Monday, July 18, 2011

My (So-Called) Organic Life

I recently read a book that changed my life.  Okay, so the change was about 10 years in the making, but when I read Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, it was like a lightbulb clicked on.  I bought the book on my Kindle, I was so excited to read it, and I finished it in two days, then ordered the hardcover version to keep in my kitchen.  I'm not saying it was the book itself that changed my life and I'm not even recommending that you read it, unless you are searching for a way to a more organic, veggie-based life.  

More than anything, I think I responded to the way Kris spoke to me in that book.  Like a good girlfriend calling me on my shit.  Saying, "Hey, you know that you are what you eat, but yet you still ignore labels on your food.  You still buy your produce in the grocery store without asking where it's grown or what pesticides and fertilizers are used.  You support big-box retailers blindly.  You eat meat and dairy without wondering about the care of the animals.  You put anti-aging creams on your face and use suncreens and shampoos that contain ingredients that are known to cause cancer.  And now that you know it, what are you gonna do?"

As I mentioned, this choice has been a long time coming.  When Marlowe was a toddler, she had a terrible skin rash, red bumps all over her body.  Her pediatrician said it was probably the laundry detergent, so immediately I changed to a fragrance-free option.  But that didn't seem like enough, so I sought out greener alternatives and my kids loved how much cleaner their laundry was.  I got rid of the bulk of our chemical cleaners and bought a big ol' bottle of vinegar. But when it came to the way we eat, I didn't want to rock the boat.  I chose to ignore a lot of information, thinking that the radical "green" activists were just lunatics.

Case in point: I had read the vegan manifesto "Skinny Bitch," and hated it.  The Che Guevara rebel pose of that book was off-putting, to say the least, although it lured readership with the words "skinny" and "bitch" (emphasis on the "bitch").  I think I actually threw the book away and drove to In-n-Out for a Double-Double.  But "Crazy Sexy Diet" approached me in a "you can do this, you can change your attitude about eating and living" sort of a way.  It made me feel like I could experiment with juicing and eating greener foods and just see how it made me feel.  I could tip-toe my way in.

And you know what? It feels great. I have not given up on a lot of things because I am only a month and a half into my "new" life; therefore, I still drink coffee (mostly fair trade and organic) with cream (organic), still eat fish occasionally, won't kill myself if I eat sugar (though it's tasting sweeter to me as my tastebuds change) or alcohol, still eat dairy (though I like buying organic, range-free eggs from local farms) and if it comes down to buying non-organic produce, I will (with a list of the "dirty dozen" in my purse).

The only thing is, now that the more I know about where our food and "health" products come from, the more challenging it is to live moderately.  What I mean is, I can't just pull the wool back over my eyes.  When I drink a frosty Diet Coke from a can - formerly my favorite beverage in all the land - I can't ignore the fact that it's been made from chemical sweeteners that cause both carb cravings (bad for a "diet" drink, no?) and cancer, and I also wonder about the aluminum can... where did it come from? How will it be recycled? 

Diet Coke is an easy one because I rarely drink it anymore, but when I checked out my cosmetics on Skin Deep, I was horrified.  I pride myself on my skin and am religious about my sunscreen and eye cream, but both of those (as well as my beloved anti-aging serum) are high in toxic ingredients... And what's a girl to do?  Give up on her youthful appearance to save the planet?  I'm being dramatic here, but my point is that my eyes are opened and I can't shut them. Acknowledging that I am still taking baby steps into this new lifestyle, I am going to do my best to find organic, vegan, cruelty-free alternatives to my favorite products.  

I won't go crazy with trying to get other people on my bandwagon, nor will I slap a Diet Coke out of a friend's hand - that's not at all who I am. In fact, from time to time, I may ask for a sip or a can of my own.  And I still drive an 8-year-old SUV, which I will keep until it dies and then I'll buy a more fuel-efficient car.  But being conscious makes me wary of lame articles like the one in Self Magazine's latest issue, "Detoxify Your Life," which suggests "easy" fixes for becoming more chemical-free.  I think we are far too accustomed to living the "easy" way.  It's okay to challenge ourselves to be more active participants in our health, from the way we eat to the way we clean.

I'm still experimenting, so I won't go all out and say I'm green or organic or vegan. But I feel radiant.  And that's where I wanna be.


  1. I love her site too! And yes not going too crazy with all the best products and foods but cutting out meats and white sugar is helpful. I buy skincare from this great lady in Hawaii named Dae Williams. If you are interested I'll hook you up girl.

  2. Yes, please! I want that hook-up! Your skin glows!!