the point {of life?}

In my...ever so humble opinion...the point of life is to know I can do better...all the while growing closer to the One who makes it all possible.  

To consistently learn and grow and improve and BE better.  To every day, in some tiny way, DESERVE the blessings that I have been given.  Though I know and understand that a thousand lives where I live a hundred years each and spend 24hours a day doing "good" could never even come close to me "earning my blessings".  I just want, in my small human way, to show that I am grateful and thankful.  

I'm a fan of things that rock you...that shake me up and mess up my pretty world.  And I'm not talking about drugs or alcohol or crazy parties...I'm talking knowledge, information, know how.  And I don't mean "knowing it all".

Give me a good book...or documentary or factual story.  Anything that will change me for the take me closer to being the person God has in mind for me to be. 

I could give you a thousand examples of this in my life...little things that I have learned that have turned me this way and that...that have changed habits, or decisions or what I read or listen to.  All instances where I suddenly KNOW better...therefore (in my opinion) I expect myself to DO better.  Knowledge has led to all sorts of changes in my life...getting saved made me clean up my music (even if most of it was "good" in the first place)...knowledge of business practices keeps me out of some stores...information about certain businesses will lead me to certain brands and not others. 

And before you say it...I don't just take information at face value...I do my research, find (what I think to be) the truths and act accordingly to how I feel led to change.

Research on fast foods keeps me away from fast food.  Reports about restaurant quality will keep me OUT of certain restaurants.  I sanitize almost everything  my kids touch in my hope of saving them from a germ or two. 

My most recent big bulb moment involves our choices about the foods we purchase.  For some time now we have bought organic...mostly milk, yogurt and some other things here and there.  Honestly I did it mostly to avoid all the "extras" that get pumped into animals.  Lately my thoughts have turned...I have a drive to buy organic for more than just what is put into the food....but the treatment of the food before it is food. 

Don't get me wrong...I totally believe that animals are here for our eating.  I have no qualms eating beef or chicken or anything else that lives and breathes.   

But I am feeling less and less ok about eating things that were mistreated before they came to the market.  This kind of thinking has been on my radar for sometime...but I was without the push to change and DO better.  Then we watched Food Inc. 

Done and done.  I officially know better.  Don't watch that movie unless you want to change how you look at each purchase that you make in the store.  One part that really stuck with me was when a huge chicken supplier wouldn't allow cameras on their their pens...I can stop wondering...what don't they want me to see?... and do I want to support a company that isn't transparent in its practices?

Since watching we have made some changes...slowly but surely moving toward a larger organic lifestyle.  I don't want to make a million changes all at once...cause that is a recipe for failure...instead we are going slow.  Starting with most of our meat.  Now if it were just me...that would be another story...I could live on granola and yogurt and peanut butter and fruit and fresh bread forever.  Being 100% organic would be EASY for just me.  

I was in the grocery store today to buy bacon to make with waffles.  
And I could not bring myself to buy any of the bacon there because none of it was organic.  I couldn't stop thinking about the movie and clips from it.  I've been having the same trouble with chicken, beef, etc. 

I was annoyed.  I wanted to buy my bacon and go home.  Not buy the rest of my groceries...get in my car AND go to Whole Foods.  But I did.  Because I KNOW better.  And I felt like my convenience and saving of a dime was not worth compromising on something that I am feeling more strongly about every day.  I'm learning more and more that convenience and ease is often at the cost of more than I am willing to compromise.

So I got in my car and drove to Whole Foods.  And paid $2 more than I would have at the other store.  
Honestly...the whole time I was driving there and shopping and paying...I was thinking to myself "Stupid granola crunching conscience". 

But it was organic...from pigs raised on a farm where they see the sun and are treated with respect.  And I got some other things that I needed while I was there it wasn't a complete loss.    

My point I what's the point of learning and growing if it doesn't change us? 

I'm not at all saying that my choices are always right or best and that you should take up my opinion as a substitute for your own...and this is NOT a judgement on anyone who eats ALL non-organic or whatever...

but I hope we can all strive to wake up each day and learn a little we can do a little better.  

