My journey to a healthy lifestyle started as a child. I grew up in a macrobiotic household, eating whole foods and staying away from processed sugar, meat, and dairy. We ate healthy but simple food—a lot of rice, beans, and veggies!
I remember my birthday parties well: couscous “cake,” and banana “cake” with carob chip rice dream on the side. My friends would sneak in candy, knowing there would be no sugar at my party! My parents didn’t know at the time how lucky they were that the worst thing my friends and I were doing was sneaking in Butterfingers and Peanut Butter Cups. Fingers crossed that my husband and I will be just as lucky when our girls get older!
When I went to college, I ate relatively healthy. I remember eating a lot of salad and egg sandwiches, but I did take full advantage of the Sunday waffle bar with all the toppings and the soft serve ice cream machine, not to mention the late night pizza outings.
Fast forward 16 years to when I became a mom and everything changed! My daughter Ayla was born in 2012 and my daughter Haley was born in 2014. `
While I was nursing Ayla, I started experimenting with a gluten and dairy free diet and became more mindful of what I was putting into my body. Then two-and-a-half years later, Haley was born. She was born a healthy baby, but as soon as she became mobile and it was time to start eating solids, she slowly stopped gaining weight. She had a constant runny nose. She was nursing around the clock and refusing to eat food. This continued until she was two years old. When she fell off the growth chart, she was diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” Feeling defeated, we sought out the advice of several different doctors: both mainstream and more holistic. We were given a list of foods that Haley was sensitive to: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar, peanuts, and citrus fruits, among others. We were also given supplements to help heal Haley’s gut. Once we changed her diet and healed her gut, Haley’s nose stopped running and she started eating! Within a year of following a strict diet, she began to thrive. I look back at pictures of Haley when she was one and two years old and I start to tear up. She is now 7 years old with long lanky legs, banana curls, and a beautiful smile.
My husband also struggled with constant stomach pains and a runny nose. We all decided to follow a gluten free, dairy free, processed sugar free lifestyle and Larry’s stomach pains have gone away. His constant runny nose is also gone. Needless to say, the four of us have all benefited from our new lifestyle.
As a mom, I can now appreciate all my parents did for us growing up. I understand why we ate the way we did and am now very thankful for my health! I find it inspiring to listen and to read people’s stories about how diet has positively impacted their health.
Growing up I thought healthy meant bland and boring. I now know that eating healthy can taste good too. I am thankful for my parents and my upbringing around healthy eating. I’m grateful for my mom’s guidance around health and food and her passion for keeping her grandchildren their healthiest selves, just as she did for my two sisters and me.
My goal is to feed my family healthy food that tastes good! I want my girls to know that we eat this way to keep us healthy and strong. I hope my posts will bring you inspiration and guidance on your journey to a healthier you. It is definitely not an easy journey, but it is well worth the challenge.