Change the World Wednesday: Multiple Choice

Hi everyone, this is a bit late as we’ve had power outages due to high winds and heavy rain since yesterday.  Once the power was back on my internet was still out.  So I’m now back and hoping no more interruptions until I finish writing this.

The past week has brought quite a few changes to my life, all positive.  ;-)  First, I finally got up the nerve to try oil pulling.  I bought a jar of raw coconut oil nearly three weeks ago but the idea of oil in my mouth sounded so gross.  I was quite surprised by the sweetness and have been consistently practicing oil pulling now for a week.  I started because I have battled with gingivitis since my late teens.  What I didn’t expect was the difference in the rest of my body.  I have been waking earlier, needing less sleep, and not finding myself tired mid day.   I have had tons of energy each day as well.  At first I thought it might be related to the lovely sun we were having but it’s been raining for a couple of days and my mood and energy levels are still improving, definitely not normal for me on those dull rainy days.

The next benefit was truly shocking.  With my Muscular Dystrophy I suffer from tightness in my muscles and tendons.  The tightness is reduced and without changing anything else in diet or activity I am moving better which has me super excited.  The other symptom associated with my lack of mobility involves swelling of the extremities, namely my feet, ankles and fingers.   It used to be that a good nights sleep would take care of the problem but for the last year or so the swelling doesn’t seem to totally diminish during the night and I had to resort to removing my rings.  By the second day of oil pulling my edema (swelling) was greatly reduced, and has continued since to the point that my feet and ankles look normal all day and I’ve been able to put my rings back on.

Wendy did a fantastic job explaining oil pulling if you are interested in trying it check out this post to learn how.

This week is also the annual Food Revolution Summit featuring some of the most renowned people in the health movement.  Listening to these interviews has brought me back to where I started and helped me to realign my diet with what I knew was best for me.  As a result I have removed the butter, eggs and any hidden sugars (such as in bread) from my diet.  Combined with the oil pulling I look forward to even bigger results in my health.  Today’s interviews were with Dr. Neal Barnard, Nutritionist Brenda Davis, and T. Colin Campbell author of the China Study.  If you want to listen to any (or all) of these interviews or those coming over the next few days just click the link above.


There is also good news about my home but I’ll save that for another day. :-)  Now it’s time for this week’s challenge from Reduce Footprints. This challenge has some thing for everyone.

This week, park in the first available parking space and then walk the rest of the way. The goal is to use very little fuel once we enter the parking area. It’s a small thing with a big impact. And … it’s great exercise!

The circling is not a problem I no longer own a car.  So I will address the rest of this week’s challenge.

OR …

If you don’t drive, or want more of a challenge, please focus on other ways to reduce petroleum use. Here are some suggestions:

  • Buy local products (they don’t travel as far to get to your market).
  • Go “Scent Free” or use essential oils (95% of the chemicals in most perfumes and scents are derived from petrochemicals).
  • STOP using plastic bags!
  • Air dry your clothing (saves energy which means reduced oil consumption).
  • Choose natural, Eco-friendly cosmetics (most lipstick and glosses are made with petroleum products).
  • Switch to soy-based printing inks (most inks on the shelf contain petroleum products).
  • Say “NO” to nylon and polyester (both petroleum based).
  • Avoid aspirin which contains … yep … petroleum.
  • Avoid hair color and opt for a natural dye like henna … or just go natural!
  • Grow and/or buy organic foods (fertilisers and pesticides contain petroleum).
The common link this week is oil.  image source

The common link this week is oil. image source


Local products is a good one. I am close to finishing up the food I put up in my freezer and need a stop gap until the gardens start producing and the farmers’ market reopens.  I’ve decided to hitch a ride with my daughter-in-law who has an errand in the city Friday to stop at the whole foods coop. It’s a better compromise than spending my money in the grocery store.

I am scent-free…almost.  I just started to use my orange scented vinegar made by soaking organic orange peels in vinegar for two weeks.  The only other scented item I use in the home or on my body is the coconut oil I use on my skin.  I think the scent is light but Zakk seems to like it and has taken to trying to lick it off of me.  ;-)   Once the warmer weather arrives I won’t need it as much but the long winter takes a toll on my skin if I don’t moisturize.

Skip the plastic bag in the produce section.  Make your own cloth produce bags. I made mine from a used sheer curtain.  image source

Skip the plastic bag in the produce section. Make your own cloth produce bags. I made mine from a used sheer curtain. image source

Plastic bags were given the heave-ho several years ago, but the last type of plastic bag was finally done away with when I realized that by composting my food I had nothing wet or smelly that would dirty my small can.  Plastic trash bags are a headache for the landfill as well.  Once your trash is dumped equipment tears up the bags to expose the contents.  Some of the smaller pieces of these bags blow in the wind and are carried miles away.  Growing up we used the paper bags from the grocery store to hold our trash while not perfect if you don’t have a dumpster, like I do, and are required to have your trash bagged give this a try.

