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66 Responses to “Community Question: Where’s Your Moderation?”

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  1. Dee

    I’m one of those who is extremely skeptical about the ‘benefits’ of consuming coconut oil. All the research I’ve seen has been either about people who live in Pacific island or tropical areas and don’t eat an otherwise Western diet, or has been conducted by people who have a vested interest in convincing others that coconut oil is good for you, “and by the way, you can buy it right here on this website!” The link to “the scientific research” on coconut oil that is in the article you linked to is dead, which doesn’t do much to sway my skepticism.

    I find it disturbing that people keep insisting this is some magical health food. Whether it has benefits or not is unproven in Western society. A little bit included in an otherwise healthy diet probably wouldn’t do any harm, but the fact is it’s a saturated fat, and if people think that it’s some miracle superfood that’s going to cure what ails them, they’re probably being duped.

    As for your community questions, as nice as it would be for everyone to be consuming organic, free range meat and dairy all the time, that’s just not feasible. I do when I can (free range organic meat in particular is horrifically expensive in Australia and my budget doesn’t always allow for it), but I don’t beat myself up over it. It’s the same with beauty products. I’m moving more and more towards natural, organic skincare but there are items I have that came from a department store and while I’m not intending to repurchase them, I do intend to use them while I have them.

  2. Heather Booker

    I have been slowly moving towards a healthier lifestyle over the last few years. First it was cooking with fresh ingredients instead of canned or whatever…. then I cut out all boxed or premade items…. Then I started shopping at farmers markets… At this point I moved to the UK. Near me there are not always farmers markets…. So now I buy organic when it’s reasonable and am planting my own vegetable garden. I also buy organic/free range/grass fed meats when they are not outrageously priced….now I am exploring ways to cut out the refined sugar and white flour and use things that are better for me like honey…

    On that note, I still eat things that are not “Healthy,” but i feel that I am moving towards a healthier lifestyle and as long as I keep my eyes on the goal then its fine to have things occasionally that may not be great for me….luckily in the UK, lots of foods are made with natural ingredients….so I may buy hummus instead of make it, but the ingredients are all what I would use myself…. which is nice. I find that if I put too much pressure on myself to never slip up or whatever that I feel overwhelmed and start stressing out about it–which in turn is no good for my health. I think the best thing to do is to find the healthiest option even when you are eating something you normally wouldn’t. 

    I did paleo for a little while which really helped me to get over processed foods and such….and turned me on to the wonders of coconut oil. That being said, I mainly use it for my skin…. I occasionally cook with it…like for pancakes or other sweets. I use olive oil and organic Butter (*gasp*) when cooking. 

    as for cleaning products and beauty products… I am switching these over as I run out of my current products…. 

    I don’t know how much merit my opinion has since I am not 100% crunchy yet. But if everyone told me it had to be 100% all the time, it wouldn’t be for me. 

  3. If you are consciously working towards living in a planet-friendly and healthy way, then (in my book) you’re already doing everything right – even if you occasionally go for a hair product with silicone or a fast food lunch with less healthy ingredients. :) 

  4. My “moderation” is always changing. I used to think that a frozen pizza once a week for date night was moderation. I just couldn’t justify it anymore! Now I’m really careful about what we eat at home, but when we are at friends I relax and let my hair down a bit. My kids won’t thank me for being the nasty mother who won’t let them eat anything when we go out, but they don’t mind eating my homemade crackers and butter for snacks at home – they don’t know the difference! 

  5. Jenlynngermain

    My hardest problem with moderation is that when I find a new healthier/better/more natural way of doing things, I tend to go overboard and throw out the unused stuff I currently have and buy all new things following the new way and then I find myself overwhelmed trying to change/improve too many things at once.

    • Persephone Raynes

      THIS!

    • Melissasoltman

      Yes! I do this exact thing too! So, sometimes I try to stay away from it entirely when I know money is tight or that I’m going to get overwhelmed or it will be all encompassing, but this makes me miss out on all these crunchy, healthy ideas that I am dying to try. I am definitely trying to find a “moderation” in this challenge and part of it is not being SO hard on myself. Thank you for verbalizing this thought, Jenlynngermain!  

    • I can understand how you feel. I had to make it like a two year plan to change as many things as I could because otherwise I would get overwhelmed too.

    • Rlchrist3

      I think the best advice I was ever given about change is this: “Try and change two things every 6 months and over the course of 10 years you will have changed 20 habits.” It helps me keep my changes in perspective. That it is a lifestyle change and not a crash diet of crunchiness. So truth be told, moderation for me means different things at different times on my path, and it is about doing what I can, when I can, the best that I can :) We need to give ourselves some credit. For me the moderation comes right now in using up what I have and then when it is empty, it instigates the next change. Step by step, and the overwhelming sensation never really rears it’s ugly head. Keep it up!

  6. *sigh* <– That's the sigh of relief I let out as I read this. Thank you for articulating so much of what I was feeling intuitively.

    I find that the answer to your first question is, it's difficult. I eat hardly any animal products. But when I do, I can't afford to avoid the factory farmed foods on my student budget. That puts me in a tough position…even every once in awhile, I feel guilty about it.

    And I'm fairly strict about our household/hygiene products, but after reading this, I'm tempted to get some factory-made laundry detergent…just for one round. =)

  7. Kelli

    Had to LOL at your description of how coconut oil is going to kill me! I’m a very healthy 119 lbs at 5’3″ and I consume a whopping 300 calories a day of coconut oil! It’s quite fun to see people’s faces when I tell them about how much fat I eat :)

  8. Rach

    The saying “worth its weight in salt” refers to a time when salt was a highly sought after commodity and very expensive. So for something to be “worth its weight in salt” meant that is was good quality. Just had to be a know it all for a minute, sorry!!

