Healthy Living: A Fresh Start

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I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Goals? I can do those. Over a week into the New Year and big changes are happening in our household. I have some major goals to accomplish and we are already well underway.

I am sharing these goals with you all with a bit of hesitation, as you may have noticed I have not gotten very personal on this blog for some time. Sharing coupons and frugal tips is easy, but sharing my heart is another story. Ironically, an opportunity from Walmart was just the nudge I needed to share some of what’s been going on “behind the scenes”.

Late last summer, my oldest daughter, whom I raised alone until she was four, received a diagnosis of a neuro-psychological development disorder. {I shudder at that D word, but there it is}. This diagnosis rocked. my. world. She is not ill, this is not a life-threatening condition, or one that many would even notice. But it is one that any mother grieves.

I became angry, confused and frustrated. And then? I got busy. I finally had an answer to what I had wondered about for many years. The diagnosis was just a label, but armed with that puzzle piece of information, I became empowered. I began voraciously researching all that I could get my hands on about her condition. Small changes took place, and glimmers of hope replaced my despair.

Each change had a common theme: HEALTH.

We added supplements to her diet, added more organic foods and eliminated most processed foods. I made great strides in reducing the toxins in our home – those found in our kitchen, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. I learned about natural home remedies and the importance of Vitamin D. I studied scripture on how our bodies were created.

My frugal lifestyle was put on hold for a while as I invested in these changes. I may have gone a little crazy at the health food store.  {ahem} That’s where my goals come in. January brings a fresh start and even more changes to our home. A healthier lifestyle is not only critical for my daughter, but for my entire household. I MUST work on ways to incorporate these changes the frugal way. Coupons can still play a role in this lifestyle; admittedly a smaller role – and that’s okay!


Continue to improve our diet by serving real, nourishing foods.

This change will certainly force help us eat out less. I am thrilled to finally own a chest freezer (my Christmas present from hubs) which will make a huge difference! I plan to stock it with local meats, homemade stock and freezer meals. Sara is now on a gluten-free diet, and it really seems to be helping her!

Further reduce toxins in our home.

Toxins are all around us and are impossible to avoid completely. But for a child with special needs, they can make a major impact. I have already replaced nearly all of our cleaning supplies (and even some beauty supplies) with homemade versions and will be sharing more recipes in future blog posts.

Make a conscience effort to exercise with my children.

I tend to avoid exercise because I do not need to lose weight. However, I am keenly aware of the benefits of exercise beyond just weight control. Weight-bearing exercise is critical for preventing osteoporosis. Not to mention my toddler is quite the armful these days! Since I am too cheap frugal to join a gym, the family room will have to do. Involving my children will keep me accountable, and I know they will enjoy it.

Changes Ahead

There you have it. Not your typical New Year’s goals, huh? Each week in January, I will be sharing more on my progress and reasons behind these changes. An unexpected  (but welcome) benefit came out of this diagnosis – health has become a huge passion of mine. You will be seeing more of this side of me in 2011… I guarantee it. 😉

I am a member of the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation to share my journey to healthier living with you as part of the Fresh Start Challenge. Participation is voluntary and as usual, all opinions are my own.


  1. meme says

    My prayers for you and your family. I know when I was young and was diagnosed with diabetes and my mom had to change how she cooked the whole family felt better. Are the rest of you noticing any differences?

  2. Molly says

    Thank you for sharing as always and may you be further blessed by discovering this diagnosis for your daughter early on and being empowered to make the changes that will certainly benefit your entire family!
    Sending prayers, blessings and love your way!

    • Alyssa Francis says

      @Molly, Thanks, Molly. It has been a blessing, indeed. At first it was quite a blow, but the progress we have made in just 6 months is amazing!

  3. Sharon says


    I appreciate you forging ahead of your hesitation and sharing what’s on your heart with your readers. We sure appreciate all you do for us when it comes to promoting a frugal lifestyle, but we also appreciate a glimpse into your life. I look forward to reading the weekly updates.


  4. Emily Freelove says

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I think we all need to consider how we can live a more healthy and toxin free life. I hope that you are very blessed this year!

