Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beauty....the Ugly Truth

If there's one thing I've learned over the past 3 years it is that I am not in control.  I repeat-NOT in control.  That's tough for a Type A like myself.  There are lots of things I lose control of all the time.  Here are a few fun ones:
1. My Emotions
2. My Temper
3. My Attitude
4. My Words
5. My Reactions

I could go on a bit longer but why do that?  When I began to lose control of my body and health about 3 years ago, it was the most frustrated I had ever been.  It started small.  Allergic reactions here and there to things I'd never been allergic to.  Constant colds and sinus infections.  Depression and severe mood swings.  Weight gain in my mid-section only.  All of these things just started appearing out of the blue.  After multiple diagnoses, lots of medications, and lots of money later, I now know and have control of my body again (no thanks to the medications, mind you). Sure it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear, but the answer could have been far worse.  And I must admit, though not easy, the changes I have made in my life have been the most beneficial changes I could have ever made.  The biggest change for me has been realizing that although there are hundreds of things I can't control, there are 2 things that I can control.

*I can control what goes IN my body.
*I can control what goes ON my body.

Celiac Disease dictates what goes IN my body, but I have decided to take it one step further and begin to control more of what goes ON my body.  Why?  Because my health matters to me.  It matters to my family.  It matters to my friends.  

As I began my elimination diet, I really looked (for the first time) into the products I use every day.  I love products.  My mother is a PRODUCT JUNKY so I get it honest, but she beats me hands down in the product war.  What I didn't love as I begin to research were the scary statistics I began to see about the personal care product industry, specifically the cosmetic industry.

I sat with my mouth gaping open as I watched and listened to the CEO of Beautycounter talk about the cosmetic industry.  The following information comes from her research.

Let's do a little question/answer session, shall we? 

Q: When was the last year that the federal government actually regulated what the cosmetic industry puts into their products?

A: Although we would hope the answer is 2015 the actual answer is 1938.  1938.

Q: How many chemicals have been introduced in the United States since World War II?

A: A staggering 80,000

Q:  How many of those said chemicals are actually tested for safety?

A: 90% of those chemicals are NEVER tested for safety yet they go in our products (and are sprayed all over our food).

Q: Europe has banned 1,300 chemicals from its personal care products.  How many have the United States banned?

A: 11.  Yes.  Eleven.

To go along with that information, statistics show that 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  It used to be about 1 in 20.

1 in 3 children will be diagnosed with autism, some form of ADD, or severe allergies or asthma.  It used to be about 1 in 7.

Is this about over diagnosing?
 Are our genetics changing? 
I believe it's far more reasonable to say that the change is coming from our environment.

We are all concerned about testing products on animals, yet we are now the ones that these products are being tested on.  Companies can declare anything they want to be "natural and organic" because there are no federal laws governing them.  I want products that are safe.  I deserve products that are safe!  

BeautyCounter is one of the first lines that I have found that actually has a "Never List".  This list contains 1,500 ingredients that will NEVER be a part of their products.  These ingredients are chemicals that are linked to cancer, infertility, childhood diseases, and allergies.  Beautycounter is partnered with Gwyneth Paltrow's line Goop but a little more budget friendly than ol' Gwyneth's products.  At first, I was hesitant to try the products because I've had my share of less than desirable products.  It's that product graveyard in my drawer that I empty out every 6 months.  I've been thrilled to finally find something that I love AND that I can feel safe putting on my skin.  Trust me, I've been asked to sell every product known to man.  I'm not a sales person.  I don't like asking people to spend money or buy things.  At heart, I'm an educator. That's what this opportunity is for me.  It's a way to educate people about something I am learning about through my own experience.

You and I may not have very much in common, but I'm sure every person who reads this blog knows someone with cancer, someone with severe allergies, someone who has struggled with infertility or someone who has a child with ADD or autism.  These issues are rising at a staggering pace. And ladies, this goes beyond makeup (even though the makeup I use from them is FAB)!  This goes into what we put on our children, the bubble bath we sit them in at night, and the sunscreen we lather on them during the summer.  Even if what I do by using these products is the smallest way to help, it's still something I can do to help.

1. Read the labels on your products.  Know what is in them.

2. Research for yourself!  Check out www.beautycounter.com to see that "never" list.  They also list every ingredient in their products from A-Z.

3. Let me know if you are interested in trying these safe products for yourself or for your family.  I can tell you my TOP 5 products that I absolutely love.

4. Watch for yourself.  Go to You Tube and search 'The Ugly Truth About the Beauty Industry'.  You'll hear Gregg speak more on this topic and do a much better job than my ramblings.

