Sunday, April 29, 2007


I bought a wheatgrass kit about three months ago. I was so excited to grow my own grass and juice it for my morning smoothie. I imagined zen like thin planters of perfectly grown grass strategically hung in planters on a blank wall or even lined up down the center of my table. When I received the kit I realized that growing my wheatgrass was not going to be pretty.

I also realized that growing my own wheatgrass was going to take a bit of effort and if you have read my other posts you realize that my time has been extremely limited as a single mom with a toddler, four cats, and a full time job.

I opened the kit around Valentines day and found five or so large (probably 3 ft long by 1 1/2 ft wide) trays with holes in the bottom (hello dirt!). The kit also contained a few bags of compost and fertilizer and a number of bags of wheatgrass seeds. The seeds needed to be rinsed and soaked. Yes I know this isn't rocket science but the rinsing and soaking instructions were enough for me to put the entire kit in my pantry closet until today. Now let me explain why I suddenly have a bit of time on my hands to grow my own wheatgrass.

In a bizarre series of events, I lost my job a few weeks ago. I had worked my ass off for this guy, working through my lunches and never taking a personal call, never sending one personal email, and not even socializing with anyone in the office. I was really too busy (and the boss frowned openly on socialization at the office). My boss was a slave driver who gave me the work of three people and expected me to stay until it was done. As a single mom, I did not have the luxury of staying late unless my 22 month old daughter could learn to drive herself home, fix herself dinner and a bath, and hop into bed.

I asked my little Napoleonic boss if he would ever consider an alternate work schedule such as six days a week because day care was not working out for my daughter. That was the Thursday before Easter. On Monday morning Little Napoleon called me up and reamed me a new one for being unproductive and lazy and a bunch of other ridiculous accusations that flew in the face of all of my excellent reviews and prior praise. I assumed he was just venting but I guess I am getting to old and cranky to put up with that crap so the next day I let him know I still wasn't happy about his tirade (after he kept telling me how beautiful my work is). He sent me home (presumably on a time out) and when I spoke with him a few days later he said I should be working in a different environment and I no longer had a job.

But I digress. I am not going to dwell on the absurdity of what happened or how I am hoping karma sends Little Napoleon to his next life as a tapeworm. I am also not going to ponder what kind of a person puts a hardworking, never late, enthusiastic domestic violence survivor, single mother on the street with no severance and no warning.

I should also mention that I am really trying to make lemonade. I didnt even realize how much I missed quality time with my daughter and consequently we are really making up for lost time with long walks, leisurely playtime, and snuggles, snuggles, and more snuggles. That should explain why I am finally getting around to growing my own wheatgrass.

Today was a spectacular day. The weather was beautiful and my daughter was up from her nap cruising the backyard with the cats. There was a beautiful breeze and I was basking with my coffee and I figured I had put off the wheatgrass kit long enough. I dragged it out and although it wasn't quite as intimidating as I first thought (with the stress cleared out of my mind) it still was messy.

I am relieved that I waited till spring because I filled the trays outside and they still made a huge mess of my counters when I brought them in. Apparently the first few days in the wheatgrass cycle should be in the shade so I cant keep them outdoors unfortunately. Even if the new grass could handle the sun I am not sure that the trays can handle the wind because as I was filling the tray it took off across the lawn.

I really wasn't sure how to rinse the seeds. I guess in a colander? I held my hand over the top of the glass and let the water run out along with a few too many seeds. I am afraid I am going to have wheatgrass growing out of my disposal in seven days. I am going to have to figure out a better rinsing method for the next round.

I also did not have a large enough glass container to soak the two cups of seeds so I split them up between a vase and a rocks glass. I do have a few plastic containers but I am so leery of the toxins in plastic and I am trying so hard to go organic that it seems hypocritical and quite mad actually to soak wheatgrass seeds in a container that could leech toxic chemicals into my blood cleansing super drink.

So that's it for today. The planter is ready and the seeds are soaking. I am going to sprinkle them across the tray first thing in the morning and cover them with paper towels and spray them with a water bottle until muddy water comes out the holes. I think the instructions said to do this over the sink. I repeat, this isn't a clean endeavor. My digital camera seems to be on the fritz but I think I can take a flash free photo in the morning to document what the "kit" looks like across my kitchen counter and how the grass is progressing.

Peace out.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Attachment Parenting 101

I thought I would post about attachment parenting. It is a way of life more than a step to take to lead a healthy life but I have chosen the lifestyle for myself and my daughter and I believe it is a better way physically and emotionally.

What is attachment parenting?
It is a method of parenting that involves close if not constant contact for the first year or so of life and then evolves based on the parents and child's individual situation and needs. This means natural pregnancy, natural childbirth, co-sleeping instead of using cribs, breastfeeding instead of bottles, slings or carriers instead of strollers, elimination communication instead of diapers, genital integrity, and many attached parents also choose to avoid vaccinations and other questionable medical practices.

Dr. Sears coined the phrase attachment parenting and if you are interested in learning more about the specifics of how to practice attachment parenting you probably should visit his site first for a general how-to.

