In 2010 we gained quite a few friendships through our church. God gave us opportunities to build these relationships on a weekly basis after we joined the marriage ministry. We would see the same couples every Wednesday as we learned what God’s purpose for marriage is and discussed marriage topics in a small group study. We found ourselves having dinner with these friends, and opening up about our struggle with sex in hopes to find some answers.
On one occasion our friends shared a story with us of another couple who were inspired to go organic. When we first heard this testimony we didn’t see a correlation with our situation, so we didn’t think anything about it. It wasn’t until a few months later that God reminded my husband of this testimony, encouraging us to check out our personal care products. This is when we discovered the controversy over parabens potentially being harmful and how much they are in many household products.
I wanted you to have the opportunity to receive the same encouraging story that motivated us to go organic and paraben-free, so I contacted the wife who my friends had mentioned and asked her if I can interview her, she was more than willing to share her story…
Find Out How This Woman Improved Her PCOS Symptoms:
(This was shared in 2011, but I republished it on my blog to update and inform more women)
Allow me to introduce myself to your readers…
My name is Kimberly and I’ve followed Jesus for the past 19 years. I’m a homeschooling mom of two beautiful children; a daughter who just turned 8 and our little man who’s almost a year and a half. I’ve been married for 13 years to the love of my life who’s an amazing, supportive man. We’ve been through many ups and downs in the more than 15 years we’ve known each other, but God has used these many joys and trials to bring us to where we are today and to strengthen our marriage. It hasn’t always been an easy road but it has been so worth it. It’s been through these experiences that have deepened our love for each other and brought us to where we are today. Some of the things we do to keep our relationship strong are praying together and making it a priority to go out on dates on a regular basis. Our kids are an incredible blessing but it’s important to us to devote time for just us. As a family, one of the things we enjoy together is traveling. Due to the nature of my husband’s job (he’s a fireman) and the fact that we homeschool, we are blessed to have a lot of family time together. We make the most of this by traveling as much as possible. We use these trips as educational opportunities as well as to create lasting memories that will keep our family close.
In response to your questions, I think I can say that some of the struggles I face as a wife would be making time for each other with a busy schedule, communication, and occasional fearfulness. Or, shall I say, not letting my fears control me. I’m not necessarily a fearful person, but that is something that creeps in from time to time that I must deal with. The nature of my husband’s job as well as concern for my kids can be a bit unnerving at times. It’s a process, but I’ve learned to trust God with my family. Really, what use is dwelling on fearful thoughts when I have no control over the situation? It’s through these moments that God has used to strengthen my faith. When life’s circumstances seem so overwhelming and completely out of my control, all I can do is trust in God’s purpose for our lives and He’s always proven Himself faithful! A favorite verse of mine to meditate on during these times is Philippians 4:8,
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
What do I know to be true? God is all-powerful, in control, has a purpose for my life, and loves me dearly. In regards to communication, even after 13 years of marriage, we find at times our communication is a work in progress. Good communication is so important for a good relationship and, although we’re not perfect at it (nor will we ever be), it is something we strive for. I guess what I’d like to share with your readers about marriage is that it’s hard work melding two lives into one but, just like most things in life, it’s so completely worth it!
Now to address the main reason you’ve asked me to write this: my story of how and why I’ve gone organic.
I guess you can say it started a couple of years ago when I started dabbling in purchasing organic groceries. I’d buy a few items here and there with my weekly trips to the grocery store. I knew, in theory, that organic had to be better for you but didn’t fully realize the extent of how harmful pesticides, hormones, and other chemicals can be for our bodies. It was kind of something I did without giving much thought to it. My organic purchases were somewhat haphazard without any rhyme or reason. Then, a little more than a year ago, God brought some amazing women into my life who were a lot more educated on natural products than I definitely was. Through many conversations and questions on my part, I began to realize how uninformed I was on this topic. The more I discussed and researched it for myself, the more I realized that maybe I could benefit from being more consistent and purposeful in my organic purchases.
To give you a little more background on me, I live with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. It’s something that began to manifest itself when I was a teenager. I realized something wasn’t right when I started experiencing irregular periods. Since I was young, the doctors I went to weren’t too concerned and really didn’t feel the need to do much about it because I wasn’t at an age where I would be wanting children just yet. They pretty much said, “Come back when you’re in your early 20’s.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that, back then, many doctors were not even aware of this condition called PCOS. It’s only been in the last decade or so that this condition has been more widely recognized.
