Photo credit: Kid Cowboy
Growing up, I was a relatively sick kid. I got every cold, flu, and virus that made the rounds, regardless of the season. I had horrible non-stop ear infections all the way through childhood which required two different sets of tubes. Eventually the ear-nose-and-throat issues got bad enough that my parents decided to have my tonsils and adenoids taken out. The doctors felt confident that this would solve all of my health issues, and it helped. But it certainly didn’t cure them. My parents and I just assumed that I would be one of those people more prone to sickness. That’s just the way it was going to be for me, and I accepted that.
Fifteen years after my tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, I moved from Upstate New York to North Carolina to enter an advanced degree program. Some people swear that a change in climate can ease or even cure certain health issues, but that wasn’t the case for me. My earaches and colds and proclivity to illness followed me south of the Mason-Dixon, but now I was all alone and didn’t have anyone to nurse me when I was ill. Within a year, after suffering intermittently from excruciating pain, I was back in the ENT’s office having a third pair of tubes inserted into my ears. For the first time, I began to feel depressed about my recurring health issues and knew that something needed to be done. Living this way wasn’t “normal.”
During that same time, I began working with a family with a young autistic boy. Because autism is such a mystery, they were trying every possible approach to ease his symptoms. One of their approaches was a relatively strict diet of healthy, organic, and natural foods as well as strict control over the chemicals that entered their home. Spending so much time with them and their young son led me to read and research more about organics versus conventional foods and products, and soon I was dabbling in the same lifestyle. I was buying organic meat, produce, and dairy products and began paying close attention to labels. I also paid closer attention to the cleaning products, candles and chemicals that I bought to keep my home fresh and clean.
About six months after starting my cleaner approach to living, I was talking to a friend who knew of my health history and he commented that I hadn’t been sick in a while. I hadn’t missed work or class due to illness, and I was generally happier and healthier. I hadn’t given it much thought, but he was right. I was feeling better. I hadn’t had an ear infection in some time (which, of course, the tubes were helping with), and I was feeling better than I ever had.
Months and years passed, and my upward health trend continued. And I continued my organic consumerism. The link between my lifestyle switch and my health turnaround couldn’t be ignored. I had no hard data that proved that the reduction of chemicals and artificial ingredients was the direct cause of my improved health, but I was satisfied with the correlation. I was consuming fewer chemicals in my food and in my environment, and I was feeling better than ever before in my life. That relationship alone was enough for me. I knew that my life had been improved by kicking out chemicals and making smarter decisions about what I put in, on, and near my body. And now that I’m married and our family is about to grow by one, I’m even more concerned about those decisions. Thankfully the options for organic foods and household products are always increasing, and that makes keeping myself and my family healthy and happy a whole lot easier.
So that’s my organic story. What’s yours? Share in the comments!