Just What am I Afraid of?

I did a short meditation last night. If I’m going to “invite my fears to tea” (as Kris Carr says), then I need to know what those fears are. So I sat for a little while to meditate on that question.

I had a sense of: what if I make changes away from unhealthy foods to healthy foods … and then there is nothing to eat? Literally nothing.

It sounds irrational. (But then, aren’t all fears irrational on some level??) I know that I am not going to go hungry. I am fortunate enough to never have to face that situation. It wasn’t that there wouldn’t be food in the house or on the table – more a fear that I would be left without any choices. What on earth was I going to eat??

Well, as I was putting lotion on my legs this evening to get ready for bed, I found my thoughts wandering back to this topic. And I had another revelation. My fear of having nothing left to eat might just be more specifically a fear of having no foods left with which to soothe myself.

I definitely turn to food for comfort when I am stressed, tired, overwhelmed, sad, frustrated. Basically, when I’m feeling any negative emotion. And what kind of food do I turn to for that comfort? The junky stuff.

As I write this down in black-and-white, it seems kind of obvious. These aren’t exactly new ideas – for myself, or for many of us who struggle with food and weight. So many people soothe themselves with food. However, putting it down in black-and-white makes it more real to me. I suppose in a way, it is a means of “inviting my fears to tea.”

My next question is this: if I am to make changes to healthier foods, and if I am no longer going to soothe myself with food (junky or otherwise), well then, exactly how am I going to soothe myself when I am experiencing negative emotion??

Products: Taking a Closer Look

Last month, I took my boys to Florida for a little sunny vacation. While I was there I got to see my cousin and his family, whom I haven’t see since I was planning my wedding 9 years ago. It was great to reconnect with such lovely family!

As a result of that visit, I have been truly inspired to take a closer look at the products I put both in and on my body. Michelle has been working with the company called Beauty Counter, whose mission it is to offer safe products. (No, I don’t get compensation for that link!) They also provide a “Never List” – a list of ingredients you will never find in their products and why could be harmful. I’m slowly going through my bathroom full of products and have been horrified to find out how many of them contain one or more ingredients from the list. Even from companies that I thought used “natural” ingredients!

So I am beginning to switch out my products for healthier options. It’s hard to chuck half-full bottles of creams, lotions, make-up, shampoo – even toothpaste! But it’s better than continuing to put harmful chemicals on my body.

At the same time, I am taking a closer look at the foods that I am putting in my body. For a long time, I shrugged off the idea of food having to be organic or I rolled my eyes at the thought of giving up processed foods. And to be honest, I don’t yet know just how far I am willing to go. There are some things I’m not ready to give up. And in a house full of picky eaters, it’s already challenging enough to feed us all without throwing another requirement into the mix.

Michelle told me when she talks to people, they sometimes say they’d rather not know what’s in things. And she says, why would you not want to know? Well, I can tell you: it’s a lot to think about! It’s a lot of changes to make! If I don’t think about it, I just keep doing what I’m doing. But once I start to look and to learn, I have a lot of work to do!

So I’m starting slowly, with the easy stuff.

I already get organic fruits and veggies delivered every other week from Door to Door Organics. (Again, no compensation for that link.) They have a lot of other products I can add to my order now, too.

Of course, “organic” is not really enough these days. I also want to know what’s in a product. So I’ve started looking at ingredient lists. It’s overwhelming right now. But I’m learning.

I’m trying to cook more instead of buying prepared or frozen foods.

I’m trying to replace the foods we already like to eat with healthier versions. For example, we already ate wheat bread. But now I’m looking for wheat bread that has ingredients that I can actually read!

I’m also thinking twice about other things in our house. For example, what kinds of containers do we put our leftovers in? What kind of water bottles are my kids using? What kind of chemicals does our pest control company use – maybe it’s time to switch?

There are SO many things to consider. When I get overwhelmed, I take a deep breath. I figure any healthy changes I’m making right now are a good start! And as I learn more, I’ll make more changes. I also thought I’d try to chronicle this part of my journey here, too. Maybe it will help someone else who is just starting out on this path.