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If you’re a crunchy mom, you’ve probably tried to make a batch of granola or two. I remember one time I made a batch that was so crunchy I nearly broke my jaw on the stuff. Another batch just tasted funky…
“What’s that strange flavor? Sage?”
Things don’t always turn out like we think they will. Sometimes it’s a bad recipe and other times it is operator error, but we crunchy moms are prone to make a few mistakes as we figure this stuff out mostly on our own.
As a Crunchy Christian Mama myself, I want to help you avoid some all-too-common pitfalls. Maybe you have already made some too, but my hope is that this list of common mistakes and ways to avoid them will help you on your journey into Crunchianity.
Crunchianity (n): A system of belief based on the idea that the God we worship, actually created this world, with design and intent, giving us all we need to live healthy, happy lives while caring for others and the earth under His principles of stewardship and truth, and not modern science’s.
Ok. That’s not a real word, but it should be! Because, I believe, being Crunchy is an important aspect of being a Christian. I don’t believe it is a salvation issue, but I do believe it is an act of submission to God’s design for us, and as with any act of submission, we have to learn how to walk that out in the day-to-day. It’s a journey.
It’s a journey.
Here’s FOUR Mistakes Crunchy Moms Make
#1 I Crunch So Hard!
This is the Crunchy Mom who bites off more granola than she can chew. Granola is intended to be consumed in small amounts – not in contests of how much granola you can chew in one bite! That’s a good way to choke — and choke we crunchy moms do. Whether it’s simply going too deep into
Whether it’s simply going too deep into the crunchiverse too fast or worrying about All. The. Things. Or we may even mistakenly get really legalistic about it all and stress ourselves out while hurting others in the process as well. Whatever pitfall you are familiar with, these are some common mistakes of the newly crunched. If you want to avoid taking on too much crunch all at once, follow these three simple steps.
Whatever pitfall you are familiar with, this is a common mistake of the newly crunched. If you want to avoid taking on too much crunch all at once, follow these three simple steps.
- Start with your own personal crunchy convictions, and avoid looking for more. Are you crunchy because you want to save the planet or because you are preserving your children’s health? Are you concerned about over-use of antibiotics or the toxins in your food? Sure you may want to address all the things, and you can, but not today. You’ll wind up burned out, confused and stressed. Don’t research anything else (yet) beyond the thing that led you into crunchtown in the first place.
- Set aside a small budget for new crunchy stuff, and look for lots of upcyclables, hand-me-downs and tag sale finds. Want to get rid of all your cleaning chemicals? Great! But begin by choosing one cleaning supply a month to change so you don’t overwhelm your budget (or your husband). Maybe you want to get rid of all the plastics? Start with mason jars (or even old pasta sauce jars) and work your way up to stainless steel and glass containers. Want to start canning? Check out some local tag sales for a good pressure canner. You might even consider signing up for a box membership like Mighty Nest, where they send you a new crunchy thingamajig each month. One month, a glass water bottle, the next wool dryer balls, the next a stainless steel lunch container. It’s a great way to go slow and be introduced to new things without breaking the bank.
- Do the things you’re good at first. If you have a black thumb (like me), don’t try to plant a 300-square-foot garden your first year. Plant some herbs in your kitchen window and some potted tomatoes on your patio. If you’d never even baked cookies from a tube, don’t buy a grain mill to grind your own sprouted wheat for bread. Pick the low hanging fruit, the stuff that you can see you’re likely to be good at, and start there. Maybe that’ll be cloth diapering or planning new creative ways to feed your kids more vegetables. The success of something you’re already good at will be inspiring on this journey and keep you moving in the right direction.
#2 Essential Errors
Oh! Don’t get me started on the wonders of Essential Oils, and their equally disasterous pitfalls. I’ve made enough oily errors for everyone, I think. Yet, when I asked a group of crunchy moms about it, I heard even more! Suffice it to say, you have to be really careful with essential oils. While it may be hard to imagine something so tiny that smells so tantalizing actually being harmful, but when used incorrectly, they can be. First, I’d like to clarify that I am not a Certified Aromatherapist, nor do I sell any essential oils any longer. My advice and warnings here are strictly novice and unbiased.
While it may be hard to imagine something so tiny that smells so tantalizing actually being harmful, but when used incorrectly, they can be. First, I’d like to clarify that I am not a Certified Aromatherapist, nor do I sell any essential oils any longer. My advice and warnings here are strictly novice and unbiased.
First, I’d like to clarify that I am not a Certified Aromatherapist, nor do I sell essential oils. My advice and warnings here are strictly novice and unbiased.
- Brand matters. While I originally began buying from a certain MLM, after some time, money got tight and I chose to try a few off-brand oils. I carefully selected ones listed as pure. I made sure they had good reviews. I even chose brands that other oily bloggers suggested as alternatives to the MLM’s. They were NOT the same. Immediately, I could tell a difference, just smelling them. Nor were they effective. Since then, I have also learned that many popular brands use New Age ideologies in the production and promotion of their oils. As a Christian, I’m not ok with that so I’ve searched for some quality Christian essential oil companies, like this one.
