Category Archives: Health

Thrive Market May Be a Help, Especially to RVers

June 24, 2015 (by Angela)

One of the things with which I’ve struggled the last 7 or 8 months while full-timing in an RV is in locating organic products for our household, both food items and household items. Time has been spent, more often than not, in locations where it is hard to locate such items, and if they are found, the cost can be more than that to which I am accustomed.

For the past month I’ve been trying out (30-day free trial) Thrive Market, and after two orders and using many of the products, I am going to subscribe. RVers who either know they will be in one location long enough to receive an order, or who know exactly where they will be when the order is to come in (thus has a good address to use) may find this very helpful, especially if you are concerned about any of the items listed below:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Fair Trade
  • Family Business
  • Made in the USA
  • Gluten Free
  • Paleo
  • The list goes on with areas of concern being clearly address – I can’t remember them all

One of my new favorite things is Dr. Bronner’s Organic Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap because you can use it for almost every soap need from washing hands to dishes to laundry to keeping bugs off your plants. It is concentrated, so though I paid $10.95 (no tax and no shipping charges with $49 order) for 32oz, it is going to last for a good while, and I can use it for most everything. This morning, I filled my soap bottles for hand washing (part soap and part water to dilute it) and then used the little bit of run off from the bottle (which was actually too much) to wash dishes.  The camper smells amazing, the dishes are squeaking clean, my sinuses are open, and my mood is enhanced.

IMG_1192  IMG_1193

This is only one of the many products I’m enjoying, and I don’t have to run from store to store (brick and mortar or online) to find these items; the come to my door. It eliminates the needs to have several refill bottles in the RV for different things since this soap is good for most all of your soap needs, and it weighs less because it is concentrated.

Click here to sign up for your trial membership.

Folks, it is worth signing up for the 30-day trial period.  Customer service is great, and you’ll not get any hassle if you decide not to continue with the subscription (similar to that of Amazon but much cheaper). I know because I tried to see what would happen.  As it is, at the end of my trial period, I’m a paid subscriber. Click on the link above if you want to give it a go.


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My Second Week of CSA Produce from Eaton’s Creek Organics Farm

Today was my second CSA pick up for the half-share CSA with Eaton’s Creek Organics, and as with my first, I’m thrilled.

Pick up is at the Country Crossroads Farmers Market located at the intersection of Whites Creek Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard, Whites Creek, Tennessee (northwest Metro-Nashville). Here is a photo made today of the smiling faces of those working the market from the farm.

Eaton's Creek Organics Farmers' Market Booth

Eaton’s Creek Organics Farmers’ Market Booth

The email preview of what was expected to be in today’s CSA listed the following: beets, chard, fennel, kale, garlic scapes, lettuce, carrots and mint. This is what I received with two exceptions.  Instead of mint, I received some absolutely gorgeous parsley. I was excited to also find a vegetable I’ve never cooked (or eaten) before: kohlrabi.

Here is a picture of my basket of fresh (harvested this morning), local, organic produce after I set it in my (hot) car.  (I got the air going ASAP). I really get a lot of food.  I weighed this basket of produce after I got home, and after deducting the weight of the container, I had almost 10 pounds of fresh goodness.

My week 2  (half share) of CSA produce from Eaton's Creek Organics

My week 2 (half share) of CSA produce from Eaton’s Creek Organics

In addition to Eaton’s Creek Organics, there are some other lovely vendors at this small market.  One is an old friend from the Clarksville, Tennessee, market: Louise’s Bread. I’ve met a new friend from whom I have bought local honey today; his farm is Hayzyhaven Farm in Greenbrier, Tennessee.  With approximately 60% of the hives in Tennessee lost in the last several months, I am thrilled to find local honey at this market.

Hayzyhaven Farm Honey

Hayzyhaven Farm Honey


I encourage you to get out at your local farmers’ markets and get to know your local farmers and other vendors. Remember that when you buy from these people you support local people and farms, and you eat my healthily, too.