    And yes, there is moderation with factory farmed foods. I can’t afford the better alternatives and I’m not going to cut that out of my family’s diet. Its just not an option for us. It works for some, but not us. 

    I am pretty strict with some things and I don’t feel like I’m missing out. If its bad enough that I refuse to have it, then its pretty bad. I do “treat” myself/my family to a few things now and again, but none of us really cares for it.

  9. Noaa

    I’m not sure i have my own def. for moderation. But I did learn an important lesson about eating healthy and “treats”. I had a double cheeseburger and fries from a fast food joint for a treat yesterday. and then went to a cardio/weight lifting class (we use free weights, a bar, a step thingy, a large ball, a mat, and resistance bands). Mind you the class was about 4ish hours after lunch. I felt sick within 10 minutes of class starting, I managed to finish out the hour long class but felt rather “green” for an hour afterwards. I don’t like “getting sick”, but i was tempted to just “get it over with” becuase i was just that nauseated!
    I would like to redefine “treat” a “treat” should be a cookie, a slice of cake, some ice cream, chocolate dipped fruit, but never again will it be a cheeseburger from a fast food joint. A “treat” could even be an expensive piece of fruit you wouldn’t normally buy.
    a “treat” should be enjoyable, maybe a little unhealthy, but it should under no circumstances make you feel ill afterwards.

  10. Annette

    I have to say I’m moderate in my moderation. The world won’t end if I eat a french fry…however, I do try my best in all things…so while my heart is “crunchy” my life sometimes isn’t…and that’s okay as long as I’m trying!

  11. Anonymous

    I think the main thought that struck me after reading this post and the wonderful comments is just how much pressure we put on ourselves (me included–at the top of the list!) and how this affects the very things we enjoy or the ways we are trying to improve our well-being and lifestyles (an amazing feat!). I’ve just realized lately how much suffering comes from the stress of judging myself and HOW I’m doing something rather than enjoying the steps and letting myself do something in moderation. So much of my stress and anxiety come from the unconscious voice saying “if you aren’t going to do it 110%, why do it at all?” and I neither believe nor endorse this voice. I think moderation is a wonderful thing to learn, as well as self compassion, self humor, and reducing the self judgment. It’s a work in progress…Thanks wonderful crunchy community!

  12. Angie Simonsen

    My moderation level is in a constant state of evolution.
    It sickens me to think of what I ate/drank/consumed before I had my kids. And now, 13 years later, I continue to work towards a better place. I occasionally take a step back, but always work forward again, and try not to beat myself up too much for the lapse.
    While I had always wanted to live a greener lifestyle, it wasn’t until I found Pinterest last year that I really did start making big strides (other than buying what was marketed as “natural”, and now knowing that most of that is a marketing trick). It was inspiring to see how easy it was to make your own detergents, cleaners and personal care products.
    Sometimes my family thinks I have gone off of the deep end – a perfect example is a bit of coconut oil and organic apple cider vinegar in my tea – oh the HORROR!!! And the smell!!! However, they let me carry on, because they know I’m trying and evolving…

  13. LizAnn

    I think you are correct about moderation…it’s relative.

    I try to live by my “good, better, best” theory. For example: apples…” good ” would be my homemade bottled applesauce, “better” would be a fresh apple,” best” would be a locally grown organic apple.

    So, when I feel guilty about a choice I have made I try and remind myself that stressing over it is probably TOO stressful (and NOT good for me?) and my “good” is still better than I used to do.

     I had to buy eggs at the store yesterday since my chickens aren’t really laying (the best option). Since we are on a budget I couldn’t afford $4-plus a dozen for organic eggs for the family so I had to choose a less desirable option or there would be no eggs in the house. I felt icky about it but I reminded myself that it’s only temporary and still better than a processed egg product. (or I”m justifying it?)

    I swore off skincare type products but my husband was really missing the smell of the perfume I normally wear. So, I now wear it on the weekends. Not the best option? but ..better option since it makes hubby smile and I no longer wear it daily.

  14. Tizmarelda

    I, too, am moderate about my moderation. I know that refined and processed food is bad bad bad, and even in small amounts. I know that sugar and white flour aren’t just empty calories, but they actually rob your body of nutrients just to digest them. I know that factory farmed meat, dairy and eggs are totally loaded with toxins, and not very nutritious at all, and that conventional produce could be genetically modified. So, I do TRY to avoid all of these whoever possible. And I do a pretty good job most of the time.  But the times that come up (hello my sister’s 30th birthday party) I just relax and have a piece of cake. Because stress is just as bad for you as all those other things, and it’s not worth it to me to overstress.

    • Beignet

      “Stress is just as bad for you as all those other things.” THANK YOU. I am putting this up on my wall. I need to remember this several times a day!

  15. MeanJean

    Thank you for awakening my thoughts Crunchy Betty. I love you. Hehe

    I think life is a balance of moderation. The sway of life.

