The story of the month for October 2011 comes from Lynn Fang of LynnFang.com.
It has been wonderful getting to know Lynn and her work through various online outlets, including her site, which has morphed over time to include topics related to green living, as well as metaphysical and spiritual ones. I immediately gravitated towards Lynn’s kind, joyous and conscious approach to life on all holistic fronts—mind, body and spirit.
To me, Lynn is a wonderful role model for many, a proactive agent of change and inspirational being. Lynn doesn’t just talk the talk, or focus on the challenges of changing one’s habits for personal health, environmental and ethical reasons. Lynn takes action and is a living example that we are the change, but only if we choose it so.
In her story, Lynn explains her journey of change and evolving wellness, not just for her benefit, but for that of our collective world. It is such a pleasure to know Lynn and have her share her story with us all here today.
Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change
Four years ago, I became a vegetarian as a form of protest against factory farms. This was my first step in living consciously, in support of environmental health.
A few years afterwards, I read that the eczema I kept seeing on my skin was likely due to environmental toxins – chemicals in my soap, hair care, beauty care, and household cleaning products. From there on I had to test whether the “alternative remedies” were truly better than conventional chemicals. I began to explore all-natural, organic bar soaps, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotions. Indeed, my eczema lessened after the switch. I also learned that parabens, a preservative found in almost every personal care product, is a likely contributer to reproductive cancer, particularly breast cancer. So I tried to avoid parabens as much as possible.
It wasn’t until I wanted to live more sustainably that I also switched out my laundry and household cleaning agents to more natural alternatives. After switching out almost everything to natural alternatives, I rarely see my eczema appear. Patches of it are still here and there, but it is much less virulent than before. I use all-natural essential oils for the remaining patches.
About a year ago, I was introduced to the metabolically destructive world of plastics. I made an effort to stop using plastics, switching my tupperware to glass, and relied primarily on my steel water bottle over plastic water bottles. Reducing the influence of plastics is still an on-going effort.
Strategies I Implemented & Their Results
My journey in vegetarianism has been strict and loose, and now I have adopted a more flexitarian approach, where I eat vegetarian almost all the time, but on occasion indulge in grass-fed, free range meats and seafood. Meat is partly a cultural issue. While I can try to create a new culture surrounding vegetarian food, the culture of meat is deeply engrained in those close to me. I find it a little bit too isolating to stick to a 100% vegetarian diet. My interest is really in raising awareness on the issue, so it seems less necessary for me to follow a 100% strict vegetarian diet.
Additionally, I read an article questioning the harms of hunting. I came to realize that the very fact that I am alive causes other humans and living things to die. Growing food is not a vegan process. Earthworms, microbial life, pests, and rodents all die in the process of growing food. So it seems a fallacy to say that going vegetarian or vegan means I have not harmed a single animal life.
Eating non-organic food means I contribute to the likelihood that a farmer dies of pesticide poisoning or develops chronic metabolic disorders because of long-term exposure to pesticides. When I was working full time, I tried to eat 100% organic. Now that I am not working a regular job, I cannot afford to eat 100% organic. So I am less strict on myself about what it is I actually eat, and simply try to make the best, most conscious decisions possible.
I stick by my organic and natural cleaning products. It has not been difficult to continue to purchase these products.
How My Changes Benefitted Me
Eating vegetarian, mostly organic foods has increased my overall energy level, and my conscience feels good about trying its best to live low-impact. Switching to all-natural beauty products has improved the health of my skin, I don’t worry as much about my skin peeling away.
Choosing to live a conscious, low-impact lifestyle has also granted me a wealth of self-confidence. Following my own beliefs is truly a liberating experience.
Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey
My next steps are to continue to try and reduce plastics in my life, to make conscious decisions, and forgo buzzwords and bandwagons. I am actually less interested in my personal evolution now that I have made a lot of progress, and am more interested in helping to stop the corporate proliferation of unhealthy food and toxic personal and household cleaning products.
In this way, the mainstream public doesn’t have to be so confused about which product to buy. Essentially, I am more interested in systemic change, and improved societal health.
Wisdom & Inspiration for Others
Don’t give up! It is truly a challenge to try and follow your conscious beliefs when they are out of sync with mainstream sentiment. Know that you are not alone, and that everyone who chooses to transform their lives for the better, away from conventional lifestyles, is likely going through the same fears and self-doubt that you are.
Instead of seeing it as a struggle, see it as a challenge to become an even stronger, more confident you. The rewards of self-confidence, personal wellness, and liberation are waiting for you at the end of the tunnel.
If it is incredibly difficult for you to change your own life, consider focusing on systemic change – how can you stop corporations from selling these products in the first place? I am personally still exploring the answers for that one. But without asking that question, nothing can change.