please only use these methods under the supervision of your birth professional. Also, some affiliate links are used- no charge to you, but supports this little blog! Thanks!

PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Walking
Running
Running UP Steps
Jumping Jacks
Walking curbs (one foot on, one foot off, switch sides often)
Walking sideways up stairs
Use a breast pump (fave)
Nipple Stimulation
Sex
Off-roading
Pedicure
Foot/Ankle Massage
Driving on train tracks
Bounce on a birth or exercise ball (fave)
Hula Hoop (super cheap!)
Dancing
High knees
Lunges
Jump on a trampoline (low cost option)
Handstands
Tell your body to go into labor/focus energy
Don’t think about going into labor (ha!)
Rub your belly in a clockwise circle for 1 min, then do lunges for 3 min, repeat

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture
Acupressure
Chiropractor
Membrane sweeping
Induction Massage

THINGS TO EAT
Spicy Food
Labor Cake
Eggplant (particularly eggplant parmesan)
Eating until you’re stuffed
Balsamic Vinegar (this one is great & a great value)
Certain dishes at specific restaurants (the “preggo pizza”)
Eating fresh pineapple (a lot of it)
‘The Huston Method’: Popcorn, Wine, Sex
Eating dates

SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Evening Primrose Oil– taken orally or inserted vaginally
Herbal Tinctures or Supplements (black or blue cohosh, false unicorn)
Homeopathics
Clary Sage Oil
Castor Oil
Laxatives

Have another suggestion you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list! 🙂

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Brand Removal: Cheese Crackers

Last night, I took the plunge into promoting my writing- so for everyone who “liked” the Feed Me, Mama Facebook Page or followed the Twitter account, thank you! I am so excited to be on this journey with all of you, and I can’t wait to see what conversations and community develop!

cheesecrackers

A few weeks ago, a streak of motivation hit me and I decided to take on a new household endeavor: learning how to homemake as many of the things in my home as I can! Food, cleaning supplies, beauty and hygiene items, clothing, you name it- I want to know how to make it. I’ve been overcome with this vision of a kitchen filled with glass jars of whole foods and homemade things, bottles with small labels on them, and no advertisements or brand tags to be found. How peaceful, right? Crazy? Maybe…

While I understand how daunting this task is, I am trying to approach it with grace and just learn what I can, as I can. Some things have turned out great- like this recipe- others, like homemade almond butter, really just didn’t work out, and that’s okay. I am confident that this new ‘mission’ is a move of good stewardship and learning how to care for my home and my family in the most responsible way that I can.

Today, I want to share my very first “brand removal” project: cheese crackers! I think we all know what I’m referring to here 🙂 Pregnancy and snacking go hand in hand, and a little something crunchy and cheesy and salty is just what I’m loving these days.

These crackers turned out amazingly well- the taste was so good, and I know exactly what’s in them! The best part that I found (unlike the original cheese cracker) is that they aren’t addictive or habit forming- meaning, I could have three or four, and that would fulfill my craving. I didn’t feel the need to eat the entire batch in one sitting and mindlessly snack- I think it’s because the quality of the ingredients is so high!

I used this recipe from Girl vs. Dough, and they were phenomenal! Next time, I’m going to work on rolling the dough as thin as possible to make them more crispy 🙂

PIN THIS RECIPE!

Pregnancy & The Beauty of Grace

Hello again, friends!

As you can see clearly by scrolling down for about 5 seconds, I haven’t blogged at all since before I was pregnant.  The past six months have been a roller coaster for me health-wise, beginning with a scary month of medical testing that ended with my right ovary and fallopian tube being removed, continuing on to miraculously getting pregnant less than a month later, and…well, here we are, almost 22 weeks along with our sweet baby girl!

ULTRASOUND

When I found out I was pregnant, I had grand plans of continuing my health and exercise plans all the way through my pregnancy- juicing each morning, whole foods at each meal, yoga three times a week, basically chaturanga-ing my way to the birth of my child.  Boy, was I in for a surprise! While I felt excellent for the first few weeks, around 5.5 weeks I woke up with nausea and vomiting and literally didn’t stop until 13 weeks- no matter what hour of the day. If I so much as thought about juice, vegetables, or exercise I would throw up.  All my body could handle was carbohydrates and dairy, normal “nausea killers” made my nausea worse, and it was really all I could do to get out of bed in the morning.  It was honestly hard not to feel depressed or tell myself that I was a bad mother– I wanted so desperately to be giving my baby the active, healthy mom that she deserved, but my body quite literally couldn’t handle it.

I think that’s the first big lesson I learned through pregnancy- grace abounds! It didn’t matter that I laid on the couch all day and more or less subsisted on organic spaghetti-o’s (I promise I only ate organic ones!), my baby was still growing strong and healthy, and my nutrient levels remained optimal. When I was too tired to even stand through one song during Sunday morning worship, the Lord met me as I journaled, seated in the back of the sanctuary where I could run to the bathroom if needed.  And by the time I was able to return to my yoga practice in the second trimester, I found that much of my strength and flexibility remained.  Grace.

