All posts by joyostrom

How To Enter a Different World

Social media can be a distraction from important things like college or in-person interaction. For me I have found that social media distracts me from one of my favorite hobbies, reading classic literature. There needs to be a balance between school/work and taking time to relax and enjoy life. I have found that social media doesn’t satisfy that need for relaxation, even though it can be just passively scrolling through pictures or messages. Three guidelines that I have found to be the most rewarding means of relaxation are:

  • Participating in hobbies
  • Interacting in person with family and close friends
  • Avoiding worry and anxiety over things that are not in your control

I wrote these down because I need to take these to heart and take time for rest, maybe they’ll be helpful for you as well.

Buffet of Different Styles and Worldviews

Classic literature like Beowulf (975 A.D.), Pride and Prejudice (1813), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Little House in the Big Woods (1932), and Fahrenheit 451 (1953) offer a diverse and huge range of writers, perspectives, and social atmospheres. Some are fictional, some are based on reality, some are a prediction of a coming reality, but they all have valuable content that can shape our minds to see in new and different ways. There are so many diverse and unique writers and books out there and no matter your set of interests there are wonderful books out there to learn from and enjoy. Beowulf is written out of a worldview shaped by the need for survival, so is Pride and Prejudice. The difference is that Beowulf is trying to survive fighting with the monster Grendel to save his people, whereas Elizabeth and her sisters in Pride and Prejudice have to marry to survive in a society where only men could inherit. Fahrenheit 451 was written by a WWII veteran who believed that books were the means to peace and peace was a result of a spread of knowledge. So you can see how reading these different classics works would expose you to different styles of writing, and different views of the world!

Diversifying Your Vocabulary

I chortle at the thought of how piteous my vocabulary would be without the goodness of my mother encouraging me to love reading and especially reading classical literature. I believe that reading in general is really beneficial when you seek to improve your vocabulary and see how word can be used, but I think there is special advancement in vocabulary and comprehension of words and reading for those who train themselves to read classics like those written by Charles Dickens and J. R. R. Tolkien. Of course course you may end up saying etiquette, fiery, and rendezvous wrong if you don’t look up how to say them after you find them in some reading you are doing. These are three words that people have made fun of me for saying wrong because I didn’t other to look up the pronunciation, so I would highly recommend doing that!

Read Anywhere to be Wherever at Any time

The best thing about having reading as a hobby, you can go anywhere at anytime in your reading. You can also almost read anywhere at anytime as long as you have a book! There are so many books and so many places within the books to explore! Who doesn’t love to explore Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins, or Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring (The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien)? Who doesn’t love to have tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol), or who doesn’t love to watch the end of the universe play over and over while sitting in a restaurant with Zaphod, Trillian, and Arthur Dent (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams)?

I love to explore the amazing settings in books; there are so many characters and situations that I love to observe and hopefully learn from. You can go back thousands of years by reading an old book. You can read what people think the future will be like by reading a books that is Sci-fi, either way you can go back in time or forward to a supposed future. There is so much to learn, so why not make reading classics a new hobby? It is a better way to rest than to scroll through social media.

What are the best sources of caffeine for you?

Most college students survive with the help of large quantities of caffeine! Social media has advertisements often for energy drinks and the caffeine is lauded as a solution to lethargy. Caffeine can be addictive but we all still love it and accept that fact. Almost daily my Dad consumes over 64 ounces of coffee from the coffee business that me and my siblings have, and that amount of caffeine works for him. With such a large amount of caffeine becoming normal to your system it is important to find healthy sources of caffeine!

Natural caffeine is best.

When synthetic caffeine is made and put in products it does not copy the natural way caffeine occurs in plants. This article from True Protein talks about how caffeine in plants always comes with other vitamins and methylxanthines which help balance the body when you consume caffeine. Synthetic caffeine almost never comes with such protective measures to help your body better digest and use the caffeine. There are also health benefits to these vitamins and methylxanthines that products with synthetic caffeine will not have. They work toward a steady release of caffeine in your body that helps to prevent a horrible crash from the helpful effects of caffeine.

