Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When one door closes, another one opens...

The last 3 1/2 years of my life has been a complete whirlwind. Fabulous, Not-so-fabulous, and anywhere in between. I feel so blessed for the tough times because they have made me stronger.

Last Fall, after trying unsuccessfully for 6 months to get pregnant, I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistant. That was the swift kick in the tush that I needed to get serious about getting my health in order. While I wouldn't consider myself as intense as some health gurus out there, I have make some pretty drastic changes to my eating habits. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, because I'm still working on it. However, my choices are getting better, and my health is improving. Sure, starting a family is a motivating factor, but I also know that it will happen when it's meant to happen. God has a plan for us.

I feel like part of that plan is this journey He has put me on in order to get my health where it needs to be. Clean Eating is a no brainer. Lean meats, 5-6 small meals a day of a complex carb and a lean protein, whole grains, throw in some healthy fats, drink lots of water, stay away from sugar, and if you're going to use salt, use sea salt instead, and in moderation. There ya go, that's the cliff's notes version of eating clean.

During this process, I have found that I can't seem to learn enough about organic foods, supporting local farmers, ethical treatment of animals for the meat we eat, etc. I've watched documentaries, I've researched articles, I've signed petitions, etc etc. I'm really trying to become a vegetarian, but... it's pretty difficult. I've significantly cut back on red meat, but chicken and shrimp are REALLY hard to give up...Even after watching Food Inc.

Another aspect of this health journey that was recently introduced to me is the safety of products we use in our everyday lives. Cosmetics, personal care, household cleaners, etc. It goes hand in hand with healthy eating - what you put ON your body (makeup, lotion, soap, etc) is just as important as what you put IN your body.

Through my research, I learned of the cosmetic database. The cosmetic industry loaded with toxic chemicals. Sunscreen is a necessary evil, right? Did you ever wonder why the warning labels mention that it's flammable? Really, isn't it common sense that if something is flammable, it's probably not safe to put on your body? Your skin is an organ, and the products you put on it soak into your blood stream, and can make you sick. This is a reason why so many women struggle with infertility... so when I heard that, it really got my attention.

I dare you.... I dare you to go to the website and check out the toxicity/safety levels of your favorite products. YES, even the ones who market themselves as natural and organic.

As you all know, last summer, I became a consultant for a large direct sales company. When I became a consultant, I never had the intention of being a superstar. Direct Sales people scare me. It's like, when you see them coming, you want to run the other way because you think they are going to ask you to buy something or ask you to host a party when you really just don't want matter how much "fun" they try to spin it as. That wasn't me. That wasn't what I wanted. I LOVED the products. I had been a regular customer for years and years, and finally thought, "Why not, it's something to do, and hey, I'm on a journey to get out of debt, so I can get my products at half price and will save some money! YEAH!"

It is a good company. It works for some people, but it did not work for me. The hoops you have to jump through in order to get the discount, hidden costs (shipping, prepurchasing an inventory, etc) that I wasn't prepared for, just really turned me off. I wasn't holding parties. I wasn't really trying to hold parties, I was happy with my handful of regular customers and I was happy to help them. But really, rather than saving money, it was costing me money to keep the business going. I was trying to tough it out for a full year before throwing in the towel... but then I found the cosmetic database I mentioned above, and when I researched my longtime favorite products of this company, it was then that I knew that my part in the business was officially over.

I heard about the cosmetic database by going to one of those at home parties for another company, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. It's a young company, it's only been around for 2 1/2 years, so that may be why you've never hard of it. I won't bore you with too many details right now, but this is where I learned about the cosmetic database, and the dangers of the everyday products that we are accustomed to. It's just like processed food. Processed food is marketed to be quick, cheap, and convenient, and these personal products are marketed very similarly. It's all about how can you be convinced to buy the product - the packaging, the claims of being healthy and organic (or cheap, if that's your concern), all the while having ingredients that are used in items that you wouldn't dream of being a kissing cousin to the product you put on your body.

I had SO MUCH FUN at that party. I went, thinking I may buy a lip balm, or something like that, and while I was there, it dawned on me that this was the next dimension to my quest for my health and safety of my body, and my family. So much in fact that I knew I was going to become a regular customer of these products. Roll your eyes, or sigh in frustration if you must, but as I am STILL on a quest to get out of debt, I had to think big picture. I realized that I was going to be buying these products, specifically the skin care, makeup, and sunscreen on a regular basis. As with most at home parties, you are given a glimpse into the business opportunity. At first I said "No thank you" because I was already burned once in direct sales and wasn't interested.

As I thought about it some more, I decided that I wanted to know more about HOW the business opportunity worked. What was the catch? How did the discount work, was I required to prepurchase inventory, was I required to pay shipping for my customers items, or did THEY pay for shipping, etc etc. After asking the right questions, I found that everything that had been a concern of mine with the previous company was a non-issue with Ava. I learned that by being a regular customer and purchasing my own products, I will meet the minimum requirements to get the discount, and so therefore, it only made sense for me to sign up.

I didn't sign up specifically for the business opportunity - that was not my motivation for doing it. I signed up because I already like the products. I REALLY like what the company stands for, and I wanted to save money on the products I know I will be buying. Funny thing is, Ava started the company not necessarily to make money, but because she was upset with the fact that most cosmetics are not safe. She's lobbying in Washington to get the cosmetic industry regulated so it will HAVE to be safe. If/when she's successful, other companies will be forced to offer safer products, which may result in a drop in sales of her products. From what I've been told, that's not a concern... she just wants there to be an availability of products that are truly safe. This is one reason why I'm so impressed with this company - they aren't concerned about their bottom line profit - they are more concerned about educating the public on the serious hazards of our everyday products.

While I didn't sign up necessarily to make a big business out of this, I DO want the opportunity to share what I've learned with my family and friends. I know that not everyone is as gung-ho about the safety of their products, and some of you reading this may think I'm a crazy for taking it so seriously. Hopefully there are others of you who may one day give me the chance to share with you what I've learned. This is one of those situations that once you learn about something, you want to share it with the whole world. Many of you reading this have small kids. Aren't you the least bit curious to know what the lasting effects of the ingredients in the products you use on them may have?

Anyway... yes, I'm technically a new consultant for Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. I would love the opportunity to tell you Ava's story (she started the company when she was 16 - yes, that means she's only 18 now). I'm going to be hosting a launch party soon (TBA), and I would absolutely love it if you could come support me. Let me share the story of how and why Ava started the company, and why the products you put on your body are so important to your health, so you can see why I am so excited about this.

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