10 Vacation Things I Could Have Freaked Out About, but Didn’t

IMG_0019Organic Eater and fam (plus in-laws) drove over eight hours to Disney World in Orlando, Florida recently. “Happiest Place On Earth”, unless you’re an organic eater with a type-A personality who can “think about things” a little too much if given opportunity. Oh dear. There were some things I had to LET GO while we were in Orlando, because stress is just as unhealthy as the things I’m going to list below, and I was trying not to stress! I was trying to enjoy my wonderful family and vacation time. A “let it go” mindset was critical to our vacation success, but you have to decide what you can let go of in your own family.  Also, I am VERY aware that all of these issues are first-world problems, minor in the big scheme of life, and I know how good I’ve got it!

10. No recycle system in the home we rented. It pained me to see all that plastic and glass going in a trash can, which would then be going to a land fill. I had to let it go because there was no recycle pickup for this house and I could not search Orlando for a service or a recycling center in between visiting theme parks. I let it go.

9. Bugs. Oh, not at Disney World. That place is completely bug free (no, I’m not going to let my mind question how that magically happens, or I would have to make this an 11 point post). All the bugs from Disney go to the rental houses apparently. We killed more than I wanted to count. I had to let it go because I could not hire an organic exterminator to come to the rental house in between visiting theme parks. I let it go.

8. Water. I had no idea what kind of water rating the city of Orlando has, and I forgot to bring my filter pitcher for use in the kitchen of the rental house. My research indicates bottled water is NO better and probably worse, so that wasn’t an option either. We did at least have Bobble water bottles that have a filter, so when we were at the parks we could use those bottles/filters on the water fountain water. For the at-home and restaurant water, it’s anyone’s guess what I was drinking, but I could not get a Berkey Filter shipped to the rental house in between visiting theme parks. I let it go.

7.  Soft drinks and sugar for the kids. Yep, I let em have some. We never have soft drinks in the house (not normal GMO sodas anyway) and I limit sugar and junk food like a boss around here. I loosen up on vacations and try not to envision the GMO poisoned chemicals and health-robbing obesity-inducing sugar going down their little throats.  Hubs is a grown man, so I do what I can, but there’s only so much a wife can do, and he really is very supportive of our organic lifestyle. To his credit, he never drinks regular soft drinks anymore and has even cut out his sweet tea consumption! That took about 2 years to accomplish, but I think he’s “unsweetened” here to stay. But I digress… for many families, I think this sugar issue can be a special point of contention when around extended family who think some sugar and soft drinks are just fine. It would have caused more stress on my family to fight this rather than for me to give in a little on this one. I let it go. (I limited it, but I still let it go)

6. Lack of Sleep or relaxation time. If you’ve ever been to Disney for (only) one week, with two kids and six Parks to visit, you know this is no vacation for the parents. It’s non-stop theme park excitement, and it’s awesome, but it is not relaxing or restful until you hit the bed every night. It took me about a week after we got home to recuperate from my vacation. I let it go while I was there, and I let it go when we got home and I needed a lot of recovery time (no guilt for lots of post-vacation sleep).

5. Lack of Quiet Time with God each morning. Yeah, that was pretty much out the window for me with our activity level. My spiritual side was lacking by the time I got home. There were many prayers said, but no time in the Word quietly in the morning with my hot tea. Just gonna be flat out honest here. I had to recover from that when I got back too, and thankfully He is full of grace and new mercies every morning!

4. Forgot supplements most mornings. In the craziness of the mornings, trying to get out the door, I forgot to take our supplements, and sometimes that evening too. Oh well, had to let it go. Fortunately, that one is not life threatening for us and it was totally OK to be super slack that week. Got back on track when we returned.

3. No HIIT exercise, only walking. LOTS of walking. My heart rate didn’t get “up there”,   except for that one time I raced my 9 year old from the park to the parking lot. Like I even had a chance. But at least I was moving in some way with all the walking. And walking. I let it go. It’s good to take a break from your exercise routine anyway!