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Re-think Meat Choices

Read about it here; meat prices are up due to several factors. Many people are cutting back on meat consumption due to the increase in the cost of meat. Why not take this opportunity to choose to cut your meat consumption as a lifestyle change that will be better for your budget, health, environment, and farm animals?

I’m not a vegetarian, although I spent about two years eating vegetarian.  I grew up on a family farm where we raised most of what we ate; we raised our own animals to provide beef, pork, and for a time, poultry. Why, then, you may wonder, do I suggest that you consider reducing meat consumption.

First is the obvious; meat is more expensive than most other foods for which one might shop to feed his or her family. It costs more to produce meat and get it to supermarkets.  Next, there is a reasonable amount of evidence to show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains is needed for health, and meat is needed in small amounts, if at all. Additionally, raising large amounts of animals for human consumption is more detrimental to the environment than raising plant-based foods for human consumption. You can read about this here. Finally, current-day farming is not what it was on our family farm. Animals are abused and mistreated in factory farms. This is something about which I did not know for a long time. I ignorantly assumed that all the meat and poultry in the supermarkets came from farms like the one on which I grew up but were run on a larger scale.  It is nothing like that.  If you want to learn more about factory farms, click here. Please be aware photos may be graphic.

Use the current rise in meat prices to guide you and your family into eating less meat; you will save money while doing good for your health and the environment. When you do eat meat, support local farmers, like Tennessee Grass Fed Farm here in Middle Tennessee, who raise their animals humanely and do not inject them with growth hormones or needless antibiotics.  A dietician told me recently that this meat is better for us – better for our health.  Mr. Baggett’s prices, which include taxes, make his ground beef more affordable that the stuff sold in grocery stores and labeled organic that are still most likely from a factory beef farm much farther away than Tennessee Grass Fed Farm. When you do, not only will you know more about where your food comes from when you buy from local farmers, but you also help farm animals have quality of life and ensure that small farmers are able to earn a living.

Think about it. Research it for yourself. Make the change.




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Chills All Over Me

Chills, but not the good kind, are all over me.

The HH came home from New York this past Thursday night with an unwanted stowaway – a viral “Yankee” bug. He was coughing and sneezing and began running a fever during the night. I knew immediately I was going to be in trouble, but it was not until Sunday that the truth of this knowledge became apparent. Isolating cold symptoms from the allergy symptoms I already had was difficult, but I knew there was more to my symptoms than the effects of oak pollen.

It just happened that I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with my primary care doctor for Monday morning, and he confirmed what I already knew: I had a viral cold on top of my spring pollen allergies. Of course, with viral infections, only the symptoms can be treated; antibiotics do not help. I told my doctor that my husband brought me a “Yankee” virus to which I had no defense.  In fact, this is the first cold/respiratory infection I have had in almost two years. Dr. Y said that I should consider it a good thing as it will eventually help strengthen my immune system.

That thought does not sooth me as I deal with the symptoms of my “Yankee” virus. All day long, I have been cold, just like the HH had been over the weekend. It is 70 degrees in the apartment, and I’m bundled up from head to toe with a blanket. The drainage running through my system has developed into another fun issue with which I must deal, also. I’ve coughed so much and so hard that my ribs are sore, and you don’t want to know what happens when I sneeze, especially since I sneeze hard and frequently. Not only have I felt awful,  but I also had to put my exercise routine on hold. Additionally, I’ve had to cancel my work appointments for the early part of the week at the very least. This stinks!

What do you think? In modern society, where many of us travel all over the country and the world, do you think it is a good thing to be exposed periodically to viruses from other geographical regions? Dr. Y may be correct, but from my current viewpoint, I’d rather have been ignorant of this “Yankee” cold virus.

