(I'll warn you ahead of time. This is going to be a long post!)
~~Okay. I've debated on whether I should say anything about this issue on my blog. Especially since I write mainly about my life as an artist and Mom. But cooking, recipes and food have always been a part of this blog and I'm sure some of you have been noticing changes.
~~For my family and friends it's the "elephant in the room." They know that there have been changes for our little family this year but I don't think anyone has ever come right out and asked us about it seriously.
~~One of the reasons that I've been so hesitant to bring it up is because I have learned the hard way that food and eating habits are extremely sensitive issues. Simply eating differently yourself and not even saying a word about it, for some reason, causes people to become defensive and upset. Dustin and I have been picked on and made fun of even though we've never tried to push our way on anyone. Which is another point I want to bring up. I'd like to share with you the journey that we've been on this year but in no way am I saying that our way is right and others are wrong. This journey started for health reasons and has simply become something that we're passionate about. Health is a journey and this is still a learning process for us.
~~At the beginning of this year I was not in a good place health wise. I've struggled with health issues for a long time. My Great-Grandma was hypoglycemic and I've had blood sugar problems off and on throughout my life. I can remember times when I would temporarily black out or almost pass out after eating.
~~My daughters are two of my greatest blessings in life but my body never really seemed to "settle" after having them. Since their births I've had thyroid and hormonal imbalance issues.
~~Back to January of this year....I was just so tired of being tired. It was a struggle to make it through each day and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I very clearly remember searching on the internet for some sort of vitamin because I thought that I must have been deficient or lacking in some way.
~~I also was starting to gain a little weight. It wasn't that noticeable to others but I felt the difference. And the irony was that the more I worked out and exercised, the more I seemed to gain. Everyone would say things like, "Your metabolism slows down when you reach 30. It's just a fact." But I wasn't even 29.
~~Around February I stumbled upon Tosca Reno and her idea of "eating clean." In a nutshell it means to cut out the processed food in your diet and get back to natural foods. The less man has messed with something, the better. It's amazing how much of the American diet is made up of processed foods. Just adopting those principles made a big difference in how I felt. She advocates choosing meat that is hormone/steroid free and buying organic as much as possible.
~~As many of you know, my husband is a competitive cyclist/duathlete. He and I both began wondering how food affects athletic performance. I bought the book "Thrive" by Brendan Brazier and we read it together.
Every person should read this book! Brenden has done so much study and research into nutrition and yet he lays it our in a way that is easy to understand. We began to learn about the acidic/alkaline affects of foods, how what you eat helps or hurts your recovery as an athlete, the idea of the protein myth, and so much more. We began to cut out meat in our diet and add more greens, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. People think that vegetarians/vegans must eat boring salads all day but we started discovering the most amazing and delicious foods. It was almost like our taste buds came back into alignment and we could actually taste the flavors of what we were eating instead of the generic sweet or salty of processed foods. And speaking of salads......we learned some tricks to make some pretty awesome ones. We're not talking about soggy iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and ranch. Nope. These are flavor-filled salads with things like avocado, peppers, dulse, sprouts, and broccoli slaw, or wilted kale salads with olive oil and sea salt. We both now find ourselves craving salad.
~~Another step in our journey was seeing the movie "Food, Inc." We had naturally become more interested in food and where it comes from. "Food, Inc." is a movie that every person should see. It doesn't try to change your eating habits. It's not about becoming a vegetarian or vegan. It's simply about awakening consumers to the knowledge of where our food comes from. We're so used to going to the store and seeing things in boxes and packages. We've become very out of touch with any connection to food. It's a life-changing movie. It was hard to watch. But I cannot recommend it enough.~~Our youngest daughter, Savannah, was born with severe milk protein allergies. She wasn't just allergic to dairy but also the milk proteins casein and whey (which are in so many processed foods!) As she's grown her allergy has turned into more of a sensitivity but we've always tried to avoid too much dairy with her. Sierra also has always had a dairy sensitivity and both girls have struggled with eczema since they were babies.
~~As we kept learning more about the affect of certain foods on the body I naturally began to replace our recipes with vegan or vegetarian ones. Amazingly we've found that we all love the vegan recipes more than the traditional ones. They focus so much more on flavors and spices. And, as a Mom, I can feel good knowing that the girls aren't eating the things that cause their tummies to hurt.
~~Like I said, it's still a journey for us. I heard someone say that "Health is a life-long journey," and I like that. I don't like labels and as a family we don't really fit under any certain one. We eat highly vegetarian and often vegan, especially me. Yet we will, on occasion, have seafood or chicken. I buy the girls hormone/steroid free turkey or chicken and free-range organic eggs. We eat a lot of raw food but I can't say we're raw foodists. Our overall attitude is to stay close to what God made. I am a Christian and I have to say that learning about food has greatly inspired my faith. Our God has provided us with the most wonderful, nourishing, health-filled foods. If you read or study about any fruit, vegetable, seed, nut, legume, etc, you will find out that each one has it's own unique health-boosting properties. They're filled with all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that we could ever need. It's truly amazing!
~~So.....for those who worry, I have to tell you that I feel better than I ever have in my life. I have more strength and energy. My endurance in running/jump-roping has improved. That baby fat that I used to fuss over has melted away.
~~I feel that I am a better wife, Mother, and artist because of the changes that I've made/am making. If I have to endure some teasing or ridicule for that, well, it's more than worth it to me.
~~I would love to continue to share recipes on my blog. Not as a way to push anything off on anyone but as my way of sharing the exciting things that I'm learning. And don't let a label, like vegan, deter you from trying something. I promise you, these recipes are good!
~~I'd love to know your thoughts on what I've shared.
~~Whew! It feels good to spill the beans!!
***If you're interested at all, I highly recommend signing up for Brendan Brazier's free 30 day online program called Thrive in 30. It's free and very informative. It's basically a break-down of his book.
I'm so glad you're here! "The Art of Life" is where I share my journey as an artist & Momma. It's a place where I hope to encourage other women that they are artists too. In this small little space I seek to share, document, and be reminded of God's wonderful grace, all around us. ....And I would be so happy to have you journey alongside me! So grab a cup of coffee and linger for a while. I hope you leave feeling refreshed.