The Food We Eat

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Have you ever stopped to think about the food we eat?  Like where it comes from, what its made of and how’s it handled?  Honestly, I never gave any thought to any of it either. I just assumed that the meat and produce I ate were nutritious and healthy. I thought that government agencies protected the public from harmful foods. I thought the label “organic” was just an excuse to make more money.  Everything I thought.. was wrong. 
 
I’m not here to scare you or make you stop eating certain foods, I’m here to shed some light on the other side of the story. The side that has genetically modified plants and animals. The side that shows how corrupt the very agencies are that were created to protect us. And the side that makes buying food so difficult. 
 
I had heard and seen mention of GMOs (generically modified organisms) in my news feed, on blogs and sometimes I’m the media.  I shrugged it all off. Those people were wack-a-doodles. I let it go and continued to buy the same junk week after week. 
 
 
Then my friend suggested I watch a documentary called Food, inc in Netflix. I sat down one afternoon and watched the 75 minute film at my parents house. The kids were asleep on me after a busy day. I had one in each arm. It was turning out to be a pretty decent afternoon. And as I started to watch the film, I could feel my stomach turn, my mouth go up in horror and then the tears started to flow. 
 
I cried through a majority of the documentary. I cried because off the cruelty to animals, I cried because of the blatant disregard for the general public, I cried for the innocent farmers and I cried for these two little people sleeping in my arms. 
 
 
What have I been feeding the most important people in my life?  I couldn’t answer that.  
 
Again, not trying to scare anyone. I want to share why I bawled like a baby during this movie. Here is what shocked me the most to find out..
 
  • Our food industry is essentially controlled by a few big producers – one of the biggest buyers being McDonald’s. 
  • If McDonald’s wants there beef a certain way (think bigger, cheaper, faster) then most of the producers follow suit. For everything. 
  • These food giants control their farmers with massive amounts of regulations that put them in debt.  [Average farmer makes 18k and has 500k in debt!]
  • Monsanto has genetically altered the soy bean and has a patent on it!  It forces farmers to use their seeds or face being sued.
  • Monsanto makes it money by suing farmers.
  • Monsanto owns Roundup and modified their crops to resist the pesticide. 
  • Prior to being in the agriculture business, Monsanto was in the chemical industry.  They were a major producing of Agent Orange and DDT.
  • Farmers are paid to overproduce corn because its cheap and can be processed into a ton of different foods.
  • Most process foods contain some form of corn.  High fructose corn syrup is one.
  • There is an illusion of choice in the grocery store, but only a handful of companies control the market.  [See graphic below.]
  • Animals are pumped full of growth hormones and fed corn diets so they grow bigger, faster. 
  • A chicken grows to full maturity in 47 days, almost half the time it took 60 years ago. [See image above.]
  • The chicken is modified to have bigger breasts, since that is what people like to eat. 
  • The chickens bones don’t keep up with the rest of its body and most of them can’t walk more then a few steps with collapsing. 
  • The workers in meat packing plants are normally illegal immigrants, doing one of the hardest jobs, at the lowest pay.
  • The workers become sick from handling so many animals in a short amount of time.
  • The people in office that regulate these types of things were once employees of Monsanto.  [Google Clarence Thomas, for one example.]
  • There is litigation to stop people from bashing or even talking negatively about the food industry.  [Oprah was sued for it!]
  • The USDA no longer has the power to shut down facilities that repeatedly fail microbe testing.  [Ie, e.coli, salmonella, etc.]
 
 
Is that not mind blowing?!  I knew some of the information, but not all of it.  There is so so much more too.  Its scary.  Its heartbreaking.  And it has made me question our food more then ever.  I didn’t know what to eat after I watched the film.  I didn’t know what to feed my kids.  My thought process on food has completely changed. 
 
I went on a documentary and research binge.  I watched 3 other films and searched the internet.  [Ok, I searched Pinterest.]  And honestly, I still don’t know what to do.  I can’t look at meat or produce the same way again.  I know that much.  I know that I need to buy organic and local.  I know this.  But where do I start? 
 