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Thankful To Be Able To Let Plans Go When Life Dictates It So

Planning ahead.  It’s what I do. Usually, things work out well, but this weekend’s plans were derailed by a cold (hubby) and allergies (me).

My husband arrived home from working in New York about as expected, and I was dressed and ready for our dinner date. It became quickly apparent that the hubby was not up to par; he was sniffling and coughing.  In a way, I hoped it was allergies, but it did not take too many hours to know it was a cold – something I am praying I do not get from him since I’ve been battling allergies over the course of the last 24 hours.  Oak pollen gets me every time.

We did enjoy our evening at the Japanese restaurant, but the night was hard.  I was sleeping well until my husband came to bed.  From that point on, I felt the heat of his fever and heard his coughing and moaning inter-mingled with snoring.  Finally, about 2:30 a.m., I got up and found him some cold medicine and had him take it. It was not long until the only sound I heard from the bedroom was occasional snoring, but by then, it was too late for me to get any real sleep.  I was wide awake for several hours, only dozing as daylight slowly filled the living room.

After a brief work conference call, the hubby went to sleep on the couch and has pretty much slept on the couch all day; it is his way of dealing with being sick. No matter the cause, when he is sick, he sleeps until he is over whatever it is. Like most men, young and old, he is pretty helpless when sick, incapable of even getting up to get a drink, so you know who has waited on him today. 🙂

While he was sleeping, and as I sneezed and sniffled and rubbed itchy eyes, I gave up on our brunch at the FunkyGriddle and called to cancel our trail ride for tomorrow. Doubling my allergy medicine, I shopped, cooked, did dishes and laundry, and took care of the dog while the hubby continued sleeping off his cold. I hope with all my heart that he is back to his normal self tomorrow.

The only thing not cancelled of the things planned for the weekend is me proctoring the ACT test tomorrow morning. I must get up very early, so I may have to insist that he continue fighting off his illness with his sleep method on the couch, so I can get the sleep needed to be productive tomorrow.

It’s not the weekend we’d planned, but I am very thankful that my husband was able to come home and recuperate in the way he needs to allow his body to heal. While I have not felt well either, I’ve been able to do what needs to be done, so he can be ready to hit the road again once he is better on Sunday. For myself, I hope allergy meds will keep me in check, so testing goes off without a hitch tomorrow.

Life can’t be all chocolate and giggles. Sometimes you just have to be thankful to be able to let your plans go when life dictates that it be so.

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“Shopping” in Our Closet

After moving last May, even though I had purged my closet twice (or was it three times) before moving, there was still too much stuff.  I made a mental promise to myself that things not worn within a year would be eradicated from the walk-in closet the HH and I share. Today, I kept that promise to myself, but I had added benefits beyond having more room in the closet.

Today, as I pulled out everything of mine from our closet to sort through those things to keep and those things to go, I found a few surprises. I was able to “shop” without spending a penny.

Even though I’ve only lost about 6 pounds over the last three or so months, I’ve lost inches – enough inches to begin making a difference.

My first surprise was that a pair of brand new pants still with tags on them purchased  last fall on clearance in hopes that soon I would be able to fit into them now fit!  Yay!  All I have to do is hem them since they were not petites, but what is one to do when there’s a chance to get a $3 pair of pants? It just so happens that I have the perfect top, purchased last summer, to wear with my closet “shopping” discovery.

Next, I found three pair of pants, enjoyed in the past but had been outgrown, that once again fit.  A few other pairs of pants once worn and enjoyed were, to my pleasure, too big for me now. 🙂

Finally, I discovered that a pair of khakis purchased a few years ago in hopes of losing enough weight to wear them, also still with tags on, now zips. It will not take too many more inches for the pants to truly fit, and then I can wear them with pride. You see, this was probably my most excited find of the day because the pants are three (3) sizes smaller than the largest size I got up to before beginning to lose weight and inches.