  16. Well, if we’re going to die from eating coconut oil, I’ll probably be first.  I doubt it, though.  Saturated fat are not the evil “they” want us to believe it is.  I can tell you in the last few weeks, since I started consuming several spoonfuls a day (in coffee, in tea, in homemade chocolate, with peanut butter etc.) I have started wearing pants I have not worn in a long time.  And without increasing my exercise or cutting back on other foods.  I’ve also been in a better mood (could definitely be all that chocolate).  I probably am a bit fanatical (don’t even ask my husband – but he just doesn’t like the taste of coconut). 
    I just started using the oil cleansing and love it.  Homemade deodorant, check.  Dr. Bronner’s soap for everything, check (including shampoo).  Almost zero grains in my house.  We drink raw organic milk and eat organic pastured meats (though we would not if we didn’t own an organic farm and dairy – wouldn’t be able to afford it.)  I change one thing at a time and try not to get overwhelmed.  Improvement is improvement, be thankful for it.
    I think moderation is doing the best you can with what you have to work with, and that has to be enough.  No sense stressing over it.  You have to eat and get things clean.
    CB – will you come be my friend?  Everyone around here thinks I’m crazy.  OK, so maybe I think they’re crazy, whatever…  hmm, growing up I never thought I would become “that crazy, crunchy chick.”  Well, guess what…

  17. ButterflyChris

    I am still a work in progress and will continue to be that.  I am trying to do the best I can to lead a healthier lifestyle by eating better, using more chemical-free cleaning and beauty products and leading by example so my daughters will at least try to do the same.  However, I am doing it all a little bit at a time and am not going to turn into a person who has to do EVERYTHING all the time every time.  To me it seems a bit unrealistic and I do not possess that type of discipline. LOL However, if you can do it all, all the time, be my guest.  It can be so overwhelming and crazy for me to make sure that I do this and this and this and don’t so this and this and this.  I am not going to beat myself up for falling short of “Crunchy Perfection” but I will at least make an acknowledgement to myself that I will need to try a little harder if I want to make the change a more permanent one.  I will have the occasional *gasp* drink of Mountain Dew or have that piece of cake or use that store-bought lotion and I will not feel guilty about it because that’s just what I do.  It does not make me a bad person.  I refuse to make myself feel that way and I most certainly will not let other people make me feel that way.  Also, I will not let other people feel bad if they are not doing the same things as I am.  That is none of my business.  I have to live MY life, not theirs.  I do hope, however, that I can at least let them know about my own personal experiences and help in educating and encouraging them whenever possible.    

  18. fern

    In response to your third question:  I did feel like I was missing out when it came to makeup – specifically, my foundation.  My natural one didn’t last all day and I thought the chemicals would make it last all day so I didn’t look so splotchy at the end of the day.  I bought some mainstream foundation and discovered that it does not, actually, last any longer or stay in place much better than my natural, good for me one.  So I am going to return the chemy one and feel safe in my skin.  I’m also going to try to remember to bring blotting papers to work so I don’t feel the need to tough my face with my fingers and go get rid of the extra oil.

    Thank you for this post!  Sometimes I think it’s difficult to stay the natural path because we are all so busy.  But, really, we have to eat anyway, so may as well make it tasty and good for you than spend more money or just as much time on a lesser-quality product.  No one else I know is really into this way of life, except my fiance is very supportive (he signed us up for a coop membership!), so I do sometimes feel like other people think I’m crazy…but I don’t think you or the commenters are crazy, so it must be okay, right?  :)

    • Anonymous

      Hi Fern.  Regarding oil on your face – I used to be super shiny too.  When I started the oil cleansing method, the shine stopped immediately.  And I mean, on the very day I didn’t use regular cleanser.  I would never have thought it was possible to succeed by putting oil on my already oily and acneic skin, but it has changed my skin (and life) completely.  If you’re curious, give it a go. 

      • Brianna Mayflower

        Lovely Kylie, I have a question for you! I see you’re a fellow Aussie ;), and I was wondering where you get your EOs from? I’ve just come home and am suuuper keen on starting the OCM, but I want to find an Aussie company as mind-blowingly beautiful as Mountain Rose Herbs seems to be. Muchos love and thanks!

        • Anonymous

          Hiya, yes I noticed you were an Aussie too.  Where are you?  I’m a Canberran these days, but currently working in Darwin (ohhh boy my skin and hair are loving some humidity…Canberra is so freakin’ dry). 

          Hmm interesting question, and sadly, no, I haven’t found a local equivalent to Mountain Rose Herbs.  I have bought online from someone but I honestly can’t remember who, and I’m away so I can’t look it up in my receipts.  The Sunspirit range are available through healthfood stores which isn’t cheap, but I guess I go through them so slowly that it hasn’t mattered too much.

          Have you bought through Mountain Rose in Australia?  I’ve not but I’ve thought about it – everyone here raves about them.

          • Brianna Mayflower

            Oooh, Sunspirit looks like a really lovely company, I’ll check em out! I haven’t bought from Mountain Rose, I try as much as I can manage to only buy from whichever country I’m in – but the second I visit the US, they can expect an avalanche order from me! ;)

            Totally agree about the hair! I live just south of Darwin, across the WA border in Kununurra, though I’m visiting my family in Sydney at the moment. Fantastic for my hair, but disastrous for my skin, unfortunately! I hope you’re loving it up north, my heart yearns to be back in the bush! Enjoy the weather too ;)

      • fern

        Kylie – so I tried the oil cleansing method last night.  I’d always meant to try it, but I hadn’t yet (your comment inspired me to make it a point to try it!).  My first impression, after one use, is o.m.g. my skin is so soft!  SO SOFT!  I think my skin really liked it…I’m going to try to do it every other night and see how my skin still likes it (I think it will be fine).  :)  I needed less moisturizer (oil) at night and less in the morning, too.  I am really excited about this. :)  Thank you so much for the push I needed to give this a try!!