2. No organic food to be found and questionable ingredients used in restaurants (I didn’t ask). I heard (from this Disney specialist) there was a restaurant called “The Wave” at the Contemporary Resort that has local and organic foods, but we didn’t work it into our schedules to get over there, so I don’t know what selections were really available. Wish I had, but when you’re with extended family, you’ve just got to go with the group decisions and be flexible and keep the peace. I’ve said this several times since we’ve returned: ONE week does not a lifestyle make!! I did the best I could to eat real food as much as possible and let all the rest go! Yes, I had to recover after we returned. Yes, I am now doing a vegan cleanse to detox, but I needed to do this cleanse anyway!  We had precious family time and created wonderful memories that my children will never forget.

1. My child and husband got stuck on a roller coaster ride at Magic Kingdom. Now this is the ONE thing I really could have justified freaking out on! They were stuck for close to an hour before they were on the ground with me and I knew they were safe. I could have easily freaked out here, but thankfully this is another benefit to a maturing spiritual life (thank you, Lord!) and healthy #lowcraplifestyle living. He overwhelmed my soul with peace during the incident and my healthy lifestyle keeps my hormones in balance and happy. So, once I saw them safely returned, all was well in the world again:)

We had a spectacular, joy-filled, laughter-filled, beautiful week at Disney, with perfect weather I might add. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. OK, well, I could have, but  I’ve let those go…… and I am extremely thankful for my blessed life! Tell me what YOU have to let go of when you travel! I’d love to know if you share any of my “freak outs”:)

If you want to see our pictures on Instagram, or read my #Disneytips in the comments of those pictures, go HERE (if you’re planning a trip, I highly recommend reading those tips). Those pictures can also be found on my Facebook page, which has an “Instagram Feed”. You can click on that to see our Disney pics and tips (you will have to scroll down on both of these because I have taken a LOT of vegan cleanse pictures since the Disney ones were posted).

Encouraging Health, and Happy Vacations,

Organic Eater

Organic Eater’s Top 12 in 2012, and Product GIVEAWAYS!

Since so many of you have liked, commented, and asked questions about the awesome products I used in my first year of blogging, I thought you would enjoy a recap and “Top 12  List of Things to Buy” before we close out this fabulous year. It’s a list of my “can’t live without” store-bought items. January 2013 will include lots of new starts, changes, and steps towards better health for many of you, and these products can help you take those steps: some of them baby steps, some of them full-out hard core giant steps! There will be something for everyone wanting to incorporate healthier purchases in 2013. AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: we’re giving away some of these products this giveaway is over now, but the information on all the products is below to help you get started in the New Year!!  Yes!  Zevia,  Falafel Chips  and  Healthforce Nutritionals are generously helping you start off 2013 in the right direction! There will be 4 Grand Prize Packages that include products from all 3 companies, plus 8 more prizes of individual products, totaling 12 prizes in all (12 prizes in 2012, get it?!) WooHoo!!! The details will be included in the bottom of the post. And now for Organic Eater’s Top 12 in 2012: Things to Buy….


Starting Top left, in no particular order, because it was hard enough just narrowing this list down to 12! There is no way I could put them in order of importance or value to me!!! They are all invaluable!

ACURE facial products: I found this organic line at Earth Fare (natural grocery store) and flipped when I realized the price point! Affordable and Organic. Heck Yeah! Then I tried some of them and, although I know the scent has nothing to do with the efficacy, they smell like heaven to me, and they work! My husband stole my olive oil facial cleanser (pictured) and recently confiscated my (almond scented) shampoo, so they can be used by both sexes, for the most part.  I (we!) have thoroughly enjoyed every product I’ve tried so far. The price is right, no toxic or questionable ingredients,  and the scents make me smile. My skin is loving them, and I actually look forward to the “chore” of cleaning my face every night so I can smell the products:) They’re easy to find: Google them and purchase on-line at many retailers, or at any of the national natural foods groceries. Easy to find.

