The attempted world domination of Chicken and Broccoli

“But I just get so tired of chicken and broccoli…”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this over the years, I would be able to retire, buy my own island and raise my own chickens and have my own broccoli farm.chx brocc funny

All jokes aside, this is an honest statement; and it was in light of the most recent comment I received on this topic that inspired me to address what is actually a bit of a serious issue.

I am not sure how Chicken and Broccoli became the iconic example of a healthy meal, but somewhere along the line it happened. We try to talk as much as possible about food and healthy choices at the gym, but I think I often forget how many common misconceptions there are out there about how many foods there are that are truly healthy!

I can’t say this loud enough: Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be bland! Quite the contrary actually. Lets take a super simple concept.

Plants and animals.

That is simply what is truly healthy. Within these two simple things are SO many awesome choices, species, colors, flavors, spices…all of which include different amazing nutrients all bundled in a sweet little package perfectly designed by nature to be used by your amazing body…

…if you are only brave enough to disregard the media and try some new things!

I know first-hand that simple and easy are not the same thing. Meaning here, that this is not always easy to implement this simple concept. We are literally bombarded with things like the 500 calorie snack packs and low-fat chemical-and-sugar shit storms that are marketed to us as from all angles as the “healthy choices.” Take Cheerios, for example. The box is stamped with “May Help Lower Cholesterol” right on the front. This is a misleading health claim on its own, and the unfortunate reality of this marketing technique is that Cheerios are full of the things that are actually truly linked to heart disease.  Accompanied now by “Gluten Free” so it must be healthy right?

cheerios

 

It is no wonder people get confused…

Lets talk low-fat for a minute. The demonizing of fat has been going on since the late 1980’s. (Which I have also come to believe is about when Chicken and Broccoli began its attempt at world domination.)

The unfortunate truth is that since the low-fat craze took off, American citizens have only gotten fatter and sicker, as a whole.

So I ask you now to pretty much ignore whatever the media and the government tells you to eat. This will take a bit of re-programming. I ask you instead to think about the way nature has worked for millions of years. This planet produces everything we need to be healthy, and none of it comes from a package made in a lab with preservatives to make it shelf stable.

(Hidden shopping tip alert! This means real food is supposed to go bad!)

Let me tell you about when I discovered chicken thighs. The first time I passed over the ever-favored-but-oh-so-dry chicken breast and grabbed the neglected pack of thighs from the back of the shelf was nothing short of monumental for my taste buds. I never knew chicken could taste so moist and, well, chicken’y!

I think I am fortunate in the sense that I like to cook. But I still had to learn! I had to try new things, I had to fail. Repeatedly. Just ask my husband. We ate a lot of Hamburger Helper and burned peas.

But amidst all those failures were some successes, and many lessons about what tasted good together. This is also likely something you are going to have to do for yourself. And we are blessed with a wealth of information at our fingertips!

(Hidden cooking tip alert! GOOGLE! And if a recipe looks too complicated, skip it. Keep it simple! You don’t have to make everything look like a gourmet meal.)

In case you can’t tell, I like tips. And lists of tips. So here is a no-bullshit list on the subject of cooking and trying new things:

  • Put your big-kid panties on. Seriously. I don’t care if you think you don’t like veggies or think  you can’t cook.
    • Find just one veggie you like and eat it until you get sick of it then try a new one. Then keep trying stuff!
    • Find a way to cook veggies so that they taste good for you.
    • Butter. 🙂
  • Herbs and spices. Make them your friends! I promise, once you quit eating hyper-pallatable crap that comes from a box or a can, real food will start to taste differently. For the better!
  • Lets talk about fat…again. Because you need to hear this and you need to know what the good stuff truly is. Fat = Energy. Fat = Flavor!
    • If it comes from an animal (the way God and Mother Nature intended) that was raised properly (the way God and Mother Nature intended) then it is good for you. Eat it.
    • There are a few fruits (yes fruits, not vegetables) that are naturally oily and these are good fat choices as well; eat them. Short list:
      • Olives
      • Avocados
      • Coconuts
    • Do NOT choose vegetable oils, canola oils, corn oils or seed oils. These are oils you can’t make in your own kitchen, they require chemical processing and a factory to produce and do not belong in your biological human body. If you have some around your house, trash it. If you can’t bring yourself to trash it, it would make good lamp oil, possibly for a squeaky door hinge or wherever WD-40 would otherwise be used.
  • Don’t be afraid to mess up! Keep trying. Then try again. Most of us learn things like this by DOING, not reading recipes or blog posts 😉

And for good measure here are a couple of other super simple recipes, and a couple of links to things I make a lot!