At least that is my goal. :)


Paul and Cheri said...

Crystal, the best info I've received in a LONG time was by reading "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" by Barbara Kingsolver. Email your address to me and I'll send it to you. It's such a wonderful resource. Your two little fellas will thank you, as will your hubby and your own soul.
xoxo Cheri

Jaimie said...

I'm just going to put this out there, because it seems like you do do a lot of research about food and while I applaud you for wanting to do better, personally I am very wary of what is labeled organic at grocery stores. Not only is it overpriced, but organic foods in supermarkets only have to meet regulations set forth by the FDA in order to get that label. The regulations by the FDA are slightly corrupt, in my opinion, and the FDA is a big part of the reason why people have such bad eating habits in this country. Have you considered getting your "organic" produce from farmer's markets instead of Whole Foods? Whole Foods is a giant company- how can you trust them? I am a big believer that food from local farmers is much better than that from any organic aisle or grocery store. I would recommend reading the book "In Defense of Food," by Michael Pollan. If you want to talk more about this, I'd be happy to through e-mail.

Annie said...

I thought I'd give you some info you may not know. My dad is a cattle farmer & used to also raise hogs when I was a child. A lot of people around here don't realize that if they want farm raised beef - he will sell it to them. He takes it to the meat locker for them & then they pay him for part of the beef (a price per pound) & then they pay the locker for processing. My family of four now gets half a beef from my Dad about once a year. It feeds our family & I know where it comes from & how he treats his animals. So anyway - support your local farmers and if you know any - see if you can buy a quarter or a half of a beef or hog directly from them - it will be excellent quality and you know you are feeding your family well :)

Missy said...

You should read The China Study- it will blow your mind. (I've read all the books by the author of Food Inc.)-but the China Study gave me even MORE to think about... We are in the process of revamping our eating habits AGAIN!

Bec said...

Love this post! I am a vegetarian but I don't ever want to force my opinions on any one else. But if there was one thing I wish everyone would do.. It would be to buy free-range eggs. The cruelties these cage chickens are subjected to are not worth paying a couple of dollars less at the shops for. They may not be human but they have souls adn feelings... and they should have rights. Thanks for posting! and for driving out of your way to get the bacon :)

Gina M. said...

Fantastic goal and very well said. :)

kristi said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My husband and I have been living a organic, eco-friendly life before it became "green", and I totally appreciate your post. It is about the lifestyle change, which does mean taking it slow. People ask me all the time how I became so "natural" and I say it definitely didn't happen over night, but each year Eric and I try to take it to the next level. Yes we are here temporarily, but our legacy lives on and will hopefully be passed down. God gave us this earth so it is our job to take care of it and respect it. Thank you again. And keep pushing yourself to the next level. Your kids and their kids will benefit. :)

Cailie said...

I've just started getting free range eggs because I feel bad thinking about them caged up! I should watch that movie. I agree with you that God gave us animals to eat and the earth to use but we should be good stewards of it:) Great post!

Donna said...

Food, Inc. really changed me, too. We don't eat red meat, but now I only buy organic chicken and eggs -(eggs from a local farmer super bonus!) We are now working on making the switch in dairy. Just yesterday I was listening to an older Jillian Micheal's podcast where she had a guest on that talked about having her kids watch Supersize Me! and how that made her kids realize they were being manipulated by McDonald's toys. I've seen the movie before, but we are watching it as a family this weekend. Hopefully it will help convince my kids that McDonalds is not a good thing!

Big Yellow Dog said...

Holy cow, we watched it a few months ago and it totally changed how we eat. I started a garden back in April in hopes of growing some of my own food and to cut costs. Now I am so much more careful about what I put into my family's body. I shop the farmer's market, garden and buy organic. The movie was so well done and wasn't just crazy hippie PETA guys made sense!

joyfullness said...

