World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans!

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Our tiny home on wheels

People are always shocked to hear how much we love Costco!

They don’t expect us to benefit much from a warehouse store membership because we live in a tiny space (and travel full-time) and we eat very few processed foods.

So, are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”?! Read below about the 2 reasons we think we might be…and YOU be the judge. 🙂

Reason #1 –

People are surprised we shop so much at Costco because we are passionate believers in the idea of living simply.

IMG_0811We personally own very few things. We live and travel full-time in our tiny campervan – literally everything we own fits in here and travels with us. We don’t have a storage unit full of stuff anywhere, and we sold our home and property years ago.

Because we own so few things, we only own things that we LOVE! And so many of our very favorite things were purchased at Costco because we love the savings as well as the quality of the products they sell (not to mention their awesome return policy!).

Here are a few of our favorite purchases from Costco…

christy with camera

Me and my Canon 70D

While traveling, we’ve developed a passion for nature and wildlife photography (and documenting our travels, too). All of our photos are taken with the Canon 70D camera that we purchased from Costco. Our nature and wildlife gallery is on display at www.ChristyP.com. These photos allows us to earn some income while traveling since we are only in our 40s and nowhere near retirement age.

My eyeglasses are a Costco purchase that I use all day, every day.

And, of course, we make use of the savings on gasoline – one of the most critical things we need for our travels! We try to run out of gas anytime we’re near Costco’s awesome gas prices!

Our GoPro video camera is great for recording our adventures, and we’d literally be lost without our Garmin GPS that we use every day (also a Costco purchase)!

We love our Bem portable speaker for listening to music during the day, but we especially rely on it for listening to white noise at night since we’re always sleeping in new places with unpredictable noises.

Thanks to the Braun cordless razor (which we got a great deal on at Costco), we’ve both switched to dry shaving since we live with limited amounts of water on board our RV; and this razor works WAY better than others we’ve tried!

We were super excited to find the Smart Works Pop-Up Organizer at Costco, which we use every week when we do laundry. For nearly a year, we wished someone would invent a collapsible laundry basket. We even scoured the internet looking for a space-saving solution. Then, one day, we spotted this amazing item while walking through Costco! YES!

Needless to say, with our adventurous lifestyle, we track a LOT of dirt into this tiny little space. So we needed a powerful vacuum that we could store conveniently. We tried out dozens of options, but there was no contest once we discovered the Dyson DC 44 stick vacuum at Costco!

And, since we’re on the road full-time, it’s great to have peace of mind knowing that we can fill our van tires to the recommended tire pressure or jump start our rig anytime if necessary without finding someone to help when we’re in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the jump box we found at Costco, these things are never a concern for us – plus, we can air up our own bicycle tires in a snap, too.

Reason #2 –

People are surprised we shop so often at Costco because we are natural foods advocates.

kitchen

A glance at our kitchen

We eat a natural, additive-free diet; and we make a living teaching others how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods at www.CompletelyNourished.com.

Until I tell them about it, most folks have no idea that Costco sells so many natural and organic food items…and at great prices! The savings on these foods alone literally more than pays for our membership fee!

kitchen cabinet

A peek inside our pantry 

When we moved into our camper van, I assumed I’d be kissing my Costco shopping days good-bye. But, actually, we can squeeze a surprising amount of goodies into our van as you can see by this snapshot of the inside our our pantry.

(The fridge is packed, too, with all sorts of meats, fruits, veggies and eggs from Costco…but I had trouble standing back far enough to get a good picture. LOL!)

I like to think that if we can eat natural, additive-free foods and benefit from the savings at Costco with our lifestyle and our teeny kitchen and limited storage space in our less than 150 square feet of living space, then anyone can find ways to eat more natural foods!

Some of our favorite natural foods that we are still able to purchase at Costco are:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Organic eggs
  • Organic and grass-fed meats
  • Cheese
  • Organic salsa
  • Olive oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic peanut butter
  • Natural almond butter
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Coffee
  • Organic lemon juice
  • Organic quinoa
  • Wild-caught canned salmon
  • Organic raisins and other dried fruits
  • Almonds
  • Larabar snack bars
  • Organic bread
  • Organic tomato paste
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Sea salt, black pepper and other dry spices

Of course, when we had a full-sized kitchen and more storage space we were able to benefit from even more of Costco’s products…and I still encourage others to do so by sharing all sorts of recipes on our website.

We love Costco for all sorts of products that are not specific to our businesses or lifestyle, too. Even with our tiny living space, we still find room to store other bulk goods and household items from Costco like paper plates, paper bowls, parchment paper, foil, plastic wrap, feminine hygiene products, Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap, etc.

So, what do you think? Are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”? Do you shop at Costco? Are you intrigued? What are YOUR favorite Costco goodies? We’d love to hear from you below!

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our blog if you’d like to stay up-to-date on our tips for natural health and happiness! 

 

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How the Food Industry is Destroying Your Health & What YOU Can Do About It

accentIn the video presentation below, I explain many of the sneaky tactics used by the food industry to disguise toxic chemicals in our food.