ZEVIA “saved me” when I was trying to get off soda just a couple of years ago. Read that blog post to hear the full story of how much I appreciate this product and how much it helped me! Sugar and artificial sweetener free, it makes the transition off regular soda sooooo much easier!!! These days I usually drink water or tea, but when I want that yummy fizzy, I can grab a can without guilt and enjoy. And it’s fun to have a soda to offer guests too, since there is no sugar-soda or “diet soda” in this house! This is the perfect product for you if you’re trying to cut out/down on regular or artificially sweetened soft drinks in the new year! I gave some to my dad at Christmas, who is trying to cut out sugar for specific health issues this year. I gave some to my organic CSA farmer, who has plenty of healthy meats and veggies, but I thought they might like a little treat after a long day gathering vegetables. I actually gave this to several friends and family this year, who I wanted to encourage with healthier options!

FALAFEL CHIPS were a new discovery for me this year, and boy have we enjoyed them! Wow! The switch to healthier eating for this little organic-eating family has proven to be challenging in one area in particular: the chip. We are HUGE chip fans, especially with our Mexican food, and home-made chips have not been successful for me! Thankfully Flamous Brands created these Falafel Chips (spicy, regular, and Zatar flavor) that are not only organic, but high ORAC score! ORAC measures the amount of anti-oxidants in food, and these chips score a 6500! Gluten free, organic, nonGMO, here’s the list of NOs: no wheat, dairy, lactose, trans fat, msg, cholesterol, hydrogenated oil, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or nuts! They are absolutely delicious plain, but of course great with humus or salsa or guacamole, and they’re a product no one would EVER believe was a healthier version! This is another product I gave out at Christmas because I wanted to give healthier options to those I love!

HEALTHFORCE NUTRITIONALS is an extensive line of real food “supplements”. Vitamin C is  pictured here because I love what it is doing for my skin, but their protein and maca and greens are fantastic, and I am planning to do a full post in January to tell you a lot more about them! Exceptional quality, and effective. Their own label describes them as “hard core”, and I think that’s a perfect description! You don’t take these products for kicks and giggles. They are serious about nutrition and health, and I’m looking forward to telling you much more about them, since we use them constantly. There is an Instagram Post about the Vitamin C if you’re interested  in reading about that little jewel for your skin! I shared these products with friends and family this Christmas and of course they were thrilled!

VERMONT SOAP ORGANICS is my absolute favorite soap now! They have completely won me and my family over! The Lemongrass Zen is THE best smelling lemongrass scented soap we have ever found! Lemongrass is our family favorite, and this one smells divine, and makes the kitchen sink area smell so good. Another reason we LOVE this soap is because of the way it feels. I  know that sounds weird, and it’s very difficult to explain in this post, but when you try it you will immediately feel the difference I’m talking about! I had a few comments on an IG post about this soap, where others felt the exact same way! I have been requested to order one for every sink in the house:) The Liquid Sunshine soap can be used for a multitude of cleaning purposes. I clean a LOT of coconut oil covered frying pans, and this soap handles it with no problem. Anything that makes my cleaning life easier is greatly appreciated, and these soaps go in my  life-changer category I love them so much:) Beyond the fantastic products that the entire family can use, the company itself is exemplary and they believe in organics! I met the founders/owners of the company at Expo East this year, and was inspired by their enthusiasm for the organic industry. You can find them at VermontSoaps.com, and they have soaps for people, pets, dishes, exercise mats, produce, and just about anything! If you have allergies or sensitivities to soaps, you definitely need to check them out! Made in the USA, which is highly appreciated by this Organic Eater!

AMAZING GRASS completely lives up to its name with every product. Wheat grass is a GREEN and is not a grain, so eating Amazing Grass products helps you get servings of greens in a tasty way! Their organic wheat grass is grown in Kansas, where it can develop deep roots all winter long for maximum nutrition levels. The Kidz products have the antioxidant equivalent of 3 servings of fruits and veggies in one scoop! My kids eat this daily, either as a drink, or in applesauce, or plain yogurt. I have posted several times on Instagram about the health benefits and awesomeness of this product line. I can’t say enough good things. Everything you know about the goodness of organic greens is in these products, so I whole heartedly endorse these, especially for those who don’t eat enough leafy green vegetables on a daily basis. The ORAC product in the picture above  scored a 15,000 ORAC value (measures antioxidant levels). It’s my superfood of choice, and it taste good, so it’s easy to get anyone in the family to take it! I used it to boost my husband back to health when the flu hit him hard before Christmas! Only out for 2 days! I have been reading/studying wheat grass for several months, so if you have any questions about AG products, please feel free to leave a question in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!