Simple Curry Stir-Fry

  • Handful or two of meat of choice (Or eggs for a breakfast type scramble)
  • Diced asparagus
  • Chopped cabbage
  • Chopped onions
  • Cashews
  • Yellow Curry powder to taste
  • 1 TBS coconut oil
  • salt pepper to taste

I usually sauté the onion, meat  and cabbage in the oil for a few minutes before adding my asparagus. (Asparagus cooks super fast) Then add the asparagus and spice with curry powder and salt to taste. (I never measure, I add some and taste it then add more if needed!) If you are doing eggs, add them very last!

Quick (and pretty) Salad

  • 1 diced bell pepper (any color but green, more flavor!)
  • 1/2 C Finely chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 diced carrot (2 if small)
  • 1 diced cucumber (1/2 if big)
  • Meat of choice (I go to a can of tuna, salmon or chicken thighs…whatever I have around and ready is how I decide…)
  • Balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 C, depending on how big your salad gets)
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil

I just throw all this in a bowl and usually eat it over 2 meals. Making it the night before is awesome because it marinates in that vinegar. Yum! Lemon Juice instead of vinegar is awesome too, as is homemade mayo as the dressing!

5 Ingredient Pizza Pie from Paleomg – this is SO easy and my go-to for potluck type settings!

I really hope this helps some of you! Stay healthy friends.

~Lindsay

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The Cost of Health?

food blogAround this time of year, I get a statement from my bank, detailing my purchases on my debit/credit cards over the course of the year. I always find it interesting to look back and see where my money goes, and this year the longest list is by far for groceries. My first initial reaction was, “wow I spent a ton of money on food!” But as I kept looking over this statement, I realized that the bulk of my money really does go into other things…various household bills/insurance, etc. Most of you know this song and dance.

The more I thought about it and started breaking it down in my head, I realized that it was only around 10% of my income that actually went to food. I am even accounting for purchases that were made outside of this particular account…in my case, this includes the grass-fed beef that we buy in bulk. Ten percent, in the grand scheme of things, seems so small. Especially where our health and nourishment is concerned.
One of the things I hear most when I get on my “healthy eating” soapbox…eating like this (ie: eating organic and buying wild raised meat) is expensive. Yes, it is more expensive when you put it right next to the cost for the conventional produce and meats. But there are some things we can learn here.

  • You are not spending the extra money on the cheap snacks or junk food. These things add up! If you just drink water, you are not buying soda or juice, so that saves money right there.
  • In 1901, about 40% of a household income went to food.
  • In the 1950s, a mere generation ago, it was about 34%.
  • Fast-foward to a more familiar 2002-2003, and it was 13%.
  • The last report I could find was from 2010 where food had dropped down to 9.8%.
  • During this time, what has happened to our health? Lets look at just one chronic condition; type 2 diabetes. These rates have gone up so much that the name had to be changed from Adult-onset Diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Why? Because too many kids were being diagnosed!
  • What really concerns me is I know too many people who have worked and worked, saving for retirement, only to retire and have their entire lives savings wiped out when they have a heart attack/stroke/cancer. Usually far to early in life.

Fun fact: aging happens inevitably, as the cells in our body are copied and reproduced over and over again. Like a copy of a copy of a copy, the quality of these copies simply decreases over time. The rate of these copies is determined by the stress and demands that our lifestyle puts upon our bodies over the years. If our cells are allowed to make copies at a their normal, homeostatic pace, we should get like 110 years out of our bodies before the copies simply become unreadable and we meet a peaceful end to what should theoretically be nice long life on this earth!

