Just Take the Next Step

Just take the next step.

I shall begin by boring you to death with a history lesson. Yes, the history of me. (Someone thinks highly of oneself, doesn’t someone?)

1. I was born in 1973. Blah, blah, blah childhood memories, middle school drama, high school graduation, college life, tall blond soccer player catches my eye. Nobody needs to hear all the in between stuff about burning barns and stealing candy bars.

2. Matt and I got married in 1994. After a few months he said, “Do you think maybe we could try another vegetable besides canned green beans?” Another vegetable? I’d only read about them in books. I gave steamed broccoli a try. It was so-so.

3. Baby boy #1 was born in 1997. Baby boy #2 came in 2000. I became a coupon queen, buying poptarts and spaghettios for next to nothing. Baby boy #3 came in 2002. Baby boy #4 was born in 2004. Life was a blur. Sometimes we all shared a peach. I’d only ever had the canned kind before. Did you know these actually grow on trees? (Peaches. Not baby boys.)

4. Life took a dramatic turn when Baby Boy #4 was two months old and broke out in eczema from head to toe. One doctor visit, some cortizone and a steroid later – he looked great! Two days after the medicine wore off, he was back to where we started. We had a decision to make. Keep baby on steroids, or no? Even with our zero knowledge of natural alternatives, we just couldn’t choose for our tiny little baby to be on either of these medications.

5. We began to learn about clean eating, clean cleaning (wha?), natural doctors who get to the root of a problem, vitamins, chiropractic, and the evils of margarine. The information overwhelmed my mommy brain, but I desperately wanted my baby to be healthy. Therefore…

6. I freaked out on everyone and tried to change everything at once. Out with the poison (non-organic everything) and in with the soaked grains, fermented vegetables, and kombucha. My family loved all of these abrupt changes and speak so fondly of this time in our lives. {bangs forehead with palm}

7. Months later, Baby boy #4 is still miserable. I’m going crazy. We all hate my sourdough. I get mad at all of America and the government and pharmaceutical companies. I drink Pepsi for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner because it makes perfect sense to avoid conventional apples but down a liter of Pepsi every day.

8. None of us can live with Psycho Mom – not even (especially not) me. I decide to try a few baby steps instead of taking 817 giant leaps at once. Everyone let out a sigh of relief.

9. We continue to learn more about how to help Baby boy #4, who, as it turns out, has kidney and liver issues. We learn that eczema is not a skin issue, but a gut issue. We brace ourselves for the long haul (and we pray like never before). We don’t sleep much. The Pepsi tries to help keep me awake.

10. I learn that food isn’t something to be feared. I learn that food is nourishment. This makes so much sense. I learn that food is still fun. We buy a grass-fed cow (of the frozen variety).

11. I drink Pepsi with my grass fed cow.

12. We start getting fresh raw milk from local farming friends. It is yummy (unless it is the first few weeks of Spring when it tastes like drinking fresh grass, and then we make a lot of milkshakes).

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13. I keep getting sick because of my asthma. My natural doctor tells me to stop drinking Pepsi. I stick my (imaginary) tongue out at my doctor. She writes “No more Pepsi” on a prescription pad. I put the paper on the fridge at home. I sadly put down my two liter. I begin to grieve Pepsi. I decide that I have to do this. I want to be healthy, and I need to take care of my four baby boys. I pray for strength and sniff my friend’s Pepsi cans when I get a chance. I have compassionate friends.

14. Years go by. Canola oil and margarine are exchanged for Coconut oil and butter. I slowly begin putting new fruits and veggies into our cart (and sometimes they are not even organic because I learned to do what I could with what I had and let God take care of us).

15. It is 2012 and after  7 years of the journey, I still love sugar. I justify my sweet tooth knowing that I’m eating it in the form of honey, real maple syrup, and sucanat – and hey, at least it’s not Pepsi. My body is like, “Whatever. It’s all sugar to me. Bring it.” My migraine headaches get worse. I add exercise to my healthy lifestyle choices. I eat brownies after I work out.

16. I hate migraines and I discover a new natural doctor in a nearby city. She helps me begin to detox all my previous 39 years of…we’ll just call it “stuff.” I feel crummy sometimes because detox is not glamorous. Then I start to feel better. Then sometimes worse. And then a little bit better. I add even more fruits and veggies to my diet, because I am starting to love and crave them so very much.

17. My detoxing body can’t handle sugary foods. Feeling sick after eating a cookie helps break my sugar addiction. I can take no credit for this.

18. I continue to go (and take our family to) our natural doctor. We continue to learn more. Baby boy #4 is now ten years old and has skin that is so soft none of us (even his teenage brothers) can keep ourselves from touching his silky cheeks.

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I’ve been on this journey for ten and a half years. The journey never ends, friends, because every day we all have to make choices and work to care for the bodies we’ve been given. I wanted to share that timeline with you as encouragement for you on your healthy living journey.

Do you want to make healthy changes in your life, but you feel afraid? Are you feeling like you should change everything at once? Are you overwhelmed?

