Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Secret Society of Non-Purists

I was working on an article for the Nov/Dec issue of TEH earlier today, and suddenly realized that it was difficult to decide exactly on the intended audience. Just as a vast number of my cohorts are thrilled to find chicken feet to add to their bone broth, an equal number (probably more, honestly) are still quaffing down aspartame in sugar-free drinks and foods. I am hardly one to judge. Although I am well educated in the various types of diets and lifestyles out there and the reasoning behind them, I rarely stick with anything. I'm an omnivore :-) In fact, over the past few weeks of super hectic travel and work, it's been very fortunate that summer fruits and vegetables are as easy to lay my hands on as a bag of chips. There have been some truly horrible (health-wise) meals.

The same sort of lines have been drawn when it comes to using medicinal herbs vs over the counter preparations. It isn't even a case of everyone wishing they had the time to make their own comfrey salve for cuts, herbal tea blends for headaches, or syrups to fight colds. Some people will reach for an over the counter pain medication because it works and it's what they know, and I suspect that it is a lot more frequent even in the herbal community than people admit. For myself, there are occasions (much rarer than a decade or two ago) when I just don't want to bear with the pain and work through it. Sometimes it just needs to go away NOW.

 Do harried, working parents need to be guilted because they wake on a Tuesday morning to a child with a runny nose, and they don't have any lacto-fermented ginger soda? Or because they forgot to make the sprouted grain nettle and amaranth crackers? Having been in precisely those shoes, I think we need to applaud them for the smaller victories and be gentle. Maybe the over the counter medicine was washed down with some herbal tea. Maybe the chest rub was something Mom made during a class. There are just so many ways to be wrong these days.

 So as I thought about it, I realized that the purists don't need to hear my thoughts on the subject of the article. They've already been canning and drying and tincturing and blending. Instead, I'll talk to that mom who would trade her next day off if a sleeve of saltines and a bottle of gingerale would magically appear in the cupboard for her sick kid. Sometimes it is the small steps that change everything. If when I became interested in herbs, it appeared that it would mean changing everything, I would never have done it. I still haven't changed everything, and probably never will.

7 comments:

The Original Soap Dish® said...

I'm right there with you, Tina. I'm guilty of grabbing the ibuprofen more often than not. Some days I simply need to get the work done, and a bad headache has no place on the agenda.

Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh said...

My addiction to Tab (saccharine not aspartame) is not sure where that puts me... because I am known for growing and drinking herbal tea, but my Tab every morning is a topic of conversation too! And I think in my mind that is not a conflict, so I agree with you! You are so insightful!

Tina Sams said...

I think people do their best, usually. Also, when you get "into" a group of like minds, you start to think that everyone does things the way you do, and can't imagine who is drinking the soda and buying the sliced bread. I applaud the folks that have the will and the education (and the energy) to go about taking care of themselves in a completely wholesome way, and really do dream of joining them - but the flesh is weak :-)

tpescdoc said...

I was trained as a nurse and didn't think twice about popping 2-3 Motrin for a headache and even more for cramps. Most of these were prescription meds. When I worked and when my children were small and I'm not sure them becoming OTC meds is a great thing bc they can have dangerous side effects. I am now more hesitant to take meds. And when I do I start with the lowest dose. I think more people are becoming aware that there are other ways than the standard American diet and conventional medicine, and I think that's a good thing, and wonderful that there are people like you teaching us these old tried and true ways. Baby steps. I agree it's difficult for people juggling homes, children, jobs, etc., and quite frankly, I don't mind yogurt, kombucha, water kefir, but I tried soaking my oatmeal and thought it was awful and I'm not a big fan of milk kefir either!:)

Tina Sams said...

That's the thing - Baby Steps! We should rejoice in those and withhold judgement on those who haven't made any huge strides, lest we scare 'em off!
I'm very lucky and like almost anything that passes my plate, but I have a daughter who is completely different. Everyone follows their own path - and they are almost all worthy.

Latisha said...

This is brilliant Tina! And as my work is primarily with those harried tired mamas, I can agree. This is so spot on. What a gift you've written here. A big thank you from me and my community!

Tina Sams said...

Thanks! I sort of think that if someone like me - who should be a little more confident among my herbal peers - might worry about these things, imagine how a newbie feels! We don't need to make anyone feel "less than" because our goal is to help everyone feel or be more.

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