Top12-2CLOISTER HONEY is my favorite Charlotte local honey. The whipped cinnamon is my favorite treat (“treat” since my body doesn’t process sugars of any kind very well) and I like to use it in place of icing on a muffin! They are now in the Charlotte Whole Foods store, but you can also order on line. I know there are benefits to eating local, but this is so good, even if you’re not local, you should try it!!! There are many flavors to choose from, even a chocolate one! The people who make it are just as sweet as their product line!

OUTTA THE PARK BBQ SAUCE is a mostly-organic-ingredients sauce that is a winner in this Organic Eater’s house! We put it on most anything, and use it in place of ketchup sometimes. Put it in the crock pot with a chicken breast for ready-made dinner when you get home. Love it. You can also find this in Whole Foods (east coast at least) and you can order on line. They have an “original” and a spicy version that is vegan! Absolutely delicious and clean ingredients! Congrats to OTP for another Scovie award for 2013!! Here is a post I wrote earlier this year for more info.

INBAR is my favorite bar this year because it’s low sugar, made especially for the diabetic, without artificial sweeteners. But everyone should try these because they’re so tasty! See my Expo East post for more info on where to find them. They are new, so you might have to look a little harder to find them, but they’re worth it!

COCONUT OIL AND GRASSFED BUTTER are my two favorite healthy fats! Now, before you balk at these fats being healthy, see this post or this page and keep an open mind to the possibility that they have been demonized for the last 30 years, but the truth is finally coming out! I love them both, use them liberally, and have no regrets as my joints are feeling great, my hormones and skin are improving, and generally increasing my health overall. Note: I also use ghee, but I never use regular butter, as it is hormone filled and genetically modified, I only grassfed or organic butter. At the very least, make sure it’s hormone free (“rbgh free” or “rbst free” will be on the label somewhere).  If there is an organic coconut oil company who would like to be the official coconut oil for Organic Eater, please contact me asap!

MOUTHWATCHERS toothbrush is my favorite toothbrush, and was just featured on the blog recently, so click on that red highlight for much more information about this fabo little brush! There are links to toothpaste and dental floss there too. Buy them (only $5!) at www.mouthwatchers.com

FLAX SEASONING was another jewel I found at Expo East this fall, and we all love this jar of tasty organic goodness. My son requested that his boiled eggs only have Flax Seasoning on them from now on. I use it on chicken and salmon, and veggies too. Adds lots of great flavor, and it encourages my kids to eat more veggies. They also have a sweet version that we love, but the sugar content keeps me from using it every day. Great on oatmeal or toast. LOVE this stuff!! Try this link to purchase or find a store.

So these are 12 of my favorite products, because they have made healthier-choices easier for me and my family this year. And sometimes, it just needs to be “easy” to get us to try it! I hope they will help you make better choices as well! It was hard to get this list down to 12. I have MANY favorite things, so if there is something you’re curious about finding/trying, leave a comment and I’ll try to help you.

As 2012 comes to a close, I want to say “thank you” to each one who follows this blog. I am so honored you are here, and I hope you found some encouragement towards good health here this year! From the written comments, likes, emails, and comments made personally, I am excited to say that blogging is an effective way to minister to people. The negative results of this “fake food”, high-sugar and grain-eating world are a burden to me because I see how they’re hurting people who have no idea, how they are affecting the health of too many and keeping people from living out their calling in life. When you let me know about your steps towards health, it encourages me so much! My goal is to educate and encourage here, so you can live out your purpose in this life and do/be all you’ve been called to. What you feed your mind, your body, and your spirit make a HUGE difference in life. It’s a constant balance of all three, and I know it’s a challenge! I’m right here with you! It’s a challenge for me too, and I’m on this journey just like everyone else! If there is something specific you want more information on in the new year, let me know by leaving a comment.  I pray all the best for you in 2013!

