A lot has been weighing on both my mind and my heart the past few months. Sitting at my laptop, a few lines would manage to find their way to my screen, but would be ultimately deleted. Nothing that I wrote seemed to sound quite right.
My mother passed away this past April. She’d had cancer for the past five years. Thankfully, most of that time, she had a high quality of life, and continued her normal routine. The decline was incredibly fast, and death was the only relief to be had.
My mom cared about her health. She always maintained a healthy weight, ate what she believed was a healthy diet, didn’t drink or smoke, avoided getting too much sun, etc. She always had her yearly physical, blood work, and related exams. She did not understand how she got cancer.
For those hanging in there reading this post: 1) thank you, and 2) yes, this will relate to homesteading, I promise.
Sometimes, there are no answers and no one to blame. However, I do believe that she did have many practices/habits that increased her risk of cancer without her even realizing it.
These were things about which I tried to ring the warning bell, but she dismissed. When she got her diagnosis, hearing that these certain things increase risk of cancer (why keep raising your risk, especially once you have cancer???) was even less welcomed conversation than it had been before. Some of these practices/habits included:
- Wearing sunscreen all the time can lead to Vitamin D deficiency. Many cancers are “Vitamin D sensitive”, including the type my mom initially had, breast cancer.
- My mom liberally doused her home (and everyone in it) daily with household cleaners and air fresheners heavily laden with artificial fragrances which are linked to cancer. She believed them to be safe.
- While she ate lots of fruit and veggies, few (if any) were organic. Pesticides, herbicides, etc., are linked to cancer.
- GMOs… let’s not permit me an opportunity to rant about GMOs. This train will be permanently derailed if I take that track. Suffice it to say, my mom didn’t pay attention to the GMO issue.
- My mom always heard the message that lean, white meat is healthy. Hence, we ate a lot of chicken in our house. As it turns out, arsenic has been used in chicken feed, and it accumulates and remains in the chicken meat… FDA says it’s safe. Sure it is. (sarcasm)
- Food additives, colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and manufactured food in general are linked to cancer.
- My mom’s appearance was very important to her. She never left the house without doing her hair or makeup. Common personal care products and cosmetics contain a chemical soup of known and suspected carcinogens that seep into our skin and get circulated through the body and accumulate through repeated exposure.
- She drank a lot of water because water is “healthy”. She drank both tap (municipal) and bottled water. Bottled water is known to contain endocrine-disrupting BPA, and tap water contains both sodium fluoride and chlorine, both linked to cancer.
- Cumulatively, my mom ate a lot of soy both intentionally and unintentionally. Following the advice of soy advertising, she had soy burgers, soy breakfast sausage patties, soy milk, and so on. She did eliminate these obvious sources of soy upon the cancer diagnosis, but soy is found in almost ever box of pre-made anything on grocery store shelves. Soy is full of plant-based estrogens, and like BPA, isn’t something I would be consuming if I wanted to avoid estrogen-related cancers.
If ever there were a time where it is so plainly obvious to me that, individually, we need to take control over our food supply back from the unholy marriage of Big Food and Big Government, it is now. The FDA is more concerned about raiding dairy farmers than regulating corporate farms or food manufacturers. It is little wonder why people get so sick! This, naturally, benefits the other other area of regulation the FDA oversees, Big Pharma.
I am astounded at the number of people in my sphere that have either had or had some form of cancer, or someone in their immediate family have. We continually hear about cancer cures, but very little about prevention. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that cancer will be a part of our lives, and that scares the living daylights out of me that we have reached such a mindset.
Here is the tie in to homesteading: while it’s no guarantee that a person won’t get cancer (or diabetes, or heart disease, etc), I cannot think of a lifestyle that gives a person more control over the quality of their food, water, soil, air, and so on, than homesteading. These seem like the basics of life, and something our country has valued (as in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) since it’s inception.
Yes, I am aware that my mom might have gotten cancer even if she led a totally toxin-free life. I’m not blaming any specific company or government agency. I am, however, acknowledging that many companies and agencies have profited from products that may have increased her risk and that of millions of other people. I also acknowledge that government “regulation” actually legitimizes such products instead of protecting consumers.
I encourage everyone, to whatever ability is reasonable in their circumstances, to take some small action:
- grow a garden
- source food from a local, organic grower
- grow houseplants to clean the air your breath
- learn to make your own DIY cleaning supplies from non-toxic ingredients
- learn to make your own lotions, soaps, shampoos, deodorants, lip glosses, and natural perfume and colognes
- get out in the sun (but not so long you get burned)
- ditch the non-stick cookware for cast iron
- learn to dehydrate and can foods for the winter months
- raise your own chickens
- And… anything else that helps you keep your food and water supplies clean.
The human body is a wondrous creation, with an efficient system of filtering out the toxins within which we might come in contact with in our environment. But, what happens when we flood that environment with toxins and poisons? Instead of running to government, complicit in creating this situation, think of homesteading then as “regulation” at it’s absolute most local level- you!