So lets talk about my eating habits and where my 10% went. Do I eat organic and wild meats? Yes, I really do, most of the time, on most things. My priorities towards food quality go to the things I eat a lot of. If I eat eggs 5 days a week, I am going to make sure they are good, free-range eggs from chickens that spend time pecking around outside and in these winter months, are not being stuffed with GMO soy and corn. This is important to me. If I am out at a restaurant, do I go hungry if the salad is not organic and the burger is not grass-fed? Of course not! It is the things we eat/do the most that matter the most.

That 10% really seems nominal when I think about the monthly cost of the now-mandatory health insurance bill. I really find it quite disconcerting that my family pays the same in healthcare costs and the family who is on 5 prescriptions or insulin injections. Apart from well-baby checks, no one in my family has been to the doctor in almost two years.

Please note, I do think there is a time and a place for modern medicine. Two years ago, when I did make my last trip to a hospital, it was because I split my shin open and exposed bone/muscle. I was super grateful for the actions of those medical professionals who helped me clean and dress the wound to help prevent infection. No amount of healthy food and stress management would have fixed this acute injury. (I did not include the photo. You’re welcome. 🙂

Notice that I have now used the terms “chronic” and “acute.” This is where we need to differentiate between the use of hospitals/doctors and the use of say chiropractors/exercise/healthy lifestyle choices. If you fall and break an arm, I hope you are not going to try and treat it with a grass-fed steak and salad. If you have a heart attack, I do hope you get to an ER and a cardiologist, not a gynecologist. However, after the heart attack, are you going to take nutrition/lifestyle advice from that same heart doctor? I hope not. This doctor will have had little to no education in food and nutrition for the body. It would be like calling the fire department back to rebuild your house after they put out the fire. They simply do not have the right tools.

Healing from chronic conditions really is like healing your house after say mold/fire/flood. You have to do some rebuilding on your house and that can start with the food you put into it. Food and the nutrients it provides, are what replenishes all of the cells in your body. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and it replaces the outer layer (the epidermis, the part we see) every 35 days. Every 6 weeks you get a new liver, and every 2 months you get a new brain! Every 5-7 years you actually pretty much get an entire new body. We are amazing creatures! If you give your body what it needs to do all of this, you really can heal yourself from the inside out. The ideal situation would be to just keep the proverbial house clean as the years pass. Basic maintenance if you will. When it comes to the only place you truly have to live, it is in your amazing, wonderfully complicated body. Don ‘t you think you deserve to give yourself and your family the best chance possible?

Trick or Treat?

Halloween really feels to me like the kickoff to the holiday season. Let’s get right to the point and call it what it really is: The Holiday Season of All Things Sweet and Tempting. There is good news; you can still be healthy and enjoy some holiday treats. There are many things I have learned and here is an important one: You don’t have to enjoy every single holiday treat that comes your way. Pick and choose the stuff that is worth it! Let’s just focus on the upcoming celebration of Halloween.

candyThe truth is, most manufacturers are only out to make money. Unfortunately, when it comes to food products, this hurts more than just your pocket book. They don’t care about quality or your health; they care about how inexpensively they can make a product and how much they can still sell it to you for. Over the years, most ingredients have changed. More sugar, in many different forms, has been added, cheap fillers have been popping up and the things that are sold and fed to us are becoming less and less like food and more and more like a chemistry experiment. Let’s take a look at one of my old favorites: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Straight off of the Hersheys website:

REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups INGREDIENTS:

MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR; COCOA BUTTER; CHOCOLATE; NONFAT MILK; MILK FAT; LACTOSE; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER); PEANUTS; SUGAR; DEXTROSE; SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE)

reesepbsmaller0504This doesn’t look too bad at first. Honestly, it is not even as bad as I had expected. The one good thing this candy has going is that there is at least no high fructose corn syrup in it. But what happens when we break down what’s in it?