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS: the contest is ONLY on Instagram this time, not on the blog. Download Instagram then follow Organic Eater there. The pictures above will be posted on my Instagram feed (after 1pm today), with details written underneath the pictures, on how EASY it is to enter this giveaway.  See you there!

Thank you again for following Organic Eater this year! and Healthy New Year!!!

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Clean Eats = Clean Teeth (and my favorite oral products)

Surprisingly, cutting down (way down) on sugar and grains in my diet, as well as eating real & nutritious whole foods,  has made a HUGE difference in how clean my teeth and mouth feel! My teeth don’t get those little “teeth sweaters” you start to get around 6 months after your last cleaning, and I have barely ANY plaque buildup. It has been a drastic and unexpected benefit of my #lowcrapdiet lifestyle, and just one more reason I’ll never go back to eating the old way again! I LOVE my clean teeth!! Because of dental insurance changes, I have not been to my dentist for over a year, and I promise my teeth still feel like they were just cleaned. No joke. It’s crazy! Another part of this “clean feeling” is because I found the greatest toothbrush a few months ago at Expo East. We bought 2 at the expo, for hubs and son, then the company contacted me and sent me 2 more to try. Before mine arrived, I asked my 8 year old son what he thought about his new toothbrush he had been using since we got back from the Expo. I promise you this was his honest-to-God reply: “it feels like when you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist”. I was shocked, and anxious for mine to get here! And when it did, I had the exact same reaction, and so did my 14 year old daughter. We all flipped over our toothbrushes!:) Hubs liked his too, he just didn’t think it was quite as “amazing” as the other 3 did. So, 3 out of 4 for amazing is pretty good, eh?! It’s not electric, or anything fancy. I can’t explain the science behind it, but I know it works. And I appreciate the silver infused bristles, because we were already using silver for antimicrobial benefits around our house.  I am really excited to share this great find with you, and I think everyone should try it!


You can find these at www.mouthwatchers.net and they’re only $4.99! They’re also on Amazon and in some Whole Foods and other retailers (website has locations). On that website, there are video testimonials from lots of other people who feel the same way we do about this amazing little brush!

And another favorite, is this Spry dental floss. I may do a post later, but for now just know it cleans between teeth like nothing else. I can’t explain why or how, I just know I love it!  We have also been using this toothpaste, so if anyone wants a review of this very unusual stuff, comment below and I’ll reply.

In my many hours of researching healthy and natural approaches to taking care of my family, I have come across some pretty shocking information. Did you know cavities can be reversed?! And did you know coconut oil can be used to detox your mouth? Crazy, I know, but keep an open mind and read for yourself! Here is a link to an unusual method for cleaning your teeth and detoxing your mouth, called “oil pulling”.  There is also much more information on natural oral care, and the dangers of fluoride, so go check it out. Now for that cavity thing, we are currently working on re-mineralizing my son’s tooth that has a cavity in it. So far, I can see white coming back around the brown spot, but I think it’s too soon to “call it” just yet. I am going to add oil pulling to his oral health routine and I will let you know if we get rid of the cavity. Here is a link at Wellness Mama all about healing cavities and making home-made tooth powder, if you want to know more before I post my own story. I have been amazed at all I have learned about healing teeth, and how nutrition plays a humongous role in keeping cavities away in the first place. I don’t remember a dentist (I’ve only had 2 my whole life) ever telling me how important food was in keeping my teeth healthy and nourished. Has your dentist ever told you? And has anyone tried oil pulling or any other “natural” oral health care practices? I’d love to hear what you may be doing in your family!

Here’s one more link to a (somewhat controversial) book that many are using to heal teeth naturally.

Encouraging Oral Health,

Organic Eater

How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling

I just found this helpful (and printable) resource, that I think can help all of you Organic Eaters! How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling | My Thirty Spot.