In my experience attachment parenting really makes sense if you think logically and trust your instincts. I like to assume that babies instinctively know what they need. That is why they scream and yell when they are hungry or wet. It is a primitive and effective means of getting their needs met.

So why are we taught to ignore them when they scream from their crib for human contact? Parents get so upset when their babies can only be rocked to sleep. Is this rocket science people? Rock your baby to sleep! Isn't life short? Don't children grow up so fast? Why on earth would I avoid holding my baby if that is what she wants?

Granted some times you need to get things done. That is where the slings come in. As a single mother I have to say that the one thing I could not do without is my sling. I use a New Native sling and after almost two years it is still going strong. When my daughter was young I also used a Baby Bjorn but if I am lucky enough to have another baby I will stick to slings and wraps. The Bjorn was nice but apparently it is damaging for an infants spine to be hung by their crotch and of course it is too hard on your shoulders after only a couple of months. My daughter loved the New Native, it freed up my hands, and was easy on my back. My daughter is 23 months old and still rides happily in the sling. Please go to Dr. Sears site for great information on the benefits of baby wearing.

Then there is breastfeeding. I think that is the cornerstone of attachment parenting. I am just so incredibly grateful that I am still breastfeeding to this day. It gives me an excuse to hold my daughter at least a few times a day and as I mentioned already, I savor her in my arms. I know someday she will be 12 or so and I will get the occasional hug but no more snuggles in my lap. I never want to look back on my life and wish I would have held her more.

is also bonding. Make no mistake about it. I think we strengthen our connection each and every time we connect. My daughter is secure and confident not to mention still getting the best nutrition she can possibly get. I do understand that some women absolutely cannot breastfeed. Sometimes it truly doesn't work and I am so sorry for them. I am honestly grateful that it worked out for me because it could have easily gone the other way and I would have stopped after six weeks or so and thought it was normal.

Suffice it to say however that 99% of women can breastfeed successfully. In some European countries like Norway the initial breastfeeding rate is indeed that high. I truly doubt Norwegians have different nipples than Americans. I am not dissing women that bottle feed but I think that many more women would choose to breastfeed if they had all the facts. Even if they had a couple of the facts. Please go to,,,, or before you make the choice to bottle feed. Take a few minutes to get some facts and then do your best.

Breastfeeding, as the cornerstone of attachment parenting makes the decision to co-sleep a no brainer. You can roll over and feed your newborn without sleepy trips to the refrigerator to make a bottle......It made all the difference in the world for my sleep. Yes it is perfectly safe. Visit for safety precautions. It is actually substantially safer than crib sleeping but that is another post. In addition to being safer and more convenient, it is much more rewarding and cozy than crib sleeping. Am I talking about snuggling with my girl again?? Carpe diem people. Carpe diem.

Breastfeeding and babywearing also go hand in hand because if you are nursing then wearing your baby close to your breast makes sense. Again the sling is much better for this than the Bjorn and affords privacy so you can breastfeed as you walk through the grocery store and not a soul will know.

Breastfeeding and baby wearing also go hand in hand with elimination communication. EC is about recognizing and responding to your babies signals for elimination rather than letting them soil themselves. The benefits are is obviously cleaner, substantially cheaper, and of course saves the environment a ton of hazardous waste filled landfill fillers. It is amazingly easy. I read about it online when my daughter was about a month old and could not believe it. I thought it was a joke. The basic jist is to hold your newborn over a bowl or sink and make a psssss sound and they will pee. Its insane but it works. Now think about it. Is it really that insane? What do natives in other countries do? Disposable diapers are a relatively new invention. Have babies always sat in their own filth or is there a better way?

I have to admit that I did EC part time which many parents do. I still use diapers but only as a backup. My daughter has always known what to do on the potty. She used the Baby Bjorn little potty and could sit up at a few months old (long before she could sit up on her own) so she loved being able to sit up and play (and not in a dirty diaper). If I get the opportunity to do it again I will go totally diaper free now that I know how easy it is and how wonderful.

Attachment parenting also usually involves natural childbirth which unfortunately I did not have. In fact had a rather horrific medically induced birth that went awry and I am still suffering the consequences. Again....if I am fortunate enough to do it over I will have my child at home, alone, without the interference of people who do not have my or my child's best interest at heart.

I did and do practice infant massage and infant sign language (even though my daughter can no longer qualify as an infant). She is now asking for her own massages and signing has been such a wonderful gift of communication for all of us.

Attachment parenting is really about respect. Respecting your child. Respecting who he or she is and their needs and their opinions. Even a one day old baby deserves respect, kindness, and consideration. I think detached parents have to detach emotionally to a certain extent just to be able to ignore their child's pleas for contact. I am so fortunate that I found a better way in time.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Smoothie a Day

I have been drinking a smoothie every morning for a couple of months now. The equipment I use every day is a smoothie machine, cutting board & knife, & my coffee grinder. I try to do everything the night before so I can just add some wet ingredients and blend when I get up in the morning.

