Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Year in Review: What I Learned in 2011

The year 2011 was quite a learning year for me and my family. I suppose most years are for most of us, as we strive to become more educated and more proactive, but last year was particularly eventful for us. So I wanted to look back and see what were the biggest things I learned--the top 20, to be exact. This post may be more for me than for anyone else, but I hope that it may provide a good review for others of you as well.

In 2011 I learned:
  • A lot more about the evils of MSG (here and here), its many hidden forms, and how to avoid it
  • The value of red meat and the necessity (for us) of adding it back into our diet
  • The joy of purchasing a vehicle in full--ie, owning it free and clear from the date of purchase (which is the only way we've ever done it, but I had forgotten how good it feels!)
  • More about essential oils (particularly those from the company I buy mine from, which are so pure they can also be taken internally) and the science behind why they work (This has been so empowering! I happily use them regularly on myself and my family now)
  • More about refined sugar and the plethora of negative health consequences resulting from its over-consumption
  • A lot more about the value of baking soda and its surprising uses (here and here)
  • Why infant circumcision is completely unnecessary and why we chose not cut our baby boy
  • How important magnesium is to our health (and that I need it daily)
  • Why we decided to wait to cut our baby's cord
  • The joys of Freecycle
  • How easy it was to can pickles all by myself for the first time (and boy, are they yummy!)
  • To value the Five Love Languages again as I re-read the book about children's
  • About Reglan (and Fenugreek) and how it saved us while I was hospitalized with pneumonia
  • More about the amazing properties of garlic
  • How to grow and harvest potatoes (a first for us last year!)
  • About root cellaring
  • About the school lunch "Food Revolution"
  • The recipe for the most scrumptious pumpkin bread imaginable
  • How much wood is in the processed and fast food diet (eewww!)
  • About the Emotion Code and how amazing and empowering this information is (If I could, I would underline this one three times!)
As the year drew to an end I also realized how many more vegetables we are eating, just as a matter of course, than we used to. I attribute this healthy improvement to our weekly Bountiful Baskets, which provide us with more vegetables than we would otherwise be able to afford (or honestly think of buying) and enforce the eating of them (since we have so many and I don't want them to go bad). I love that I desire vegetables every day now, whereas I used to be pretty ambivalent (even as I knew I needed to do better at including them in our daily diet).

As I look over the above list, I am amazed at all the learning that was crammed into one year! I believe that one of the main reasons for life is to learn, so seeing this list makes me happy. And, of course, learning without applying the new-found knowledge is pointless, so I am also happy about all the ways I was able to help my family improve our health last year. If my blogging has served no other purpose, the fact that it documented our improvements in 2011 and showed me all I've actually learned, it is worth it. 

Here's to a great 2012 for all of us, with a lot of learning and application along the way!

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