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    The Slow and Steady Progression to Lifestyle Change/Healthier Eating

    One of the first people in my life that I knew of who went completely organic was a cousin of mine in the states. She was considered “extreme” close to 6 years ago because she didn’t even want her children playing with plastic toys – they all had to be wood – and she didn’t want them to watch any television. There was absolutely NO junk food allowed in her home. Was she one of my cousins who had help? Well, yeahhh.. so usually when my relatives make all of these lifestyle adjustments I would smile but in the back of my head roll my eyes a little because well, it’s easy to do all of this with help. I’m admitting guilt here, I was one of those who looked at women like her as one of those. I thought it was sad actually that her children couldn’t sit and watch Finding Nemo or other cartoon with their friends. I found it to be.. well, exhausting and too much. Of course I’m not going to voice my opinions to her, at the end of the day this is her family and she will raise her kids as she damn well pleases. This is something we forget as parents. It’s one thing to advise, and it’s another to get involved. Don’t ever get involved in the child-rearing of another mama-bears kids or you might face death. Really.

    There was this instance actually where we were all at a mall food court. My father didn’t know of these rules that our relative had and so as soon as she was away from the table, her son looks at my dad and asks him for a french fry. Of course my dad thought nothing of it. This boy had his nanny right alongside him who didn’t say anything and low and behold, this relative comes back to the table, sees her son eating the french fry and snaps at the nanny saying, “I told you he is not allowed McDonalds ever!” My father, having no idea what the problem was looked up at her and said, “..but this is Arby’s.” I couldn’t stop laughing about this incident for a long time. Even to this day I kind of get a chuckle. The thing is, with as much as we are trying to spare our children from, at the end of the day, good for them or not, they’re going to try it out for themselves. I don’t doubt that once this kid is old enough he will try a Big Mac, but perhaps there might be a slight chance that he will say, “no, no, not today” – which could be what she’s hoping for.

    Case in point: I was told all my life that cigarettes were bad. I believe they’re bad. I know they are unhealthy for me. I know they can become addictive… all of the above. However when I was 18 and my folks weren’t around, I bought a pack and I smoked a few. This pastor’s daughter who KNOWS BETTER just smoked some anyways. My reasoning? I wanted to see what the big deal was, some of my friends did it and I knew I wasn’t going to continue. I just wanted to try it to say I’ve tried it so I knew what I was talking about when I told people it was disgusting. And don’t go using that logic of, “if your friend jumped off a bridge would you do the same?” Umm.. no. But this is not about jumping off a bridge and ending my life… it’s a cigarette.

    With as extreme as we all deemed her to be, she definitely had some valid reasons now that I look back on all of it. We all know and have heard of burgers and chicken nuggets from fast food places that don’t mold, are filled to the brim with preservatives and are virtually, no longer considered food. Yet we ingest these things anyways. We do so with notions like:

    • Well… it’s once in a while.
    • It’s okay in small amounts.
    • They had a healthy breakfast or lunch, so this is okay.. it’s all about balance, right?
    • It’s a quick meal and I have no time to cook today.

    I am guilty of every single one of those excuses. I will be the FIRST person (back then) to roll my eyes at the healthy person telling others to just make their own organic burgers at home. Umm.. do I look like I have the time? This is the same thing I felt when I would see people going to the gym for 2 hours a day just so they can eat carbs. I found this to be a waste of good time and energy and so I just never attempted it. I ate what I wanted, I would turn a blind eye here and there. Yes I avoided fast food but only 6 days out of the week. There was always a day here and there where I would say, “eff it.. Burger King it is!” And I still won’t completely turn away an In-&-Out burger. I turned 30 in February. This wasn’t about losing weight for me. This suddenly became about me feeling lethargic, zero energy by 2pm, and thinking to myself, “I cannot live on 3 cups of coffee to get me going every single day, this is insane!”

    I know I am not someone who can just go to a gym. I would be lost, not know what to do, and I reeeeally don’t want to ask for help. I knew I was open to doing cardio because lifting just didn’t appeal to me. A few nights before Jeff’s birthday in April I was on Amazon and I ordered a spin bike for myself. Yup. Not too cheap, not too expensive. It arrived a couple days later and since April of this year I have forced myself to get on this thing at least 4x a week, for just 30-45 minutes each time. I also don’t have any of those trackers on it.. I don’t care to know how many miles I’ve done or what my heart rate is at (not yet anyways) – I felt like all of that would just discourage me and make me compete with myself or others. I said to myself, “if I do this, I’m going to do this until I can’t and once I’m exhausted I will stop.” Honestly folks this is the only reason I was able to continue. Now I can easily do 45 minutes standing the entire time.. but that process took MONTHS. I feel better, I am way more energetic and I even sleep better.

