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Guest Post: Never Too Late To Live Your Dream

www.mypicshares.com

If you’ve ever had a dream of making a difference in the world…

Today I’d like to welcome a guest post by Cathy Payne, of Our Natural Life. Cathy and her husband Jon maintain this site together where they translate their love of natural living by doing weekly podcast interviews with individuals who are active in the sustainable, holistic, and health communities.

Started in June of 2008, they have hosted fantastic guests such as Dr. Thomas S. Cowan, founding board member of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of The Fourfold Path to Healing, Kimberly Hartke, Weston A. Price publicist, of Hartke is Online!, Ann Marie Michaels of Cheeseslave, Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog and podcast show, and Zachary Adam Cohen, creator of Farm To Table blog and television show.

The Paynes have dealt with their own health challenges, like many of us.  Yet, they have conquered those issues by embracing a traditional diet of real food, and turned those difficulties into experiences that have altered their way of looking at life and the world around them – and can pass testimonial on to those who might be looking for the same answers.

Recently they made a life-changing move: they left the city to find fulfillment and solace in the country. After being city-dwellers, they decided their hearts and minds were set on finding a farm and making it theirs – to become food producers in the natural way. This is Cathy’s account of what her life was like before that decision changed their future.

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Gail Sheehy, in New Passages, writes that “Each of us tells our own personal life story to ourselves, every day.” I believe that our thoughts and words create our lives in powerful ways. I agree, with Sheehy, that we “create our own plot line.” And itʼs never to late to revise and rewrite it! As a woman who has lived 57 years and rewritten the script a few times, I can speak with a bit of authority.

One year ago, in October, 2009, I was a stressed-out suburban teacher living in a beautiful 5 bedroom, 4 bath house on a cul-de-sac. Why stressed? As a support teacher I worked with the students who were “challenging.” They were diagnosed with autism, behavior disorders, ADHD, asthma, encupresis (look it up), learning disabilities, and more. In meetings I heard mothers testify that their child was perfectly normal until they got a certain round of vaccines. I also heard tales of asthma, hives, skin allergies.

While it was not my place to advise parents of diet or medical care, when asked for advice I did volunteer information about decreasing sugar and adding cod liver oil to a studentʼs diet. However, the school was serving up a diet of GMO processed food, up to 3 starches a meal, and with heavy doses of HFCS, food coloring, and preservatives. In addition, the school state required parents to give their children a full dose of vaccines or withdraw them from school. Parents were not informed of their right to opt out of this requirement. Seeing children, their families and teachers suffer, having little control over the situation, and working under a heavy paperwork load became to feel like a burden. On top of that our governor ordered 3 furlough days, requiring teachers to take time off work without pay, reducing our salaries.

It was on the third furlough day that I suggested to Jon that we take a weekend off. Nature’s Harmony Farm was having a fall tour and farm celebration, and it would be a perfect break from our usual routines. We found a bed and breakfast in an historic home not far from Elberton. It would be a romantic getaway before Jon left for an extended business trip.

Jon and I had discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation in 2006. We got involved with the group, connected with local farmers, and began eating farm-to-table. Pretty soon our weekends revolved around farm visits, farm pick ups, and farm events. We made an effort to visit most of the farms that were producing our food. We were happy when a new farm, Nature’s Harmony, offered farm tours. Our first tour was in October, 2008. At that visit we did an interview with Time and Liz Young for our podcast. We were very impressed with what they had accomplished in a very short time.

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Back to 2009, we enjoyed another tour along with a farm-to-table dinner and bonfire. Enjoying the fresh air and scenery at the B&B and at Natureʼs Harmony, Jon and I found ourselves saying things like, “It’s so pleasant out here. So peaceful. Wouldnʼt it be nice to live like this?” The lightbulbs went on, we looked at each other, and the conversation soon turned to, “Why not?” We had no children or dependent parents holding us back. I could retire in a year or two. Jon worked from home. We were both in good health. Why not buy land while prices were low, rent it out, and learn how to farm?

Well, things moved much more quickly than we believed they would. The Universe conspired to support us in ways we had not imagined. Within 11 weeks, we owned our small farm. I turned in my notice to school and applied for retirement June 1. We have now been farming for 4 months and learn so much each day. This is a hard, demanding, and richly rewarding life. Weʼre learning one set of routines at a time and then adding layers upon layers. Weʼve sold livestock born on our farm and made sales of duck eggs, produce, and dog treats. Weʼre now giving our own farm tours!

www.mypicshares.com

Whatever stage of life you are in, and whatever your dream may be, you can also turn it around. I believe that it is important to follow your passion and let your work be your play. Whatever you believe, you can achieve. Itʼs never too late to live your dream!

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Words of wisdom and inspiration to live by! I am so grateful for people in the world who recognize the importance of living a simpler life, with emphasis on valuing the natural ways, and are able to go and do it. It gives the rest of  us who want to do the same something to hope for and work toward.

In the meantime, we may not have a homestead or a farm (yet), but we can see the significance of living in harmony with nature, make strides to live clean and eat sustainably, and spread the infectious message of a healthier existence amongst all the people we come into contact with..now that’s making a difference.

I’ve had a dream very similar to this for the last few years, and sometimes I think it’s very far away…but then I’m reminded of how powerful dreams are. When you make something a priority and a goal, anything can happen!

Read more about Cathy and Jon at Our Natural Life.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.

Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Alcohol and The Sugar Connection

www.mypicshares.com

What would you say if someone told you that alcoholism has its roots in sugar addiction? Problems with over-consumption of alcohol often begin with eating habits as children.

Since all alcoholic drinks contain sugar, it is a wonder that this association is often overlooked. A 12-ounce beer has about 13 grams of carbohydrates in it. So if you have five beers over the course of one evening, that’s 65 grams of carbohydrates in four to five hours (or less, depending on how fast you drink).

