Once we became pregnant with my first baby, a friend had given us a few books on natural childbirth. They changed our lives. As we became convinced that natural childbirth was a better way to do it and learned more about pregnancy and health and nutrition and all of that, we started moving to a slightly “crunchy” way of doing things. Add that to discovering bloggers and starting my own blog while she napped on my lap (for 18 months!), and we’ve filed away quite a few ideas and ways of doing things.
That being said, here is a list of things we do. And things we don’t do. Rome was not built in a day!
Crunchy Things We Do
- We got rid of the microwave. Okay, this one wasn’t really intentional. Truth is, hubby fried it while making beer and I’ve refused to replace it :). We use the stove top or a small countertop toaster oven in it’s place. It really does work MUCH better, in my opinion.
- We started to transition to glass for food storage. We started by ceasing to use plastic in the microwave (when we still had it). Then I quit using it for anything that could be reheated in the toaster oven so that I wouldn’t have to dirty another dish. At this point we have several sets of Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids dishes which I use to freeze vegetables and store things in the pantry like chocolate chips, dried berries, open crackers & cereal, etc.
- We use cloth napkins. I’ve always had a ton, I just started using them. And I quit buying paper ones except for birthday parties and the like.
- We have eliminated paper towels (99% of the time). We purchased microfiber cloths for cleaning in the auto section at Sam’s Club. They have lasted at least 8 or 9 years now and are fabulous. We haven’t even scratched the surface of all they can do! We do keep a roll of paper towels for draining bacon grease and seasoning our cast iron, but we only end up using about 2 rolls a year.
- I use cloth feminine products. It’s been pretty easy thus far since it takes over a year for my period to return and I usually have less than 6 mos before I am pregnant again. It’s primarily been pantyliners at this point, but I am prepared to use them for post-partum bleeding after the next baby comes.
- We’ve transitioned to quality dairy and meat products. We mainly eat local, quality dairy, beef & pork products. I haven’t found a chicken source yet, or chicken would be on the list, too.
- We’re transitioning to quality fruit/veg as well. Last year, we had an organic CSA but found that a lot of it went to waste :(. I’m just not a vegetable eater and since I can’t cook them well, no one else wants to eat them either :). This year, I am going to be going to the farmers market to buy veggies we like from the farm our CSA was from, and then buying local of whatever I can’t get.
- We are transitioning to more natural medicine — I’ve been doing regular chiropractic since my last was in utero and I’ve also started seeing a naturopath to get my nutrition in line after being pregnant and/or nursing for 6 solid years. In addition, I am exploring more homeopathics and essential oils as a way to avoid conventional, chemical medicines.
- Buy cleaner, healthier health and beauty products & cleaners. While they aren’t perfect, we do aim to eliminate flouride, phalates, parabens, SLS, and other toxic chemicals. But I still buy all my items from normal stores; you can find better HBA’s & cleaners much easier at places like Target.
- I use a lot of glass bakeware. I registered for a ton of pyrex when we got married and so I have a ton. I do still have aluminum cookie sheets, a small teflon frying pan and anodized aluminum pots. And I won’t be getting rid of them. On the flip side, I also have lots of cast iron and use it daily.
- I bring my own reusable grocery bags. I hate throwing away all those plastic bags and I hate finding a place to store them so I remember to bring my own more often than not. The ones I DO end up with are used for trash in the van and the bathrooms. They are the perfect size.
Those are just a few of the things we do. Here is a list of things we do not do. I’m not saying never, but they aren’t on the short list.
Crunchy Things We Don’t Do
- We don’t exclusively cloth diaper. I use cloth for about the first year, maybe 18 months and then I’m pretty much over it. And we don’t use them when we travel or at night. I might change that this time around, though. We will see.
- We don’t use “family cloth.” In other words, we don’t have reusable TP. I think hubby would revolt.
- I don’t make our own cleaning products. I have tried making my own cleaners, dishwasher cleaner, laundry detergent and more. Hate it. Primarily because I don’t want to have to spend any more time on cleaning than I have to and if my dishwasher is going to need pre- and post-washing, I don’t care if it kills the environment and costs more, I am going to use what works. And I’m not sorry.
- I don’t ferment things. I know its good for you but I don’t like ANY of it.
- I don’t bake bread. I’ve tried. Yeast and I are not great friends. It is what it is.
- I don’t can. I like to and wish I could, but it’s just not that season. While I would LOVE to can my year’s worth of tomatoes and applesauce this summer/fall, I will have a new baby. Not happening.
- Avoid eating out at all costs. We have figured out which (few) fast food places don’t make us feel disgusting and frequent one of them about weekly. In case you are curious, McDonald’s burgers & premium chicken, Wendy’s, Culver’s and a local joint called the Taco House make the list. Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC & most chain pizza places do NOT. Ugh.
- We also do not avoid all junk foods. Our kids get chocolate at least weekly and an occasional swig of dad’s pop (I don’t get to drink much). We like dessert and they get a kid sized portion of the good stuff, especially on special occasions and holidays.
- We don’t go nuts about food dyes. It’s not an issue for our kids, so we don’t think much about it. We tend to aim for the healthier processed foods (fruit snacks made from fruit instead of HFCS) and those are usually light on food dyes.
- I don’t garden. My husband jokes that our property must have been a toxic waste dump before we bought it. Nothing grows…plants, grass, food. Some places won’t even grow weeds! Add that to the fact I have a black thumb and I don’t even try. Well, I do, but don’t count on getting anything. We had a few tomatoes and carrots last year and that was it. Potatoes, broccoli, onions, cantelope, watermelon — it was all a bust.
- We don’t have critters either. I think we are allowed 3 chickens, if we wanted and we’ve thought about it, but again, this just isn’t the time. We have the fence now, but a baby is coming this June.
What about you? What are your crunchy priorities? What do you do or not do?