Posted by: jude49 | July 24, 2013

The Many Positives of a Green and DIY Lifestyle

Hello Everyone,

We live in a chemical world, and we are reaping the negative benefits of using chemicals to clean, to beautify ourselves and our environments and as well as to heal.

In the home I was brought up in, my parents, particularly my mom, were already practicing a “green” lifestyle.  As was the practice in many homes of  that time, a garden was a must.  We had a huge garden, and it provided food, to differing extents, all year round.  In the summer, we pretty much ate whatever the garden produced.  In the winter, we ate jams, jellies, syrups and pickles of every kind that my mother canned during the summer.

My mother, following in the tradition of her mother who brought up ten children during the “dirty thirties,” used home-made remedies when her children rarely fell ill.  Mustard plasters, honey and lemon hot drinks, hot “dry mustard” baths soon put colds and flues to rest.  Often, my parents encouraged us to gargle with salt water and brush our teeth with soda and salt.  I can’t say it tasted great, but it was a good disinfectant for killing bacteria that often resides in mouths and throats.  There was rarely aspirin in our medicine cabinet.  Even when my parents were in the last years of their lives, they routinely turned down tylenol and other store-bought medication, deferring to natural remedies.

My mother suffered for many years with psoriasis.  I remember my father, on many occasions, massaging her hair and skin with an olive oil treatment which gave her great relief and decreased the itchiness and severity of her psoriasis.

Cleaning products consisted of lemon juice, borax, vinegar and baking soda.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized there were actually products designed for cleaning!  My mom was the ultimate stain remover expert.  One one visit home, I discovered I had accidentally “dyed” an off-white linen blouse.  It had black blotches all over it.  I was about to throw it out when mom told me to give it to her.  A few days later she returned it stain free.  I wished I would have paid more attention to how she removed the stains.

Both my parents cooked and baked.  My mom was a stay-at-home mother so she took on the majority of the household responsibilities.  Most summers my father attended summer school and was away for six weeks.  My mother, along with my brothers, mowed the lawn and took care of the weeding, etc.  My dad was equally as versatile.  When I was seventeen, my father sent my mother to a rest-home in a neighbouring province to recuperate from a serious operation that had came close to claiming her life.  During that time, my father, a school administrator, carried on cooking, baking and cleaning.  Although we missed our mom’s presence for three weeks, we managed well.

My dad could fix anything!  He had grown up on a farm so he was well-acquainted with fixing any kind of machinery.  Calling a repairman in the depression wasn’t an option.  His mother was a dressmaker, and when he wasn’t needed on the farm, he assisted his mother.  It was my father who taught me how to sew.  He sewed our Hallowe’en costumes; constructed a sewing box for my sister (which received rave reviews from her Home Economics teacher and classmates); and, as a teacher, could be counted on to mend the volleyball nets.

Our cars rarely saw the inside of a mechanic’s shop.  He made sure each one of his children knew how to change a tire, check the oil and even change it.  My only regret is that I wished I would have paid more attention to what he was teaching me!

Our parents loved the charm of older homes, and Dad saved the family many, many dollars as he worked magic with his tools.  He wasn’t a master craftsman, but he was a good handyman who took pride in his work and was continually on the look-out of how to do things better.

My mother cooked from scratch.  We grew up on home-make food.  One of my favorite meals was home=made bread slathered with margarine along with macaroni and cheese.  It took a comment from my niece to remind me how much things had changed!  My nephew and niece and their father lived in my parents basement apartment while they were going through a difficult transition.  After school, my niece came upstairs and asked my mom what she was doing.  Mom replied she was making dinner, and my niece replied, “Where are the boxes and cans?”

Much food bought at the grocery store is not food.  It is food by-products along with preservatives, sugar and chemicals.  It is no wonder that school children are having more difficulty focusing and concentrating on their work.  Issues such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc. have dramatically increased.  When I ask my clients what they eat, most reply that they depend on take-out food , sugary treats and packaged food.  When clients begin to shop at farms or farmers’ markets, and choose fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, fish, beans, chicken, they notice an increased sense of well-being.

As my mother aged, she began to take more notice of the healing effects of herbs and veggies such as garlic and onion.  My nephew, when staying with my parents, proudly announced that grandma had given him garlic for his cold and it worked!  Long after I left home, mom continued learning about herbs and how they could be used to enhance her cooking and my parents’ health.  On one occasion, she attended a workshop on the benefits of herbs.  She made a few comments, and I was struck by the depth of her knowledge.  I found out much later from my sister that my mother used a cayenne cleanse every spring to rid her body of toxins.

Neither one of my parents experienced serious illnesses during their lifetime.  They both believed that fresh air, work, nature, wholesome food, an active life-style and a life of service was the best way to keep healthy.

Much of my life, I struggled with panic attack disorder with agoraphobia and depression.  It is my firm belief that my parents’ lifestyle helped me cope better than many.  For example, eating good wholesome food helped significantly in my ability to cope.

My invitation to you is to develop skills that help you and your families be independent and self-reliant.  Thriftiness, imagination and making do with what’s available brings peace of mind and a sense of pride and accomplishment.





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