BANANA

Throughout my pregnancy, I have really struggled with trusting the Lord to provide for Matt and I, particularly as we look forward to next year when our sweet girl arrives.  Many of the decisions that we have made regarding care for our daughter, or things that we want to strive for, are not the cheapest options, though we are confident in our choices and that the Lord will bless them.  But I really can’t pretend that I haven’t been plagued with the thought that maybe I can’t be the mother that I feel I should be because I don’t have the money to buy the quality of things I think are best for her.  This has led to all kinds of sin in my heart- jealousy, bitterness, frustration, not trusting the Lord. And yet, as the weeks have gone by, I have seen time and time again where the Lord has provided these things for us- many things I thought I would never be able to have, like a wooden high chair, baby carriers, or cloth diapers.  He has eased my mind along with this, revealing my sins and showing me that His grace and love is the best standard for what a mother should be, and that I will rob myself of joy if I hold myself to any other standard, no matter how rational it may seem.  He has taught me to be honest in my weaknesses, that His strength may be made perfect instead.

All of this to say- I have learned, and am certainly still learning, a lot about myself, the Lord, and motherhood! There are SO MANY decisions to make, and sometimes trying to navigate all of the options is overwhelming and scary, particularly when trying to make sound, Christlike decisions that reflect a respect for the body and for creation.  I hope to walk through my pregnancy health experience, book reading,  and decision-making on this blog in the next few months as I continue to learn through the Lord’s grace.  I welcome your advice, opinions, and experiences, as I pray that you welcome mine.  I hope that you, or maybe someone you know, will be encouraged, challenged, or enlightened.  Above all, I pray that you see the Love that is the standard for all I am striving for, and that we might point one another to His likeness!

Humbly Yours,
Karli

Thoughts on Global vs. Local Trade

I have an inner dilemma that I have been battling for a while now: the question of whether to support global economies or focus on local economies. Brands like American Apparel have brought “made in the USA” to the forefront of our shopping brains, particularly in a season when sweatshops and child labor run rampant in most parts of the world. But shouldn’t we try to provide for our brothers and sisters overseas if we can, too?

This debate reached a head for me when I discovered that a shirt that my organization sells is manufactured in Haiti. My initial reaction was negative- we have been active in Haiti and have seen the conditions of work there, and the thought of promoting those environments sickened me. When I raised my concern, however, I was gently reminded that the company that we work with was committed to high ethical standards and that, because the shirts were made in Haiti, we were providing jobs and income to those people that we love, and helping their economy in perhaps the only way we could from a distance. My mind was eased.

My thoughts are further compounded when it comes to food- while I love eating with the seasons, purchasing local foods, and building relationships with farmers and craftsmen, I also really appreciate many foods that don’t grow locally and items that are manufactured in other parts of the company, or even the world. Things like coffee, chocolate, spices, and tea are cultivated well in certain parts of the world that I just don’t live in. As a responsible consumer, do I forgo these things, therefore saving carbon emissions due to shipping and dedicate myself to eating what my local community has to offer, or do I support these global markets, while perhaps putting the global economy on the back burner?

I don’t know what the answer is, but here are a few things that I am confident in:

-If you can buy something local, do it. Especially when it comes to food. Local farmers and culinary artisans depend on their local economy because, for the most part, they can’t export. Plus, you are getting a better quality food that you can be confident in- less preservatives, easier to check on gardening and farming operations, and good relationships with the people you are buying from.

-Fair trade is a beautiful thing. If you can’t get something locally, fair trade is a great way to ensure that your purchase from the global economy is something that you can be confident is building up global individuals and not causing any injustice along the way. There are many fair trade stores popping up now, such as the 10,000 Villages network, that make fair trade shopping feel like a breeze.

-Sweat shops are terrible. If you can’t guarantee that an item you are buying was made without blood on someone’s hands, you just shouldn’t buy it- at least not with a clear conscience. At times, this requires research not only into a store, but also a specific brand- but it is well worth it to know that you are using your money responsibly, and not to cause injustice.

-If there isn’t a good alternative, try making your own. This is especially helpful when it come to things that are really hard to research, such as cleaning products or cosmetics. There are so many ingredients in these items that its hard to say with confidence if a product is manufactured and sourced responsibly. However, there are countless way to replicate these items at home, where you can source the items yourself and be confident n the products you are using.

-Support your friends. Why buy a grocery store card made in who-knows-where when you have a friend that makes them for a living? Why buy a headband at Target when your friend is upcycling pieces and selling them on Etsy? Maybe you have friends that are photographers, or event planners, coffee roasters, stuffed animal makers, or jewelry designers. Show them love, and be loved in return.

-It is better to bow out of an economy than to stimulate a unjust one for lack of a better option. Thrift stores provide a way to purchase (many times with proceeds to a good cause) without giving any money back to the manufacturers. This can be a great place to find things that are difficult to source well, such as shoes, dressy clothes, or furniture.

While I wish that the answers were more cut and dry, I recognize that these thoughts are just part of the journey in being a Christlike consumer, and I certainly have not arrived at full understanding yet. We have to educate ourselves in order to use our money well- each dollar is a tool we are given to build the Kingdom, and we must take that seriously.