        • Anonymous

          Oh Fern!  I’m welling up reading this!!  I’m so glad you have liked what you’ve tried so far.  It means so much to me, to share this kind of thing.  I’m certain that the only reason I was ever shiny was because I was stripping my skin by washing it in the mornings.  If you’re still finding the shine during the day, try OCM in the morning and see how it goes.  I don’t wear a lot of make up so it’s hard to say how well it will stay put – maybe try on a day you’re not wearing any?  I used to be so embarrassed by my skin and now when I go out, I love that I just use a little blush/bronzer and something on my eyes.  My skin looks so healthy now.  Even with the odd zit, the overall picture is just healthy and happy :)  Good luck!!

  19. I am a convert to the world of crunchy living. I was raised by a homesteading hippie, and I must say I did what was typical, and ran from that lifestyle as soon as I turned 18. However, when I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease a year and a half ago, I started to look at the world with different eyes.
     After two months of the treatment, I was in horrific shape. I looked and felt used up; my hair started falling out and my body was bloating up. I was scared and I asked if I could do anything with diet or exercise to help my condition and the doctor said no, that there was nothing that could hurt me. He also kept pushing surgery. Wanting to avoid the possibility of removing my thyroid, I started to look at the way I treated my self and my body. They say my
    disease (and many others today) are caused by stress.  I lived on
    stress, and
    coffee and fast food and had for most of a decade. Nothing was done in
    moderation…I pretty much had one speed and that was GO! Working near
    80 hours a week and never taking any down time had led me to a very
    dangerous place.

    So I decided it was my lifestyle or my life that was gonna have to go,
    so I opted to over haul everything, but over the course of the two year
    treatment plan, so that I could manage it and STICK to my changes.

     I started digging into research on my own and discovered a underground movement (of sorts) centered around simplifying your diet and increasing your nutrient levels. I started with moderating my food…what was I eating, when and how. This is where I don’t budge or give myself allowances.
     I removed all the processed food from my diet and quit eating out except places I could see what was in my food (ie. my favorite sushi and local fresh deli’s). I quit drinking sodas. That was a killer thing for me. But it was worth it!  I noticed a change almost immediately! I started to feel better and began to have a minor pool of energy to pull from. I told my doctor. He said it was not related! HA! I was getting fed up at this point, so I decided to tweak things some more.

    I added a vitamin regiment and removed the cleaning products from my home. Boom! Another huge change in my over all health and feeling. It was amazing. The more I took out (Chemicals from a cleaning business I ran for years, the dryer sheets, and the carpet cleaners to name a few) the better I felt.
    Then my family started mentioning how good they were feeling as well!
    That was it….I was officially converted to the land of natural.

    Sure I haven’t changed everything, and like many of you, I feel guilty when I backslide or I am too tired to make my own detergent or jam that week. But, I try to live my life in a manner I can be proud of and not fear what I am putting into my body or the planet’s. I think the most important part is to try your best.

    I do eat meat and from time to time that has been purchased from the factory farms. I don’t like the way it tastes and it is always tough. But like I said, we all backslide.  Mostly, I eat venison and local free range meat and fowl from the area farms. I just like know where my food comes from, how it was raised and what it ATE!  I can’t find a decent source of farm fresh eggs which makes me a little bonkers, but Eggland’s are delicious, so I survive! 

    My goal for this year is to take my household further into the land of green and clean! :) It is a slow process while we all make new habits, but it is a good one.   Wow… my reply sorta ran away with me! I love your blog! :)

  20. Jenlynngermain

    Over the weekend, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I used the same recipe I always use, but instead of AP flour, I used Whole Grain Whole Wheat flour and instead of butter or shortening, I used Coconut Oil. The cookies were DELICIOUS!! For some reason, it seemed like I could taste the brown sugar more in these cookies even though the brown sugar quantity was constant from the last time I’d made the cookies un-modified. I even have my niece eating them though I know that if she knew there was “wheat flour” or coconut oil in them she’d avoid them like the plague. I’m thinking of seeing what other ingredients I can switch out for my next batch. I think I read that you can switch out wheat germ and water for the eggs so maybe that?

    • Lisa

      Eggs are actually good for you – but a non-animal substitute is 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar plus 1 tsp of baking soda for each egg.  Works wonders in all baked goods.

      Another healthier substitute is using sucanat (“sugar cane natural”) for sugar.  When a recipe calls for brown and/or white, I just use sucanat for both.  Tastes awesome!

  21. What a wonderful post.  I am a moderate..I exercise in moderation, I worry about food in moderation (meaning the planning of it) and I eat alternative choices in moderation.  So I always stick to organic…no compromise unless forced…when buying food, but my kids still have a Burger King meal very occasionally…I choose not to worry about it.  I clean with organic products…you have no idea how happy I am to have found your site so  can crete my own and save money!  I started cooking with coconut oil after my son was hospitalized with an illness and his nutritionist recommended it for his health…he had wasted away to nothing due to the treatment and coconut oil was the big kahuna of products for getting better…along with Kombu and quinoa.  I even cook eggs with coconut oil now…delicious! But…I also use other oils as I like moderation. Olive oil is a go to often as well.  I drink 2% milk as I like it the best.  I use butter not margarine, I use Algarve to sweeten but prefer sugar to fake junk!  I also avoid low calorie or low fat foods and have been at a happier, more stable weight since doing so.  So long as I eat moderate portion sizes. :)

  22. Still in college, I feel like I need to succumb to some not all natural choices more than I’d like. Particularly in the food department. Our “kitchen” is in a sad state and we don’t even have an oven so we’re pretty much forced to eat at the caf. The food isn’t terrible, but I’m sure I could do better. 