Most importantly, remember that we have the power to change the products that are being provided to us!  Choose wisely.  Yes, they may be more expensive, but so are medications, surgeries, and treatments.  Start small.  Do what you can.  Every little change matters.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Crowd

Alright, Alright....we lost.  I've moved on now, but boy was I devastated on Sunday night!  I've been a Panthers fan for as long as the team has been around and was so thrilled to see MY team in the Super Bowl!  For years, I've watched the Super Bowl because I like football, but deep down I really could have cared less who won.  This year I was invested!  I had the right spirit wear, the right food, and I just knew this was our year to bring home a victory.  The saddest part of the night was tucking my crying 9 year old super fan into bed.  He just didn't understand how we could lose, and I didn't have an answer for him except that sometimes we all lose.  That's a hard concept for a little guy to accept.  He hugged Sir Purr a little tighter that night as he slept.:)

As sad as I was for the loss that night, I was even more sad in the days that followed to experience the true aftermath of a major athletic competition.  I'm sure it happens every year, but this year was so personal because that was MY quarterback and MY team that everyone was talking about! I'm not writing this post to defend anyone or say who is right or who is wrong.  I'm writing this because as I was watching post after post after post, it reminded me so strongly of Jesus.  (Trending Facebook Post: Amanda Mallery equates Cam Newton to Jesus...you won't believe what happens next!)  It was mind boggling to me to see such hatred pour out of people who otherwise probably hadn't said much about Cam Newton in the past year.  People started picking out every questionable facial expression, every instance of negative body language, and literally tearing this professional athlete to shreds. Forget every kind gesture Cam has made on the field, every hour of community service he has done that none of us know about, or the way cameras captured him kindly congratulating Peyton on the field after the game. This man is immature, disrespectful, arrogant, and deserved to lose. 

How does this remind me of Jesus?  I'm always drawn to Palm Sunday.  It was one of my favorite holidays as a kid.  Our church always celebrated it with palm leaves, dancing children, and a dad-blasted DONKEY!  Yes, this live donkey would march down the church aisles with a poor man (Jesus impersonator) riding awkwardly on its back hoping that the thing wouldn't just stop and relieve itself in the aisle (and one year it did)!  We would sing and shout "Hosanna" and wave our palm branches as Jesus walked by us.  The unbelievable thing to me as a child was that this day actually happened in history!  This man who had done countless good things for people was loved and adored by not only his inner circle but by strangers as well!  What a crowd!  How loved he must have felt!  However, I wonder if some of that love, joy and adoration made Jesus wince just a little bit.  In His infinite knowledge, Jesus knew these same people would soon turn on him in a moment's notice.  The same crowd yelling "Hosanna" would soon be yelling "Criminal".  The palm leaves would be traded in for whips and the donkey would be traded for a splintered cross.  Imagine looking into the same crowd of faces days later and seeing hatred where there once was love, profanity where there once was praise, and ultimate rejection where there once was ultimate acceptance.  How quickly these people, this crowd, were influenced and how quickly they turned.  Are we the crowd???

Now, I'm not saying Cam Newton performs miracles or heals people with his touch.  There's a big difference between Jesus and Cam.  There's a big difference between Jesus and all of us.  Jesus was perfect.  I do think that we can relate ourselves to the crowd though.  How quickly I turn at times when my prayers aren't answered the way I want them to be.  How quickly I can turn when bad things happen to good people and bad people are rewarded with good things.  How quickly I begin to point out all the mistakes and flaws my friends have when one of them hurts my feelings or leaves me out.  It's scary how easily I see everyone else's problems, but sometimes I refuse to identify problems within myself.  When I think of that press conference that Cam did after losing, I placed myself in his seat and I knew exactly what my competitive self would have done.  I have a terrible attitude after my son loses at hockey.  If I was the main face for losing the biggest game of my career so far and they kept asking me why I lost, I'm almost positive I would have said something to the tune of "I don't know moron.  Why don't you get your butt on the field, give it a try, and let me know."  I may have even flipped the bird (just being honest).  I know my husband is shaking his head in agreement because he knows it's true.  It's a weakness of mine but guess what?  We all have them.  Weaknesses.  Things we stink at.  Things we struggle with.  Things we pout over and stew about and never move past.  We are human.  So is Cam.  So is Peyton.  So is Odell Beckham Jr. (as much as I don't like him) and every other person in the spotlight...including presidential candidates (sensitive spot for some).  We make bad choices, immature decisions, and emotional reactions. Why do we not expect and allow for others to do the same? 

To me, one of the saddest realities of the death of Jesus was that His death was at the hands of his followers.  At the hands of his friends. Even though He knew it was coming, it had to hurt even worse knowing who it was coming from. 

It's ironic to me that one of the saddest realities of our human existence today is the tearing down, degradation, and assault of people....by other people.  

Fortunately, most everyone in Facebook land has moved on to bigger issues such as BeyoncĂ©'s performance, Jim McIntyre's bad decision making, and the always exciting presidential debates.  I hope we can all exercise a little more "crowd control" in the future.  It's easy to tear down.  Let's try building up next time OR just exhibiting a little self control.  My FB news feed and my blood pressure sure would appreciate it.

**And for those who like to say that they used Cam Newton as a way to teach their children a life lesson in how not to act....kudos to you!  I used your posts to teach my child how NOT to act on social media.  I call that a WIN WIN!!