Fast forward to my early twenties when I got married and subsequently wanted to get pregnant. Of course, because of my irregular periods, it wasn’t easy. It was at this time I began to experience many other symptoms of my PCOS. With a little help from hormone medications to make me more regular, I had my beautiful daughter. Having had the wonderful experience of having a baby of my own, we threw ourselves into what we considered our ministry – foster care. Over the course of a few years, we fostered a total of 7 little girls ranging from the age of 6 months to 3 years old. It was quite the experience. Right before we had our last two foster children stay with us is when I began to think again about what I could do to help my PCOS symptoms. It was also right about this time that I met those women I mentioned earlier who prompted me to look into organic foods more. At this point, we weren’t trying to get pregnant. I just didn’t want to live with these symptoms anymore. I didn’t want to be on hormonal supplements forever. I knew that couldn’t be good. In the more than 10 years since I began really looking for answers, I had been to doctor after doctor and tried many things, including hormones and medications that were supposed to help, but none ever really did much.
About April of 2009, I began to make more informed decisions about my organic purchases. I learned how hormone (or endocrine) disruptors can affect our bodies in a very negative way. Not just pesticides in food but chemicals we put on our bodies called parabens, found in items such as lotions and make-up, as well as the kinds of containers our food is packaged in and what we choose to drink from in the form of BPA laced plastics and canned food linings. These hormone disruptors do just what their name implies: disrupt your naturally occurring hormones that can lead to hormone imbalances, fertility issues for both men and women, cancer, and thyroid problems, among other things and, in children, early onset puberty which is actually becoming an alarming trend in this country. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and I half wonder if all the hormone disruptors I was exposed to growing up may have caused or worsened my condition, PCOS, which more and more research is starting to show is a possibility. My main motivation for going organic was to hopefully prevent my daughter from experiencing any potential problems. I really didn’t know at that time if it would really make a difference but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
About 3 months after I went organic, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in more than 10 years…a completely regular menstrual cycle. I was amazed! That same month we took in two little foster girls and, ironically, the very next month I unexpectedly got pregnant. The funny thing about this story is I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was about 3 months along. It definitely wasn’t something we were planning on. Because I barely experienced what you would consider the tell tale signs of pregnancy, I didn’t discover it until later thinking that maybe the one regular cycle was a fluke and I was back to being irregular again. During my pregnancy, I continued avoiding hormone disruptors and, after having my beautiful little boy in April of 2010, my regular cycles resumed. I do still battle with some of the other symptoms of my condition. I wouldn’t consider myself cured but I’m just so thrilled to finally have some semblance of normalcy after so many frustrating years of searching for answers with the added bonus of having my amazing little boy! I realize that not everyone experiences problems and is as dramatically affected by the chemicals in our environment as I apparently am, but if sharing my story can help others, I am thrilled to do so.
At first, I went very strict with my ‘natural’ product usage, but that didn’t last more than a few months. By trial and error, I’ve found the middle ground that fits our budget and lifestyle that still affords me the benefits of reducing my intake of chemicals known as hormone disruptors. Like I shared, even with my moderate approach, within three months I experienced dramatic improvements with my PCOS symptoms. Something that no doctor, medication, or any other remedy had ever been able to do in my decade-long search. And believe me when I say I’ve tried pretty much everything! I’m just amazed at how simple the answer turned out to be.
For produce that’s been found to contain the most pesticides, I buy organic. I’ve included a website below that shows which produce tests with the highest levels of pesticides. For everything else, I get the regular stuff. To be honest, I’ll even buy some high pesticide regular produce if I find them at a great price. I just try to not do that too often. I stock up on Foster Farms chicken when it’s on sale since they don’t use hormones in their meat. Our local Henry’s Marketplace often has good sales on their natural meat as well. I don’t buy cosmetics or lotions that contain parabens, but I don’t freak out if I end up using a product that contains them if I can’t avoid it. At least I’m reducing the overall amount I’m exposed to. I use BPA free plastics or drink from glassware when possible — and I definitely don’t heat plastics in the microwave. BPA is also found in the lining of all canned foods so I use fresh ingredients whenever possible. I also stay away from soy products as much as possible as soy beans are a natural plant estrogen that seems to affect my PCOS as well.
For anyone who may be interested, I’m including a few of the resources that I use:
Find out what’s in your beauty products at Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database
Save $$ on the natural products you buy at Vitacost.com
Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to share my story.