    Because the food choices are meh at best, I try to stick to all natural choices in beauty and cleaning as much as possible. I think I’ve eliminated every “alternative” choice, except for maybe contacts and saline solution, but as a dancer, I can’t always wear my glasses. And makeup…but I know that’s something we’re all struggling with haha.

  23. Clara O

    When it comes to food, I do my best – I cook from scratch as much as possible and serve up as many meatless meals as possible (without my meat-loving hubby getting too annoyed) and add extra fruits/veggies as much as I can. I can’t afford organic usually, but I always try to get locally-grown, in-season produce. I would say with my diet and skincare/household products, I follow the 80/20 principle, and don’t get too down on myself for buying a commercial toilet cleaner or something occasionally. I have learned that sometimes I have to let some things go or I’ll make myself go crazy – there is only so much I can do myself as I work full-time, am a part-time PhD student, and have a husband and a 2-year-old. I’m pretty proud of myself for making my own detergent and my own deodorant and using mostly natural cleaning and self-care products, and for cooking from scratch as much as I do, and I can’t be upset at all the things I just can’t do at this point in my life, for lack of money or time, or other reasons. As my life circumstances change, I will also adapt my healthy living habits, and will continue to do what I can, no matter how small – I know all the little things do add up! 

  24. Angelineleigh

    My motto is that it’s not what you do once in a while that matters.  It’s easy to get anal sometimes about being 100% clean.  Not in practice so much as in my mind which can beat myself for straying.  But the truth is I do many things occasionally esp if I’m traveling and I don’t get bothered by it.
    The tricky part is not to let the occasional stray become habit…

  25. Lissa

    I try to moderate, but for me it just doesn’t happen. Ever. For me it’s all or nothing; either I do it full force or I lose interest within a week. It’s just how my head works.

    So I redefine moderation to one or two big projects at a time. Three tops. (Um, four at the moment, but three are really entwined so it would be harder to do one at a time.) I’m still going full out, but only in one direction, so I don’t burn out. And for me I’m giving my all because I want to do it, rarely because I’m forcing myself to do it.

    So when I jackrabbit into several things I want to do at once, I sit down, make a list of them, then stick it somewhere I know where it is until I’m ready to do them. When one big thing finishes up or becomes habit or doesn’t pan out, I pull out my list and pick a new one.

  26. Heather :) :) :)

    This was a hard question for me to answer. I don’t consume factory farmed foods anymore…at least not consciously, because it made me feel awful!!!…In terms of what I do eat, I eat really clean and healthy. I very rarely allow something questionable into my diet or natural/household beauty/cleaning products…but that’s mainly because I know what I felt like when I was using/consuming more questionalbe products/food…and that’s not something I want to repeat. I do have to eat gluten free for health reasons, but I did “slip” a couple of weeks ago…but I”m not beating myself up over it.  Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  27. Laura

    I follow the 80/20 rule wih regards to my diet of traditional foods, and I’d say where nontoxic skin and health care are concerned its about 90/10. I haven’t found a good homemade lotion that I love, nor a conditioner to go with my shampoo bar.

  28. Lisa

    I still falter with makeup.  I’m a TV reporter, so makeup is an essential part of my job (darn it).  But Betty’s “oil cleanse method” has worked wonders for my skin, as has rinsing my hair with ACV.

    Baby steps – I’m constantly searching for new ways to be “crunchier.”  But it’s a lifelong process.

    • Debbie Mahder

      I don’t know exactly how crunchy this makeup’s ingredients are for some people, but for me they are good.  It’s called Vapour Soft Focus foundation.  It’s a liquid in a pump bottle.  One pump is all it takes for me and I have rosacea and uneven skin tone.  I ordered samples to find the right color and make sure I liked it before buying, and I would suggest anyone else do the same as it’s not cheap for a full bottle.  It covers very well but is totally lightweight, makes your skin feel like silk (especially after honey wash in the a.m.), and it doesn’t wear off during the day.  I don’t use powder anymore due to the lung concerns and I got nervous at first with this makeup as it looks very dewy (and I’m oily skinned), but after about half hour it absorbs fully and no greasy look at all, in fact dare I say, it doesn’t look like you are wearing makeup at all.  What amazes me is the coverage and how well it stays on without a powder to set it.  It does not wear off on my phone or anything else – it doesn’t come off till I remove with OCM at night!   The first time I wore it to a laser hair removal appointment, the esthetician turned on her bright light to laser me and complimented me on my skin – I had just started the honey wash and OCM then too so I think it was a combo of everything.

      As far as moderation there are some things I am strict about like fragrance – none for me thanks.  The one and only thing in the house that has it is my husband’s shampoo and I have tried for years to get him to switch and he just will not do it.  It is a real sore point for me because I am so sensitive to fragrance (and feel like hello this could endanger my health, do you not care?!).  And he feels that he has given up so much already (he has) and this is his favorite thing (Suave green apple lol).  Arghhh. The only time it bothers me is if he is showering and the heater comes on, it somehow makes the smell go all through the house.  I stay away from him till his hair is dry (thick, air dries), then I don’t smell it. 

      Food – mostly grain free (but there are slips) and mostly organic and grass fed if I can afford it.  I do eat meat and would prefer no factory meat but I just don’t have the budget or sources really to go 100% grass fed.  We do eat a lot of wild caught fish and organic, grass fed whenever we can.  We also feed our dogs grain free, mostly raw meat diet.  It has been good for them.  My big baby husky/lab just passed away at 17 and my basenji/border collie will be 16 next month.