I may have fewer clothes in the closet, but after today’s “shopping” adventure, I actually have more to wear than I did before. An additional added benefit of purging the closet today is that I now feel inspired to continue on my slow but sure path toward better health since the improvements are literally seen in my clothes.

Have you ever gone “shopping” in your closet? Did you have some happy surprises when you did?

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Go Organic; Go Non-GMO; Go Local

Spring has finally sprung! Yes, Mother Nature will still throw some cold days at us, but one can “feel” the difference. As I was awaken by the lovely songs of birds this morning and as I look through our open patio door at the green in the wooded area behind where we live, I know Spring is here.  One of the things to which my mind turns at this time of year is knowing that fresh food is near.

Since our current residence does not get enough full sun to be productive in growing much on our patio, I will gladly support our local farmers rather than the big grocery stores and factory farms. I’ve spent the last few days researching organic farmers in the Nashville area that offer CSAs, and I’m happy to say I had several from which to choose.  I’ve purchased half shares (1/2 bushel every other week) from two different organic farms.  Eaton’s Creek Organics is north of Nashville proper and Green Door Gourmet is west.  Another farm from which I considered purchasing a CSA, Devlin Farms, visits one of the two Farmers’ Markets within 5 – 10 minutes of where we live, so I’ll purchase from them as needed.  All three are organic farms, so my worries over GMOs are almost non-existent.  I say almost because there is always the chance of cross-crop pollination.

As a bonus, Eaton’s Creek also has bees, so I can get local honey.  Both sell organic flowers. Green Door Gourmet has a farm store that carries products from other local farmers. I wish Pinewood Farm was closer to us as I’d like to support it also, but it is located in Hickman County, so not as local for us.

Beef, pork, and poultry will be purchased from a local farmer from whom I have bought for several years.  While the kids were still at home, we had a monthly CSA with Tennessee GrassFed.  In fact, I am proud to say that I was one of his first CSA customers.  When the kids were all gone and with the HH working away from home so much, I could no longer justify the amount of meat we were stockpiling, so I’ve gone to purchasing as needed or when Mr. Baggett has a seasonal package special. Next week, I’ll pick up some free-range chickens from him.

In addition to all of this, I will make visits to several local Farmers’ Markets in the area, including one of the best in the country, Clarksville Downtown Farmers Market. I’m proud to say that I have been a customer at this market since its beginning, and even though we no longer live in Clarksville, it is worth the drive to go there while open on Saturdays 8 a.m to 1 p.m.

From May to October or early November, the big grocery stores do not see too much of me, and commercial farmers get as little of my money as possible all year round.  Get to know your local farmers and craftsmen; they will become your friends.  Buy local; eat healthier; enjoy!

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Shade Tree Trot – A Good Place to Start

Despite the light dusting of snow on the ground, my mind has turned to late March and pounding the pavement.  One of my goals set last July was to participate in a 5k within the following 12-month period.  I’ve found one that seems like a good fit for my first 5k, and I’ve gotten the HH to agree to join me in this endeavor.

The Shade Tree Trot is a walk/run 5k sponsored by the University of Vanderbilt Medical Students to benefit a free clinic in East Nashville and run by medical students.  Quoting from the Shade Tree Trot website, ” Since 2004, Vanderbilt’s medical students have played a pivotal role in creating and expanding an extraordinary primary care medical home for hundreds of patients in Middle Tennessee. Through the Shade Tree Clinic, medical and nursing students from Vanderbilt and Meharry are able to enhance their medical education via practical “hands-on” experience, while simultaneously providing important healthcare and social services to a neighborhood in need.”

Taking part in this event will benefit others while benefiting us.  This being said, I guess it is time to employ our version of the “couch to the 5k” plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the mean time, if you are interested in taking part in the fun, fund-raiser, click HERE.