Good caffeine sources and caffeine levels:

  • Coffee – Approximately 95 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving
  • Black Tea – Approximately 47 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving
  • Green Tea – Approximately 30-50 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving
  • Cocoa – Approximately 12 mg of caffeine per 1 Tbsp. serving
  • Dark Chocolate – Approximately 12 mg of caffeine per 1 oz. serving
  • Guarana Berry – Approximately 1,316 mg of caffeine per 1 oz. serving
  • Matcha Tea – Approximately 280 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving
  • Kombucha – Approximately 14 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving (depending on what tea is used to ferment.)

These are naturally occurring sources of caffeine and all are unique and amazing. I am sure there are other natural sources, but these are common ones that I have heard of.

Advisory for the caffeine sensitive:

With all of this information on the benefits of natural caffeine I hope that advertisements and the norms shown in media will have less of a say in your choice of how to stay energized. I know personally I have a very low tolerance of caffeine and I cannot drink even green tea after twelve in the afternoon. I have felt pressure from social media and even friends to drink more caffeine even when it would leave me feeling on-edge or even queasy. Everyone processes caffeine in a different way so your metabolism might be able to take more or less than other people and it is important to know your body and to know what amount of caffeine is too much for you.

Healthline’s list of caffeine overdose symptoms:

So, with this information, I hope you enjoy your morning cup of coffee and have a good rest of your day!

A Case for Homeschool

I have been homeschooled my entire school career until college. I think it is wonderful to live in a nation where people have the freedom to choose where and how to school their children. It is also such a blessing to live in a nation where education is such a priority and so common. Social media is good at communicating homeschooling in a bad light. Whatever way people have been schooled, public, private, or homeschool, we all have the gift of knowledge and should be thankful for that. However, I think that certain schooling styles work better for some individuals than others.

Everyone is Unique

With everyone being so different and some people having an easier time without distractions, homeschool is a good option for children and students! There are many different homeschool curriculums and these can be tailored personally to each individual. Some students do well with the bustle of public schools, bur others do not thrive under peer pressure and noise. Some parents need to send their children to a public school, while others see best to send their kids to a private school. My parents chose to homeschool, which has formed me into the person I am today.

I have had a lot of quality time with my mom, and her style of teaching. I have learned a lot about the importance of family, and how to deal with abrasive character in getting along with my four siblings. I have been a violinist for eleven year and have tried out guitar and mandolin as well, this was made possible by my homeschool. Also, my siblings and I had a coffee business for ten years that we ran for homeschool, and raised money for college.

Reasons Why

The National Center for Education Statistics states that in the 2011-2012 school year over 3% of children between kindergarten and 12th grade. An article from Time4Learning had statistics that nearly 2 million students, in 2012, across the United States were homeschooled. This number has stayed stable. With so many people doing it and so much success from the students, homeschooling is something to consider for your children if the opportunity arises. If you are worried about the influences of public school, like bullying or drugs, homeschool is always an option. This article from Penn State articulates the pros of home school well. Homeschooling has been done throughout all of history, and people in the past turned out well, they formed our nation! It mentions the studies that have been done that show that homeschool students score well, if not better than public school students on the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale. This debunks the myths that homeschoolers are any less adept in social situations than public or private schoolers.

Additionally, homeschool in Minnesota is especially good because of the Post-secondary Enrollment Options we have for high schoolers who want to save money be earning college credit. Homeschoolers have the ability to choose to live on campus during their postsecondary learning in high school because they can complete all their homework at the school instead of driving back and forth if their college offers on-campus living. All of this is mostly to say that by homeschooling you are setting your child up for success. Homeschooling will not ruin your child’s social life, it can greatly increase their desire for higher learning, and you can spend more time with them.

Education is a Gift, No Matter If it is Public, Private, or from Home

I say none of this because I want to snub the good things that come from public school and private school. I say this because I want to encourage people to look at the options and find the best one for you in the situation you are in life, and maybe this doesn’t apply to you because you don’t have children. There are many home school success stories on the media, but people will pay more attention to the epic fails than the many wonderful things. We can choose to have a positive outlook, and look into the options. Also, with COVID being such a huge reality now home school is something that many people are getting a taste of. The last thing I want to say is that no matter how education is given it is a gift and knowledge is something that we can appreciate.