  29. SarahM

    This post came at a perfect time for me. I’ve only been perusing this blog for a short while (I love it!), and am making the first few tentative (or not so tentative) steps on my crunchy journey. I’m currently reading Real Food: What to Eat and Why, by Nina Planck, and have been thinking about “everything in moderation” in that context. I’m not sure I really got anywhere with my thoughts, but here are a few ideas about moderation: 

    So maybe there are various ancient cultures that ate almost entirely (grass fed) meat products, and were very healthy for it. But I’m not going to try for that diet. I’m going to switch to grass fed meats when I can, but I’m still going to stick with smaller meat portions and eat my whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. Because I like those things, and they too are good for me. Moderation — eat healthy meats, but don’t go to the extreme. 

    Maybe there are some foods we like to eat, but that we know aren’t that good for us. (Chocolate chip cookies are my weakness…) But the other reasons for eating those foods — comfort, plain old enjoyment, memories (maybe your grandmother made the best ever chocolate chip cookies), social situations and not wanting to be a “food nazi,” whatever other reasons you may have — outweigh the negative health aspects. But I’m not going to bake chocolate chip cookies every day. Just occasionally. 

  30. Juju

    I have a tendency to jump all in when I get excited about something.  This means that I can take on too much, too soon.  I started doing the OCM a few months ago (love, Love, LOVE it!) and added in the honey wash maybe two weeks ago.  Around that time I discovered the curly girl method, and have been trying to change my entire hair care regimen – meaning I now get up SUPER early just to give my hair adequate drying time (it’s long and fine, but there’s SO. MUCH. OF. IT.).  I’ve also started incorporating more coconut oil into my diet…maybe two tsp mixed in with coffee or tea.  My mother asked my why I even bother with all of this, considering how busy I am between school and training for a half.  :-)

    Today, as I was freaking out about how awful my hair feels and looks right now (Curly Girl almost equals no poo, and as a result my hair looks and feels worse than when I was using all of those pesky little shampoo’s with all the nasties in them) I thought about this post and came to the realization that I was in over my head.  I’m spending all of this time on a method that doesn’t work for me and I have all of these hair products and skin care products that are just sitting around, not being used. I can’t make myself throw them away- I hate wasting things.  So I’m going to scale back, use what I have, and slowly start replacing my stuff with crunchier versions. 

    I’m not giving up my OCM and honey wash, however! 

    • Bethie

      CB has said in the past to allow something to run out (I.e. Shampoo) and then start with the new “improved” version. One thing at a time, no waste. I loved this advice and follow it nearly without fail now as cost and waste are a big concern for me and would be a road block to more natural products, methods, etc if I did it otherwise. :0)

  31. Deirdre

    We try to follow a less waste and paleo lifestyle/diet. The two ideas tend to clash at times. For instance, less waste would mean less meat. Paleo means more meat. So we try to make the best packaging choices, organic cucumbers (yea!) but individually wrapped (boo), while staying within budget. Moderation is our game we play daily. I love your term “decision”. It encourages responsibility for our actions and not laying blame/guilt when we slip. Love your blog!!

  32. Marijo_gd

    Hi, crunchys! Or is it crunchies? Here are my 2 cents: I don’t have a strict rule when it comes to meat. However, beef over here (Paraguay) is always grass fed and free range though not organic and so I don’t feel too guilty about eating it. The same isn’t true regarding pork and chicken so I do do my best to avoid those options.
    When it comes to household products, I haven’t started DIYing them yet. The shame, I know. But I buy the plainest options, with no bleach, fragrance, etc. and I know this will be the year I stop buying them.
    On the personal care front, I am proud to say I’m pretty hard core. Well, not really, but I’m getting there, with the help of this amazing site :)
    I do sometimes crave make up. Concealer especially because of my acne. I also lust after perfectly manicured nails with bright red polish. That’s how my nails looked like about a year and a half ago. But, whatever unnatural craving I get, it usually dissappears the moment I sniff the product. I can smell the chemicals that shouldn’t be on me and they make me gag. If that fails, I conjure up the memory of when I first started going no poo. I looked at the water going down the drain and felt so relieved it wasn’t going to harm the river, ocean, land it got to after leaving my shower.

    • cdngrleh

      Just a thought/suggestion: I quit my expensive, toxic, liquid foundation and switched to a thin layer of organic shea butter on clean skin, with a little 100% natural mineral foundation powder brushed over top and my acne cleared right up. The shea butter keeps the powder from looking dry. (though that might not be a concern in your corner of the world) My skin looks and feels better than it ever has. I get the powder here http://colorevolution.net/ though no doubt there are others. Wish I knew of an alternative for the nail polish because I miss it too :-)

  33. kc

    I’ll be honest, I love my meat. Now, I’m not downing vegans or vegetarians; it’s just not for me. I’m a teeny teeny tiny girl and I already eat 24/7 as is. I need the protein and I can’t stomach soy. Maybe I haven’t tried the good recipes but so far, I haven’t been able to. Now, I’m in college, so I don’t have much control over where my meat comes from. Once I can though, I’d prefer to buy free-range/non-factory meat. You know, buy a quarter of a cow or something and freeze it. Venison tastes amazing when cooked right. But I would definitely prefer the “au natural” meat.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t mind moderating my meats though if I could find ways to stay full and stay healthy.

