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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

The Natural Happy Middle

There are times our family will eat cereal for dinner. We’ll eat it together but nonetheless there will be a box of cereal and gallon of milk sitting on the table for our meal. We ate cereal last night in fact. I didn’t feel like cooking and we were out of leftovers so cereal it was. I cannot always guarantee either that it will be gluten free, sugar free or some other free ingredient version. While I’m an advocate for living as naturally as possible I also know that can mean doing what we need to for a comfortable and happy life. I also know that there are times you can’t do it all.

I think more than anything that is the point I hope comes through my blog posts time and again. Where we can, where its possible today and how it impacts yourself and your family is what it means to live as naturally as you can. If you don’t eat organic granola one day and instead have Fruit Loops with your child and enjoy a time connecting with them over that cereal while you hear about their day it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the battle. It means you’re a normal mom who is doing her best and putting the value of the relationship and quality of your life above a lot of other stress. Sometimes granola is stressful especially when it is expensive and doesn’t taste good. I believe in doing what’s best for our families within our budget. There is no point in spending $7 for a box of granola no one likes. You have to find what works for your family and what you can afford. Sometimes that’s a box of Fruit Loops.

My own goal for my family is to live more naturally as much as we can. I know we feel better, are healthier and happier when we are experiencing living natural. I know overall it saves us money and long term is the right direction for us to go in our lives. I also know we enjoy snacks, chocolate, chips, ice cream and cereal. We’re going to have those things every now and then and that doesn’t make us less natural. I will not be known as the mom who didn’t allow her son to have cotton candy at the fair because it’s whipped flavored and colored sugar. We will never live in a world where everything is healthy which is why we need to teach our children to make choices that are healthy in the long run and how to balance the rest.

When I first started exploring natural living and what it means I saw a couple schools of thought as the most prominent. First, there are hard core people who live strictly away from anything that is manufactured, pre-made and contains unnatural anything. They grow their own food and practice a high level of sustainable living. It’s amazing how they are able to navigate our world to achieve that. While it’s noble and I learn as much as I can from them I knew right away it wasn’t going to ever fit my family. We are very far from achieving that level of full natural living. I can grow a tomato in the backyard but I’ll never be in the league of these individuals. I do however appreciate so much about what they are learning to advance and make accessible more ways to practice sustainable living and natural products that the rest of us can use.

Then there are those who believe natural living is where your detergent or food product says “simply” or “free”. I was here at first. Marketing people are really smart in catching on that more and more people don’t want unnecessary things in their food and every day products yet we want creature comforts. Making the bottle white with a blue label though doesn’t change what’s inside. Positioning these products in the easy to get to spots with real natural products higher out of reach is also pretty clever. The truth is this is not living natural or reducing your toxic exposure to harmful things or reducing our impact to the environment. It all starts with reading the labels and if you cannot pronounce the ingredients or know what it is then it’s almost certainly not a natural product.

I like to consider my family in the middle of these two types. We are making more and more choices that are entirely natural and we still use some other things that are not quite there. We find what works best for us, is affordable and effective with a responsibility to what it means after we’re done using it. The hard core will say that is not enough and the free and clear group will say it’s extreme. I prefer to say it’s what’s right for us where we are now and what we are still learning and exploring and needing to live a happy life.

My family uses a lot more natural in our life than we have ever before and are continuing on our journey to learn how to include it in more areas. After almost 3 years of this journey I can happily say 100% of my home cleaners are natural, our personal care products are 90% natural and our vitamins, medicine and supplements are about 70% natural. I’m super proud of that transformation. In our diet we are overall eating healthier, eating out less often and we have one of the biggest veggie gardens we’ve ever had in our yard this year. I read labels on just about everything we buy and there’s a lot of changes that have undergone in our pantry. We however do enjoy some Chick-Fil-A, Fruit Loops and Oreos. We get our son cotton candy at the fair and we love buttered movie popcorn with peanut M&Ms poured on top.

Living natural to me is living your best life every day and making choices that support making that possible. It’s being responsible for what we are purchasing and using not only for our own needs but what it does in our environment as well. It is also enjoying the things that make life awesome like over buttered popcorn with peanut M&Ms. Perhaps one day our family will be more hard core naturalists but right now we are enjoying the journey of learning and finding what is right for us. I believe recognizing we have this power and learning to use it to enrich and enhance our lives is one of the best ways we can live more naturally.

Are you ready to explore what this can mean for you and your family?

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