Is There Something Wrong With My Baking Soda?

Everyone wants to live a happy, healthy life. Some people are more conscious of unhealthy things than others, and there are different reasons why someone would want to be careful. Some people are nervous about illness and disease, others want to look a certain way, and several want to have a good legacy on this earth for the coming generations. There are thousands of health blogs and social media posts across the web, and it is no wonder because what we eat is a great part of our existence. If you ever meet my dear mother, she makes valiant efforts so that my siblings and I would care about our health. So with this backdrop and a fear of heavy metals in the body, I was reading about Baking Soda and was surprised that some folks believed that it contained aluminum.

Sodium Bicarbonate and a trick of Marketing

Bambu Earth did an article that debunked the fact that Baking Soda contains aluminum. Amber, the author, did a video and wrote about the facts behind what makes baking soda and baking powder different. Baking soda activates without heat, but the aluminum in baking powder makes it activate with heat, which is more desirable for certain recipes. Companies have started to market baking soda with a badge of being free of aluminum even though it never had aluminum in it so that people who care about health will be more inclined to choose their products.

Is Fear on the Menu?

Aluminum in products has been a contentious subject. Some say that aluminum in deodorant can cause breast cancer, while others think that aluminum in food products such as baking powder can be an underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease. There is proof that aluminum in baking powder does not cause Alzheimer’s, so we can continue to enjoy our baked goods without fear. I cannot speak for aluminum in deodorant, however, because I haven’t done enough study in that area. Thus, we don’t have to be worried about our baking soda and baking powder unless we want to be extra careful.

It is your choice!

Ultimately, we have nothing to fear from either baking soda or baking powder. We use them daily and they are in many common household items such as deodorant, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dry shampoo, and many foods we purchase and consume. Everyone has a responsibility to purchase wisely and care for their health and their family’s health. This post is not meant to sway your opinion in any way, it is just to educate people further on the health ramifications of baking soda and baking powder. I hope this was helpful!

Allergy Awareness On Social Media

Social media has a lot of impact on how we view the world around us and that applies to how we view diets and our own personal food choices as well. With food being such an essential and foundational part of life and culture it is no surprise that it has been widely celebrated on social media! However, when food allergies are put into the equation people do not know how to react or how to deal with different food needs. Allergies are becoming increasing normal so there is a need for a better attitude towards them in media.

“What is Gluten?”

An article from Allergic Living talked about how a Jimmy Kimmel skit revealed how many people take on the Gluten Free diet without being aware of what gluten actually is. He made fun of a gluten-free lifestyle and people who reacted badly to gluten but had not yet had a medical diagnosis of an allergy to gluten. I do not think that making fun of other people’s dietary decisions in that way is kind and good. This is a picture of how the media could use a wake-up call as to awareness of food choices and sensitivities.

My Journey with Allergies

I was born with allergies to a lot of different foods. When I was little I was a very violent, angry, and sick child because they did not know that I was allergic to a lot of the food I was eating. One doctor said I had a mental illness, while others were at a loss of what to do. This all led to my third year of life when I had allergy tests done. I am allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, and food coloring. My reactions to these are not life-threatening, but they affect my behavior catastrophically. So, after going off of these foods and learned to read food labels in 1st grade, I went on with life.

My allergy to gluten was not discovered until I was in 8th grade. I had been having suicidal thoughts and brain fog that made math homework that should have taken less than 30 minutes take over 3 hours. I had constant migraines and cut myself off from family and friends because I was afraid that in my weak, angry state that I would hurt someone by bursting out and yelling. Around that time my mom found a natural doctor who made some herbal tonic and told me to try going off gluten.

I totally went off of gluten from that point and with herbal supplements and being careful with the rest of my diet I am a new and better person. I remember a year after going gluten free just realizing what a treasure people have to have clear minds. I do not want to ever take for granted the freedom I have to choose what I eat with the limitations I have.

