So, many places I go I'm known as the coupon queen. I've saved our family a ton of money using coupons and shopping sales. I always thought cheaper is better - at least when it pertained to groceries. I loved getting great deals and shopping for my family with only a 350.00 grocery allowance each month. It was a challenge for me and I loved it.
These days, I guess you could say I'm singing a different tune. After looking over our crazy medical budget last January, my son breaking out in hives from an allergic reaction to his Asthma medication, my daughter's incessant vomiting, ear infections and runny nose, I began to question why my kids were so darn sick all the time. The final push that caused the pendulum to shift was when they talked about my daughter getting tubes for her constant ear infections. Two pediatrician blamed all their problems on the fact that I had 3 kids, they just passed germs all around, they also said it was their premature births and their immune system just being more "sensitive." Their Asthma was caused by their genes and allergies and giving them steroids each Fall and Winter was my only solution. I was spending upwards of 200 per month on out of pocket medications and Dr. visits.
So, back in January 2011, I went to a new chiropractor for my ever irritating neck pain and he mentioned being able to help Abby through her colds and allergies. I was thrilled for another way - chiropractic care & Acupuncture. As she would become sick we'd try natural methods of getting her healthy, I bought some herbs that helped with virus' and digestion issues. Last January Abby was a total mess - ear infections, digestion issues, vomiting 2-3 times per week for no apparent reason, runny nose, pale skin, and RSV most of the Fall/Winter months.
So, as the year progress I began doing tons of research on natural remedies. We did seem to spend a lot of time at the Dr. though after her 1 year old checkup where she received more shots. I'd been telling the Dr. that the shots seemed to set off a pattern of constant sickness and vomiting and runny noses, but I was told it wasn't related. I knew better! It wasn't until that July that I discovered that she was allergic to eggs - we eat a ton of hard boiled eggs so this was huge. Once the eggs were removed from her diet she stopped vomiting! Many of the vaccines she received had eggs in them, which is why she would get so sick after shots.
By August my husband and I sat down and totally revamped what we were feeding out kids. I was totally clueless to a lot of food issues like - genetically modified foods, high fructose corn syrup in yogurt, whole grain cereal having 50% sugar when broken down and having the health equivalent of a twinky. I thought I was feeding my kids healthy - compared to most standards I was, however when I started to look at everything I discovered how wrong I was - yogurt with tons of high fructose corn syrup, oatmeal with tons of sugar and refined oats, I found a ton of things in my fridge that shocked me when I looked at their labels.
So the last 6 months have not been about seeing how cheap I could get groceries at the store. In fact, 50% of our medical budget moved over to the grocery budget. I still use my savvy deals to buy good foods, but my focus isn't on how little I can pay but instead how healthy I can shop. I'm ordering food more from farms instead of grocery stores, which actually saves us some money. In this whole process we also discovered two of our kids are lactose intolerant, which means that the homogenized store milk makes them sick. I found a great farm that delivers low temp, non homogenized milk to a drop off near my house and I pick up the milk each Thursday. The cost is just a little more than organic milk (7.00 per gallon). I've discovered that giving my kids raw goat milk when the change in season occur, or when cold and flu season is starting, helps build up their immune systems so they don't get sick as often.
This Fall is almost over and we have yet to visit the pediatrician! Gabe was on steroids for 1 week when we went to Austin at the beginning of September. but other than that he has been off all prescribed Asthma medications. His late night, early morning coughing spells have even dissapeared. Abby most certainly has proven that a natural approach works for her - she hasn't had an ear infection since June which we treated at home without antibiotics, she no longer vomits, has a runny nose and is also off all asthma medications. She hasn't had steroids since our trip to Breckenridge Colorado in June which appeared to be due to high elevation and elevation sickness.
Today I'm singing a new tune, I'm embracing making a lot of my own foods and eliminating much of the middle part of the grocery store. We still love a good Hansen's soda once in a while, and I love my coffee in the mornings, but overall we're trying to learn how to live a more natural lifestyle that builds up the health of our kids through whole and raw foods.
Here are some places we love to order from:
Azure Standard Blog
Azure Standard Ordering
* like a co-op but you aren't committed to buying monthly and you get exactly what you want! Plus they are from my home state of Oregon so I feel a little at home chomping on an organic Fuji apple from their farm (1.00 per pound)!
Meat from: Zaycon Foods
Milk from: Texas Daily Harvest
Eggs from: C&B Fleece Fur Feathers
Awesome Chiropractor: Ken Parker, DC
Much of my research and information originated at this site: http://www.mercola.com/, I still get a lot of valuable information, though I can't quite live without my microwave and serve raw dairy milk to my kids ( the drive to Lavon Farms for raw milk is 2 hours round trip, just a lot for this momma to do)!
We purchased a Vitamix a while back and use it daily! It changes the way we eat to more raw whole foods - like soups and smoothies. My time in the kitchen is a lot less as far as preparing daily meals. I've replaced that with time baking, milling wheat and growing yogurt cultures! The kids eventually caught on to our new way of eating and now love my homemade bread and applesauce and cinnamon rolls.
Funny store, we attended a birthday on Saturday at McDonald's and talk about shocking - my kids were horrible the rest of the afternoon after all the sugar highs from cake and Ice cream and processed foods. Drew even managed to swindle a Coke which he never gets because it makes him a crazy child. We hadn't gone to the golden arches in months, not specifically because I banished them from our lives, but just because it was so much simpler to eat at home. I also lost the cravings to eat fast food - wonder why, so it just hasn't been appealing to us to drop in for a quick bite to eat. I am trying to be more moderate in how we eat, so if you see us at ChichFilA or McDonalds, don't think I'm a fake, we just tend not to eat their often, but I know that in today's busy world we will eat from fast food places once in a while. I truly believe a healthy balanced life is about moderation not jumping to and from extremes! Those people I've watched who jump to extremes give up often after a short period of time. I would hope that I am establishing healthy lifestyle habits that my children will inherit through knowledge and modeling - not extremes like "we never eat out,"or "we never eat sugar." We're searching for balance that still affords us a lot of fun!
I am officially a coupon queen drop out, but still use the organic coupons I clip from the paper when its for a product I use often. But, my budget isn't 350.00 any more! I Overall we're so much healthier and instead of giving our budget to the Doctors and pharmacy, we're investing it into whole, raw foods which are reaping wonderful rewards - like well behaved kids who have crazy big imaginations and love to play outside in mud and dirt without getting sick while its 50 degrees outside and their wearing shorts and no socks!