If you told me, when I was in my early twenties, what my life would be like in my thirties, I would never have believed you. I went from living life as a hedonistic free-for-all, endlessly single, going out several nights a week, to something of an accidental hippie. I mean, I don’t even know how long it’s been since I last shaved my legs, and I haven’t worn a bra in a long time. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have even answered the door without a bra on, let alone gone out in public.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sometime after Safe T and I met and got serious and moved in together, we found ourselves blessed with little miss Shelby. This slowly led to a sort of examining of the way we were living. I started eating lots and lots of vegetables. (Frozen mixed veggies with corn, heated in the microwave, topped with margarine and table salt, but it was a start.) We started reducing the chemicals in our home, because we didn’t want anything under the sink that had to be locked away from a curious baby.
After Shelby was born, we learned about CSA programs and signed up for one, picking up produce weekly at our local organic farm. We learned to plan our meals around our CSA box, and we learned how to cook and use a lot of vegetables we hadn’t even heard of.
When Shelby was around five months old, Safe T got sick. He was hospitalized for a week at a time multiple times over the next few months, and he was taken to the emergency room even more often. The doctors finally told him further testing would do more harm than good (they didn’t want to give him cancer from all the radiation!) and said it was likely Crohn’s, it was definitely some sort of inflammatory bowel disease, and here, take these seven different pills for the rest of your life, and check in with your primary care physician once a month to manage your meds.
Holy guacamole, the side effects of all those drugs. I was convinced from the beginning–I could feel it in my bones–that the problem was food related. I insisted the doctors test him for Celiac Sprue and other things, and they all thought I was crazy, telling me that food couldn’t be the problem or the solution. They even had me put the poor man on a low fiber diet.
I stumbled across a book called Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet during my endless times spent online, scrolling forums and reading blogs, trying to find a natural solution. I got the book and read it, and we started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. We sort of stuck to it, then we got better, then we strayed, then we got better, and so on.
We realized that we ALL felt better when we stayed SCD, but there were other foods that Safe T couldn’t tolerate, so we eliminated them. We also learned that Shelby had reactions to some of the same foods, so we tried harder to stick to the diet. As I searched for recipes that fit our SCD-minus-some-things diet, I kept finding recipes that worked that were Paleo. So I learned some more about the Paleo diet, and realized that pretty much fit our diet to a T.
In the meantime, we started making more and more things at home. Deodorant, toothpaste, laundry soap, all kinds of things. The more I realized how easy it was to make these things myself, and the more I realized how cheap it was, the further down the rabbit hole I went.
Then in the summer of 2014, we had a few wind storms that took out power for a day or more at a time. That made us realize that without power, we had no way to cook, no way to store our frozen meats and veggies, and nothing else to eat. Our whole food lifestyle left us ill prepared for a long-term power outage, should one happen, especially since we kinda live in the boonies and getting to a grocery store in inclement weather can be tricky. Suddenly, our somewhat lackadaisical interest in food preservation–drying, canning, and the like–became a lot more intense. We also realized that the bulk of our paleo meals required a food processor or blender to prepare. And so began our journey toward more sustainable living.
(That’s where the leg shaving thing happened. I started thinking about how if society collapsed, I couldn’t buy razors anyway, which got me thinking, why am I spending money on razors? So I decided to try not shaving. And I HATED it. So I bought a pack of razors, the cheapest I could find. And you know what? I still haven’t found time to shave my legs, and it’s been months. So I guess I’m just not gonna.)
We were slowly moving toward our goal of buying some property in the mountains somewhere and building our own home, with our own hands, and homesteading. We want to grow our own vegetables, raise our own meats, and live our own lives. Throw in some unschooling and respectful (authentic, positive) parenting, and there you go. Oh, you better throw in some natural horsemanship, too. But there’s a twist. Isn’t there always?
Life pushed us toward traveling full time for a while. In July 2015, we sold everything and purchased a conversion van, which we’re planning on converting to a Class B RV, otherwise known as a camper van. We’re taking this time to minimalize, hopefully save some money, and see all the places we might want to live. It hasn’t even been a month yet, but we’ve already learned a lot that will help us when we do buy property.
So now you’re all caught up. That’s our path up to this point, and how we got to where we are today. I can’t wait to share what happens next with you.