    I am trying to use more natural stuff now. I just started exfoliating twice a week with a brown sugar scrub and using coconut oil as a moisturizer and it’s amazing just how quickly it cleared up my skin problems. Granted, I’m also trying to fix them now…something I wasn’t doing before…bu t still. I want to make some lotion bars but frankly, I don’t have the space in my dorm room to keep them.

    Just for the sheer fact of being cheap, I’ll probably make homemade cleaners and such. Cheaper, easier to use, better, etc… I’ll probably buy some “heavy duty/non-healthy” cleaning stuff for the big jobs but honestly, vinegar and other things work fairly well. My dad actually preferred us using vinegar for window washing because it works better than even windex!

  34. I need things to be defined.  I have struggled to find my “moderate” place, but at 46, I think I might be getting close!  (slow learning curve!) I had to make what I call “personal laws” —boundaries that would work for me and my family.  I have become sort of a freak about what we keep at home, but I tell my kids to have what they want when they go out (unless we are “cleansing”) At first we all binged when we left the house, but after experiencing how much better we feel (and getting more consistent about having a well-stocked kitchen, full of healthy choices) we are all making better choices.  I can tell when my hubby cheats—he snores! LOL… Poor guy! He can’t get away with anything!

  35. I am a Newbie here.  I am about as crunchy as that strange jello salad the old ladies take to church potluck dinners (in other words – NOT crunchy at all).  I don’t eat red meat, but only because I developed and allergy to both beef and pork about 7 years ago.  I rarely eat fast food, but only because we live 30 minutes from the nearest McD’s or Taco Bell.  I changed to whole wheat bread about a year ago (and am loving it – but now I hear bread is bad??  Bummer.)  I like fresh fruits and veggies, but tend to use canned and processed everything else.  (I don’t even want to talk about my shampoo).  But this group intrigues me  (oh, and Leslie is my childhood BFF, and she is awesome, so I had to start reading)
    I am 38 years old and until recently had an incredible metabolism, so could eat whatever I wanted and sit around watching tv all day and never gain a pound.  Now, I notice the belly bulge, my low energy and read all this fun Crunchy stuff and it makes me curious.  So, keep up the great posts, Leslie, and keep giving great responses, community.  I just may be crunchy sooner than I think :-)

  36. Melanie

    Agreed! Sometimes I feel like I OCD on always trying to do the best thing. So I changed my thoughts to “Try to do the Best you can do everyday” if I didn’t have time to make a lunch and end up eating fast food instead of getting a hangover, I make the best out of that situation and pick the healthiest food I can and stave off a migraine…It’s not always like that and the majority of the time I’m focused and organized, but sometimes I get exhausted! and I give myself that break. Stressing about it all, as mentioned below is just as harmful, instead give yourself some credit for doing the best you can. Every little bit, even if it’s only changing one thing, helps :)

  37. Anonymous

    Love this post! It’s like you read my mind or something! My mother is a dietician, so when I was growing up there was always healthy food in the house: homemade bread, veggies, fruits, etc. Then I went to college (yucky cafeteria food) then moved into my first apartment ($20/wk food budget) and my eating habits really suffered. Over the last few years I have cleaned up my diet by adding more fruits, vegetables, and homemade meals. I no longer buy margarine or boxed meals. I would like to buy more organic food, but my husband and I are on a very tight budget and simply can’t afford it most of the time. Although there are still things about my diet that I would like to change, I don’t feel guilty about the way I eat. I am much healthier today than I was a year or even six months ago. Every day is a new day to choose to treat my body right, and I feel happy when we eat fresh foods and homemade meals. My goal this winter is to start baking bread.

    I’m very new to the crunchy journey. So far I have switched over most of my beauty routine and I am going to start on household products next. Though I still have a ways to go, I am proud of the changes I have made so far. Instead of groaning over all the chemical filled products floating around the house, I focus on the positive changes I have made so far. I get excited every time I am able to switch to a natural product. One change at a time gets me one step further along on this journey. I don’t feel guilty, I feel empowered by the good choices I have made so far.

  38. Rachel

    As a parent and as a believer in natural health, I want to be super conscientious of what I use and buy.  As a human being, I’m not always so.  I read tons of natural food, health, and parenting info until it becomes a cacophony of “do this! never do that!” and I can’t decide for myself anymore.  Then it’s time to step back, take a breath, and remember what I think.  Grocery shopping:  Organic full fat dairy?  Yes.  Organic versions of dirty dozen list? Yeah.  Meat and eggs local and grassfed?  If at all possible.  If not, at least humane and no nitrates.  Coffee?  Gotta have it (fair trade and organic of course).  Last night I took my kids to Chic-Fil-A.  It happens.  I like the term “alternative choice”.  As much as I want to always express my opinion with my consumer dollar, it doesn’t always happen and that has to be ok or I’d go nuts.  I am not a waldorf parent, a homesteader, or rich so I could always afford the eco-alternative, or perfect.  I am most puritanical, oddly, about what goes on our skin, but that is because I had horrible skin problems as a young adult that started me on the road to natural wellness.  But just recently I realized that I had no bath products because I couldn’t afford what I wanted.  I had had a terrible day, and off to Bath and Body Works I went because gosh darn it, sometimes you just wanna smell like a cookie.  Not gonna feel bad about it either.  Sometimes I wish making the “right” choice didn’t matter to me as much as it does because I’d save a lot of money, and it would be so much less effort (all that label reading!!!).  It does matter though, so I give it my best as often as I can, and when I can’t I ask myself the following question:  “is anyone going to die if I (give my kid an oreo, buy a disney toy, you get the idea) today?”  As long as the answer is no, I’m good to go and hopefully I’ll do better next time.

