1. Family walks. Getting moving as a family will be good for all of us! This will be a much easier goal in the summer, but I'm making a point to get the boys outside to play in the snow or even ride bikes when the winter weather allows. I'm hoping when summer rolls around we'll either strive to walk 5 nights a week, or set a distance like 10 miles a week.
2. Fermented foods. We've been doing water keifer for over a year (it's a great place to start, see how we make it here) and I'd like to add another item to our diet. I'm considering kombucha (fermented tea), milk kefir (a runny yogurt that ferments are room temperature), or fermented veggies.
3. Sprout. Sprouts pack a bigger nutritional punch than most full-grown veggies! They contain high amounts of enzymes, vitamins, and essential fatty acids in a way that is easy for your body to use. Plus they are affordable and easy to grow. I bought a sprouting lid for a mason jar that I can use to grow sprouts right on our counter. My goal is to grow them weekly for use in salads or stir frys or whatever else I think of. I've already tried clover sprouts and broccoli sprouts through sample packs from Seeds Now. There's a post on this in the works, too.
4. Raw milk. There tends to be a lot of debate around raw milk. And I wouldn't recommend buying it unless you know the farmer and know they use safe, clean milking practices. But if that's the case, I do believe raw milk offers health benefits above pasteurized milk (especially when it's from pastured cows). We are fortunate to have found a wonderful farmer just outside town, and started getting our milk there a couple weeks ago.
5. Natural remedies. We've already started building a more natural medicine cabinet (we've used elderberry syrup, echinacea syrup, FCLO and goot so far this winter) but I'm always wary of recipes floating around the internet and research all the ingredients before using it on my family. So one of my goals for this year is to become more educated about herbs and essential oils so that I can safely and confidently use them around my family.
6. Natural Movement/Alignment. I've started reading a lot by Katy Bowman about natural alignment as it relates to our health, and especially the importance of "natural movement." She suggests many physical problems are caused by our modern lifestyle, like the way our muscles have had to adapt to always sitting in chairs rather than squatting or sitting on the floor (the pattern remote, indigenous people natural move in). Plus our lifestyles are largely sedentary and we need much more movement to really be healthy. I highly recommend looking her up. I don't feel like a lot of things blow my mind, but she kind of does. So my goal for myself this year is to improve my own alignment and movement patterns, and to improve my flexibility to achieve movement patterns I'm currently not even capable of. My goal for my family is to get them moving more in natural ways, in a natural environment (running barefoot in the grass, for example).
7. Play. A lot. And preferably outside. This kind of goes with #6 in that I want to get us all moving more in healthy ways, but I also think the play factor is so important. I want my boys running and using their imaginations and figuring things out and trying and failing. And I want to be there doing it with them. When they ask me to play, I am so tempted to say no and spend that time working on some goal or task instead. And I do think it's important for them to play without me some of the time. But my goal this year is to say "yes" as much as I say "no." They are growing so fast. I don't want to miss it.
I love to read but I haven't done much the last couple years. I want to get back to it. So I've started collecting books I want to read this year. Actual, physical books. And I'm putting them on my nightstand where they will great me every morning. Most relate to my goals for the year, but there are also other things that I've just been meaning to read (and a couple I'm finishing up from last year). Here's what's on my list so far (and I'd love any other suggestions):
- Move Your DNA - Katy Bowman
- Alignment Matters (kindle) - Katy Bowman
- Restless (Bible study) - Jennie Allen
- Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials - Maya Donefeld
- Visual Reference Guides: Herbal Remedies - Andrew Chevallier
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy - Valerie Ann Worwood
- Be Your Own "Doctor" - Rachel Weaver
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering - Sarah Buckley
- The Backyard Homestead - Carleen Madigan
- Four Season Harvest - Eliot Coleman
- Hands-Free Mama (kindle) -Rachel Macy Stafford
- Cure Tooth Decay (kindle) - Ramiel Nagel
Want to join me in a healthier new year for your family? This article has some other great, affordable real-food ideas that may fit well on your list. You could also switch to natural cleaning or toiletry items, cut out processed foods, start a garden, or spend more time reading together! What kind of goals are you setting for your family this year? And what's at the top of your to-read list?