Misconceptions that are Propagated in Social Media

Most people with allergies are used to getting weird looks when they take out the Tupperware and their friends are enjoying the local Chinese cuisine (or restaurant of choice). An article on May-Contain deals well with the misconceptions that people have and how raising awareness can solve some problems. Social media has many hashtags and online communities that come together and support people who have different food needs. However, social media does not always teach people how to deal with the many different allergies and sensitivities that exist. It does not give people the vocabulary to talk considerately about unique food needs.

The article about misconceptions recommended instead of asking a person with allergies if their allergies are life-threatening and instead asking if they use an EpiPen and the best way to use one. Another misconception that is prevalent is that food allergies are just from eating food, that is certainly not correct in the case of many nut allergies, and can be very dangerous in an enclosed space like a plane. It is very insensitive to say, “I know you can’t have this, but it is amazing, you’d love it!” It is also a great idea to ask a person with allergies if they mind if you eat food with allergens around them. Some people with food allergies will care, while others won’t.

Allow Freedom with Support

Ultimately we all are taking care of our bodies as we see fit with the food we eat, and it is our own choice. Social media could be a great tool to spread allergy awareness if we use it as such. We have freedom in what we eat, but social media can allow us to support and encourage those with restrictions because of allergies and sensitivities. My mom and family are very supportive of my food allergies by eating a lot of gluten-free food and making the choice to eat egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and food coloring free simple. Without people’s support and encouragement through the rough times with my allergies I would probably be dead. We can cause change.

Minimalism’s Input to Creating a New “Normal”

Is a Minimalist Business Right for You? |
Image credit:

What is “normal”?

There are many enormous issues in our world with COVID-19, political tensions, and miscommunication currently. That is a very glass half-empty way to start a blog post, so here is a glass half-full way to continue. COVID-19 and all these other things we have to deal with ultimately cause us to look at our lives and re-evaluate, which is a good thing. What is “normal”? Is there even such a thing? With in-home sheltering and social distancing there is increased time at home which means increased time facing our things.

There has been a massive disruption in our lives and that often comes with a rethinking of the basic value of out stuff. Stuff can keep us from happiness when we have to slave to keep it in order and when there is an excess of it. Minimalism is a way to see the world that can give you more time and save you money. Joshua Becker in his article at: looks at the philosophy of minimalism in light of probable recession because of the economic imbalance with the pandemic. This could be a new step to a new normal that saves you money and helps you through whatever comes next in this uncertain time.

Simple little things really matter!

Minimalism is not about giving away everything. It is about evaluating what is important in our simple spheres of life and revising physical materials to fit your ideal level of simplicity. Noticing the details and only keeping stuff that you need, love, or use is something that can ultimately effect bigger things such as how we react to the pandemic, and our own individual health. When there is hope in the small things it can leak into how our “normal” reacts to the big things.

In Becker’s article he talks about how he does not recommend developing minimalism just because there might be a recession or financial trouble, minimalism should come out of a positive view of life. True minimalism is a way to better your life and the side effects are more time, more money, and more hope. With these benefits and a new mindset of setting aside extra stuff, can be positive about change and more ready for what work and school will look like now that more and more classes and jobs are switching to online options. A clean home helps make a clean slate.

A glass half full, and a simple life.

This is an invitation to minimalism, as Becker talks about. You can choose to make your own new normal and maybe simplifying would be a good addition to it. Having too many things significantly places stress on me and maybe some of you feel the same way! Minimalism does not have to be only having 100 things in your house, an easy way to start minimizing your possessions is to pick some of your stuff and asking yourself, “Do I need this? Do I love this? Or do I use this?” If it fits into those three categories than it definitely has a part in your life!

This positive way of finding what is really important to you can leak into other areas of your life if you let it. Assessing your priorities can create some hope in a world with so much chaos. It can ground you. I would encourage you to look into minimalism and simplifying. Noticing how blessed we are with this choice helps our glasses look half full, not half empty.