MILK CHOCOLATE: (SUGAR (1st ingredient in milk chocolate? What happened to chocolate?); COCOA BUTTER (getting closer…this is the fat separated from a cocoa bean); CHOCOLATE (here it is! Thank goodness…); NONFAT MILK; (dairy-stripped of the fat-which leaves the sugars and proteins that are harder to digest without the fat) MILK FAT (added back in because the nonfat milk was nasty without it); LACTOSE; (a milk sugar-aka more dairy and yet more sugar.) SOY LECITHIN; (an emulsifier. Soy- one of the most genetically modified crops in existence. Soy Lecithin – literally a waste product made after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process.  It contains the solvents and pesticides from the soy crop and ranges in color from dirty tan to reddish brown. But wait! Let’s not waste it, lets bleach it and put it in food! *note sarcasm) PGPR, EMULSIFIER (Short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate…this is a goopy yellowish liquid made from castor beans, used in place of cocoa butter so your chocolate is creamier. One of the aforementioned fillers that cuts costs and increases profits. I even ran across some sources that said “The FDA deemed PGPR safe for humans as long as you restrict your intake to 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.  Otherwise you’d be open to reversible liver enlargement at higher intakes, as shown in animal studies) PEANUTS (here is some actual food at least); SUGAR (because we all need more of that); DEXTROSE (ok, maybe just a bit more sugar); SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE) (TBHQ (also known as E319) stands for Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, which is an antioxidant which keeps the peanut butter from becoming rancid. A quick Wikipedia search says: Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have evaluated TBHQ and determined that it is safe to consume at the concentration allowed in foods. The FDA sets an upper limit of 0.02% of the oil or fat content in foods. At higher doses, it has some negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumors and damage to DNA. My question: What happens if someone eats a lot of Reeses? Cancer does seem to always be on the rise these days…)

Granted, a lot of this is inconclusive and when you see sentences that include “open to” and “linked with” it means that the verdict really is still out on this stuff. There are many reasons for this…such as how most of these food-like substances are still new; making long-term effects undetermined. You also have to think about how many things there are in this world that are linked to something like cancer. To pinpoint one cause of cancer would be nearly impossible. As far as food is concerned, what we eat is supposed to nourish us; it is supposed to make us feel good. It is supposed to come from nature, which means food is supposed to spoil. It is a living thing that feeds our living bodies, to helps us to live better. All of these preservatives that are added to make food last longer on a shelf? Well, when I start having to break down the alphabet in my food, I become hesitant to put it into my body. There are so many questionable things in this world that are out of our control, but we CAN control what we put into our mouths and the mouths of our children.

Halloween-Pumpkins_2560x1600_1192Now I swear I am not out to ruin Halloween. I have no plans to be the mom who will never let my kid trick-or-treat or eat candy. One night here and there is not a big deal. My personal opinion is that the poison really is in the dose. It is when these things become part of routine, or even a regular reward that the problems begin. I have a strong passion and firm belief that the answer to correcting the healthcare crisis is in our children. In order to change our broken system and help turn the health of America around, we have to start teaching our children the correct path. We have to change the reward system! Am I saying to hand out apples this Halloween? Of course not. Nothing screams “Please TP my house” like an apple on Halloween. I usually spend about $25 on Glo-Stix and Silly Putty and most kids get really excited about this. It’s fun, and it doesn’t break the bank. Stick with just Glo-Stix and you can get away from the dollar store for super cheap. Plus, kids get enough candy, so something different stands out a bit.

I am also not going to say I am never going to eat a Reese’s again. Saying something like “Never Again” is negative and sets you up for failure. Plus, I love them too much! (Especially at Easter when they have the eggs with like, double the peanut butter…OMG…) However, if I do decided to eat a peanut butter cup, I am probably going to at least consider one that is organic. (Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups perhaps?) Or better yet, make it myself, with real food and almond butter. The last point I want to stress on this matter is that if you DO decide to have a treat, ENJOY it and MOVE ON! (Please see recent blog post titled On “Cheating” for more on this topic.)

real foodTo conclude here today, I want to step away from the treat topic and focus for a minute on the children. I mentioned above how I think we need to change the reward system. This is something I strongly believe in and want to elaborate on. Just getting kids to eat their vegetables is not enough anymore. We live in a generation where for the first time in history parents have a longer life expectancy than their children. It does not have to be this way, and we have the power to change it!