I also explain how such additives in food cause and exacerbate a wide variety of health problems, and I share a little bit about my own personal struggle with chronic pain and fatigue (i.e., Fibromyalgia).

If you are living in more pain or with less energy than you would like, please take the time to watch this video and share it with anyone it may help!

You will learn why food additives matter and how to avoid them when shopping at the grocery store!

(If you’d like some help getting started, grab a copy of my “Eating Additive-Free” book that I mention in the video. It’s jammed packed with natural recipes and the grocery shopping guidance you need to get started avoiding food additives!)

And for even MORE great tips about living a “Completely Nourished” lifestyle, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our site, and we’ll send you a message when we post new goodies here! 🙂

“Fibromyalgia to Pain Free!”

Shan Swain - originalToday we are pleased to share with you the guest post below written by one of our clients, Shan Swain. We hope that you find her return-to-health story to be an inspiration. Please share with anyone whom this may help! We are so incredibly happy for Shan that she is feeling so much better these days! Food is an amazing thing!

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Shan’s Story…

“It has been 9 months since I have started my new food journey. I must give you a little health history prior to this. About 15 years ago, I was beginning to have joint pain – it wasn’t bad at first but as time went on it increased. Between the cold weather and other health issues, exercise started to become more and more painful. I went from walking to not walking because of the pain. I would have to organize my schedule according to my pain level. In a matter of 5 years I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The only thing they could do for me was physical therapy or medicate for the pain. So I begin to seek my own relief, like going for a massage (which I intently did for 3 to 4 years). Also, heat seemed to provide some relief and acupuncture helped for a short time. But even with trying all of this, my pain was still there and worse as the years went by.

In January of 2012 my daughter Courtney told me about an article she had read about someone who had lived for years with Fibromyalgia but was currently pain free. She told me that the gal’s name was Christy Pooschke and that she had a website full of information at http://www.CompletelyNourished.com. So I read Christy’s whole return-to-health story on her website, and in her story I found the light! I could relate to everything she was saying about her health issues, it was my story! The light was that Christy had discovered a solution to the PROBLEM – not a fixer upper or a band-aid, but a true, real solution!

I was a skeptic at first. It was hard for me to put my mind around all that I needed to change with my diet. I called her with no hesitation, and we scheduled a time to meet. In the mean time, we chatted on the phone about some of my history and food journaling. As the time was approaching for us to meet, I was beginning to have some doubt that this could possibly take my pain away. It seemed to me that I would be in this pain forever. But I started to go through my cabinets and switch out some of my foods that I have always eaten. I had no idea that these things could’ve possibly been causing my health issues all these years!

When the time came for Christy, my daughter and I to meet for our consultation…I still thought it wouldn’t work. But Christy put us at ease and said “these changes take a little time, so don’t overwhelm yourself.” She went through some of my foods and explained that it’s the ingredient information that matters because so many of the additives in our foods can make us sick. As we continued, she challenged me to start switching out my food for more additive-free foods and to cook my own food at home. Christy’s “Eating Additive-Free” Cookbook & Shopping Guide was a huge help in that regard because it is filled with recipes for the “typical American” types of foods my family already enjoys!

When we finished our consultation, I began to go full speed ahead and switched out everything in my cabinets for real food and clean food. This took time and required my attention as to what I really was eating. It was shocking to find out that something as simple as canned tuna fish often contains hidden MSG! One of MSG’s most commonly known side effects is headaches but also for me the effects of MSG were bloating, aches and joint pain, and chest pain that felt like a heart attack. A few times I thought I was having a heart attack, which led me to get an EKG…but my heart always tested out just fine.

I started to go out to eat less often and began cooking more at home. This gave me satisfaction to continue this new journey. Within 2 months, I started to feel a difference! The days and weeks went by, and I had less and less pain. I am not even aware of the joint pain anymore…unless I go out to eat. Then, soon after I eat I can either get a headache or joint pain which I know is from an additive in the food. It’s amazing how I can tell a difference immediately! I have been so careful (with help) when I grocery shop for clean foods. I make sure that I purchase real food ingredients. For example, now I make sure to select peanut butter that contains just peanuts and salt. Nothing more!

As for my activities I am trying to work in some simple exercises and walking. This has been amazing because the walking has been easier and fun! I’ve also been able to thoroughly enjoy several vacations with my family since recovering from my Fibromyalgia pain – and that has been an absolute blessing! I also love outdoor activities, and maybe I will try to bike again. In the mean time I am totally enjoying the flavor of my new foods, my new menu ideas and how much better I am feeling. This is now 9 months into my new food requirement. And I don’t say that lightly, it is a requirement for me to avoid food additives if I want to feel good. I have also lost 30lbs., not that it was anything I was working towards, it just happened as a “side effect” of avoiding the additives.

My final thoughts…if food additives are causing folks like me to be so sick, what other problems are people having that might be a result of their diets?! Let’s be sure to inform those who are in need.”