  5. says

    So glad you shared your journey! My youngest was born with a birth defect, and while not life-threatening, it did require major reconstructive surgery on her skull when she was 2 months old. So while they say not life-threatening..I knew anesthesia and what not for a baby that young was nothing to laugh at. God got me through!!

    We already strive for a toxin free home, but there are always changes to made…one never seems to arrive in this arena. Glad to meet another like-minded mom!!
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen´s last blog post ..Simply satisfying sweet potato pancakes

  6. Amy Hobbs says

    We are on the road to a healtier lifestyle also. And it isn’t always easy. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am looking forward to your posts.

  7. says

    I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s suffering. Over the past year and a half, I’ve had quite a few health problems, minor, yet annoying. And I know how it is, the whole time trying to find a diagnosis, trying to be healthier, if only maybe that is the answer. Praise God, for SOME reason I’ve slowly gotten better, not 100%, but better. The only answer I have to explain is prayer and trusting that God will bring me through it.

    We did join a gym last summer, but being a stay-at-home-mom, living 30 min. from the gym, it’s a good week if I get to go once or twice. So I’m interested to see what kind of workouts you do with the kids. When I get to workout at home, I normally do when they’re napping, but I too have wanted to do some sort of exercise when they’re around, so that’s being modeled AND they get some exercise too.

    I’ll keep your family in my prayers for healing!
    Lori Slott´s last blog post ..Post for WildforWags

  8. Rachel says

    Thanks for sharing, Alyssa! I admire your willingness to stand up for your family’s health and champion the issue for all of us frugalistas! 🙂

    It can be a challenge to feed your family healthfully- yet frugally.
    We are vegetarians/vegans in our home… through this choice we have enjoyed alot of healthy benefits… but it is not always easy on the wallet. I find that the bulk room at our local health food store is my new BFF. Dried beans for 87 cents per lb, whole grain or gluten free pastas for 2.00 a lb, bulk grains, nuts, berries and real salt at the lowest prices I can find?!? Awesome!
    I even have found coupons for things like almond milk, gardein, vitamins/supplements and all natural and certified organic beauty items… It takes some effort but it can be done! 🙂
    Currently our vegan/vegetarian+organic/eco friendly grocery budget is 75.00 per week for a family of 4. This includes shampoos, soaps (yay Dr.Bronner) and eco safe cleaners. This week I even added in my laundry soap making expenses.

    Don’t sacrifice health to save a buck! Work it- and you can give your family the best at a price that is awesome as well!

    Best Wishes!

  9. Jeanie says


    That’s great goals that you have for this year!
    I will check out this cleaner that you created! I notice several natural items that sterilize so it should be a great cleaner!
    I’m sorry to hear about your daughter, but I applaud you for your research! If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it! Amen!
    God Bless You!
    Jeanie´s last blog post ..Merry Christmas 2010 Everyone!

  10. Michelle says

    Thanks for sharing, I am also in the process of eliminating toxins from our household and eating organic. My 2nd daughter was born with several congenital defects and has had 6 surgeries. She is now 5 and doing much better than expected which is a blessing! Now to get her to eat a more variety of foods is a challenge.

  11. says

    I do understand the shock of your child being diagnosed with such a life changing illness – even though you cannot see it. My daughter has been SPED all her life, from Pre-K on for a speech disorder and now learning disabilities. When she was in Grade 2 she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Talk about rocking one’s world!!! The doctors – there were three – couldn’t come up with a reason why my now husband and I concluded that diet had to be part of the reason since our diet at home was not the best. We have since worked hard to cut out processed foods, fast foods in favour of made from scratch meals, fresh homemade bread, and upping the exercise. Three years after the diagnosis she is considered seizure free with the chance of another seizure at 25%. We can live with that – Praise GOD!!! The diet and lifestyle changes are now so commonplace for us that going back to anything else is unthinkable. I am glad I found your blog and facebook page. 🙂

    • says

      @Karen Pothier, Let me clarify a statement…my husband and I decided that since the drs couldn’t come up with a reason why for my daughter’s diagnosis of epilepsy we concluded that diet may have been a contributing factor. I re-read my post and thought that one point could be explained so much better. 🙂

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