Birthday parties today don’t just mean cake. The last kids birthday party I went to included cake, ice cream, bowls of several different candies and then a goodie bag full of candy that they sent home with the guests. Sugar, topped with sugar and then some more to take home for later?!? And we wonder why kids have trouble focusing in school… I promise, if you put a birthday cake on a table and surround it with fruit and veggie trays, maybe some snack sized meatballs or a meatza, (meat pizza = best invention ever) NO ONE will miss the bowl of M&Ms or the goodie bag of candy. Why? Real food tastes good! Plus most kids have more fun with balloons and playing together anyways.

So what can we as parents do to encourage healthy eating in our children? Here are some of my own ideas and things I plan to do as my little girl grows up:

  1. Help children learn where their food comes from, who grows it, and why it’s vegetable gardenimportant to share meals with friends and family. This leads right into growing your own food. I am writing this from the Midwest and suspect many of my readers are from the same area. The soil here is awesome. I barely have to pay attention to my garden.
  2. Create your own reward system. I plan to treat Charlie to things she enjoys doing. Good grades may mean a day trip to a water park or a mani/pedi. Kids don’t need a treat, they need time with you. Create an experience with them!
  3. Keep yourself educated. There are TONS of books/podcasts/blogs out there with GREAT information and thanks to the World Wide Web, it is available with a few quick key strokes.
  4. Play games. More and more computer and video games are incorporating food, like DooF (the word ‘food’ backwards), a combination of computer games, videos, and a website where kids can read and learn about food-related topics. DooF takes a comprehensive approach to food, exploring not only the food itself, but also the culture, science, and history behind it. Kids can play “Planet DooF,” geared toward teaching children the origin of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.
  5. Encourage kids to try something new, all of the time. If they don’t like something one week, try again. They are still growing, their taste buds are changing every day! Preparing it differently helps too. Plain steamed cauliflower doesn’t even smell good. If you steam it with some garlic, throw it in a food processor with some butter and salt to make a mash…then you have a whole different thing going on.
  6. Include kids in meal planning. I bet if a child picks out a pretty red bell pepper at the store, they will be more inclined to eat it when they get home. Create shopping lists together, take trips to the grocery store and the farmer’s market…this will help them understand the process of where food comes from and what goes into getting a meal together.
  7. Establish family meal times. This is something I REALLY want to get better at in my own home. I had some wonderful memories of everyone taking their place at the table when I was growing up. My mom used to make us share one good thing about our day over dinner. I was always annoyed about it at the time and now I miss it!

This is just a start…just the opinions of one person. The possibilities are endless! As always, I hope this helps. And if you have hung with me this far, I hope that means you foundIMG_3827 something that you can try for you and your family. I have a strong passion for nutrition and nothing but a desire to give this face —->  the best possible start to her life!

On “cheating”

Buddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.I ate a cookie yesterday. A big one. I ate the whole thing. In one sitting.

I was grocery shopping and when I passed the amazing thumbprint cookies in the bakery at the Co-op and I decided I wanted a treat. It was delicious and, for the most part, worth every bite. I felt a little sluggish for the rest of the day, a typical reaction for me if I eat too much sugar. I did manage to stick to my gluten-free rule, mostly because wheat really upsets my stomach. Here is what I didn’t do: Beat myself up about falling off some proverbial wagon. Binge for the rest of the day. Run more, workout more or do anything extra to “make up for the calories.” I didn’t decide it was all over and give up on other healthy choices just because I “cheated”.