Cosmetics I’ve pretty much given up.  I still have an eye pencil and a tube of mascara but can’t recall the last time I used them.  Along with cosmetics I also stopped coloring my hair four or five years ago.

Soy based printing inks is a good solution if you need to print documents.  I decided to have a paperless home/office so there is no need for a printer. Not owning a printer keeps me honest.

Even microfiber cloths are not healthy for the environment.  image source

Even microfiber cloths are not healthy for the environment. image source

Nylon and Polyester are both horrible. I’ve talked about synthetic fabrics before.  By using them you are polluting the waterways when you wash them and you will need to use some sort of fabric softener because synthetic fabrics are the only ones that produce static.  By not having synthetics I can dry my clothes and know I won’t have a problem with static, summer or winter.

I avoid all medications, with the exception of one prescription that I need (still working on that one).  I don’t have respect for Bayer whose corporate decisions do not align with mine.  Tylenol and other non-aspirin pain relievers are even worse.  I first learned this when nursing homes in the area needed to stop giving the elderly Tylenol because it builds up in the liver and causes liver failure.  Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong.  Listening to our bodies can help us reduce further injury.  If you have been staring at a computer screen, walk away for a while.  Stretch your neck to relieve tension and if a headache persists tightly tie a bandana around the area affected and lay down for 30 minutes.  With the exception of migraines (which thankfully I have no experience with) this will usually solve the problem.

Tuesday I talked about pesticides when mentioning Cuba here.  Pests are building up immunities to the various pesticides we have been using which results in the need to use stronger pesticides. It’s a vicious cycle.  Try companion planting which shows certain plants deter the pests normally found to decimate another.  And always rotate the types of plants you grow in your garden.

So what’s left from the list for me to work on?  Air drying my clothes.  So far we are not permitted to put up a clothes line in the field. I have been using the clothes dryer I have several ideas on how I can build an indoor drying rack but haven’t yet figured out how.  While over the shower would be a good spot my bathroom isn’t easily accessible and I could fall trying to work in that area.  In the vanity area is the best spot I can think of plus there is a heater in that area for winter but it would block access to the bathroom. It’s a solution I will find, I am determined. ;-)

Which of these challenges do you already do?  Is there something on the list you will work on this week?


Don’t forget you can still enter to win a copy of Collapsing Consciously:  Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times  by leaving a comment here.

34 thoughts on “Change the World Wednesday: Multiple Choice

    • It’s good to hear others are experiencing similar results. I just read an article that debunked oil pulling for health. I’m glad I gave it a try before reading that.

  1. I’ve tried oil pulling and I like it, but I just can’t seem to get myself to do it consistently. I don’t know why I just can’t strike up a regular habit. I’m glad you’ve noticed some positive effects : )

    One thing I want to add about microfibre cloths: when our bedroom went mouldy I was advised by the very knowledgeable owner of a local eco cleaning store to get microfibre cloths to remove it (along with 10% vinegar or methylated spirits) – at it worked. Whilst I dislike synthetic fibres, I dislike mould far more! We bought one really good quality cloth, and it should last a lifetime. We also bought a microfibre floor cleaning cloth/mop thing, because it is far better than a broom. Dust is made up of lots of nasty things including chemicals, mould, allergens etc so I figure it is better to get these out of my home. My friend has the same mop thingy and has had the same cloth for years (and she ran holiday accommodation so it was well used) – it is made by a German company and built to last.

    • Lindsay, I have three microfiber clothes that were given to me years and years ago. I try not to use them but don’t want to throw them out either. They do work really well to collect dust on furniture when I am sanding yet I feel guilty each time they are used.

      Dust is nasty, which is why I would love to have my carpet removed in the apartment for bare floors.

      • I think if you have them you should use them and benefit from them. (Just my opinion, not trying to tell you what to do – hope it doesn’t sound like I am!) They do have really good health benefits, and they are a great way to keep chemicals out of our homes – the ones that enter via dust, soil, grit, air pollution etc.

  2. Hi Lois! Wow! You are such an inspiration for all that you are willing to do to walk your talk. I was happy to see that I do a number of the things that you challenged yourself to do–but there are certainly more I can do and I appreciate the encouragement. I have also heard about the oil pulling–we use coconut oil for quite a bit of cooking but I’ve never tried the pulling. Your testimony is GREAT and I’m now going to try it. Thanks again for all you do AND for getting the message out to all of us about what is possible. ~Kathy

    • Hi Kathy, I am still waiting to see some improvement in my gums but I’m feeling pretty good, better than I was at least.

