Posted by: whimsigal | September 5, 2007

Unschooling Myself

In the spirit of unschooling, I’d like to share with you the journey I’ve begun on the road to a healthier me. It began here, with a rant about finding healthy food. With some encouraging posts from you all, my attention turned to learning what I could about organic food and mindful living and let me tell you, friends. What I have been reading has really been eye-opening. For a long time, I have held an extremely jaded view of government. In my opinion, the less government the better because it seems that once they get their hands on something it goes south. Now I’m beginning to appreciate that others hold that view about big business and I can totally understand why. It stops being about offering the best product and becomes about making the most money. Government and Big Business corrupt the most wholesome ideals, I get that now. I also understand that as a country based on capitalism, our voices are heard when we open our wallets, and in order to make a difference, I have to vote for green with green. It’s the only way to do it. I cannot complain about what I spend on food that is healthier for my family, not anymore.

When I began the journey I said I wasn’t going to buy organic chicken. Well, after some reading, I’ve changed my mind and any meat that comes in the house will be organic as long as I can find it. The things I’ve read about commercially raised chickens and beef have really made my hair stand on end and I won’t be supporting those industries with our hard-earned money anymore! The only exceptions to that will be when we eat out or at someone else’s home because my control is limited in those situations.

Another thing that has happened since we started down this path is an improvement in Ryan’s behavior. About a week ago, I was flirting with the idea of sending Ryan to a behavioral specialist. I was having some panic attacks about unschooling in general and I think that’s why I started thinking about sending him to a specialist. However, once Sean and I began talking about it, I realized that, although Ryan still has his emotionally charged moments (who doesn’t?) since we eliminated junky foods, his outbursts and moments of extreme sensitivity have rapidly declined. When Ryan stays up late he also tends to be extra-sensitive so we’re trying to help him get enough sleep. But it is amazing really how different he is and how the change was so gradual that I didn’t even notice until I began to take what I consider to be the most radical step. I don’t begrudge anyone who feels this step is necessary for their child, because certainly, dietary adjustments may not be the answer for everyone but for us, it seems to be working for now.

Thank you, friends for your encouragement and patience as I take these baby steps on the road to a more healthful, responsible existence.



  1. I’ll be extremely bold and say –
    I take it that you’ve read up on chickens (the egg laying ones) that are literally stuffed 10 per cage in an eighteen inch square box?
    And that cattle are stuffed in stalls and are given hormones to promote their muscle/meat tissues because they never see the light of day and don’t get to exercise their muscles? – and fed antibiotics to get rid of the diseases?
    Chicken is the only meat that’s outrageously higher (other than steaks, but I don’t eat steak), and I meant to say that organic quarters – thigh and leg- goes on sale all the time for 1.79/lb.
    Boneless skinless breasts is the kicker – at $9/lb.
    Ham (and pepperoni and roast beef -nitrate free) is not much more than a gourmet deli ham – such as Boar’s Head, if that’s national.
    That’s what I meant by the local/organic thing is a political decision for me – it just seems the right thing to do.
    I mostly think in black and white, you know. 🙂
    We have a friend whose Pop raises a few cattle – he gets his meat from him. I need to see if the option would be available to us. Or find local ranchers.
    Chickens would surely be swell, too.
    Bowing out.

  2. Girl! How about the fact that the cows that are grain-fed for years were eating chicken poop as a part of that feed? Ewww! I think that’s had the kibosh put on it now but, damn!

    When we were little, my mom wouldn’t let us eat veggies from the old man across the street because he used his dog’s poop as fertilizer. It just gives me the willies to think that cows have been eating a glorifed version of that.

    I can buy a whole organic chicken at the grocery store for around $10. I’m cooking one right now that was on sale for $8 and it almost weighs 4lbs. If I can keep my eye out for sales at least it will help with the financial side of things.

    Seriously, I feel like moving to Europe where the food standards seem to be higher. I have French ancestry, do you think they’d still regard me as an Ugly American? lol

    We have a lot of farms around here that offer an incredible variety of foods, everything from grass fed beef, pastured chickens, homemade breads and organic fruits and veggies. We also have a lot of farms that participate in CSA’s (community supported agriculture) where you buy a share of the crop for a certain number of weeks and we’re also considering doing that next year. The only drawback of course is that you get whatever they’ve grown and if it happens to be something you don’t like, too bad. But, as you said, at least you’re supporting a local farming family.

    It’s been quite the educational experience let me tell you. Watch out, I might just turn into Ed Begley. Without the penis of course.

    Thanks for your comment! I’ve been wondering where you were!


  3. (grin) I’ve been cleanin’ my carpets! 🙂

  4. It’s amazing when we make the choice to look beyond the norm what we can see. It’s so empowering to feel like you’re making a change. How very interesting about Ryan. We have limited junk food with our children and have noticed extreme differences as well. Bravo to you for looking into what most people take for granted! 🙂

  5. I think what is fascinating is how some organic is no better than conventional as organic becomes big business. Michael Pollan called it “supermarket pastoral”. His book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and also the book “Fast Food Nation” were enough to make me avoid the conventional meat industry.

    Its certainly harder to obtain good quality food when you can’t just go to the store though. I have to go the farmers market or call the farms. Thank goodness for sites like and such.

  6. Sheri, you’re so right about change being empowering. It just feels like the right thing to do! I wish I could get the rest of my family on board because I think everyone of them could benefit from making some changes.

  7. kmduff in regard to your comment, I think that is one of the things I found most fascinating as well. Through all the reading I did it became evident that we’re going to have the same issues with Organic and Natural as we did in the 80’s with Light, Lite, etc. You can’t have confidence in picking up a box off the shelf that says a product is organic and trust that it’s 100% organic. I really hate that.

    It’s so much more complicated to choose good food than I anticipated and it shouldn’t be that hard! You know what I mean?!

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