  39. Brianna Mayflower

    Kind of left of field interpretation of the question, but anywaaaay! =) 

    A few years ago I attended a youth Buddhist conference in Sydney, where the cuuuutest Venerable gave a talk on the Middle Way which completely changed my idea of what is moderation. He spoke about how so often it is perceived as this boring, filed-down way of life, like if you cut the top and bottom off a sine wave and are left with this flat, dead straight line. BUT! he said! This is not it at all! The Middle Way is like you take one side, then the other, and bring them together in a CRASH! of vibrant, dynamic energic power! (He loudly clapped his hands together, with a beaming smile, as he said this)

    I just loved this! Finding the beauty and truth in many things things and BAM internalising those which feel right for YOU and that make your own heart sing! 

  40. Sarah Hofhine

    I absolutely love this.  I struggle so, so much with feeling inadequate, with panicking about the hormones and synthetic chemicals in all of our water supply, with the night where I just can’t make a from scratch meal.  I like your concept of alternative decision making, that sometimes the moment requires something different than the long haul.  And I’m not perfectly consistent either, there are some things that just frankly don’t jibe with my overall philosophy (disposable diapering) but are necessities right now.  After all, permanently sky-high cortisol levels are just as bad as a lot of what’s in the water.

    I particularly appreciate the fact that you never act crunchier-than-thou.  That would probably be difficult to pull off with food on your face, wouldn’t it? :)

  41. Oh wow!  I agree with so many of the definitions below of “moderation.”  I think that my struggle with moderation sometimes though is HUGE quantities of good things.  (In other words, I might convince myself that I shouldn’t eat that ice cream, but then have three times as much frozen yogurt!)  However, I do agree that moderation is different for everyone and that, occasional “slip-ups” or “indulgences” aren’t worth getting ourselves upset.  After all, God made all of us to be uniquely different, one-of-a-kind individuals!  If we can’t stop an enjoy a few of our non-regular routines every now and then, we might be missing out on the bigger (and more important) picture!

    Thank you all for sharing your wisdom. :)

  42. NPR just had a great story on the history on lard.  It’s gotten a bad rap for over 100 years.  I wouldn’t make my tortillas or pie crust with anything else!
    I was lucky to grow up with the attitude that eating from a box (my mom was not chic enough to call it processed food- it was just ‘we don’t eat from things out of a ‘box’) was not the best and eating butter was good as long as it was in moderation.  Very different from my friends in the 1970’s.

  43. Kelsey K

    I am also a recent convert to the crunchy community, although I live in Santa Cruz, which is pretty dang hippie, so it’s surprising that I haven’t gotten here sooner! And this post today is extra interesting to me because I actually came to this site from a food site, specifically a paleo site. 

    If you don’t know what paleo is, the most basic explanation is that it’s eating like the cave people used too. Lots of fat, protein, vegetables, some fruit and some nuts/seeds. This means I cook with LOTS of coconut oil (and drink coconut milk…yum). I don’t eat anything processed which means sugar, fake oils: canola, vegetable, peanut, and grains. Yes, you heard me right, grains. Any and ALL grains. And I personally only occasionally consume dairy, but try to make sure it’s raw or from grass fed cows. And since going paleo, I lost weight, sleep better, have more energy, skin cleared up, no digestion issues. 

    So one day I realized, if I was treating my body well by eating, why wouldn’t I for beauty? Which is how I ended up here, which I think is inclusive to the paleo lifestyle. 

    Sorry to ramble! Love the site!!!! I really appreciate all the hardwork you do, it doesn’t go unnoticed. 

  44. You have to decide which hill you want to die on; you can’t die on all of them. My most stringent rules aren’t about food at all, they are about what I choose to purchase. I buy 98% of all my family’s clothing and all of our furniture and other durable goods used. That is to avoid supporting sweatshops and human-rights abuse in manufacturing. Yet, I have an iPhone. To be fair to myself, it was a gift from my husband. 

    As far as food goes, I am lucky enough to produce my own eggs, milk (for half the year), and meat right here on our farm. I do garden, but not enough to provide for all our needs, so I trade eggs and milk for organic produce with others. If it were all up to me, I would be a great deal more puritanical than I am – no refined grains! No trans fats! No artificial flavors! But I have a husband who is addicted to squishy white bread and breakfast cereal. I don’t get to decide everything for everyone. And if there’s a box of Lucky Charms on top of the fridge, let’s get real, I’m probably going to have some. 

    The hardest part is admitting that no matter how obsessive compulsive I were to get, there’s no way for me to avoid ALL the evil. Some of my choices will inevitably be those that contribute to pain and suffering in the world. Some of them are not the healthiest possible choices. I don’t even have access to the information I would need to try to make the best possible choice all the time, even if I decided to try. Inevitably, in some measure, I am a part of the problem.

    That being the case, I should drive myself crazy about it, too? NO! Do your best, most of the time anyway. Food is for enjoying as well as for making your body healthy with. Cook from scratch as much as possible, buy food, not artificial food-like substances, and don’t slather on the butter quite so thick. Then relax and eat up. 

  45. Lmhatlestad

    This is such a great post for me to read. I have this terrible all-or-nothing mentality that really causes me a lot of grief. It’s difficult to work toward balance when you think that cutting a corner now and then is a failure rather than taking an alternative route once in a while for the sake of convenience or whatever. So thank you!!! I am very grateful. And by the way, your blog has made such a huge difference in my quality of life. I love using food on my face and hair – it’s self-love I’ve never given myself before!

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