Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Food Journey

Eleven years ago, I was somewhat over weight (let's just say fluffy), sluggish, and suffering from infertility. Not the picture of health that I should have been for a 36 year old (and yes, now you can figure out how old I am!). I saw a picture of myself and was shocked! But it shouldn't have been a surprise. My husband and I had both worked our way through college and graduate school, often with two jobs a piece. Eating always took a back seat. We'd come home, make whatever we could, when ever we could, and then flop down in our recliners in front of the TV to eat it. Ughhh!

Years later, with one child and another on the way (we knew we were adopting again), we had finally graduated back to eating at the table, but cooking was whatever tasted good and was quick, including plenty of fast food. I knew I wanted to make a change because it just didn't seem right, but where to begin?

Then, I came across a book that changed my life: What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell. I'll talk about his book another time, but for now, suffice it to say, I was totally convicted and the path was set. I made a mental shift that has lasted ever since. Certain foods that had seemed fine before, now made me think of poison entering my body! Perhaps this isn't completely accurate, but that vision helped me to think differently about what I put into my mouth and helped me to say no to certain foods. I've since learned that a lot of what Americans eat is anything but nourishing! (This book is an excellent first read for beginning a Food Journey, by the way!)

Anyway, in less than two months I lost 30 pounds! I felt light as a feather! No longer did I feel like I was carrying around 6 bags of sugar - can you imagine? Over time, I did gain back 5 pounds, but there it seemed to settle and stay. Probably a weight that was best for me. In addition, I began to have new energy, which isn't surprising when you get rid of that much weight. I'd like to say that the infertility was cured, but looking back, I believe it was God's plan that we adopt anyway. Had God wanted me to give birth, He would have made sure that happened.  As it was, I didn't realize that my eating habits and general health could effect things like infertility. Now I know better.

So what changed? I started by eliminating some of the overly processed foods as well as sugar and added in whole grains. I began to cook a bit more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as canned alternatives without anything added. And that was about it for several years. The internet was still somewhat young and finding resources was limited. I had no idea that other people were finding these same truths to be a way of life.

Eventually, I started learning to make my own bread from home milled grains. And I must confess that this took a long time to become a habit. I was still teaching and coming home to make my own bread was a bit overwhelming. When you're learning a new skill like bread baking, sometimes it takes a while to get it down. You need to do it over and over again, even when it doesn't turn out right in order to learn from your mistakes. And you begin to realize the old saying "practice makes perfect" has more truth in it than not!

Again, I leveled off and didn't make any new changes for a while. But eventually, I realized we needed to shore up some areas that had been lacking... mainly eating fresh, in-season vegetables that were mostly organic. When I made this change my cooking was really transformed and I began to search out better recipes.

At this time we also switched to raw milk. Our middle daughter had a lactose intolerance problem and after reading about raw milk, I realized this might open up dairy products for her. And the more I realized what was going on with milk, I was appalled! So with this new revelation, we left behind pasteurized, homogenized milk forever!

This plateau lasted about two years till we finally decided that eating grass fed beef and pasture raised organic chicken was worth the money. This is one of the most expensive changes to make and therefore,  we kept telling ourselves it really wasn't that necessary. But as most of you who have read my past blog posts know, we couldn't have been more wrong! This is a good example of how educating people can really make a difference... once I learned what was really going on in the meat industry, the change seemed some much easier.

So there you have my own personal food journey in a nut shell. I could talk a lot more about it in detail, but the important thing that I wanted to convey is that it takes time to make the mental shift from a traditional American diet to a way of cooking and eating that has become foreign to us as a nation. I don't think everyone's food journey needs to take eleven years, but I think it's unrealistic to make the shift in just a month or two, especially if you are taking your family down this path with you! Remember this... if you are just beginning, know that every step you take in the right direction puts you that much closer to a healthier you!

Tomorrow... I want to introduce you to a couple of resources to help you find local produce. And after that, I plan to talk about where to begin if your new to this whole Food Journey thing. And if you're way down the road in your walk to a healthier lifestyle, stay with us. A lot of newbies are going to need your input! I'm making the next step in my own Food Journey and taking an online class to learn some new methods, mainly fermentation, soaked grains, and making my own kefir (just to name a few). If you'd like to join me, go over to GNOWFGLINS™ for Wardeh's Fundamentals eCourse.

I'd love to hear your own "Aha" moment that set you on your own Food Journey! Won't you share?


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