I am fortunate enough to live near a Gordons Food Service where I buy five pound bags of frozen mixed berries. I also sometimes get frozen melon balls or tropical fruit. It is nice to change the recipe and it also adds some nutritional variety. If you dont live near a Gordons, I am sure you can get the same thing at Sams Club or Costco.

The other absolute staple for me is Vitamineral Green. I will be posting on how wonderful this stuff is at some point. It is absolutely wonderful. I feel great when I have some daily for just a month. It improves my digestion, flattens my stomach, and gives me more energy. It has minerals, vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, algaes, seaweeds, and grasses. It is just a wonderful all in one product. It is not cheap. A bottle runs roughly $50 a month if I take it every day but it is a complete food product, not just a supplement so if I include it as part of my food budget and I remove the need for additional supplements then it isnt quite so expensive.

I have everything ready in a cabinet by the refrigerator and the smoothie machine. I fill the smoothie maker about 1/2 way with frozen berries or melons. If I have a pineapple or a mango I will cube that and use it instead.

I usually add 1/2 to one whole banana and sometimes fresh berries or a peeled orange or fresh kiwi slices or mango. I always have a bowl of fresh fruit and I find it so much easier to eat it in smoothie form. My fruit used to always go bad before I started smoothie-ing. Now it never does.

I add a tablespoon or two of the Vitamineral Green and fresh ginger to the frozen berries the night before and set the container in the refrigerator. In the morning I add a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil, two raw cage free organic eggs, Colloidal Minerals, and some freshly ground flaxseeds.

I also bought some 20 oz clear hard plastic cups with lids and straws at Gordons. It might not be the most environmental option but I dont have time to drink the smoothie before work and if I had to wash a large crusty glass when I got home at night then I would not drink the smoothie at all. As the subtitle of the blog indicates, I am trying to merge modern living (ie:day job) with a healthy, organic lifestyle.

I know I am not adding everything that I can (or should) to my smoothie but for now it is an easy routine that fills me up, gives me energy, and most importantly gives me the nutrients that I would not be getting from a cup of coffee.

In closing I should mention that the Vitamineral Green turns the whole concoction dark green. If you saw The Thomas Crown Affair, Renee Russo drank something similar every morning. I guess it is cool in the movies but in real life it really throws people. I have people making the worst comments to me. It is amusing to me. I can not imagine insulting someone for eating french fries..." OH GOD! HOW CAN YOU EAT THAT???? YUCK FRIES! AAAAAHHH.. EWWWWW! THAT IS DISGUSTING!!!" I might think it, but I wont say it. Needless to say, I should give fair warning that if you are brave enough to take this smoothie out of the house with you, then you should be prepared for the inevitable verbal attacks.

As always I welcome suggestions and comments! You can find all the smoothie ingredients in your local produce department, local health food store, or at A Much Better Store, my natural family internet store.

Sheryl Lyon

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Great Reasons to Drink a Smoothie

Do you want to eat healthier but do not know where to start? Are you trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet but are finding it difficult to eat five servings or more a day? What about all the supplements and antioxidants you read about? How do you keep it all straight? Who has time to sort through the data much less prepare and eat everything you should?

The solution may lie in a smoothie! Smoothies are fruit based concoctions usually blended with milk or yogurt and an unlimited selection of "add-ons" and blended until smooth. Smoothies are ultra-fast, convenient, rejuvenating, energizing meal replacements. If you choose your ingredients carefully, your smoothie can relieve fatigue and constipation, balance your blood sugar, establish proper PH levels in your colon, and improve mental sharpness.

The real beauty of smoothies lies in their versatility. You can incorporate as many of the "shoulds" into your smoothie as you like. You "should" take more Vitamin C. You "should" take cod liver oil every day. You "should" introduce seaweeds and algaes into your diet. The "shoulds" are varied and numerous. A smoothie is a fabulous solution because it is much easier to pour a teaspoon of cod liver oil into your pineapple banana smoothie than to drink it solo. The same holds true for many of the somewhat unpalatable ingredient choices.

Smoothies are a great chance for you to exercise your personal taste and creativity. You can start with a bag of frozen berries or hit the produce department for fresh fruit that you enjoy. Any juicy fruit is a great choice for a smoothie. Be creative and avoid ingredients that you do not care for.

Any yogurt,milk, or kefir will do the trick but some experts recommend avoiding pasteurization and low fat dairy products for health reasons so if you are trying to switch to a raw diet you can use raw milk or make your own raw yogurt to use in the smoothie. If you are a vegan or want to avoid dairy altogether then use soy milk, rice milk, firm tofu chunks, or simply forgo the dairy aspect of your smoothie altogether. Many people like to use organic, raw, cage free eggs in their smoothie for a fabulous source of protein.

Grasses have tremendous nutritional and cleansing properties. You can grow your own wheatgrass and juice it fresh into your smoothie or you can purchase grass powder superfoods such as Vitamineral Green which is high in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, chlorophyll, probiotics, and enzymes.

Some great additions to your smoothies can include algaes such as ultra cleansing chlorella and spirulina with 96 trace minerals. Another ingredient that is easiest eaten in a smoothie is freshly ground flax seed which will provide you with valuable plant based Omega 3 oils as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Keep a coffee grinder next to your smoothie machine to make sure the flax seed is added to your smoothie immediately after grinding to prevent oxidation.