    There are those who get in to something and do a complete 180. We all know of new-born Christians who will completely turn their lives around once they’ve found something amazing. Amazing truth and news that they want to share with the world! What happens though, is you end up turning people off. When I woke up and discovered the truth in the over-vaccinating of our children in this world we are living in and how corrupt the CDC is I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I wanted to share news and information and I would, but I ended up offending others and losing some “friends” along the way. We all have that friend who is truly passionate about a healthy lifestyle and posts constantly about their gym routine and their fig and quinoa salads… and it’s like: shut up already! 😉 What we are doing wrong here is comparing. We are looking at them bettering their lives and wanting to share as bragging.. when it’s not! They genuinely want others to feel the way they feel as well. I think if we all stepped back and realized that these posts are about awareness and not about criticizing what you are currently up to, then we would all be better off. My parents became Christian in the 80’s.. in the Philippines. A country that was 99% Catholic at the time. They were so gung-ho about this new relationship with Christ that they wanted everyone to know about Him and be saved. What ended up happening? They became the laughing stock of their gatherings. Relatives would roll their eyes and say things like, “don’t sit next to the Soriano’s..they’ll try to convert you!” Same script, different cast if you flash forward to the times we are in now. People are taking how others are changing their lives with a dose of OFFENSE, and not a DOSE OF KNOWLEDGE. We really have to stop with this mentality. If you are telling someone about something that is changing YOUR life for the better, they immediately take it as, “are they saying I am not good enough? Are they saying if I don’t do this with my own life and kids that I am not as good as they are? Who the hell does this person think they are to tell me this?!” STOP WITH THE MADNESS EVERYONE! Take things with a grain of salt. Do your own research.. but do it. Do it with a thankful heart that maybe, just maybe this person came in to your life to open your eyes a bit.

    Back to my slow progression. I didn’t just clear out my pantry, throw everything away and buy all organic only. I started with a few things that I changed. I looked at my kids daily menus and thought, “what are they eating the most?”. Looking on this I discovered my children love pasta, they drink a lot of milk, and they like chicken dishes. I’m telling you guys, I started slooooow. I would go to the grocery and get immediately frustrated because everything organic was doubled in price. Foster Farms has organic chicken packets and non-organic chicken packets. I would stand there in the chicken aisle and have debates with myself like, “but these chickens were all raised on the same farm. At Foster Farms is there a huge barn with just organic happy chickens and then a huge depressing barn with non-organic chickens that they plan on pumping up with preservatives afterwards? How do I know they don’t mix the two up? Who is really monitoring all of this?!” I would feel lied to when I would go out. IF SOMETHING IS NON-GMO BUT IT DOESN’T SAY ORGANIC THEN IT’S NOT ORGANIC SO SHOULD I BUY THIS?! IF SOMETHING IS ORGANIC BUT DOESN’T SAY NON-GMO DOES THIS MEAN IT’S ORGANIC BUT IT CONTAINS GMO’S?! Eff this we are having sushi for dinner tonight! I would sit and Google Tilapia while at the grocery. We ate tilapia for WEEKS because I thought it was healthier than chicken that isn’t organic (and also cheaper) and then I realized that I was buying farm-raised stuff.. looked it up online and got so mad at myself like: am I poisoning my family?! I’m telling you, this is why so many people just won’t attempt this.. because unless you have a grocery budget of $1000 a month, getting completely on this healthy lifestyle change is insanity. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a slooooow progression. I would cook them organic wheat noodles but flavor it with non-organic butter. I would give them organic milk but sometimes put that Hershey’s chocolate syrup in there. Almost defeating the purpose every.. single.. time. I know it’s important to keep going, and I know that no matter what it takes, I am going to get there. Just have this mindset people. The reason you are reading about all of this Monsanto stuff and GMO’s killing people is because IT IS HAPPENING. Cancer is on the rise.. cancer in children is prevalent like never before. It took almost 6 months but now I am happy to say that we are 70% there.. most of the things our family eats is GMO-free and organic. There are slips here and there, certain recipes that need certain ingredients and we just can’t avoid that quite yet, but I would consider this an amazing feat in my life. When I go out to eat I take my time and I choose wisely. Does it suck at times? YES! But I’ve noticed once your body is getting cleansed from that junk, putting it back in there makes for a really bad day. Mood swings and all. My kids are eating lentil soups! This is fantastic. We are going to framer’s markets and eating organic fruits and vegetables! They don’t last as long, so we now have to buy what we need and not in bulk.