- Read before use – and not only online. We all know everything you read on the Internet is true right? Ya. That. So, invest in a good book, like this one. It’s really interesting, I promise! And then keep it handy so you can refer to it often as you are choosing oils to buy or are deciding what to use. It will help you decide which oils to use for different outcomes, which are safe on children or with pets, which to never use when pregnant or breastfeeding, and how to safely apply them as well.
- Use with caution! Let me repeat that! USE WITH CAUTION! Essential Oils can be harmful when used incorrectly. I’ve known people who ended up in the hospital from overusing, I’ve personally gotten them in my eye, and I’ve even diffused an oil that created a cloud of fumes in my kitchen. Oops. You’ll make mistakes, but if you are careful, and are willing to consult a certified aromatherapist when necessary, you can use them safely and effectively.
- Bonus Tip: if you do get them in your eye, you’ve got two choices: a) flush it out with MILK or OIL – never water, or b) dab – don’t rub – at your eye with a microfiber cleaning cloth.
#3 DIY Disasters
I remember the day perfectly. It was one of the first warm-ish days of spring, sunny, with a breeze. The perfect day to try a DIY crunchy mama toothpaste recipe. Ya. I went there. I gathered all the ingredients that I’d ordered from Amazon, scooped, dripped, squirted into a bowl and began to stir. I scooped it all into little jars I’d bought and labeled one for each kid. My daughter couldn’t wait to try it. She rushed to the bathroom, turned on the water. Then, I heard it – coughing, gagging, spitting and shouting. Followed by all those little jars hitting the trash can. That stuff was nasty! I couldn’t even make a go of using it, let alone my poor children!
One of the themes I read repeatedly from Crunchy Mamas was these all-too-common DIY Disasters. Whether it was toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent or sprouted grains, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t had those kinds of major mishaps yet, here’s a few tips to avoid them.
- Look for recipes on Pinterest (where else, right?) but then see if you can find an actual review from someone who has tried it already. Compare multiple recipes and try to understand the ingredients. If your laundry detergent recipe calls for Borax, find out why. Read about Borax, it’s uses, contraindications, and substitutes.
- Never assume the recipe is good or even accurate. Instead, assume you are testing it and working out the kinks yourself. Start by making small batches and recording all the ingredients and measurements first when going the DIY route. If it’s just a little off, maybe you can tweak it and adjust the recipe. If it is a lot off, like my toothpaste recipe, you won’t have wasted all those ingredients.
- Don’t get mad. DIY Disasters are bound to happen. Don’t get mad at yourself, don’t get mad at your product testers (aka kids), and don’t get mad at the recipe. Just remember, we’re all learning here. And mistakes are the best teachers, when we let them be!
#4 Fight the Hype
When you start going crunchy, it’s easy to be confused by all the labels and hype. Getting a handle on all the labels like Organic, GMO Free, All Natural, Cage Free, Raw, Soy, Gluten Free, and others can be daunting. It’s hard to know what to buy anymore! Am I right? Before you run out and do all your shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (hint: now you can save with your Amazon Prime membership), and spend a small fortune, let me give you a few terminology tips. Remember this: nothing is as straightforward as a label makes it out to be.
- Organic is organic unless it’s not. Bananas, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes… they may be listed as organic, grown organically, but then they may be sprayed with preservatives in transport. Organic milk, on the other hand, has to go through so much processing that all nutritional value is stripped and you’re left with something vaguely resembling white liquid stuff. When it comes to milk, get Raw A2 Milk whenever possible, and don’t bother paying for organic.
- All Natural doesn’t really mean much at the end of the day when a natural strawberry flavoring substitute is anal gland secretions from beavers, and not actual strawberries.
- Cage Free just means all the chickens are in one disgusting mass warehouse climbing and pooping all over each other as opposed to being crammed in tiny cages together. It’s not really any better. Free Range means they see sunlight and breathe fresh air. They also likely get clean water and probably even free access to appropriate food sources.
- Gluten Free is great for people with a gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease (like my daughter), but there’s some current research that indicates eating a diet of organic grains, including wheat, or even better, organic sprouted wheat, along with a good probiotic, may be healthier than actually eating gluten free, except in cases of celiac disease, of course. If you have neither celiac nor a sensitivity, why would you ever go on a gluten free diet? Except for pretzels… yes, the pretzels are better. Yum.
- Soy. It’s bad stuff. It’s promoted as healthy stuff. It’s all lies! Skip the soy! You can do better.
At the end of the day, let’s try to remember that this Crunchy Mama life is a journey, not a destination. It’s all about learning, tweaking, discovering old ways, and most of all returning to God’s ways. And then laying it all at His feet, and letting Him carry us in our weakness. It’s all about doing the best I can with what He gives me, but trusting Him to do what I really can’t.