If you believe this line of thinking to be faulty, it is imperative to see the film “SuperSize Me“. In documentary style, this movie shows what happens when one person goes on a binge for 30 days and eats nothing but McDonald’s food.

You may be wondering about the connection between alcohol and McDonald’s (aka sugar and chemical overload). Keep reading. The man in the film is monitored by three different doctors during the journey into destroying his body. Although the example put forth in the film is an extreme one, it shows why this diet or anything like it is a poor one to undertake.

During day 22 of the experiment, his doctors conduct blood tests on his liver to determine the extent of the damage. The results are unbelievable. His liver is in the same condition as someone who had been on a long alcoholic binge: thus firmly establishing the sugar-alcohol connection. McDonald’s foods are highly processed, full of chemicals, and most importantly, wrought with simple carbohydrates which are the same thing as sugar. Alcohol in all forms also contains…you guessed it, sugar.

Studies have shown that people who display unhealthy eating habits and abuse sugar have similarities to those who are so-called alcoholics. Many people who become alcoholics in their adult years regularly kept unhealthy diets as children and adolescents. The pattern is a predictable one that is often also underpinned by unstable emotional environments. When a child is allowed to consume refined sugar “foods” that regularly replace nutritious foods, this sets up the perfect beginning to a life of poor choices for health.

Children are easily made to believe by their parents and other authority figures that various foods regularly eaten by the whole of society are actually good for them and contain substantive nutrition. Although sugar is not technically in the same category as alcohol or drugs, food with refined sugars and processed flour as well as candies and desserts represent the initial stepping stone to sugar consumption that can plateau out as alcohol abuse in adolescents and adults.

On a fundamental level, all are addictive substances because they each contain one key ingredient – carbohydrates or simple sugars. When sugar is introduced into the body, a reaction occurs where the blood sugar achieves a high point causing the body to go into hyperactivity mode. This process often leads to the mistaken diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. Drugs such as Ritalin are often prescribed to level out the chemicals in the child’s brain that are considred “abnormal”. What is not addressed are the large amounts of refined sugars consumed by these same children, as well as lack of adequate physical activity and supportive emotional relationships with family members. Children who consume large amounts of refined sugar in their diets are much more likely to go on and become drug or alcohol abusers later in life – especially when these other conditions are present.

Here’s something interesting: the food pyramid tells us that we should eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grains each day. But the vast majority of “whole grain” choices in our food environments are far from whole grains. On a continual basis, we are lied to on labels about what is contained in many foods we buy in the store. Simply taking the time to read the list of ingredients will immediately reveal that a good majority of these foods are not whole grain, have been enriched, are not a natural source of vitamins or nutrients, and contain added sugars and other chemicals that are dangerous to consume.

Even if we did consume all whole grains in those servings, which would be difficult at best, we would be consuming far too many carbohydrates for our own good compared to other important nutrient, mineral, and vitamin-containing foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy proteins like antibiotic and hormone free meats and raw dairy products (in moderation, of course). And that doesn’t even include all the junk-related and refined sugar foods we consume on a daily basis, nor sugary beverages (alcoholic beverages included).

The body requires proper nutrition and support to function on an optimal level. Most of what people put in their mouths does not support the complex system that is the human body. When a person is working at a stressful job and does not have time to prepare wholesome, nutritious meals, a decline in health is inevitable.

Many people believe that what they are eating is healthy when it isn’t because consumers have been repeatedly lied to and mislead about nutrition. Corporations have in their best interest to sell what tastes good to consumers, not what is nutritious. Even though there is a wealth of information available about sugar and alcohol consumption, people tend to overindulge since food and drink containing sugar is so prevalent and easy to come by.

Everywhere we look there are more temptations to purchase and eat the things that we shouldn’t, and not nearly enough emphasis on organic, whole, healthy foods. When you go to a restaurant or bar and order a drink, how often do you stop at just one? How often do you have two, three, four, or five? When you go to a restaurant to eat, think about how many items on your plate are full of refined carbohydrates versus a whole, natural food. When the server comes to take your plates at the end of a meal, how many times are you offered dessert as an ending to your visit? Almost every time.

Anxiety and depression, the two basic human emotional disturbances, are perpetuated by unhealthy lifestyles such as lack of activity, overloads of stress, improper rest, and – eating poorly. When people encounter stress, their bodies respond by telling them they need more support – sleep, exercise, healthy food and whole food supplements, plenty of purified water, and adequate stress relief.

The average American lifestyle fails to include the right combination of these important components. For stress relief and boredom, many people turn to eating refined sugar foods and beverages, drinking, and drug use. Unhealthy snacks and foods are so convenient and readily available, people have a tendency to load up on those kinds of foods rather than taking time to prepare a healthy meal or snack instead. The more we consume these kinds of foods, the more we crave them.

When you visit the grocery store, notice which foods are the most visible and prevalent on the aisles. Just pick up a box or a can of any food and read the ingredients. If you cannot make heads or tails of what they are, why should you be eating or drinking it? Any food or drink product that contains more than three or four ingredients should automatically be a red flag to any consumer.

When we consume such massive amounts of sugar, run ourselves into the ground with stress and busy schedules, fail to get adequate exercise and rest, it’s no wonder our bodies fail. Patients would rather end up at the doctor asking for medication to deal with symptoms they experience as a result of the abuse their bodies are receiving than commit to making a real, healthy lifestyle change.

To learn more about sugar-addiction and how it can be linked to alcohol and drug abuse later in life, visit the following web sites:

The Society for Neuroscience.
Sweet Tooth, Alcoholism Linked

This article was originally featured in the October 2007 issue of Healthy Beginnings.