27 April 2011

Special Series: How It All Began

The What

So I think I've established that I was ready for some change.  But where to start in the sea of confusion that is healthy food, nontoxic cleaning products, and a simpler life? 

Process of elimination.

I have never considered myself a cook.  Even now I don't think of myself that way, although we eat nearly all of our meals at home and from scratch.  So the food thing had to wait.

A simpler life was my goal, but it was too broad for a place to start.

But, cleaners...cleaning was and still is a bit of an obsession interest for me.  I like efficiency, organization, and cleanliness.  I figured I could swap out a couple cleaners for the seemingly all purpose baking soda and vinegar stuff easily enough.  

I got two books (see here and here) on all the uses for those two items...


created about 3 uses for them.  

Yup.  I cleaned my sinks with baking soda, my countertops with vinegar, and my bathtub with a combination of the two.

I still used furniture cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner, etc, etc, etc.

But, I was on the right path, headed in the right direction.  I liked the results I was getting and eventually became inspired to expand my horizons.  

So I got crazy and let myself run out of window cleaner.  I just stopped buying it.  And guess what?  The earth continued to rotate on its axis even though I no longer had window cleaner in my house.  And, even better, my windows still got clean.

Since I met with success on these first attempts, I was willing to try new things.  Blogs helped a lot with that, since they are constantly changing.  My next natural step was to try to make laundry soap.  Turns out, it's super easy and super frugal.  Score.

But the cooking thing was still looming over my head.  My repertoire of edible meals was so small that I didn't believe I could realistically make - well - anything.  I mean, seriously, we ate rice and beans, pasta, and baked chicken.  But then I read a book that totally changed how I looked at food.  And I realized that I would never be able to eat meat in the same way again.  And if that were the case, then I would either need to figure out how to make more things or starve.  Since I also had a family to feed, starving was out of the question.  So, back to the research.  This time, recipe websites, but not for whole meals.  Just for the basics, like marinara sauce, pancake syrup, etc.

And guess what?  It wasn't hard at all to make marinara sauce and pancake syrup.  Hooray!  You know what I did next?  You guessed it - I started letting myself run out of stuff again.  Syrup, sauce, soup.  I started making big batches when I had the time.  The blender and the freezer became trusted friends.  I've gradually increased the number of things I make from scratch; my two big ones currently are bread and granola.

And that's kind of been my amazing revolutionary strategy.  The most recent things I let myself run out of were paper towels and deodorant.  Still going strong using old t-shirt rags, and people continue to willingly come visit me, so I must still smell pretty.

Surprisingly enough, the beauty products have been the last thing to change.  To be honest, I never considered an alternative to them until recently.  

And just to be clear, we still have a fair share of processed food and convenience items in the house.  This is an ongoing process, and some favorites are hard to give up.  But that is another post for another day...

Up next - the how.

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