 
 
In the film they said that we vote what we get to eat at least 3 times a day.  Every time we eat we are saying “This is what I want!”  If we can eat more organic produce then thats a good start.  If we can avoid the big companies, then thats a start.  We can avoid companies affiliated with Monsanto, then that’s a start.  If we buy less processed foods, then that’s a start.  And a good start!  We get to decide what we eat.
 
And if you are going to start eating organic, then maybe start with the dirty dozen.  The dirty dozen is the produce that has the most pesticides and chemicals.  I know organic is expensive.  But if we are able to buy at least a few things that are not covered in chemicals, its a start. 
 
source: unknown
 
Its going to be hard to change.  I’m not sure how it will go for our family.  But I know we can’t go back to the way we were eating.  And we aren’t going cold turkey.  I’m not throwing away everything in our fridge or pantry and starting over.  I am making more conscience decisions when it comes to our food and hopefully soon, moving away completely from anything processed.  I know I will keep you updated and share new information as it comes available.  Not to scare, but to make sure everyone has the best information possible on the food we eat. 
 

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Pre-Baby Bodies

Why I dont care about my pre-baby body
I’ve been a mom now for over 4 years.  Ryley turned 4 this past February and it was bitter sweet.  Its amazing and sometimes sad to watch your kids grow up.  I love watching her and Avery grow but at the same time I miss them when they were babies.  I wonder if Im doing a good job as a mom, if they are getting the right things to eat and if they watch too much TV.  With so much to worry about the one that is hardly ever on my mind is my pre-baby body.  
 
 
I’m not sure were this notion came about that we should ever have our pre-baby bodies back.  My body will never be pre-baby.  And I’m ok with that.  I have two beautiful children that have literally shaped me both mentally and physically.  And you know what?  I’m pretty sure they don’t care about what my body looked like before them anyways.  All they know is mommas body gives them hugs, piggyback rides, boat rides and I sometimes double as a chair.  My old body was not capable of any of those things until they were born because they were not here. 
 
 
And yes I have some weight  I could lose.  I don’t blame those few extra pounds on my kids.  Its from poor food choices and lack of exercise.  Plain and simple.  I would never point the finger at them as my reason for being big.  Heck, if I could keep up with them Im sure Id be smaller.  I’m just tired of women worrying about their pre-baby bodies.  Your body will not ever be the same again.  And that’s ok, because its a work of beauty.  We carried our babies for 9 months and with that we stretched and grew.  Our babies molded our bodies from the inside out!  Things aren’t in the right places anymore and things don’t sit as high.  [Ahem.]  But our bodies nourished these little babies and continue to do so every day. 
 
 
I wont ever have my high school body, or my pre-wedding body or even my pre-baby body.  My body has and will continue to change every single day. Every day.  I feel like worrying about having a body from the past is an unattainable goal.  I can either choose to focus on the past or savor the present with my kids in my current [and very much loved] body.  I choose the present. 
 
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Wearings Pants in Summer

uniques

No, this isn’t an outfit post.  I wish it were though.  I’m talking about wearing pants in summer because I’m too embarrassed to show my legs.  Because I have psoriasis.  Well the short answer is psoriasis.  The long answer is I had strep throat about a month ago and it triggered an outbreak.  All. over. my. body.

psoriasis

This is just a small portion of the outbreak and before it peaked.  I have spots all down my legs, on my stomach, my back and my arms.  I look like a cheetah. [Or is it a leopard? Ok I just goggled them. I look like both. THIS is why I can’t homeschool.]  And I’m embarrassed and self conscience about it.  I refuse to wear shorts because of what people might think.  I don’t want to be looked at funny or have someone think Im contagious.  I don’t want my kids to see other people looking at us funny.

Let me back track.  I found out I had psoriasis when I was 8 and I had my first massive breakout.  I remember I couldn’t pronounce psoriasis so when someone would ask what was wrong with me, my friend would have to say it for me.  I got stared at and made fun of because I was covered in red spots.  It was triggered then [like it was now] by strep throat.  Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease, so when one part of my body isn’t working so well, it flares up.

I went to my primary doctor two weeks after the strep because I was breaking out all over my neck.  She gave me a steroid cream and sent me on my way.  My neck cleared up but everywhere else got worse.  I made an appointment with my dermatologist and was given two shots in the office, an antibiotic and a spray to try and help.  He also told me that it could take up to 6 months to go away.

