Last night I was flipping through a magazine and came across one of those run-of-the-mill pharmaceutical ads.
You know the ones– they are usually about four-pages long and a serious annoyance when you are right in the middle of a good article.
Usually I can’t flip past them fast enough to get to the good stuff, but for some reason, I was compelled to read through this one in particular.
It was for a prescription inhaler, and while the first page had uplifting-looking photos and touted the benefits of the drug, the next three pages included massive lists of side effects and warnings for everything from severe allergic reactions and pneumonia, to respiratory tract infections and bronchitis. (Uh, I thought an inhaler was supposed to help your lungs?)
I initially shook my head in disgust, and then proceeded with the rest of the magazine.
But it popped into my mind again today, and the more I thought about it, the more mad I became. Yes, mad.
I’ve been pondering this whole idea a lot lately, especially after reading this recent article about essential oils. The article itself was fairly innocuous, but it left the reader with the impression that essential oils are fairly dangerous with a variety of risks. The comment section was even worse, with many folks mocking those who dare to choose essential oils for health and wellness.
Now, let me clarify— essential oils should be used with common sense. For example, I certainly wouldn’t recommend slathering yourself in undiluted oregano or cinnamon oil…
But I guarantee they aren’t near as “dangerous” or “toxic” as many of the conventional pharmaceuticals that doctors are prescribing left and right. (Like the diabetes medication I saw advertised the other day… There is a big bold warning at the top of the ad that says it may cause thyroid cancer in humans like it has in rats… Um hello?)
Since when did it become “normal” and acceptable in our society to happily and willingly accept all these drugs without ever questioning the consequences?
How come the same people who would never, ever question the long-term side effects of their prescriptions meds, are the same ones who question and criticize our choice of a natural lifestyle and insinuate that we are “living on the edge.”
Sure, I’ll fully admit that there is a time and place for conventional medicine. If I’m in a car accident, you can bet I’ll be thrilled to be in the hospital. However, if I have natural options available to me to treat other issues, why not at least explore those?
As many of you know, my husband received a substantial dog bite on his hand about a month ago. We were very proactive and decided to handle the wound ourselves using natural remedies. The results were spectacular, and it healed more quickly that I could have ever imagined.
But I’ll be honest– I was scared to death to tell anyone what we were doing until AFTER the fact. Although I was confident that we were taking the necessary precautions and that it would be just fine, I didn’t feel like dealing with the raised eyebrows or people shaking their finger at us for being too “risky.”
It’s a common perception in our society that a doctor and multiple prescriptions are an absolute requirement for any and all medical “issues,” whether it be a common cold or a small wound.
But unfortunately, the backwards nature of our culture doesn’t end there…
- Why do we think it’s normal to chow down on every manner of false, processed, pseudo-food we can get our hands on, yet consider it so unsafe and “risky” to drink raw milk like people have been doing for thousands of years?
- Why do we think it’s normal to happily take any prescription that the doctor gives us without question, yet raise our eyebrows and scoff at using herbs or other natural, time-honored treatments?
- Why do we think it’s normal to eat pale-colored eggs from chickens living in horrible conditions, yet get squeamish when the “farm fresh” eggs we get have a speck of sawdust on the shell, or a meat spot inside.
- Why do we think it’s normal to spend countless hours and dollars mowing, watering, and fertilizing our strangely un-natural patches of perfectly manicured green grass, yet think putting the time into growing things you can actually eat is too much work and inconvenience?
- Why do we think it’s normal to get upset over a child putting a piece of grass in his mouth, yet obediently inject that same child with multiple vaccines at the same time without ever questioning the repercussions?
- Why do we think it’s normal for that one pound of hamburger you buy at the grocery store to be the product of hundreds of different cows and “puffed” with ammonia hydroxide (their words, not mine…), but so many people get nauseous at the thought of cutting up their own meat?
- Why do we think it’s normal for foods that have been genetically modified and sprayed with chemicals to require no labeling, yet if a farmer wants to go the organic route, he or she must jump through all manner of hoops and paperwork to have the “privilege” of placing that little “organic” sticker on their products?
- Why do we think it’s normal for people to go from their garage, to a parking garage, to their place of work without ever feeling the wind on their face or having their shoes touch anything but asphalt for weeks and weeks at a time?
To answer the question posed in the title of this post– No— I do not think that natural choices are inherently more dangerous.
Most aspects of life involve some element of risk, and I encourage you to take the time and research the choices in front of you and your family.
I don’t have all the answers, but I firmly believe that I am placing my family at far less risk choosing to live a naturally-minded lifestyle, than I would be making conventional choices like the rest of society.
And if you are facing the same sort of raised-eyebrows that I do sometimes– take heart and remember this: I guarantee you aren’t alone in your natural choices, even though it might feel like it at the time. People have been doing things like using herbs and drinking raw milk for thousands of years– Long before Big Pharma ever told us not to…
Have you ever been questioned for choosing the natural/homesteading lifestyle? What was your response?