Tuesday, January 22, 2013

52 Weeks to Natural Living | Week 4, "Natural" Defined

There are many definitions of "natural" out there.  Some define it with diet only, others with an entire lifestyle.

Diet only:

Raw Diet ~ Premise: living bodies need living food. Heat kills the enzymes of food so all, to most food, is eaten raw in it's original form.

Halelujah Diet ~ Premise: The original diet plan as listed in Genesis 1:29, which is plant based foods. Some may be cooked, but eating highly raw is encouraged.

Daniel Fast/Vegetarian Diet ~ Premise: The former is built on Scripture, (Daniel 1 and 10) the latter, simply a way of choice, but both leave out meat and eat only plant based foods. These may be in cooked form however, and even processed, such as tofu or vegan cheeses.

The Maker's Diet ~ Premise: Based on dietary guidelines given in the Old Testament to Israel during the wilderness wanderings.  Includes meat, but only meats as designated by God.

Paleo Diet ~ Premise: Based on what is believed to have been the diet of cave-men. Meats and fish are part of this diet, but the things that are out are grains, legumes, potatoes, and processed foods (among others)

Clean Eating Diet ~ Premise: Little, to no processed foods, sugars, chemicals, or alcohol.

Whole Food Eating ~ Premise: Same as above. Little, to no, processed foods.

After reading countless books and articles on which diet is the best, I've come to one conclusion: They all have merit and make sense.

All of them.

They all appeal to me and yet, I have found it difficult to follow each one to a T. The price of produce is a large factor in this. To eat raw or the Daniel Fast 100% of the time, just in not financially feasible, especially in the winter when the garden season is in hibernation.

So the constant and regular goal is to eat more whole/clean foods than processed, in an 80-20 ratio with at least half of those whole foods, in their raw state. We don't achieve this in the winter as easily. One, because of the afore-mentioned cost. Two, because veggies thrown in a hot soup on a cold winter's day, are so much more appealing than cold, raw veggies with dip. :)

Natural living isn't just about diet for me however. It's also about lifestyle.

That said, I'm further along in living "naturally" in regards to our diet than I am with our entire lifestyle, but we'll get there.  When I put ultimate goals on paper, for living the natural lifestyle, they fall along the lines of:

~ Be self-sustaining, not only for most of our food in the summer, but also the winter. This not only includes fruits, veggies, and nuts, but also dairy products and meat products. 
~ Become self-sustaining for our energy, using solar and wind.
~ Eliminate all chemical cleaners and replace with natural products.
~ Be self-sustaining with paper products such as diapers and paper towels and tissues (though I do draw the line at cloth toilet paper!)
~ Practice living out doors as much as we live indoors, whether it's caring for our animals or participating in summer and winter outdoor activities.
~ Grow independent of medications like allergy and asthma meds, and instead, use herbs and essential oils and acupressure to find healing from these issues, once and for all. When sickness does occur, have the knowledge to treat naturally before making a Dr appointment (though I will always believe that the medical field DOES play a role and wisdom is knowing when we need more than natural means can provide.)

The weeks and steps being laid out in coming posts, follow this personal picture of what natural living is, so keep that in mind when reading these posts. Just as my reasons won't be your reasons, my definition of what is natural, as well as my willingness to go there on certain issues (such as using cloth diapers) will not necessarily be your definition.

Whatever your reasons and your mental picture are however, I hope you continue to join up with these posts and follow our family's own continuing journey, as well as share yours.

What do any of us have tolose by pursuing more natural? :)
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