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How to (Hopefully) Avoid Genetically Modified Foods in Grocery Stores

Food seems to be the topic of the day.  I’ve just returned from shopping at our nearby Kroger store, and as I headed for the check out, my cart was filled with Simple Truth items. We are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s in the Nashville area, but they are on the opposite side of town – an hour round trip even in decent traffic. Of course, my first choice for groceries is a local farmers’ markets, but this time of year, that is not an option.  If I can find acceptable items at the local Kroger, which is about 3 miles from where we live, then I go there on a weekly basis. I’ll hit Whole Foods about once a month.

I was beginning to wonder if I could continue this routine because of my concern with GMOs and because I want to know the country in which my food was grown and, if applicable, processed.  I wrote Kroger’s corporate offices, asking questions about these two issues, and I got a very nice response quickly.  Here is the letter I received.

Dear Angela:

Thank you for contacting Customer Connect regarding the Labeling of our products.

Our company will always put a statement on our packages that indicates if any part of our product was made in/obtained from outside of The United States. If this information is omitted from the label, the product is from The United States. (The country of origin will not be labeled on tea, coffee, and spices as those are obtained from various sources.) We include this information so that our consumers may make informed purchasing decisions.

Please know that our company has high standards for our private labeled products. All products must comply with Kroger specifications, which are often more stringent than government standards.

Additionally, at this time the only products we guarantee to be free of GMO ingredients are those that are labeled as USDA organic. The USDA organic seal is a small green circle that will be displayed on the packaging of the product if it is organic. Many of our products are organic, but not all of them. If you would like to avoid GMO ingredients, please be aware of this fact and choose your products carefully.

The definitions for what constitute organic can also affect how much of a product is organic. A product labeled ‘100% Organic’ is made of all organic ingredients, with the exception of water and salt. A product simply labeled ‘Organic’ is required to have 95% or more pure organic ingredients. Up to 5% of the ingredients do not have to be pure organic but they do have their own special criteria in that they have to be included in the National Organic Program list of acceptable non-organic items. A product labeled ‘Made with Organic’ must have at least 70% organic ingredients.

In addition, at this time only certain GMO crops are currently approved for sale and consumption in the US. These crops include but are not limited to: Wheat, soybean, flax, canola, potatoes and tomatoes. If you buy a product with one of these ingredients, please consider that it is most likely a GMO product. The instance of GMO circulating in the market currently varies from product to product. For example, over 90% of the US soy crop is currently GMO. Other products may be far lower.

Thank you for the interest you have shown in our products. I hope this helps you to make more informed choices.

I hope that you find this information helpful. If I can be of further assistance, please simply respond to this email or call 1-800-576-4377. Thank you for shopping with us.

Kroger Customer Connect The Kroger Family of Stores

20140120_184347-1So, taking this person at his or her word, I’m shopping organic products.  Luckily, Kroger has realized that I am not the only consumer who does not want unwanted extras in our food, so the Kroger Simple Truth brand has been expanded. This line of Kroger products is mostly organic and claims to not have any of 101 additives found in other products.  You can click the link above to read the list of items promised not to be in the Simple Truth brand. I don’t know if I can believe what I’ve been told or what the labels state, but it seems a better option for the months when I cannot get most of our food from farmers.


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Sign the Petition to Keep Chicken Processed in China from Being in Our Food Supply

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I wrote about this issue several months ago.  Please read the original post by clicking HERE. It is the most read post in the history of my blog.

Now there is an opportunity to help stop this.  Go to the petition at and sign the petition.  Share it with others who are concerned about tainted chicken processed in China from entering our food supply. Since I’ve already signed, I can’t get the link to go directly to the petition, but you can use this to find it.

Petition | Congress: KEEP CHINESE CHICKEN OUT OF OUR…/congress-keep-chinesechicken-out-of-our-schools-and- supermarkets
4 days ago Over the summer, we were alarmed to learn that the United States Department of  Agriculture (USDA) will allow four Chinese facilities to process 

Take a stand.  Make a difference.

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January 18, 2014 · 10:47 AM