I called my mom after and I just cried.  I know this isn’t the end of the world, but it sucks.  It just plain sucks.  Im so self conscience and worried what other people will think that having someone tell me Im going to be covered in spots for up to 6 months made me bawl like a baby.  Why?  Why do I care what other people will think?  And why am I going to make myself miserable this summer by wearing pants?  I honestly don’t know.

uniques

Its something I need to work on.  Its also something I don’t want my kids to have to worry about.  I want them to be themselves no matter what anyone thinks.  Maybe this is why I let Ryley take her microphone toy to the grocery store and sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ non stop.  I want her to know its ok to be unique, even if people are staring.  That standing out is not a bad thing.  That she is imperfectly perfect.  [I need to practice what I preach!]  Now if I could only take my own advice and put on some shorts this summer!

The Beginning

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Today I have been married to my amazing husband for four years.  Or maybe I should say I’ve been married to my husband for four amazing years.  Both are true.  I honestly cant believe that we’ve been together for almost 6 years.  Two years together, four years married and two kids later he still drives me crazy.  In a good way.  I get butterflies when he kisses my forehead.  A hug from him takes away all my anxiety.  He lets me talk about the most random things.  And he loves me not matter what.

I was a senior in college at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and had just gotten out of a really bad relationship.  I wasn’t looking for another boy to break my heart or give me the run around.  I was enjoying my last year of school and hanging out with my girlfriends.

One night I went over to my friends house to get ready to go to the bar.  (We call it ‘pre-gaming’.. classy, I know.)  We ended up playing Edward forty hands because one of the girls there had never played.  (Two forty ounce malt liquor bottles taped to your hands.  You have to finish them all to have some one untape your hands.  You can’t even pee until you finish.  Its horrible and I gagged a little writing this.)  I got wasted.  Its not something I did often, or even liked doing but I just drank and had a good time.

From there we went to a bar by the university called the Islander.  I was in no state to even be in public let alone a bar.  I flirted with the bouncer who was all of 18 on the way in.  I walked in and saw a guy on his phone.  This was when texting was new and I felt the urge to find out if this guy was texting.  I walked up to him and said ‘Hey!  Are you texting?  Ill text you!’  I got his number texted ‘haha.’ and passed out.  In the bathroom.  (Holy cow.  Sorry mom.)

I wake up the next morning on my friends couch.  I smelled like a bar and looked like a bar but I didn’t have a hangover or throw up.  After all that drinking I woke up refreshed.  (Go figure!)  I checked my phone and had a text from some number that said ‘Is this the girl that got my number?’ and was very confused.  I had to ask my friend what happened and she told me I bombared a guy for his number before I passed out.  In the bathroom.  I asked ‘Was he cute?’ and she shook her head no.

We texted back and forth a while but I really didn’t think much of it.  Then one day when I was driving home from school he called me.  At this point I didnt even remember his name, let alone what he looked like.  I answered and was greeted by this booming voice.  The loudest voice I had ever heard.  ‘Hey Kelley, its Ryon.  What are you doing tonight?’

Wait, what?  I pulled the phone away from my ear because he was so loud and thought this had to be a joke.  There was no way that he wanted to go out with me after seeing me at my worst.  (Let me tell you, it was my worst).

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Who was this boy?  And why did he text me back?  Ill share the rest of our story later!

Numbers Obsessed

building a community

Every since I started blogging I have been obsessed with my numbers.  How many GFC followers do I have?  How many page views do I have?  How many Facebook fans do I have?  Its made me sick before and its made me sad before.  I have Google analytics and Stat Counter set up and I check them at least once a day.  Yall, Im tired of checking my numbers.  Im tired of trying to reach a certain number because then Ill want more.  And more.  And more.  Im tired of being ruled by numbers.  Im quitting my numbers.

building a community

Ok.  I lied.  Im not quitting all my numbers.  Just certain ones.  I can’t focus on the ups and downs of my daily page views   I just can’t.  What I am going to try to grow are my number of comments.  I want to write content that people can relate to and feel compelled to tell me their story.  I want to start conversations with people.  I want my followers to become my friends.  I want to build a community.

