Can we find a balance between organic living and sanity? Is it all or nothing?

How I look before becoming vegan and organic living

2009, yes I had braces in college.

Organic living, wellness, restrictive diets, and veganism are catching on in mainstream media and all the rage it seems. I refer to the organic and wellness journey as a rabbit hole. Organic fruit, organic tampons, organic clothes, organic cats, organic smiles, organic coconut oil, organic living. Wait, maybe not all those are real things?! Who knows!? Organic living has become a huge business with lots of hands wanting their share of the money pie. Is the hype real or is it all a case of fear mongering to make a dollar?

Let me step back in time for a moment. It’s 2009, I’m a sophomore in college and completely and utterly unhappy with my life. What’s new.. I’m a millennial right?! My friends are frenenmies, relationship is hanging by a ragged thread, I’m overweight, battling cystic acne, self-absorbed and short sighted. Sound like anyone you know? It’s the stereotypical ASU girl. Damn, I hate being so cliché! It’s hard to find photos of myself from 2009 (before selfie era) because I either deleted them or photoshopped my acne out. Self-loathing is a b*tch.

I keep having chronic stomach pain and it gets to the point where I can’t move without excruciating pain. I’m a broke college student without insurance so of course I turn to my faithful mom. She takes me to a naturopathic doctor. Who is extremely affordable and doesn’t deal with insurance to keep his costs down. I’m expecting him to give me the drive thru customer service standard American doctor prescription. But instead he sits with me for over an hour and asks me about ALL aspects of my life. From my relationships, school, diet, acne, and emotional wellbeing.

As I sit there pouring out my soul because someone is LISTENING. I wonder when he’s going to ask about my stomach pain… He eventually gets there and gives me an herbal tonic in lieu of a script. Puts me on an elimination diet and informs me that food is either medicine or will contribute to health deterioration. Furthermore, DAIRY could be the culprit for my inflammation and acne. THIS IS NEWS TO ME! I know that it’s become common knowledge now, but 8 years ago I had never heard that dairy could be bad. I believed all the commercial ads and school nutrition classes that said ‘Milk Does the Body Good’. What a fool I was! I immediately started reading food labels and realized how dairy was in pretty much everything I ate. I changed my grocery list and started spending more money on food and less on shoes. I adopted a plant-based diet, lost weight, broke off a toxic relationship with a guy who clearly wasn’t that into me, and found new friends. This was NOT easy and it took a lot of time, tears, and failures.

This is the point where I look back and see my life change course. This single visit to a doctor I had no idea would change my life. It would take YEARS to find a balance. I can go into detail on elimination diets, my transition, and all the hurdles in between upon request from you. You can also watch my video on “Going Green Transition” but I will also have it below. I encourage you to find a holistic doctor near you. Not all are phenomenal and if one doesn’t vibe with you, find another! I’m not a medical expert and will not diagnose you. Please seek the help of a professional and not a blogger. Bloggers can be enormously helpful in giving you ideas and pointing you in the right direction, but not diagnosing or prescribing supplements. Supplements and herbs are powerful and can harm you if not used correctly.

Organic living babywearing my vegan baby. Sakura bloom sling in birch

My second child, Julius was born at home.

The road to organic living began with food, then evolved to environmental toxins and carcinogens. After I had children the fears become exponential. I’m sure you have heard of the poisons lurking in home cleaning products, artificial fragrances, GMOs, pesticides, cars, formaldehyde in EVERYTHING, toxic glues, toxins in mattresses. The list goes on and on. Documentary after documentary. I got to the point I wanted to burn everything and start over. Who has the money to do that?! Not us! Then I scroll through Instagram and see how perfect and organic these moms are. Buying their kids organic clothes and diapers. While mine are in second hand Carter’s. We begin to feel guilty, small, poor, frustrated, fearful, and stressed. Trying to change your entire life from food to mattress all at once is unattainable for the average person. I feel your frustration.

After going vegan, organic living drinking watermelon juice.

2017, sippin on watermelon juice

The last few months I’ve been trying to find a mindful balance between peace of mind and health. As much as I would love to replace everything in my house with perfectly organic and sustainable materials, that’s not plausible. Watching the documentary, What The Health (on Netflix), reignited my passion for food. I believe plants are my medicine and elevate my quality of life. I know it to be true from self experience. My approach is different now. It’s not about perfection, rather trying my best each day. Striving for perfection proved to be the most unhealthy choice I could’ve made. My goals are small and vary each day. Cutting down prepackaged food and sugar has been my daily goal. When my goals are small and day-by-day, I find them manageable and I have a win every day. It’s been a few weeks since I detoxed myself from sugar and the cravings are mostly gone.

This post is not meant to diminish the imperative issues regarding health and disease, because I still believe food is medicine. I continue to use natural makeup, eat plant based, and steer clear from artificial fragrance like the plague. I’m only being a tad melodramatic, but in all seriousness, I know there has to be balance. I couldn’t go back to my previous lifestyle of utter ignorance but I could not sustain the perfection of ‘holistic living’. I had to let some things go. Find what I could be flexible on and my non-negotiables.

Vegan kids shopping at winco. organic living and raising vegan kids

Winco is great for budget produce + bulk shopping

I don’t stress over replacing my target sheets for Coyuchi because it’s out of my budget. One day when my kids (or cat) aren’t pooping on my sheets and I work full time I can afford fancy organic sheets. When my current mattress is totally dead (probably a year left) we’ll invest in a better option that our budget allows. I used to buy only organic produce and now I only buy the dirty dozen organic and the rest at Winco because it’s good quality and affordable. Is it better to feed our kids fresh produce or not? One of my non-negotiables is dairy, meat and eggs. I won’t eat them for ethical reasons and that is something I firmly stand by. Point is, do what is in your budget and make changes slowly. Do not feel shamed by others or yourself. Do your best with what you got. Stress is far worse for your health and well-being. I know food is imperative to a high quality of life and has healed many of my ailments. This blog is a place our opinions, our journey, and help you on yours. Not a place to shame you, judge your lifestyle or preach to you. We get enough of that elsewhere.

I admit, most of my initial lifestyle changes were driven by vanity. I wanted to lose weight and have clear skin, who doesn’t? Fortunately, the side effects of organic living and plant based diet are increased energy, happiness, inner peace, compassion, and new perspective. The latter are what have kept me going the last 8 years. Our journeys’ are different you and I, but we can still be friends. I know that to be true.

CALL TO ACTION: If you feel any resonance with my words, please comment with YOUR story. I want to hear where you are on your wellness journey/organic living situation. Seasoned or just dipping you toes, your experience matters. Furthermore, please subscribe to my newsletter, I promise it won’t be annoying spam. Share this on your social media and help get this site going. I need your help! I’d love for you to share your perspective and get a conversation going in the comments. I also have a huge lineup of giveaways I’ve been planning for the blog launch with some brands I truly love. Being a subscriber will let you know as they post and give you exclusive access!

With Love,

Erika