Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Musings from the Conscious Shopper

A while back, I had an epiphany while reading one of Arduous' blog posts. She was reviewing a book called Zapped about how we're all slowly being poisoned by electronic pollution. Arduous wrote a very balanced review of the book, but I was particularly struck by her point that we as a society are very bad at assessing risk. Arduous quoted an article in the New York Times:
And while we certainly make constant (mis)calculations in our adult lives, we seem all the more determined yet befuddled when it comes to the safety of our children. For instance, the five things most likely to cause injury to children up to age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are: car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide or drowning. And what are the five things that parents are most worried about (according to surveys by the Mayo Clinic)? Kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers and drugs.
Arduous concluded, "Here's the point. If you are seriously worried about electronic pollution and want a few pointers for how to reduce your exposure, sure read Zapped...But before you spend thousands of dollars and hours and hours of time with an electrician trying to protect yourself, I would ask yourself to think critically about the risk here."

After reading Arduous' post, the wheels in my brain starting whirling...Now, I don't want to discount the precautionary principle because I do think it's a smart way to protect yourself from harm, but it occurred to me that I personally have spent a lot of time worrying about things that might be bad for my health when I'm not doing those things that I know are good for me. I've spent countless thought-time analysing what kind of shampoo to use, yet I never get enough exercise. I've stressed over what kind of deodorant to buy, yet I often make poor eating decisions. Just today, I decided to swap a handful of Christmas candy for a piece of fruit for lunch (same number of calories, definitely not the same nutritional value).

So I've decided to change my perspective on health. From now on, I'm going to focus on the good rather than the bad - on what I should do rather than what I should not. I'm going to spend more time thinking about whether or not I eat enough fruits and vegetables and am getting enough exercise than about the sodium lauryl sulfate in my dishsoap.

But how to do that? Do you have any tips for healthy living? Maybe I should stop looking at so much food porn on the Internet...


ruchi said...

I'm glad you liked that post! I think my main tip for getting exercise is to build it into your schedule if possible. For example, instead of driving your kid to school, maybe bike together or walk. That way you know that you are getting some exercise every day. I took public transit to work which required a 1 3/4 mile walk from the train to the office. Every day. Non-negotiable. And as a result I'm more in shape than ever.

Green Bean said...

I like it! I'm so tired of being overwhelmed by the negative - by all the things we have to fight against. What about the changes we can make. Empowering.

robbie @ going green mama said...

With fitness, the best advice I have heard is that you can't make the time for fitness - you have to take the time for it. Somehow that stuck. When we switched off DST I stayed getting up at the same time to do exercise for 30 min daily. I can't claim to be in the best shape, but at least I'm getting up and moving.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@Ruchi - I do walk to pick up my kids from school sometimes but have slacked off due to the cold. I really need to pick that up again as I always feel better after that good walk.

@Robbie - I'm so impressed that you wake up early for exercise! My warm bed wins out every time.

Frances said...

I love this. I may have to link to it shortly. What a great thing to keep in mind as everyone is trying to be healthier in the new year!

About things kids die of though: we live next to a lake! We haven't had kids yet but I even worry about my stupid animals getting out and falling through the ice. I've heard of farmers losing cattle that way.

Ruth said...

I've found has useful ideas. I just started doing the four of the five core movements (I don't have a pull-up bar!). I like how they are things you can do anywhere because they use your body weight, and he breaks them into different levels - there's a way to start doing pushups by using the wall. He also has videos showing how to do them on you tube.

Jay said...

I found your blog after searching for the difference between homogenized vs. organic milk. A friend mentioned that she drinks non-homogenized milk, and my immediate thought was, "Oh man, something else for me to research and worry about!" So then I found your post about milk decisions and the link to this post, and I love this post. I also spend far too much time worrying about the things that I should be avoiding for my own health and that of my family, but I don't do a good job of focusing my energy on doing more of the things that I know are good for us! I'll avoid plastics, but I'll eat junk; I'll sit on the couch reading about this or that danger on a beautiful day when I could be having fun outside! Loved this and a good reminder for me to keep in mind. :-)


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