      I knew you would already be doing a lot of these things to save petroleum but like you said we can always strive to do better.

  3. This is unbelievable! I had just read 2-3 weeks ago about oil pulling & read the testimonies but they weren’t convincing enough. I did it twice & got discouraged & then you come along with yours which really motivates me to hang on to it…
    I saw on the other links that we can even do it for five minutes. I found the twenty tiring on the jaw.
    There are such weird laws in the U.S! Not being allowed to put lines to hang your washing? My goodness…
    I’ve read not too long ago about the weirdest laws you have ranging from not being aloud to recycle rain water to…I can’t even remember they were so ridiculous :)
    This post is full to the brim with useful information so, many thanks for sharing.

    • I haven’t made it to 20 minutes yet but somewhere between 10-15 each morning. I’m waiting to see if it cures my gum problems which I read it can.

      Yes, some of the laws here are completely ridiculous. I get it I rent and have to follow some rules but what gets me is when people own their home and because of the neighborhood have restrictions like this. Why buy a home where you can’t hang clothes to dry outside or have solar panels or heaven forbid want to change the color of your front door?

      The rainwater issue is mostly in Colorado. The reason is that many years ago Colorado was sort of forced to agree to supply a certain amount of water to the surrounding states that are deserts. The problem is that the populations have grown in the desert states at the same time Colorado is experiencing drought conditions so there isn’t enough to go around.Colorado can’t get out of the agreement to provide the water to these other states so it can’t allow people to collect rainwater.

      • That is interesting! Why do they not explain this when they mention that law? It then makes sense to the viewers by understanding its origin. Yet it’s a pity they don’t try to adapt to the changes of time, ecology & population can get tricky & complicated sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn to make things right for everyone…
        But why would solar panels not be encouraged?
        I imagine that with this too they’ve not updated the laws to the novelty of solar panels but time will surely change that, though the process is sometimes long …
        Thanks for enlightening me :)

        • Solar panels are not permitted in most of the subdivisions because all the home must be the same. Therefore if you wanted to mount them on your roof your and everyone had asphalt shingles your roof would look different.

          I’d rather have a neighbor who let their grass grow a bit too long or even had a junk car in the drive living next to me if it meant I had the freedom to do what I wanted on my property.

          • I understand through your explanation that they want to keep the neighborhood’s standards in order to keep property value am I right?
            That’s when things get very complicated and every decision becomes a huge headache which is hardly an easy way of cohabiting… pity!
            Thanks for the clarification :)

          • Do I understand! There’s nothing like your own little piece of land making your own decisions…
            My latest dream is to just do that, buy a little piece of this planet & build my own Eco-friendly house,garden & a few animals as chickens for the eggs (that is the only animal product I indulge into since I’ve cut out fish lately) a Labrador which is my favorite dog bc it’s so child-friendly & in that aspect I’m still a child (fear from them since childhood experiences :)) a horse as I feel a strong connection to them & maybe the odd goat for the other members of the family who take milk.
            That would be paradise to me :)
            One can always dream can’t we?

          • That’s a lovely dream, very close to what mine would be. I’d pass on the goat but the chickens would be needed for the grandchildren who love their eggs. I love labs and horses as well. I would have a huge garden with grapevines and all the fruits and veggies I wanted. The home itself would be very small, it’s the land I would like.

          • Not much different. I need a space to work on furniture and as for lighting, I need lots of natural light so that would be on my list. ;-)

  4. You are the umpteenth person to mention oil pulling. That’s it! I’m officially trying it! I have gum problems, don’t sleep well (you hooked me on that one) and now will try it!

    As for the not circling, I’ve been parking far from the door for a good while now, figuring each little effort will pay off.

    I’ve been trying to buy as local as possible for food as well as clothing. Not an easy task. What is up with the fact we can’t get garlic from elsewhere but China? Can’t wait till the new crop arrives!

    Not totally ready to give up on the hair thing though – not yet! Just turned 50 and well, yeah. Let’s just leave it at that!!!

    • Dale, I wanted to try oil pulling for gum issues and the fact that I have no dental coverage. I am watching my gums closely and will have to see if it improves. I do know my morning breath is gone. :-) Let me know what you think and I suggest the coconut oil as at least it’s not bad tasting.

      I’m with you on the local shopping. For clothes I simply head to the thrift shop when I need new things. At least that supports a local business and keeps decent clothes from ending up in the trash. I can’t believe you can’t get garlic closer than from China! Ye gads, garlic can grow in just about any climate.