    The cycle goes on. From food to makeup. Wow.. from one thing to the next. Am I using organic makeup? Then you start to investigate water. You stop buying bottles in bulk and get on to a BRITA or PUR filter. This morning I caught myself looking up ALKALINE water. You now want to rid your home of as much flouride as possible. You can’t believe it’s an active ingredient in your child’s toothpaste. So you purchase safe toothpaste and think, “PHEW! Dodged that bullet.” Then there’s deodorants. There’s household cleaners. There’s detergents. Dish washing soaps. Shampoos and conditioners. Diapers. Lotions. Clothing.. the COTTON in your shirts. Organic condoms. Organic tampons. We used the rest of our shampoos and THEN bought organic the next time around. We didn’t just throw it out because I am not there yet where I have money to just toss. The extra stuff we had in a closet that was not expired we gave away. You know why? Having shampoo vs. having no shampoo whether it’s organic or not is better than nothing. Organic ORGANIC ORGANICCCC ..Holy hell.. the list never seems to end. I have days where I just give up and say a prayer. Give those stresses and those worries to God. You know why? There is really only so much you can do.I refuse to toss out my non-organic red wine. I know they’re starting to make organic wines which I will happily buy, but my good stash is my good stash and I am not willing to part with it yet! Trust that I have done so much research on wines lately – lol! It’s what makes the lifestyle change easier! Don’t take that away from me! In the United States, finding true organic wines can be a bit tricky. The National Organic Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, holds that wine cannot be labeled “organic” if it contains sulfites, chemicals found naturally in grapes and also added in very small quantities to most wines to inhibit the yeasts and bacteria from grape skins that can proliferate and ruin the taste of wine. You can find wines labeled organic and sulfite-free, but if you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll likely not care for them. So here I am with, “well it’s alcohol so it’s clean, right?” 😉 (I might be singing a different tune in a few years, but like I keep saying.. BABY STEPS!)

    The worst thing we can do though is DISCOURAGE one another. If you see someone attempting to try healthier food, don’t call them out on having McDonald’s for breakfast! ENCOURAGE that person to go ahead and make that healthy meal for their family. If a family is used to eating KFC once a week and pizza hut and Panda Express, be kind. Cheer them on if they give up ONE thing first. If they say, “no more McDonald’s.” That’s a high-five! Press on parents! Let’s just be about encouraging others and helping answer questions when we are able.

    Here is how I want to end this: No parent wakes up one day and has the answers to it all, we have to take those small steps. Maybe these are the steps that are important to be taking because even if you’ve never made it to 100%, you have started paving the way for your kids to make it there, with much more ease. You know how many of us have grand parents who came out to this country with NOTHING but to start a new and better life for their children? You might just have to be of that same spirit. Dig in there. You know that spirit is in you, it needs to be awakened. That ambition to do what’s best even if it means taking 10 steps back in your own life. I hate that this nation is so broke and that the cost of living is interrupting our actual LIVING. Back then families would THRIVE with a one-person income. The father would work, the mother could be home and raise her children without worrying that the bills won’t be paid. Now we live in a different world where we are not all as fortunate. If you can stay at home and raise your kids, consider yourself blessed. If you want to share something that is healthy or good for others’ and their kids, do so with compassion, keeping in mind that most families don’t have the time or the means. Encourage others to START SMALL. Start super small people! Look at me, I started with milk. Then pastas. Then chicken. Start small, but start. You are not alone in this MIGRAINE of lifestyle change. I promise you. Only a small amount can do a complete 180 and start fresh. But in most cases these people were faced with something that gave them no choice. If you or a relative has been diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things they tell you is to go completely 100% organic. Why wait until that diagnosis? Prep now, so that if (God forbid) it happens, you will be eased in to the lifestyle change. We have to. We can’t pretend any more. So cheers to taking small steps forward! You are not alone! <3

     

    **Below are some snaps of us at a Farmer’s Market last week. There was trick-or-treating and we did let the kids experience that – we also let them each pick one to eat that night after dinner and when they weren’t looking we tossed some of the candies that we knew just lasted a lifetime.. like candy corn and those dummy lollipops. We put the rest in a bucket for Trick-or-Treaters. I think we are going to have to start making our own chocolates here and testing out those recipes you keep seeing that are supposedly healthy online. I’ll let you know how that goes..

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    ^My husband’s meal of choice at the street fair was a freshly made Torta

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    I went with some Shrimp Spring Rolls along with some egg rolls..

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    The kiddos split some Pancit and BBQ chicken.

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    All content and images copyright TheSisterFiles©2015 and cannot be used without expressed permission.

    Photography by: Jeff and Talia Cruz

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