Some other ingredients you can try are ginseng, raw cacao, aloe vera, vegetable powders, coconut oil, ground nuts such as almonds or walnuts and medicinal herbs such as cinnamon.

You can purchase plastic take out cups with lids and straws and leave the house every morning with a few of your fruit servings out of the way in addition to meeting or exceeding many of your other nutritional requirements. Smoothies are a fun, delicious, nutritious way to maximize your health in a creative way that is limited only by your imagination.

You can find all the smoothie products you need including smoothie machines, coffee grinders, and hard to find ingredients at A Much Better Store under the Blog department.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Organic Cat Food and the Recall

I was planning on eventually switching my cat's food to something organic or natural during Stage 11 of the list but I decided to make the switch earlier in light of the recent pet food recall scandal. I have been feeding my cats grocery store cat food, primarily Cat Chow for the last ten or so years. I began to consider feeding them something healthier during my own journey of discovery to all things natural.

I am not going to pretend to know everything there is to know about the proper or even natural way to feed pets but it does stand to reason that cats in the wild do not eat anything even remotely similar to Cat Chow. My cats are strictly indoor and therefore do not have the luxury of getting a bit of natural food through their own hunting. Being an animal lover I am relieved that they are not out there murdering birds and rabbits but the unfortunate fact remains, they are carnivores and as the hand that feeds them I am not doing a very good job.

Now that I reflect back on my years of Cat Chow, I am afraid I was feeding them the equivalent of Doritos every day for the last decade. They had hairballs, constipation, and a terrible shedding problem. I blamed all of the above on age, rather than diet. I have noticed that some of my friend's cats that eat Iams had much healthier coats and didnt shed nearly as much as mine.

I switched to Iams a couple of months ago but I have read that Iams isnt much better and still doesnt approximate the diet that the cats would get in the wild. Going back to common sense I realize that cats in the wild would not eat grains or fillers at all. They would pretty much eat raw, Atkins type of diets.

I found two types of dry cat food which I am trying out for now and I will report back on how the cats seem to like them. The first is called Raw Instinct. Here is a Nature Varieties own description of the food.

"Nature's Variety Dry Kibble Diets provide biologically appropriate nutrition that can facilitate health, optimum body weight, and longer pet life. Dry kibble diets containing more high quality meat protein and fewer carbohydrates can aid in reducing the incidence of stomach bloat, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), some urinary tract crystals, allergies, and other diseases. This nutritionally dense kibble formula is appropriate for all life stages based on high meat protein content and whole grains. "

This food has received 5 stars by Amazon reviewers. In the week that I have been feeding it to them, their coats are much shinier and I dont notice much shedding at all. They seem to enjoy the flavor. They still prefer their wet food so there is a little competition for flavors but so far it seems to have a majority vote.

I also purchased TimberWolf Organics Serengeti Herbal Feline Formula Cat Food . There are no stars on Amazon for this product and the description is pretty sparse. "A special carnivore specific felid diet that promotes low urinary pH and assists in the removal of hair balls." Naturally that doesnt mean anything so I am here to test it for you.

I bought a four pound bag of each and I have four cats so they wont last long. I am going to use up the Raw Instincts first and then the Timberwolf and I will report back.

You can find both products at my store or you can purchase them on Amazon by clicking the links in this post. Please feel free to comment here if you have any experience with these foods whether positive or negative as I am learning here too.

Thanks for visiting & see you soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Zen Living in a Toxic World

My daughter went with my parents to a family reunion today. I chose not to go. Why? Because I am antisocial? Not really.

I am so tired of the fight to be healthy and eat healthy. It seems that my daughter and I are not just dancing to a different drummer but are dancing to a monkey and an accordion.

I know this family reunion will consist of cakes, cookies, ice cream, and M&Ms. Of course the main course will be something like roast beef and who knows what else. Do we eat any of that? No. Nothing.

I would have to bring my own food if we want to eat. Normally I just sit there and watch other people eat while they eye me up and down like I am some kind of weirdo outsider. I mean seriously, who doesn't eat meat, dairy, & desserts in the Midwest?

Please do not get me wrong. My extended family is very nice. I am sure they feel they are serving the finest cuisine. I just do not eat it. I go to great lengths to only feed myself and my daughter items that originated from the ground (for the most part).

Its truly like pushing a boulder uphill. I am tired of it. So I decided not to attend. I have the pressures at work of avoiding cake and ice cream every time someone has a birthday. Again, they look at me like I am not a team player if I do not show up for the "party" or if I sneak out of the room when they start passing out the garbage.

I truly believe that the standard American diet is total garbage. Its poison. It is no more a "treat" than if they passed out a cigarette or some heroin for every birthday party.

Today I gave up a little bit. I have never been away from my daughter other than to go to work since the day she was born but today I do not even care. I just do not want to fight today quite frankly I am not happy about it but what can I do? I am going to let my parents shovel poison into my daughters mouth all day....she will miss her nap....and I don't have to deal with it until she gets home.