      I’ve got a year on you, it took some doing to give up the hair color as it was so ingrained in me to hide the gray but then one day I just cut it all off and said to heck with it. I’ve gotten used to the hair but not to people who see me and tell me I need to color it.

      • Ooohhhh and you lost morning breath too? Well, that does it! I am so IN! I don’t have dental either and have gum issues (the joys of wearing braces way back when…)

        Oh! And I wanted to mention that in my town, in the “hoity-toity” section they are not allowed to have clotheslines! Seriously. I would so not move there just for that reason!

        Doesn’t that just kill you? The garlic? Pffft! It does grow anywhere! I buy braids and braids of the stuff come fall but as I cook so much, it doesn’t last past January. By then, I’m stuck with the Chinese garlic. Seriously. Could we not at least get it from the States? I just don’t get it.

        AS for the hair. Well, Not ready yet! ;-)

        • Dale, these rules about line drying and such are our own fault. If people weren’t so intent on living in the “right” neighborhood and built their home on land not controlled by a homeowners organization they would have to do away with these regulations to sell their land.

          I thought it was just me! I started with gum problems while wearing braces but the dentists told me it was a deficiency in my diet and a sign of possible heart disease later in life.

          Yes, China doesn’t need to export anything else to this part of the world, they’ve already taken over most of our industries. Hope you get some fresh garlic soon.

  5. I hope you’ll have continuing success after you’ve noticed such improvements in your state of health, that’s always good, whatever the method.
    When I first came to live here in the 80s, I soon learned that every Swiss women takes her basket to shop – this is also because they shopped little and often, always fresh, like the French, so it didn’t get too heavy to carry. Now, of course, many people do a “big” shop with a trolley (cart) and you can’t carry that in just a basket! But we still use “proper” bags of various kinds to hold our shopping and you will always be asked if you need a plastic bag (or not!). Usually it’s unnecessary. About 20 yrs ago in England I got in an argument with someone in a shop because I politely refused the plastic bag, as I had another bag with me that was adequate – the assistant was insisting that I had to put “their” goods (having paid, I reasoned they were now “mine”!) into one of “their” bags… how ridiculous. Fortunately, they seem to have gone to the other extreme these days and you pay if you want a bag – it makes me laugh though because people soon forget how things used to be… like Sunday shopping. It’s only been done in Britain for 10 or so years but people act like it’s “always” been that way when I say that we have laws forbidding all but the smallest petrol station stores or souvenir stores in tourist areas to be open on a Sunday (or after 7pm) and enjoy a day when not everyone is rushing around to shop all the time. In fact, today is May 1st, Labour Day, and it’s beautifully quiet on the road outside my window as I write, because it’s what they call “a Sunday” (even though it’s Thursday!)…

    • You were told you had to use their bags? Wow now that’s crazy. Did that store have bags made with their name on that they hoped would serve as marketing? I despise that type of marketing.

      It’s nice to see stores changing their attitudes about a customer bringing their own bags. Most like when we do but even if they don’t it wouldn’t stop me. The only store I hear that doesn’t like you bringing your own bags in this area is WalMart. They have their own reusable bag but the cashiers don’t like using them.

      Here in Pennsylvania my state was the first to add their tourist website to our car license plates. I kept thinking I should get a discount for my registration because I was required to advertise for them.

      I do remember when a good number of businesses were closed on Sundays but today people get upset because the local grocery store closes at 11 or on holidays at 4. Yes, even Christmas, Thanksgiving etc the stores are open at least half a day and even then people complain because a 4pm closing on a holiday inconvenience them.

  6. Lois, you are such a wealth of information. CJ and I were just each listening to two different nutrition experts, and we have you to thank. This will provide much fodder for conversation and will lead to even more tweaks to the diet. I am so happy for your improved health and energy. I will definitely be checking out that article as I’ve never heard of oil pulling. Many thanks.

    • Tammy, I’m glad you and CJ checked out the food revolution summit. The speakers are wonderful and I only wish I had thought to share it earlier on so you could have heard all the interviews of interest to you.

      There is a big difference in oils for oil pulling, coconut oil is the most popular and what I am using but it must be raw to work. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

      • I have actually been doing it with olive oil but have not liked the taste, I don’t last long :) But, given your success with it I gave in to the coconut oil (expense!) and was really surprised, little taste at all after the first minute or so!

        • Wendy, I don’t think I could have handled the olive oil. The sweetness of the coconut oil does wear off, or I just don’t notice it after a bit but it isn’t at all disgusting as I thought it would be. I’m so thankful to you for posting about it and giving me that push to finally give it a try.

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