I will measure my success by you.  How many people I call friends, how many people I can help, how many people I can inspire.  Thats what I want to measure.  And not even with numbers, but with ‘a lot’ or ‘too many to count’.  I want to build relationships with my readers so that when I say ‘Hey!  This is an awesome blog!’  or ‘Check out this product!’ everyone runs to check it out.  Because if my friend told me to look at something awesome I would.  I want that.

what numbers really matter in blogging

Im going to let you in on a little secret.  Sometimes, page views and Facebook fans and especially GFC followers do not matter.  Do you know why?  Because they dont prove that you have any influence.  Ok, maybe they do a little bit but how many of your followers click on a link you send?  How many respond or interact with you?  That to me, is the true measure of success.

So what does that mean?  Well, a few things.

  • One – Im going to do a numbers detox and not check them everyday. [Or try to.]
  • Two – Im not going to be changing my sponsor options (more on this soon).
  • Three – Im going to change the things I post.  In the past I have posted things or shared things because I thought I needed to do so in order to keep up with everyone else.  Im going to post things we love as a family, things we do together and all the messes and chaos in between.
  • Four – Im going to be very selective on the things I promote.  I want to promote products/services/people that I love and know you will love as well.  I want to build trust between my readers and the brands I choose to promote.

Im really excited for these changes.  I love blogging, I absolutely do.  But things need to change and Im starting by quitting my numbers.

Anyone else ever feel overwhelmed by their numbers?  Or am I alone on this?  [Please say no!]

Who Am I?

Honeymoon

Going to Blissdom has made me question who I am as a person and a blogger. Sometimes I wish I was a crunchy mama, a workout fanatic, a party girl. I would like to be that person, but its just not me. I get so caught up in who I want to be like, that I sometimes forget who I am.  And then I start to doubt myself as a person, and I dont like that.  Doubt is an ugly thing.  I’ve come up with an extremely long list of things that are me.  I thought it would be good to have a list of things that represent me in case I ever forgot and doubt starts creeping in.

Honeymoon

  • I listen to country music and Fresh Beat Band.
  • I can’t tell you the last time I paid full price for anything. And Im kinda proud of that.
  • Im more pro breastfeeding now then when I was actually breastfeeding my babies.
  • Im terrified of missing my plane and being stuck in an airport. It gives me anxiety.
  • I am loyal even to cell phone companies.
  • It takes me a long time to purchase a ‘trend’.
  • I don’t count coffee as calories.
  • I hate new pillows.
  • I dont own a blow dryer and I dont plan on buying one either. If I curl my hair I let it dry naturally and if I want to straighten my hair I wash it the night before.
  • I try to please everyone. This can be considered a flaw at times.
  • I compare myself to others and put myself into a funk when I dont feel adequate.
  • I like to make my own mind up about people, even if I’ve only heard negative things about them. Everyone deserves a fair shot.
  • I cuss when Im around certain freinds but never in front of my children.
  • Im not perfect.
  • My son has major attitude and I blame myself.
  • I would rather take the blame then lay it on someone else.
  • I think I can type fast because I’ve been using a computer since AOL chat rooms were all the rage.
  • You may not be able to tell I genuinely dont like you.
  • But I HATE having to pretend to like people when I dont.
  • I sometimes get ahead of myself and skip steps in recipes, projects, life.
  • I rarely wear earrings or necklaces.
  • Ive never worn red lipstick.

this is me

  • I love that Ryley says Im her best friend and I hope she truly believes it.
  • I desperately want to be able to support my family financial while staying home with my kids.
  • Im torn about telling my kids the truth about the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. I want them to know the truth. I think.
  • I want to be everyone’s friend.
  • I like repetitive tasks.
  • I say yay and holla a lot.
  • I drive the speed limit and have never gotten a ticket.
  • I can be pretty selfish at times.
  •  Two years later, I still dont fit into pre-pregnancy clothes.
  • I raised pigs in high school and went through a phase where I didn’t eat pork.
  • I made asked my husband to buy me another wedding band when I was pregnant with Ryley because I felt like people were juding me without one.
  • I have never dyed my hair.
  • Im a size 16 and some days Im ok with that.
  • I hate confrontation.
  • Im Italian and Czech so that last one comes as a surprise to even me.
  • I do talk with my hands and I am very animated.
  • I have a dirty love affair with carbs.
  • I kinda hate sweet tea.  I like unsweetened tea with sweet n low. 
  • The only site that I check out everyday is dlisted.com.  Judge away. 
  • Clinique is the most expensive makeup I’ve bought. 
  • I started college thinking I would be an anesthesiologist.  You can laugh. 
  • I dont like Valentines Day. 
  • I love Chicago.
  • I love my family so so much.  Even though some days, they really drive me bananas.