Yes, yes there is a point to all of this rambling. I get depressed. I get sick of fighting. I think that sometimes it would be so much easier to go with the flow and just eat McNuggets or some other toxic garbage and let my daughter drink soda and just smile and laugh and forget the battle.

Does it matter if we die at 60 or 90? Does our quality of life matter? Yes it does. So then I get angry. Its really quite stressful. I don't have one single solitary friend in the town where I live because I have absolutely nothing in common with anyone here (that I can find) so I am going this battle alone. It is a daily battle and I have no support whatsoever.

Again...whats my point? My point is that I have to find a balance so I can smile and laugh and still try to dance to my monkey with the accordion. I have to get to the point where I just don't care what other people think, while simultaneously refusing to judge others for their decisions. I have to resign myself to hunting and gathering for organic fresh produce just like caveman days. I might even have to grow my own. In resigning myself to this way of life hopefully I can lose the stress and happily announce to the world that "this is the way we live and if you don't like it, you can go..(fill in whatever you like here).

Peace out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Day Care Conundrum

Today was my daughters first day of day care. Any one that has visited my site or read anything about me knows that I am a firm believer in attachment parenting. I think babies belong with their relatives, especially when they are young.

Is that realistic in today's world? No, of course not. That as we know is the theme of this blog. It doesn't make it any less depressing for me however. My daughter is 22 months old and spent almost 24 hours a day with me for the first 18 months of her life.

The last couple of months she has spent with grandpa and grandma after I went back to work full time. We both made that adjustment better than expected although she is still not sleeping during the day without me. (what kind of toddler cant take naps)

Needless to say, it has been relatively painless until today. Now I have more of the guilt that working mothers (and fathers?) are supposed to feel. My poor baby was stuck with strangers for five hours which is a pretty big chunk of time for a two year old.

She clung to her little stuffed kitty the entire time. According to the day care providers she was crying most of the day. She was sobbing all by herself in a room when I walked up. Nice. It totally breaks my heart.

To add insult to injury it is apparently going to take a lightning bolt to get these people to give her the food I send along. They think their food is good enough (and for them I am sure it is) and they don't want the other kids to want my daughters food. They feed these kids everything I am opposed to. Milk and cookies. Green jello with marshmallows. Is it too much to ask to feed them something that grew out of the ground? Unless you can show me a cracker tree I would rather not feed that to my daughter for a zillion reasons.

They wont allow me to send along a fruit and a vegetable. That is apparently an unacceptable snack by government standards. You have just got to be kidding me. And I think pasteurized, homogenized cows milk is nothing short of poison and in order to keep it away from my daughter I have to sign forms stating that she is allergic to it.

In addition, the facility is blatantly Christian. Fun. Its not that I am opposed to teaching my baby about religion.......Different people believe in different things just like different people speak different languages...nothing better or worse about one or the other kind of thing. But I am adamantly opposed to teaching her that one religion is the right one.

So I have to teach her that the food they feed her is wrong, the songs they sing are wrong, and the way they believe is wrong?? All that on top of the fact that she feels abandoned and alone except for her stuffed kitty.

Do I have a choice? Believe it or not it is a large, clean facility with a ton of happy kids and it is an excellent learning environment with wooden toys, small animals, pretend toys, and much more. They do not allow violent or sexist toys, they have daily outdoor time, and they do not exercise corporal punishment of any kind whatsoever. It is actually a wonderful facility by day care standards adequately staffed with what appear to be kind and concerned ladies.

So no, I actually do not have a choice with regard to a different facility because the other ones pale in comparison. Do I have a choice about day care at all? Not really. I cant afford a nanny and even if I could I don't think it would be fair to deprive my only child of the playmates she craves.

My only choice is to work part time or not at all. Like the title of the blog says, its the day care conundrum. Choose to be a poor stay at home mom or make a reasonable living and pay strangers to raise your child. What a great direction for my family's life to be taking.

Peace out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

On being naughty

One of the first items I crossed of The List was getting a good nights sleep. This was incredibly difficult because I have always been a night owl. I have found the evening hours to be my most productive time and I have always enjoyed the night whether out partying in South Beach, working on my site, or just watching CSI.

I was forced to become even more of a night owl after the birth of my daughter. I found that even though I was not working a "traditional day job" and I was home all day, I was getting absolulely nothing done. In retrospect maybe I did not manage my time with my newborn too well and maybe I could have done some things differently to buy some more time but at the time it was easiest to wait until she was asleep to get anything done. I would then stay up until 2am and wake up with her at 6 or 7 and be a zombie all day long.

I always felt like total crap but on the bright side I really managed to accomplish an awful lot in those wee hours. I totally designed and built my website from scratch (with no prior web design knowlege). I also managed to eke out a living doing a bit of freelance work and selling products on ebay.

Fast forward to today and I am working a "traditional job". I probably have about the same amount of free time since watching a baby or toddler is a full time job. I cant spend my days in a trance however since I am doing a bit more "brain work" than keeping a toddler from shoving a fork in a light socket.