I hate that term, especially when applied to food. Cheat. Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:

: to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something

: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule

: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get

None of these definitions even sound good, I almost feel guilty just reading them. Guilt really just means that you innately know that whatever you are doing is wrong. In the context of food: food is fuel for our body, food should bring us energy and life, it should make us feel good after we eat it! And when the opportunity for a treat presents itself, you should be able to indulge if you want, then move on. Make the conscious decision to just enjoy a treat, versus thinking of it as a cheat. It really does kind of come down to a perspective shift. I have personally set some of my own rules. Most of the time, when I do have a treat, I prefer it to be made from real, whole-food ingredients; and often try to make it myself. These rules are the reason that a sheet cake from, say Wal-Mart, does not even appeal to me. (On the flip side, if I am at a wedding and grandma made the cake from her secret double chocolate recipe…well then I may decide I need some cake!)

I recently read Jason Seib’s book, The Paleo Coach. He makes a lot of good points in there and there were a couple on this topic that stood out to me. The first went something along these lines (with my own two-sense thrown in):

You take a bath every day, you eat every day. What you eat every day is simply called your diet. Now say you don’t shower for a day. Are you “cheating”? Do you decide that since you didn’t shower today that you are just not going to shower at all anymore? That maybe since you missed your shower on Wednesday then to heck with it this week,  “I’ll just start over again on Monday.”

10612632_557212754406163_2693953602703583206_nThe second thing he talked about was that how out of all 5 senses, taste was the only one that we (often knowingly) sacrifice our health for. If someone told you that you could never see, smell or touch a rose again because it would encourage the growth of cancer cells…I bet you would not have a hard time steering clear of the offending flower.

When you start to think about certain foods from this different perspective, it puts a whole new spin on “everything in moderation.” (Another cliche I am not fond of…) It hopefully also make you think about the addictive properties of certain foods. Think about what you would call a comfort food…I had a hell of a time letting go of macaroni and cheese, and it horrified me to think I may never eat cheesecake again. But I bet you would have a hard time finding someone who called steak or brussels sprouts their comfort food…

We all have to honor where we are at in our own journey. For many of us, this is what moving towards health is – a journey. Hopefully one that is leading you towards a more fulfilled life worth with living, versus a life you are just surviving. All I can do is offer my opinions and thoughts, and share with you the tricks I have learned along my own journey. So here I will offer you my personal rules/tips for treats or indulgences!

  • First, set rules for yourself, then honor them! It helps, and will help you say “no” to the crap-filled donuts in the office.
  • Find a plan that works for you. I like to let treats come to me. I used to try to plan for a Sunday Funday, but would often find myself going for that extra drink on Friday night or making some paleo pancakes on Saturday morning. It became easier to just kind of work with how I felt.
  • Get the treats out of your regular routine! You don’t “deserve a treat” at the end of every day because you were “really gnon-gmo-foodsood all day.” You deserve the healthiest body possible and that means filling with with the healthy stuff!
  • Change your reward system. Don’t “reward” yourself or your children with junk food that ultimately damages your health and their growing bodies. I plan to have little toys for Charlie and hopefully she will enjoy a good pedicure as much as I do!
  • Make it yourself or make sure it is made from REAL FOOD! Red dye #40, carageenan, maltodextrin, MSG, partially hydrogenated ANYTHING, canola oil and much much more are all things that have no place in the human body. Read your labels! (Here is a handy link for some GMO Free brands!)

I really hope that this helps even just one person! Please note that the things I have marked off in “parenthesis” are all things I have said to myself at one point or another and are things I have had to work really hard to stop saying/thinking. They are not good, they can be downright destructive and create a perspective set for failure. It now helps me to think of them in an extremely sarcastic tone, so those of you who know me should re-read this with my voice in your head… 🙂

~Until next time dear readers! Namaste

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I have recently had the pleasure of getting to spend a week with my 9 year old niece. Emma was so awesome to have around! She spent most of the time toting Charlie around, dressing her and playing with her. Her little feet running through the house, the occasional “crop dusting” followed by hysterical laughter, the extra hugs and of course a few complaints really added a wonderful element to our home. It was a sad day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece at the end of her visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. This is actually something I often think about. It really is unfair for families to be so far apart. Unfair and unnatural as far as the history of our species goes.

