How Sustainably Southern Came About
I would like to start by sharing a little about me! My name is Jennifer, and I am currently 34 living in Lexington, SC. I have two adorable cats and one handsome boyfriend, Chris. We live on Lake Murray and enjoy our days in this #FamouslyHot City! I am blessed to have my parents, two sisters, their husbands, and my niece and nephew living right down the road. With my mom by my side, I created my “day job” out of my life long passion 13 years ago. I grew up dancing – a real bunhead if you will – and dreamed of owning a studio the entire time. I am so happy to have creative people surrounding me every day!
Let’s Be Honest
I must admit, growing up we were the super healthy kids. My mom took the time to find local/organic food, limited junk food and tried to educate herself. Thanks, mom! We were the kids eating whole wheat waffles with pure maple syrup when all I wanted was Bisquick & Aunt Jemima-like, my friends. I know what you’re thinking. “You grew up on this stuff. You have it easy”. Unfortunately, once I went to college it was “Sayonara Health Foods”! The college cafeteria had my name on it, and I went crazy…Food Crazy!!
I remember my sister and I meeting daily for our usual lunch of Taco Bell Nachos and Pizza Hut Bread Sticks…DAILY! And if we grew tired of that we would rotate in Chick-fil-A or a cafeteria BBQ sandwich. Yum, Yum. I drank coke like it was going out of style and would admit to anyone who asked that I hated water – never drank the stuff. And don’t forget my sweet tooth was intense! Chocolate, gummy candy, anything sour, donuts, pastries, and good ole sweet tea. I sucked down that southern staple like it was going out of style. Even though these food binges satisfied my mind, my body didn’t feel well.
I had an array of symptoms that I never considered were food related. I was tired and moody all the time with itchy, scaly skin, severe dark circles, adult acne, oily thinning hair, and brittle nails. The term “food baby” was an accurate description most of the time. Not to mention I was sick at least 5-6 times every year.
It took until 2012 for me to make the connection “you are what you eat.” I was tired of buying pounds of expensive skincare and loads of pharmaceuticals every year. Plus, I was sick of working out and gaining weight! Chris and I decided to make a change. It started out to remove weight but slowly turned into so much more. Here’s a list (I’m a total list lover) of our journey.
No Fast-food (except Chick-fil-a – it was allowed)
No Processed Food
Absolutely No Artificial Sweeteners EVER!
No More Sweet Tea or Soda (Super sad face)
Learned The Truth About Beauty Products (cried for a week)
Started the transition to all clean beauty products.
Learned about essential oils and the healing properties they can bring to your life.
Transitioned to purchasing all organic and as much locally sourced food as we can.
Changed all our cleaning products to clean no chemical options
Learned about the power of greens and eating to alkaline your body. Green smoothies became a daily staple!
Removed all plastics from our home. Mason jars are much prettier anyway.
Learned about the horrors and injustices of the meat industry. (Cried for a month and tried to talk Chris into buying a cow)
Became a Vegan – Yippee!!
Started seeing a holistic doctor to test my Microbiome and hormone levels. Add 20% locally sourced organic animal protein back into my diet. We now limit meet to only on special occasions.
Learned I’m allergic to gluten and started taking it out of my diet.
Removing all added sugar from my diet.
The point of that long yet perfectly lovely list is that it did not happen overnight. Becoming “clean” was a journey…over the years…that became my passion. And I am still learning and growing every day.
I have always been into the “Southern Chic” lifestyle. Costas, Jack Rogers, Lily, and seersucker are a few of my favorite things. But deep down being southern means more to me than the clothes I wear or my physical location. It’s family and a rich history I am lucky to possess. Chris jokes that I am 27th generation South Carolinian. I honestly do not know how long my ancestors have been here. But, most of all, what I do know is that the majority were farmers or lived on the land. (My mom is part Cherokee Indian) This ancestry fact is so unique to me. Knowing that my story has a connection with the land motivates me to do my part. I feel an overwhelming desire to live up to the rich history I inherited and to leave this world a healthier place.
You did it! You made it to the end of my long story. Thank you for taking the time to learn about me and my journey. I sincerely hope to add something special to your life and know you will bring something unique to mine. I would love to hear more about your journey and interest in the comments. And don’t forget to check out My Morning Routine post to learn the six ways to start your morning off right. I can’t wait to connect!