Sunday, November 30, 2008

It all began with a segment on NPR

Almost 13 years ago, I was chatting with my boss about a document I needed to write regarding the latest system requirements. He, as always, had NPR softly playing in the background.

I'll admit I was pretty good at drowning out the dribble but then a segment began that captured my attention.

"Is your food hurting you?"

I paused and started to listen. I was suffering from IBS and woke up every morning tired and spent the entire day tired. I thought I might be depressed or maybe I hated my job. I never thought about my food.

The segment featured an relatively obscure doctor named Andrew Weil who believed the food we ate could affect every part of our body. He went on to claim eating the right food can actually 'fix' us. Suffering from IBS, I was desperate for any real fix. Taking 5 or 6 Tums was losing its effect.

Both my boss and I stopped what we were doing and listened to every word.

He proclaimed the hazards of partially hydrogenated oil, the danger of fake sugars and the need to stick with organic produce and eat more fish. 

I bought his book the next day. And I encouraged my now husband (then boyfriend) to read the book with me.

It was a plan to wellness. He suggested to take out every item in my kitchen with partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup and fake sugars. I pretty much emptied my kitchen. So we went to the grocery store and after finding almost nothing we could eat, I made my very first visit to my favorite store in the world, Whole Foods. I decided to try shopping there a few times and then go back to my other stores. This did not happen obviously ;)

The more I read the book, the more changes I made (all organic dairy products and meat, lots of fish, eating only food that was food 100 years ago, etc.--and then something happened. I was waking up with energy. I had the will and excitement to hit the gym. My stomach pains from IBS were disappearing. I began spending my lunches in the corporate gym and tacking my day with joy. I was not tired. And I felt great.

When I became pregnant, my zeal for the healthy life continued even though I could keep little down and some of the bad foods snuck by.

And then I vowed to make this diet a lifestyle for my children. No partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, fake sugar, fake flavors or even fake colors. I will admit this could be hard and we did bend on things like play group and snacks at other peoples' homes but for the most part I made sure the kids had 6-9 servings of organic fruit and veggies daily. And of course, no fast food ;)

Then we got thrown for a loop and I was pregnant with #4. The timing could not have been worse. We were strapped for cash already as Mike was just starting as a real estate agent. We had independent health care which by state law did not include maternity. We had to look for ways to save money.

So I did something I had not done in over 12 years. I shopped at a bulk grocery store and bought the cheaper alternatives to our diet. I bought lots of their fruit and veggies albeit not organic and was pleased we saved so much money.

Within two days of our new diet, my kids started getting more whiney than usual. They got angry quicker, they tended to sleep in and not jump to the table ready to start the day. They started getting acne (even the two year old) and they all experienced something they had never experienced in their lives--they were constipated ( I would love to share this story with you but my daughters would kill me--I'll just say they came to me worried their 'butts were broken') and had stomach pains. My oldest thought something was wrong with her brain--she had her first head ache.

Just from changing diet and nothing else, my kids were no longer the bright eyed, happy kids they once were. They were a mess :(

We bit the bullet. We went back to Whole Foods and never looked back. We were back to happy, awake vibrant folks who had no issues in the potty or even stomach pain.

So you'd think with all our healthy eating I would be that mom with the perfect body. Sigh--no, I need to lose 15 pounds. Healthy and organic still has calories. I can gush about how chemical free the panetone bread is all day but still has like 10 grams of fat per slice--all natural fat but still fat. And then there is bacon. I love bacon. I like veggies with bacon, fish with bacon and bacon on its own. But even my organic, free range bacon is still bacon.

I want to lose the weight. I want to look good again. I want to to be that skinny role model for my kids. I am joining this :

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Thanks Elaine for sharing this group with me. I cannot wait to be one of the hottest fittest moms in DFW!

Anybody care to join me?


Susan said...

We try to be "all natural"; organic food can get to pricey, esp. the meats and fruits and veges (I know, I know-- but it is for your health!) Do you notice a huge difference between organic and "all natural w/ no HFCS, no PHO, no growth hormones". For Thanksgiving, we had a "free range" turkey, but it was not organic... but it didn't have all of those injections of growth hormones... is that OK!

Susan said...

sorry, meant to put a question mark not an exclamation point at the end...

Jules from "The Roost" said...

I LOVE your story and I think it is SO true. Most of what we (not you) eat is just junk. Thanks for the encouragement to eat better! I have just begun shopping at an organic store and the artificial sweeteners actually make me feel sick. I am on a diet plan is going slow but it is going! ;)

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

To Susan:
Yay for your diet changes!
If you can only go 'all natural' do that--it is much better than the stuff loaded with growth hormones, HFCS and fake ingredients.
Some fruits/veggies 'hold' more pesticides than others. The list varies from year to year but I could send you a copy--the top of the list is almost always grapes and strawberries. Just email me--my email is on my profile page :)
Organic meat can be very pricey esp. when you get to the organic grass fed route--avoiding the growth hormones and antibiotics is the more important stuff to avoid :)

dani said...

organic in henderson, kentucky is almost a joke, lisa... like i would have to grow my own and pray the 100 squirrels, 50 rabbits, 10 raccoons, etc... would stay out of my garden (which they DIDN't the one and only time we planted one), ha!!! but, good luck on your diet; 10 lbs gone would be an awesome Christmas present you could give yourself:)!!!

Amanda said...

You are setting a good example to the kids already but not buying into fast and convenience foods. I am following the Scittish Slimmers plan and have lost 26 lbs already ~ so i might not be following the same plan as you, but i am slimming with you!!
Amanda x

Elaine A. said...

I think your diet is better than ours. I'm sure there is still stuff in my pantry with hydrogenated oils (although very little). Guess I should go check, huh? ; )

That's crazy about how your kids' health/bodies changed so quickly... Just goes to show...

So glad you're joining the Sisterhood! : )

Anonymous said...


i think this is a WONDERFUL idea!!!!

don't forget to post all of your updates!!

Anonymous said...

Good for you! We're "middle of the road" eaters. We do organic meat, dairy, and some produce. We take literally hundreds of vitamins per week. But heaven help us all if we didn't have our splurges. Then WE'D be the whiney ones! :P

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I'm new here! What a great blog :) ♥ Hugs! said...

That's very interesting. I don't think I could ever do it, but that's amazing to hear. There's a reason we're such a fat country & that our life expectancy is shrinking compared to our grandparents.

Elizabeth said...

i've joined Missy's Fit Fridays and have been running. just a mile at a time but that's more than before. :-) last week i ran monday, tues, & wed & then took the tahnksgiving break to heart...started back up on sunday & planning on going out today. i am running 1 mile each time and running it faster every single time. :-) YOU CAN DO IT!

EatPlayLove said...

Oh I share you sentiments. I'll have to check out the book.

Crooked Eyebrow said...

We are so glad you are taking part in the shrinking jeans challenge!

~Crooked Eyebrow

Elisa said...

Hi from another member of the sisterhood! Just wanted to drop by to say hi and wish you good luck in the challenge. I hope you reach your goals!