That realization combined with the fact that getting a good nights sleep doesnt cost anything out of pocket are the reasons that I knocked that off the list in short order. Like I mentioned, it was very very difficult at first to hit the lights at 10pm. It seemed almost ridiculous. In fact my whole life I have avoided a normal bedtime because I felt like I was getting away with something or being naughty. Even as a young girl I would stay up with a tiny light by my bed reading books until 1 or 2 and believe that I really pulled one over on my parents.

As an adult I have done enough reading to know the value of a good nights sleep. I was even further convinced upon exploring Dr. Mercola's website and reading all of his arguments as well as his helpful tips. Lastly while writing an article about sleep and fertility for my site I discovered that poor sleep habits will actually affect a womans fertility and her cycles. I am not planning on getting pregnant immediately but if everything works out according to my plan I would like to try by the end of 2007 so it made sense to me to get my cycle in sync sooner rather than later.

So a couple of months ago, despite realizing that I couldnt be naughty any more and stay up late I finally started turning in at 10pm. Within a week getting 8 hours of sleep became non-negotiable to me. I felt so good. I continue to feel so good. Its just wonderful. It is in my head more than anything. Now I know what I used to blame on a hangover was actually lack of sleep. I had been suffering needlessly for about 20 years or so. Granted I had an awful lot of fun and I accomplished an awful lot but now I wonder at what cost?

The interesting thing for me is my own psychology. Now I actually feel "naughty" in a guilty pleasure kind of way when I turn in at 10. I have such an incredibly huge list of things to do and of course no one to help me with my list so I have to be almost rigid in my daily and weekly to do lists. It is just amusing to me that staying up late used to be naughty because I ingnored the "should" go to bed early, but now going to bed early is being naugty because I "should" be getting so many things done.

Suffice it to say that if i have a choice to just be naughty or be naughty and feel great doing it, I will pick the feel great naughty every time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Five Great Reasons to Become Vegetarian

Reason #1 - You love animals
Many Americans love their pets dearly yet they still eat meat. It is easy to forget what you are actually eating because the meat we purchase bears no resemblance to the original furry animal with big brown eyes. Make no mistake however, if you eat flesh, you are eating an animal that had feelings, emotions and most importantly a capacity for suffering.

Over 27 billion animals are violently slaughtered in America each year after enduring lives of neglect, torture, and mutilation in cramped, filthy conditions with virtually no laws in place to protect them from cruelty.

The next time you are deciding what to eat picture yourself at the petting zoo.

Reason #2 - You love our planet

Water conservation is a hot topic. You might do your part by using a low flow showerhead or turning off your water while you brush your teeth. What you may not realize is that a whopping one-half of the water supply in the United State goes to animal agriculture.

Our existing air and water supply is also contaminated from the enormous amounts of excrement produced by these animals which is far too much to fertilize the local crops so the excess is disposed of as waste.

America’s forests are being destroyed to raise cattle. Vegetarians only require 1/6 of an acre to grow their food supply while meat eaters require over 3 acres. If the US population switched to a plant based diet, over 20 million acres could be returned to forest.

The next time you are enjoying a low flow shower low flow after eating steak for dinner, please think about the 2500 gallons of water it takes to make a single pound of beef.

Reason #3 - You love being alive and healthy
What is the one lifestyle choice you can make that can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, asthma, many cancers and even male impotence? What choice can help make your kids taller and smarter? What lifestyle choice can help you live six to ten years longer? Numerous studies have shown a vegetarian diet to increase your chances of these and other benefits.

Human beings can get all the nutrition they need from plant sources. Organic plants offer antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber while meat offers saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants like hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics.

In addition, the human digestive tract is much longer, twisted, and pocketed than the smooth, short tract of a natural carnivore. Natural carnivores also have much stronger stomach acid. This inability to properly digest meat could explain why eating any amount of meat can dramatically increase a persons risk for a multitude of diseases and cancers.

The next time you are deciding what to eat, think about the health and lifespan of you and your loved ones.

Reason #4 - You love other human beings
Does it bother you that people are starving to death on the other side of the world? Would you like to do your part to help?

You might be shocked to learn that America could easily wipe out world hunger if we raised crops instead of animals. The world’s cattle alone consume enough food to feed 8.7 billion people.

The next time you are deciding what to eat please think about the 15 million children around the world that starve to death each year.

Reason #5 - You love peace of mind
Wouldn’t it be nice to finally put to rest that little nagging voice inside of you that loves animals? Wouldn’t it feel great to know that you are saving 100 animals a year by adopting a plant based diet? Wouldn’t it be a weight off your shoulders to know that you are doing the right thing for yourself, animals, the planet, and humankind? It is a tough step to take and you may have to face opposition from friends, family, and society in general but what an outstanding feeling to finally do the right thing.

Think Im crazy? Visit a few of these pages and you might change your mind.

I feel terrible remorse for my years of meat eating and question whether its even OK to eat cage-free eggs and organic dairy products.