I can narrow this feeling down to the love/hate relationship I have with technology and its various forms. On one hand I am grateful that we FaceTime skypehave the ability to travel to and stay in touch with our loved ones from afar; we even get the visual aspect with things like Skype and FaceTime. On the other hand I also feel that it is technology that has driven us not just further apart, but further indoors as well. We sit under artificial light, plastered in front of some various screen that omits more artificial light (and Lord only knows how harmful the EMF’s really are) completely changing the way we  socialize as animals. Emma knows this innately. It was evident in her response when I attempted to cheer her up saying, “we can talk and FaceTime any time you want.” Her reply? “It’s not the same!”

And it isn’t. Yet so many of us trade real life face time, actual social interaction and human connection, for time in front of a screen. Social networking is not socialization folks and we are designed to NEED the latter! If you feel like something is missing in your life, maybe it’s time to put the phone down, turn off the TV and get your butt out the door for some time with family, friends and heaven forbid, some sunshine.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of technology. I just think it needs to be treated with some caution and respect. Take this blog for instance. I love that I can write my thoughts and share them with so many of you with just a few clicks. I love helping people even if it is just through introducing some new ideas. If it weren’t for technology I would not have had access to the many articles, blogs, books and podcasts which have in turn, helped me. While I really love the action of reading a book (the actual hard copy where pages have to be turned) I also appreciate how accessible things like Nooks and Kindles make books. My husband is a second grade teacher and I once heard him say, in regards to having eReaders in the classroom, that it is “such a great way to get as many books as possible into the hands of our children.” I could not have said this better.

But back to caution and respect. I truly think we need to make a point to disconnect. Almost everyone I know runs around all day with a cell phone in their pocket, a tablet in their backpack and a computer at work and at home while sitting in a building or a home with WiFi, televisions and microwaves. Myself included. (Although I apply some caution here and try to keep the direct contact with my body limited. More on this in a moment.) Technology has grown so much so FAST that it nearly impossible to tell the long term effects of being surrounded by it all day. EMF’s are real, and while I am no expert, everything I have read and heard about them lead to a few key points:

  • They are everywhere (natural and manmade).
  • They affect our bodies in different ways.
  • We do not know if they affect us in a bad or a good way.

This is a lot of unknowns. I am not comfortable with unknowns. So what do we do? Let me hear it folks, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. And by respecting respecttechnology, I just mean take the time to understand it. Put it in it’s proper place and time. Exercise caution around something that really is powerful and can have a powerful affect on our lives. For the readers who have stuck with me this far, I am going to assume you are intrigued. So I will offer you my tips for disconnecting!

  • Stay informed and educate yourself! Don’t take my word for it, utilize your technology and look into it yourself.
  • Get your phone out of your pocket. Seriously. Just keep your stuff as far away from your physical body as possible.
  • Get a wired headset (bluetooth does NOT count) or use speaker phone. I love my Apple headphones.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone in your room. At the very least, don’t put it right by your head. Ideally, give yourself one room that is free of technology. The bedroom is perfect, you don’t need it while you are sleeping and the artificial light messes with your sleep anyways. That text message and Facebook notification will still be there in the morning, I promise.
  • Turn off all technology an hour or so before bed. Find some other way to wind down! Remember books? Take a hot back, read to your kids, sit outside and watch the sun set if the weather allows…(Now I know that this can be hard, and some days not possible, especially if it is part of your job. Consider f.lux for your computer and orange glasses to cut back on the blue light that affects your sleep. Yes I am this big of a dork.)
  • Turn off your WiFi at night. You don’t need this while you are sleeping either.
  • Spend time with PEOPLE. In the flesh. Where you can touch them, see them and hear their voice all at the same time. I read something somewhere about a party where people had to leave their cellphones at the door. What a great idea! I can remember being with a large group of my friends and still pulling my phone out to check it at regular intervals. There was hardly anyone left to text me, but I was still checking. In hindsight this just seems crazy.

Thanks for sticking with me readers! As always, I welcome questions and comments. I do enjoy a good discussion!