Crystal..well said..this is the conversation that i have in my head everytime we make a choice at the grocery store. we have 2 boys as well...and ours live with autism. They have been on a GFCF diet for about 8 months now, but prior to that change, we were buying all organic..yogurt, milk, meat, eggs...i cringe when i think of the possibility of them eating something that is not JUST WHAT THEY NEED!! I could go on and on..

for now..try the applegate farms hotdogs too...not a fan of doggies in general..but when you can read all of the ingredients...bring on the doggies!!
also, whole foods eggs are great..
and QUINOA pasta rocks!!
okay..that's it.
Joyfully His.

WeLcoMe! said...

Though I haven't watched Food, Inc. yet I am wholeheartedly with you about the food these has sadly taken over safety. We have recently been blessed enough to buy a home in the country with a little over 4 acres. I know that I can't run a huge farm but we are going to purchase chickens to use for eggs & the meat, raise pigs and we have already set in motion a really big garden! It will be enough for our family and just enough to share with others all with knowing how it's been taken of.

Continued wisdom!

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard said...

I would love to buy from Farmers Markets and such. But budget rules our day and we just try to make do at this point. But doesn't unprocessed just make more sense? Yah! My husband grew up with chickens in his backyard (not everyone can do that these days!) and he'd love to do that again.

Although, the part in this post that keeps pounding through my head is that you feel like you can live lifetimes and never earn your blessings. What a sad thought! All He asks is for us to always keep His commandments, Love one another, and serve one another as He did, whether that be in our families or out in communites. And our cup will run over with blessings. Not because He wants to one-up us, but because He is loving and wants to give us blessings. It is by doing those things that we say "Thank You!!!" for granting us the ability to enter into God's Kingdom. And isn't that a Thanks that should not stop being said? We will always be worthy of our blessings if we do these things, and are grateful for them. IMHO.

But yes, organic = good.

Petra said...

Love this post. We too watched Food, Inc a few months ago and I was just amazed at how much I didn't know. Our first change was with our meats. We are now only purchasing meat and eggs that are organic and raised in a humane manner.

After the study that was released this week with the correlation found between pesticides and ADHD, our fruits and veggies are next. Not that the results surprised me, but seeing it in black and white, made me really wake up.

The hardest part for me is wanting to share this information with others... mostly my family and them not getting it enough to make a change. It's so frustrating, but something I am extremely passionate about... even more so since the birth of my daughter!

Good job to you for making a positive change for your family and for the Earth!

Taylor C said...

Hi Crystal,

Such a great post, this is a touchy topic and I myself have had many conversations about this with friends and famly (some went well, others...not som uch). In our home we do our very best to ensure that we are eating local first, home made (as often as humanly possible), organic, and with good conscious. We invtested in a deep freezer so that we could purchase farm fresh meat directly from a farmer that we trust and we shop farmers markets when they are seasonally available (in WA that is May-Oct)

I have read all of Michael Pollan's books and I recommend them all in addition to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver which was also great! Her family farm is in VA if I recall :). Im like you, I love learning and researching anything I can get my hands on. I figure the more informed I am, the better equipt I am to make decisions about what is best myself and my family.

Unfortunately, the food industry and the government have made it not only expensive to make the right decisions but also very confusing. This is where doing the best with what you can make work comes into play (financially or otherwise). It is true, just because the FDA calls it organic does not mean I will trust it. It is not always easy to know if you are making the right decision with anything in life but I know that as long as I give it my bet effort then I can be at peace with the choices I make and learn from my mistakes along the way.

let me know if you need any references etc. This is a great conversation to start.

Sorry that got long.

Take care :)

LSG said...

Amen!! Love your thoughts on this...we have been doing organic with what we can afford and being ecologically conscience when buying detergents/cleansers too! It's unfortunate that I don't have a Wegmans or a Whole Foods nearby...I'd be in heaven...My local store only carries what they carry and that isn't much organic...i'd prefer i've resorted to buying what's labeled organic in the stores, trusting that what's marked organic really is, and shopping farmers markets as i are on the right track...oh and here's a cute book for you for the boys...titled "Thats why we don't eat animals" it's more for strict vegans, HOWEVER it does get the message across that treating animals humanely is something we should all strive for whether they are food to us or not!! :)

Lindsey said...

i totally agree with you--i just hate how it costs more!

btw, love your bloG!!!