The Issues

Plenty of reasons to go vegan

Meet your meat

Undercover Investigations

More issues

Why vegan

The list according to

  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Animals are amazing
  • Your Health
  • The environment
  • World Hunger
  • Worker Rights
  • Factory Farms
  • Government Negligence
  • Factory Campaigns

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What to eat if no more meat?

I was not really sure what I would be eating when I finally made the decision to give up meat.
As I mentioned in my other posts I gave up meat as part of an overall decision to live healthier.

I moved deeper into the midwest in November and saw my health deteriorating fast thanks to a typical American diet. I came to the decision to make changes and make them fast if I wanted to make peace with living in middle America.

Although I have been reading about vegetarianism over the last ten years or so and I knew that I wanted to take that step someday, I had never quite gotten around to it. I was not prepared with dietary alternatives in order to finally make the leap. In my feeble attempts to give up meat in the past I always went back within a few days or a week due to ravenous hunger.

Knowing what went wrong in the past is probably the reason I was able to go through with it this time. Since I knew very well that I would be starving in a day or two, I ate tons of carbs every time I became hungry rather than wait until I became ravenous. That is probably pretty bad advice but quite honestly it worked and it worked remarkably well.

I gained quite a bit of weight. I have been meatless for about two and a half months now and I just started losing the weight I gained initially. I am losing the weight through the other items from my list.

Whenever I got hungry and I recognized it as my stomach missing meat and I would substitute a bagel or toast. I didnt really substitute anything else because I remember from experience that nothing would really replace the filling feeling of meat. A carrot just doesnt quite cut it when you are craving a steak right?

I would love to hear how other people have dealt with this problem. It was pretty tough going and I dont know if I could have done it without eating three bagels for dinner once in awhile. My butt certainly doesnt look any better for it but my stomach and digestive system are already thanking me. Not to mention all of the happy cows and chickens

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pesky Lactating Vegetarian

I have considered giving up meat for years now. This has been much more of a journey than a spur of the moment decision.

Like many vegetarians, I wanted to give up meat for both ethical and health reasons. As it turns out the health reasons finally pushed me over the edge but the ethical reasons have bothered me for the last twenty years. I have always felt uneasy that animals are dying on my behalf but quite honestly it was "too difficult" to give it up for that reason alone. It is not that I don't love animals enough because I really do. It is just exceptionally difficult to suddenly change my way of eating overnight especially when all of your friends and family eat the same way.

I began my quest for all things natural because of my horrific birth experience. It started out as a passion for natural childbirth and morphed into natural fertility, pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I came across so much research as to the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle that it has come to the forefront of my consciousness.

That still wasn't enough to sell me however. In November I moved deeper into the midwest, which I affectionately refer to as the land of hamburgers and ice cream. It is utterly insane how middle America eats as a group, and as horrified as I was (and still am) by a typical American diet, I found the trap of convenience and instant gratification very easy to fall into.

So shortly after I moved here I was aware that I would look like a hippo in six months if I stayed lazy so I decided the first place to start was to give up animal flesh. As you can see in my list there are many more changes that I have made already and I am going to make in the future but meat is a natural choice because I care about animals anyway and I have been going in that direction for the last decade.

I have been a meat "avoider" for a long time. Despite the fact that I love eating out and I have always loved a good meat dish (Ruths Chris steak house.....yum) I still tried to choose fish 50% of the time or so.

I still eat fish, eggs, and dairy. I am just very pleased to say that I no mammals are going to die on my behalf. I am so proud to be able to tell my daughter that when she learns that people kill animals to eat since she absolutely adores animals. I believe all children are vegetarians naturally and I think most kids love animals so she will not be a hard sell when she learns we eat differently than most people.

I am going to have a hard time giving up fish someday but my goal is to be raw/vegan which means no animal products at all. The hardest part will be eating out. "Can I have a plate full of burger toppings please?" As of right now I can still eat out between fish, dairy, and eggs but it is still surprisingly difficult to find more than one selection at any given restaurant.

My next post or two will be about how the experience has worked for me so far. In the meantime, peace.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

More about my quest for a natural life

This blog is about the steps I want to take to try to become as healthy as I can be. They are not really resolutions and they are not things that I have tried and failed at before like some people who go on a diet every January 1st.

These are either products, services, or lifestyle changes that I have read about and I believe have merit, but time and money have prevented me from trying them all at once. And quite frankly I think trying them all at once would be absolutely impossible as well as incredibly frustrating so I think any benefit gained would be lost when I threw the towel in and went out for chicken wings.

So I am just going to make a rough list and I will come back to the master list frequently to update the order in which I am going to take on a new projects, or to provide links if you are interested in more information about what I am doing or how to try these things for yourself.

I was hoping to implement a few of these items every month in 2007 but money precluded me from trying as many as I wanted to in January so I am a little behind schedule. I will figure out a system to mark up the ones I have already implemented so you can track my schedule.

I am aware that my list may seem a little daunting and lots of people will think I am a total kook (I dont really care). I am only going to do what is comfortable for me. If I find anything too convenient then I am going to give it up. I just dont have time in my day. Everything needs to be as seamless as possible.