 

 

Things People Don’t Tell You About Blissdom

meeting people
I feel like Im still taking in all aspects of Blissdom.  My emotions are still on high and my brain is still processing the event.  I am still soaking it all in and not letting my emotions get the best of me.  I had an amazing time and met some great people but I was slightly disappointed with some things at Blissdom.  There were alot of things that I didnt expect and some that even shocked me.  But I dont want to put out only the negative things for a few reasons:
 

 

I like to always see the positive in things
I NEVER EVER want to hurt anyones feelings
People put ALOT of work into the conference
I had fun
I met some amazing people
I got free stuff
I had a great weekend away
 
There is always a good or postive thing that comes out of any situation.  I took away many great things but its overshadowed by a few negative things.  Things no one tells you about Blissdom.
 

 

People are clique-y

This surprised me the most.  People had their own cliques and stuck pretty close to them.  Blissdom encouraged connecting but not many people went out of their way to make new friends.  Myself included.  I am an outgoing person – until you put me in a room of 800 other women.  A lot of us tended to stick to our group of people we already knew and didn’t venture outside our bubbles.  What I didnt expect was when I sat at a table of new people to be looked up and down and instantly judged.  I sat at a few tables where no one talked to me.  I got a few dirty looks from other people when I laughed with my group of friends during a presentation.  Ooops.  [Ps.. not saying my group was clique-y.  We were very friendly to all.]
 

 

 

You don’t have to go to the classes

I made more contacts outside of the sessions then I did at those round tables.  I ran into more people who genuinely wanted to connect then inside the conference center.  Some of the classes I honestly I had no interest in attending but felt obligated.  I skipped a class and ran into some girls who I instantly connected with.  Connecting was far more valuable then that particular session. 
 

 

 

 

It didn’t teach much about blogging

This sounds silly to say but its true.  The sessions were more motivational then educational.  You had to have a decent knowledge of blogging to understand the context of some of the sessions.  It was very inspiring but didn’t teach you much in the means of blogging.  This seemed to upset people the most about the conference.  At first I was upset too, but I know that I learned other things and made some great connections in the process. 
 

 

 

You need extra luggage for swag

Swag is free stuff that sponsors hand out.  There were some amazing sponsors at Blissdom and they loved giving away their products.  I loved taking their products because they were things I used everyday.  Gain?  Check.  Vo5 shampoo and products?  Check.  Pedicare?  Check.  Extra bag?  No check.  I had to buy a bag to get all my goodies home.  Lame-o?  Check.

 

 

 

Blissdom gives you baby fever

There were a dozen or so mommas that brought their babies with them to the conference.  And I loved it!  My ovaries did not.  They kept telling me to say things like ‘I want a baby to bring to Blissdom!’  ‘What sling is that?  I need it for my next one!’  ‘Im not even pregnant or trying but I keep thinking of names!’  What?!  I might as well name my next baby Blissdom.  [That’s Emily from Sweet Bella Roos baby girl!]

 

 

Pictures can be deceiving

I met a ton of people, some that I only talked to for a few seconds and some that I had in depth conversations with.  I took pictures with a few people but only the ones that I connected with.  I didn’t walk up to people and just ask to take a picture.  Why?  Well it felt fake to me to say ‘OMG I love your blog!’ when I didnt even read it just to have a picture with huge blogger x.  So yes, you may have seen a ton of pictures but how many of those people made true connections?  A picture is worth a thousand words, unless its a lie.  [That’s Jamie from C.R.A.F.T.  Squeal!  She’s so genuine and this picture does not belong in the deceiving category.]
 