Molly said...

You need to watch Fresh, the movie as well. After we watched that movie, we decided to buy from local farmers that treated their animals with respect and love. We have a chicken farm and all of our chickens are treated like our children, they all have names and my fave one named Cru Ella has to be petted every night before she perches in her coop and told that we love her before she will fly up to her perch. People take for granted these animals the Lord has blessed us with and mistreat them everyday. If we lived closer I would give you guys eggs :) A guy a few weeks ago wanted to know if we wanted to sell our hens for meat and I nearly started to cry. He looked as though his only concern was money. My husband told him our hens were not for sale. By the end of the month we will have 80 chickens on our farm. Some people have laughed at us but the Lord has us doing this for a reason and keeps blessing us with the menas to build more coops and to buy beautiful chickens. When it is too cold for them to live in our barn, they live in my laundry room in their biddy coop and I love hearing their little hums at night, I get the best sleep those nights. Sorry to ramble on, glad I know someone else that feels the same way about what we eat and how the animal is treated before it gets to the store.
~Molly P

.jimaie.marie. said...

This post echoes exactly how I feel. I started researching our food industry last fall and immediately cut out all meats from our diet...simply because I was very overwhelmed by the options and information and did not know where to start! And really it wasn't a hard transition for us b/c we were never huge meat eaters in our home anyway. But now as time has passed and I've been able to do more research, including watching Food Inc., we are on our way to incorporating meat back into our diet BUT only from trusted and local organic farms. It's definitely more work to feed your family this way but knowing that I'm doing my best to protect my family's health {and not supporting the corrupt the large food/meat corporations out there} it's definitely worth it :) LOVE this post and am sharing it with everyone I know, thanks Crystal!

Gina said...

Just had to comment here too-I just read the book and feel the same way you do...which has led to lots of changes in how we eat. I feel like the extra expense is worth it because it results in a healthier family and maybe to a better way to produce and consume food. It's certainly eye opening isn't it? Also just read In Defense of Food and felt the same way.

Kelly said...

Amen, Sister! Once you start watching "those" movies and reading "those" books, you won't be able to stop. At least I couldn't. I second the recommendation for Animal, Vegetable...and also add Omnivore's Dilemma and The Unhealthy Truth to that. (There are dozens more I've read!)

We've changed almost everything about our eating.

Ask around - we've bought our very own local pasture raised cow (well 1/4 of it), natural pig (1/2 of it), and we get eggs directly from the farm...all at at LOT less than Whole Foods. I'm still looking for chickens (to eat, not for eggs).

Check out for the pigs...

laylablue said...

yes. yes. yes.

food, inc.

a book i had to return before finishing: the compassionate carnivore

i want to do better, because i know better. buying cage-free eggs is my first step. oh, and organic yogurt.

we have to drive 60 miles to the nearest whole foods, so all that fuel... anyway, i am trying to make small, workable changes...

janimal said...

OK, I'm totally commenting like crazy on your blog today.

I try to buy kosher meat when I can. That way I feel assured that the animals were treated well, and that the butchering was done in the most humane way. Course - you won't find any kosher bacon. But there is kosher beef plate that I think tastes even better!

Jenessa said...

i came to your blog via TCB and have been looking at past posts. i read a lot of good comments on this particular post, there are a lot of people pointing you towards more research and books. i went vegan about 1 1/2 yrs ago (i don't keep track, it makes it seem harder to me), and i know that it can be hard to make a switch in your diet. my husband and son are not, but most of our dishes are vegetarian if not all together vegan with the exception of one night a week i cook meat. for meat eaters and even vegetarians, i suggest a one day a week vegan. it's a lot easier than you think if you do it that way. some great resources for recipes are:
vegan dad:
post punk kitchen:
and vegweb:

i recently read alicia silverstone's book the kind diet and she has a website with all kinds of info and a forum:

good luck on this quest! and know there is a lot of support out there.

Christi said...

You should seriously watch "The Beautiful Truth". You can watch it instantly on Netflix if you have it. Amazing information. Absolutely unbelievable.

Aan Jamhari said...

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