Today we have a guest blogger writing on her experiences with NWEI courses!  Course participant Sheilah Toomey recently participated in NWEI’s A World of Health  discussion course. She was raised in Portland, Oregon and on a farm in Sherwood, Oregon.  She is currently retired, age 70, and “watching her budget carefully – especially now that I have committed to buying more local and organic food!”  Here are some of her reflections from her recent discussion course:

“Since taking part in recent discussions focused on A World of Health: Connecting People, Place and Planet, I have immediately made lifestyle changes in the areas of what I eat, where I live and what I use for personal care.  I’ve researched all my cosmetics, and thrown away almost all the toxic ones.  I’ve put a lady-bug sign on my lawn that says “Pesticide Free Zone” and have committed to non-toxic lawn care.  I’ve gone back to using just plain washing soda and vinegar for most cleaning.

The course has also reinforced some ongoing habits.  I continue to drive less and consolidate errands, which I’ve been doing for years. I also continue to ride my bike to the grocery store for a “few things” in the summer and fall.

In the area of food, I’ve begun to buy mostly organic produce (and have tried to keep calm as I see the total at the cash register).  I also subscribed this spring to a vegetable program through a local CSA.  I stored away all my nice plastic containers and bought glass containers and waxed paper sandwich bags for leftovers (so, what do I do with 2 new rolls of plastic wrap?).  I’m working on engaging community members in making change, and spoke to managers of my two Trader Joe’s about providing tomatoes in glass jars (but am also finding that fresh tomatoes actually make a pretty good spaghetti sauce!). I also recycled the plastic water bottle I keep in my car, and replaced it with stainless steel.

As I write this, I still have two chapters left in the course book.  I am afraid to look ahead but look forward to continued changes towards a healthier world.”

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