Very Thankful,
Shan Swain

The effects of hidden food additives on Fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia stole several years of my life. In 2002, I came down with what I thought was the flu – but it just wouldn’t go away, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Nothing they did for me seemed to help. After more than 15 different prescription medications, countless appointments with various specialists and more than a handful of diagnostic procedures; I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. For years, I lived in pure misery, suffering from a debilitating “invisible” illness for which doctors told me there was no treatment, no cure and no known cause.

Fortunately, in 2007, I stumbled upon some information that changed my life forever. I learned that there are ingredients in processed foods (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors/sweeteners) that are making people sick, tired and overweight. Immediately upon reading this information, my husband and I inspected the ingredients label on everything we were eating; and we came to the harsh realization that what we had been putting into our bodies wasn’t really even food. Every ingredient label in our kitchen was filled with mysterious words and chemical names!

Without hesitation, we completely purged our kitchen of processed foods and mysterious chemical ingredients – we threw food away, gave food away, and even sold some of it at our garage sale! We said good-bye forever to things like Lean Cuisine meals, Slim Fast bars, soda, chewing gum, ice cream and fast food. We began making all of our food at home…from scratch. We scrutinized the ingredients label on everything we purchased from that point on; and if it contained even one word that we didn’t fully recognize as having come from nature, we didn’t put it in our grocery cart. We also began to seek out local farmers and purchase as much food as we could directly from them – we wanted to fill our bodies with foods from the earth, not chemicals from a lab.

Within just a few months of these dietary changes, I realized that I was no longer in any pain and my fatigue and all of my other symptoms had completely dissipated, as well. No longer were my arms so weak that I could barely drive. No longer was I too fatigued to get out of bed. No longer was I in so much pain that I couldn’t bear to accept a hug from my loved ones. Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I had suffered an episode of the abdominal cramping, insomnia, chest pains or racing heart beat that had plagued me for the last 5 years, either. In fact, it seemed that I felt better and had more energy than most people I knew (and 5 years later this is still the case for both of us – as long as we eat a completely additive-free diet)! So I kept reading every book I could get my hands on, and I still haven’t stopped educating myself about avoiding food additives and preparing natural, wholesome foods. The more I have learned about food additives, the more shocked and disgusted I’ve become. And when I read about the array of health problems (headaches/migraines, Fibromyalgia, digestive problems, cancer, chronic pain and fatigue, anxiety, depression, etc.) that are associated with these chemicals, it made me very angry!

One of the food additives that upset me the most is Monosodium Glutamate (“MSG”). Perhaps you are aware of the health effects associated with the MSG that is commonly used in Chinese food. However, many consumers are not aware that this very same MSG is added to all sorts of foods at restaurants and grocery stores, as well. Soups, potato chips, frozen dinners…and even foods that you would assume are just one ingredient (e.g., peanuts or sour cream) often contain MSG. MSG is a highly- processed food additive that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer. By over-stimulating our taste buds, MSG tricks our brains into thinking that a food item tastes good.

Unfortunately, according to experts like neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., MSG also over-stimulates and disrupts our nervous systems which causes and exacerbates an array of health conditions (Fibromyalgia, headaches/migraines, vision problems, digestive distress, heart attacks, hyperactivity, obesity, infertility, etc.). For this reason, Dr. Blaylock refers to MSG (and artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame) as an “excitotoxin.” Physiological responses to these excitotoxins are not allergic reactions – MSG and Aspartame are toxins, so everyone is sensitive to their effects to some degree.

Of course, it is best for all consumers to limit ingestion of MSG. Unfortunately, labeling laws have made this task difficult. By hiding MSG on ingredients labels under innocent-sounding names, such as “natural flavor” or “yeast extract,” food companies can legally add this toxin to food while preventing consumers from realizing it’s in there. With the many dozens of hidden names for MSG on food labels, avoiding this toxin can be challenging. One way to limit your exposure to MSG is to prepare all of your foods at home…from scratch. Even then, you must be certain to check the ingredients label of every item you use in your recipes because hidden MSG is often lurking in places you’d never suspect, such as some brands of canned tomato paste and canned tuna!

Of course, food additives are not the only factor to consider when treating Fibromyalgia. There are a variety of natural approaches that provide relief for those who are suffering. I am not a doctor, and I am certainly not advising anyone to abort their current treatment plan. However, “we are what we eat,” so I do encourage everyone to scrutinize their diets and to eat as many additive-free foods as possible. I am thankful everyday that I have found a solution that has worked for me and so many others.

Research about the effects of food additives on Fibromyalgia has been limited, but promising results were published many years ago in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. I hope to see more studies conducted in the future. Until then, I will continue educating consumers about the health-depleting effects of food additives, sharing my personal return-to-health story, and teaching people how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods.

I know that these changes seem overwhelming and there are a million “reasons” why you “can’t” make these changes. Believe me, I felt the same way! Just five years ago, I was eating fast food, candy, diet pop and frozen dinners. I had no idea how to cook, and I was also battling a chronic illness and suffering from extreme fatigue, weakness and pain. So, if I can make these changes, anyone can!! It’s just a decision that each of us must make to take an active role in maximizing our own health and wellness and to make conscious decisions about what we put into our bodies. I truly hope that you will consider the information that I have presented here and start doing your own research to begin making changes in your own life.

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