By Victoria Rolfe / Red Hook, N.Y.
I heard a news promo the other day that announced an upcoming news story alluding to the downsides of long-term use of melatonin, a commonly taken hormone supplement used to help induce sleep. Apparently in addition to inducing slumber, it may have some less desirable effects if taken on a daily basis perpetually. I did not stick around to watch the story, but this got me thinking.
Unless you are living in a very isolated off-the-grid ivory tower, I’m sure you have heard at least a few (or a few thousand) commercials for prescription drugs. The ads urge us to ask our doctors to prescribe them for a myriad of our symptoms and complaints, from migraines to foot fungus, and everything else in-between.
The second two-thirds of the advertisements feature happy people joyfully going about their lives, presumably symptom-free, as an announcer quickly and quietly in the background lists an array of side effects from the benign to the cringe-worthy and horrific to the catastrophic (even including death in some cases).
But not to worry! If you do experience any of those symptoms, you can tell your doctor about them, and she will give you something for it. In fact, some of those commercials are advertising drugs that are specifically just for that, to take care of a side effect from another drug. But what happens if you get a side effect from that second drug? Yes, they too have that long list of possible adverse reactions.
People invented books, then computers and tablets, which requires the invention of glasses to keep up with all that eyestrain. No problem–there’s an eye drop to help with that, or better yet, surgery.
Of course, as long as mankind has been here on this beautiful orb, we have been encountering problems and inventing ways to deal with them. We invented the wheel, then the car. But then the cars were polluting the environment, so we invented emission controls. Now we have electric cars. The wheels of progress spin on. No need to exert yourself. Just jump in your vehicle and let it take you away.
Technology moves on at a blinding pace. Phones, computers, modern conveniences galore. It can make you dizzy keeping up with it all. And there are those that do keep up with it all, always having to have the latest and greatest gizmo ever invented.
Just for the record, you might have guessed by now I’m not one of them. I still watch a 13” tube TV with a built-in VCR to record shows on (that I get from my old-fashioned roof antenna). And I’m perfectly content with that.
And what about the food industry? In the beginning, there was the apple, simple and pure… but along came man. How about boxed food? Ready-made dinners? Processed food stuffs? Candy, bags full of treats? All without a hint of nutrition. Sweetened drinks in every flavor imaginable. Just add water and voila! Instant gastronomic gratification.
Well after a generation of that, man had to invent injectable insulin, cardiac caths and stents, bypass surgery, and a plethora of those above-mentioned pharmaceuticals.
Now, with all these super-duper conveniences, we barely have to lift a finger, or walk a step. Everything is right there at the push of a button, a screen or click or phone call away. Thanks, mankind! Now I can just sit on my spreading behind, munch away on my prepackaged junk, put in a call to my Tele-doc, and get me a handful of those pretty little pills.
Or…screech! Maybe hit the brakes? Just because it was invented doesn’t mean you have to use it (or eat it). Maybe instead of asking your doctor for a pill to treat your side effects from your first prescription, you could stop to think if there is anything you might to do avoid taking that initial prescription in the first place?
Maybe it’s time to take a step back. Forget all that processed junk that takes up 90 percent of grocery store aisles. What about going back to real food? The kind that nature invented. That would be my prescription. I highly recommend giving it a try. What do you have to lose, other than a few pounds?
And speaking of hitting the brakes. I know the car has been an integral part of our lives for as long as we can remember now, but do we really need it to go two blocks to a friend’s house or on a short errand? What about that other invention? Remember the bicycle? Or going even further back in time, how about that little invention of nature? Legs!
And just maybe all that good healthy eating and exercise will allow you to get to sleep tonight without that melatonin pill! I bid you good night and sweet dreams.
A long, long time ago, after the birth of her third child, Victoria made the life-changing decision to leave the work world behind and devote herself to being a full-time mom and homemaker. Along with her new title of Domestic Engineer, she took on the role of the Chief Home Economist for the family.
At first, it was scary to try to live on less than half their income, but Victoria found that she not only rose to the challenge but thrived in the enjoyment of learning to live their best life with limited resources. She embraced this new frugal lifestyle of the at-home-mom and went on to add a fourth child to the mix. And their family was complete.
Along the way she acquired a great deal of wisdom in how to not only avoid debt, but pay off mortgages early, buy cars for cash, travel on a shoe-string budget, and send kids to college with no student loans, all while also saving a tidy nest egg for retirement. She currently educates others in these skills through her business Bright Future.
Now living the life of a modern homesteader in the Hudson Valley, New York, Victoria has added gardening to her list of skill sets as she grows many of her own vegetables to supplement her family’s primarily vegan diet. And she has come to realize that this waste-not, want-not, carbon-friendly, sustainable life she is living is not only benefiting her own family but also our Mother Earth, and that each of us has the obligation to live a responsibly sustainable life not only for ourselves, but for the greater good of our community, and our planet. We can all do this one household and backyard at a time. We are the world! And it all begins right at home.
Victoria can be reached at email@example.com