Real-Food Resource: Recipes and Ideas for Thanksgiving

The Grove Park Inn Thanksgiving 2011

I have it really good at Thanksgiving. I mean REALLY good. It may surprise some of you to know that I don’t LOVE cooking. I intentionally named the blog Organic EATER, not “Organic Cook”. I love the eating part, but the cooking part, not so much. I do it because I’ve disciplined myself to do what I know is right and best for my family, the exact same way I’ve been exercising and all of my other disciplines. This whole “real food, low sugar, low grain, #lowcrapdiet” thing is only a couple of years old in my world, and it has not caused me to miraculously start loving the cooking process unfortunately. So, having it “good” at Thanksgiving means I don’t cook, but it’s still awesome food!  My in-laws have either taken us to the beach (and a fabulous restaurant) or to The Grove Park Inn for the past several years during the week of Thanksgiving. Before those trips, they cooked the traditional turkey meal at their home and invited us over, and my mother in law is a fantastic cook!  With my husband’s job requirements now, we can’t travel during Thanksgiving week, so we are going back to the Traditional Turkey meal at their house again. I will bring a gluten-free cranberry apple dish (with oats) that is delicious and pretty easy. Oh, and I may bring the iced tea. That’s it. Oh, Happy Day!! And the best part is that my husband and I have convinced them to buy an ORGANIC turkey this year! Hooray! That was the only “missing link” for me to have spectacular Thanksgiving eating this week. BUT….

For those who do have to cook this week, I am going to list some of my favorite recipe blogs for you to check out. NO guarantees of only organic, but I will try to include only REAL FOOD links, and you make it organic if you can find the organic ingredients.  It is a holiday, so I wouldn’t fret over whether or not it’s organic if someone else is cooking for you. Let’s be polite guests, right? But I WOULD take a small portion (or none), if I knew GMO ingredients were used in the making of something I’m getting ready to eat. But that’s just my preference, and you guys need to figure that out for your own family’s situations, depending on how much stress and discomfort that may add to your holiday. If you are a parent or spouse, it’s probably best to have a discussion with your kids/spouse BEFORE you get to the holiday house. So here are my real food recipe resources for you:

Cheeseslave has a LONG list of Thanksgiving recipe links organized by food type

The Wellness Mama has an ENTIRE Real Food Thanksgiving menu, recipe for each item, and the shopping list you need to prepare all of it! This makes it super easy! I’m making the cranberry relish for left-over turkey sandwiches on Friday.

Food Renegade has a list of 11 Breakfast ideas for Thanksgiving Day, and a grain free menu for lunch/dinner. 

Whole New Mom has LOTS of contributing bloggers post recipes, specifically for allergy free needs

This Bruce Bradley post was my favorite because it not only has links to recipes, but it explains WHY you don’t want to eat those specific processed food items!  Mr. Bradley is a former corporate food marketer, so I think he knows what he’s talking about!

If you want to go “all organic at Thanksgiving” here’s a link at iVillage to show you how.

Two thoughts I leave with you: once you’re finished eating your holiday meals, and maybe one round of leftovers, get back to the good life of eating the food that really makes you feel great! Enjoy your family and your traditions, then back on track with eating and exercise. Don’t wait until January 2, 2013! Secondly, this is Thanksgiving, so let’s be thankful no matter what we eat. For some Americans, they don’t even have a table to sit at this year because it was washed away in a storm or blown away in a tornado. Many have been without jobs for months or years and are thankful for the kindness of someone’s generosity towards them, even if it is “processed” food. Many are eating in a shelter and thankful just to have anything to eat on Thursday. If we’re able to read a blog and make some choices about what and how we eat this Thanksgiving, let’s be EXTRA grateful for that!! 

Encouraging Health, and praying you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Organic Eater

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!

Tell me what you’ll be doing this week, and what choices/compromises you may have to make to “keep the peace” in your families. Or if you’re going all “real food” or “all organic” this year, I’d love to know that too! Also, if you have a great recipe or link you wanna share in these last couple days of shopping for food, share it with us!!!