 

I had an amazing time at Blissdom.  I honestly truly did.  I just want to make sure that if you are considering going next year that you know what I didn’t.  If you are considering a blog conference where you can meet the best sponsors and be inspired – Blissdom is right for you.

 

My Everyday Valentine

BBQ

My husband and I came to the agreement our second year together that we don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We have no problem with the holiday but I don’t like the commercialism of it and my husband is cheap.  [So it works out well.]  Don’t get me wrong, I love that people spoil their significant other/parent/child, etc.  I just have a belief that everyday should be like Valentine’s Day.

BBQ

We aren’t perfect

Its hard for me to think that for one day everything will be perfect.  Because life isnt perfect and neither is love or marriage.  In fact its down right difficult.  Ryon and I met in 2007 when I was in my last semester of college in Texas.  We dated a few months before we moved into together – in another state!  Living together really brings out the best and worst in people – now add 1600 miles apart from family and friends.

I know I wasnt the easier person to deal with when we first lived together.  And have you ever had to clean a bathroom after a boy?  Yea, no fun!  So, yea, Im sure we had a couple of fights when we lived together in Michigan.

Our wedding

We Argue

Ill be the first to admit that Ryon is stubborn and bullheaded.  And Im sure he will say the same thing about me.  So sometimes we argue.  The thing with arguing is that when we are done and in our own corners, we know that we still love each other.  So we take a breath and have a real conversation.  Arguing is not a bad thing, if in the end you can come to an understanding.

Sometimes, when Im in a crabby mood, I like to push my husbands buttons and argue over nothing.  And sometimes I do it because after we argue, Ryon hugs me, kisses my forehead and tells me he loves me.  And my heart skips a beat and I just sink into him.  Ill take that feeling over candy, flowers and cards any day.

Honeymoon

We Accept Each Other

Im not perfect in any aspect of my life, and Im ok with that.  What makes me ok is the fact that my husband knows I have flaws and accepts and loves me.  The same goes for Ryon – I love him even though he is the loudest eater I have ever met.  Or he can cuss like a sailor sometimes.  We choose to make the best out of everyday together even if that means looking past the bad to only see the good.

My Everyday Valentine

We have common goals

Ryon was the first boy who talked about marriage and kids within the first few weeks of dating.  At first it kinda threw me off guard.  I thought ‘How did he know that I wanted to even get married?  Let alone have kids?  He doesn’t even know me yet!’  Looking back, I didnt want those things because I hadnt met someone worth wanting them with.  After we named our future child on a trip to Michigan, I was sold on my future husband.  Now raising and providing for our two toddlers is our number one priority.  I guess I wanted those things after all.

Shelbys Wedding

Ryon has made me a better person.  That’s the honest to goodness truth.  I love him like crazy, even if sometimes he drives me crazy!  I just want to make sure that I show him everyday.  Even on Valentine’s Day.

Read all about our wedding details.  Or a little more family history.

Honoring Sandy Hook + Financial Friday!

sandyhook

My heart continues to hurt for those in Connecticut.  I wanted to do something that was more then a day of silence and I am beyond amazed at the generosity of my sweet friends.  It started out with myself donating a nickle for every link at my party and then a few friends jumped in.  A few more have joined me and we are up to a dollar a link!  So please join the party and invite your friends to link up for an amazing cause!


Today Im Silent.

I have no words for how much my heart hurts for everyone in Sandy Hook/Newtown.  I am silent today to remember that every moment is precious.  Today I will hold my children tight and pray for the families that can not.  I will pray for peace and healing for the parents, family and friends of those lost.  I will cry and pray some more.

I will be donating 50% of all ad sales made in December to the Sandy Hook/Newtown fund.

And for every person that links up to Financial Friday this week – I will donate 5 cents.  And my amazing friend Jennifer will be matching me so we will be donating 10 cents per link.  If you are interested in hosting the link party on your site, please let me know!  Update – My sweet friends Adrianne and Emily are also donating!  We are up to 20 cents per link!

Also, if you are are on Twitter Brin from Bold Butter Baby is donating .05 cents for every tweet that uses the hashtag #HowImHelpingCT.

I am silent today and trying to help the only way I know how.  Will you join me?