I think this list will probably extend well past 2007 but again this project isnt to stress me out or make me uncomfortable. I am trying these things to improve my health but only if I am able to implement them painlessly into my modern lifestyle.

I welcome your comments or suggestions.

Things I am currently doing :

  • I eat (and so does my 20 month old daughter) tons of fruit and a fair amount of vegetablesWe never drink tap water (but we do bathe in it)
  • We never eat or drink anything from a microwave
  • We believe in a raw-living diet and I try to eat as much raw, organic as possible
  • I still breastfeed, cosleep, and wear my daughter in a sling. I will do the first two as long as she wants and the last as long as I can.
  • I try to do yoga in the mornings and pilates at night but I end up doing yoga about every other morning and pilates once or twice a week
  • I never ever drink soda (and will not let my daughter touch the stuff)

My current struggles & issues:

I have tons of mercury fillings which I desperately want out. I was poisoned with Pitocin (laced with Thimerosol) during my daughters birth and have an excess of mercury in my system which i will blog about more than you probably want to hear. Much of this program is to detox my system

I have experienced rapid and accelerated aging and discoloration in my face due to the chronic mercury toxicity. I have sagging in my jaws and my eyelids only in the last year but it is very noticeable. I have tried all sorts of things and while I think the real answer lies in mercury removal, I will continue to experiment with diet, vitamins, & minerals.

I want to have another child but cannot while I am toxic.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Steps I am Taking for a Healthy Organic Life

?= why
P= Related Posts
Stage 1
(?) (P) Give up meat (except fish, dairy, & eggs)
(?) (P) Daily Smoothie
Incorporate raw fruits/veggies
No microwaved food or drink
Give up soda
Sleep 8 hours a night in total darkness

Full moon light
Give up fried foods
Natural deoderant

Stage 2
Vitamineral Green
Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Flax Seed Organic
Operation Hydration
Grow Wheatgrass
Juice my Wheatgrass

Stage 3
Facial Toning Exercises
Switch to raw dairy
Give up processed/refined sugar
Light Therapy Device
Urban Rebounding
daily salad
vitamins & supplements
Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vit C Ester, DMAE

Stage 4
Chiropractic therapy
Plant therapy
Feng Shui
Wild Alaskan Salmon & oil
Organic, natural dental products
Organic cosmetics

Stage 5
Give up pasta
Coconut Oil
Tai Chi
Daily Soup
Only organic bath products
Shower& bath filters

Stage 6
Give up bread
Only organic cosmetics
Intestinal cleansing
Drinking water filters
Grow my own veggies
Music therapy

Stage 7
No packaged food at all
Fresh raw eggs
seaweed, algae, chlorella
more organic clothing (all is not possible)
organic home cleaning products
Clay baths

Stage 8
Raw honey
Magnetic bedding & jewelry
No grains, wheat, or soy
Only organic coffees & teas

Stage 9
Dehydrate food
Only organic produce
Daily meditation/breathing exercises

Stage 10
Massage therapy
Grape seeds
Grow herbs & aloe
Only natural first aid kit

Stage 11
Only Penta water
Only organic wine
Organic pet food
Dry brushing
Vinegars/Apple Cider Vinegar

Stage 12
whole foods
Support group/friends
Dental health
Hydrogen Peroxide

Stage 13
Fresh Flowers
Himalayan sea salt & salt lamps

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Natural Living and Parenting

Hello and welcome to my new natural living and parenting blog.

The mission of this blog is to try to merge natural living and parenting with a modern lifestyle. I am a single mother of a 20 month old toddler. In a perfect world I would stay home with my daughter and use public transport and eat my freshly grown vegetables out of my backyard.

Unfortunately I work a full time job and my ideals are not so easy to attain. I refuse to give up however. I am an anomaly in the Midwest. I have not met anyone else who wants to live like I do. People make fun of me but I dont really give a s***. I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can and I would like to pass the same lifestyle on to my daughter.

I believe in natural fertility, pregnancy, unassisted childbirth, infant potty training (EC), genital integrity (no circumcising or episiotomies), co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, homeschooling, and as close to organic, vegan as possible.

The birth of my daughter was a nightmare due to unnecessary medical interventions which began my quest for all things natural. I created a website which covers many of the topics that I am passionate about. I am still breastfeeding her and I plan to as long as she is interested (and I still love it). We co sleep and I plan to until she insists on her own bed which will probably make me cry. I will not be able to home school unfortunately due to my job. My daughter has been using a potty since she was a month and a half old.

Am I perfect? Far from it. I struggle with fast food, snack foods, lack of exercise, TV, taking the easy way out, pessimistic thinking, lack of sleep, lack of sunlight, improper hydration, toxic overload, and many more health issues.

This does have a point. I am stating where I am at so you can share my journey. I am on a journey of health. I want to do so many things and time, money, and a modern lifestyle seem to stand in the way. To that end I created a list that I am going to try to check off little by little as my money and time allows. My blog posts will report what my experiences are with the products, services, and treatments I try.

This should be a lot of fun so subscribe to the RSS feed, the email feed, or just check back frequently to see how things are working out for my modern little organic family.

XO & Peace
Sheryl Lyon