Take a deep breath and…

Just take the next step.

Let me tell you something profound (oh, just humor me):

The healthier you get, the healthier you will get.

See? Profound.

But it is true, because in my experience – one healthy step leads to another. Once you’ve tackled one healthy change, then your body is ready for another healthy change (with no specific one-size-fits-all-plan). After that, you will be confident to do the next thing. Your body will begin to crave healthiness. It is a natural response to being awakened to the good stuff.

So start with one thing – and it doesn’t even have to be the one thing someone else is choosing. It needs to be your next thing. Maybe you can take a walk a few times each week. Maybe you can get rid of margarine and get butter instead (please do this). Maybe you can focus on drinking more water to stay hydrated. Maybe you can discover a new fruit you love.

Whatever you decide to do, just take one step. And then another.

I will continue to strive, but I will never reach perfection and my kids will sometimes still eat Twizzlers at youth group. But each step I have taken toward better health has led me to the next one.

It’s good to look back on ten years and see how God has brought us to this point. You will (and already) have a story too.

So one step. Which one can you take next?

Comments

  1. Alicia says

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s so easy to get discouraged when we can’t change everything all at once. I LOVE that you admitted to sniffing the Pepsi can! I’ve mostly kicked the soda habit, but when I do get a drink of Cherry Coke once in a while, I’m just overcome with this huge sigh of relief like a junkie who just got their fix, lol. Thank you again for the encouragement!

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    Laura Reply:

    I kind of find it funny how smelling something would give me the feeling of tasting/eating/drinking it. It’s actually an effective way to help break a craving. Who knew? :)

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  2. Brittany says

    I would really like to know more about excema being a gut issue. I have a few friends with it and they struggle with putting steroid cream on their daughter. If you could lead me in the right of finding out good iformation about this I would be forever greatful!
    Thank you.

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    Laura Reply:

    I just know that four separate natural doctors we’ve visited through the years all came to the same conclusion. Where conventional doctors were looking at the skin, trying to treat the rash with meds, then sending us to an allergist – the natural doctors tested and all came to the same conclusion that Malachi’s liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. When they weren’t dumping toxins the way they were supposed to, the toxins were then coming out through the organ of the skin. They had to go somewhere! We were thankful they didn’t turn into cancer, but that they were escaping through his skin, painful though it was. The doctors then gave him supplements and did treatments to retrain his body to eliminate toxins correctly. It took YEARS for his body to learn. That part is not fun, because chronic eczema is miserable. But we are so thankful that we didn’t settle for a bandaid (just treating the symptoms) and his body did finally learn to do what it should be doing.

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  3. Cathie says

    Our journey to real food is slightly similar, although I actually did take baby steps after ridding our home of processed foods. My husband is the severe sugar addict, though. He loves ALL the foods. Our baby boy has corn, rice, soy and nut allergies, and it was just easier to not have those items in hidden form (that processed stuff.) So if we have corn, he sees it’s corn, and won’t eat it. We don’t have to worry about him having corn and soy that he doesn’t even know he’s eating, because chocolate companies can’t seem to process chocolate without soy. What’s up with that, anyway? How did they make chocolate stuff in the dark ages?

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  4. kentuckylady717 says

    Great article Laura….still say you need to start a book about your life up to present time…..I think it would be a winner :) Enjoyed this article, I too was a pepsi junkie, but only drunk one a day when I worked, that and a bag of potato chips and maybe half of sandwich was usually my lunch….I finally gave up pepsi….went over 3 yrs. without drinking one, I rarely drink one now….always eat Butter…..love my butter :) trying to like fruit…..I’d prefer a Hershey bar :) anytime over a piece of fruit …trying to watch sugar intake and pepsi has so much in it, was a big turn off for me…and don’t like sugar-free anything….. so good luck on your future book , I feel I could write one also :).

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  5. holly says

    I think this is my favorite post you’ve done:) Because I can relate to it so much. Not the Pepsi drinking though lol! I know the next big step for me is to cut out the excess sugar in my diet.. specifically the quick chocolate chip grab from the pantry for an afternoon pick-me-up! Thank you for the encouragement and for being real.

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  6. Nancy Wilbur says

    I kicked the Pepsi habit several years ago. I love reading your posts to give me the encouragement I need to change our eating habits. My son has been overdosed on ADHD meds and I am trying to get control of his impulses with diet now. I am so glad I discovered your blog!
    We have found a holistic doc now specializing in children psychological issues.

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  7. Laura says

    I was hoping you could share with me how payment for natural doctors work…do they take insurance?

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    Laura Reply:

    Unfortunately, most of them don’t. This works fine in our situation because we are self-employed and carry our own insurance. So, we’ve chosen Christian Healthcare Ministries at a very high deductible. We pay only $135/month for our entire family (crazy, right?!). Basically we just have it in case anything terrible happens.

    Since we’re paying so little every month, we use the money that would be going to insurance (that would cover doctors we don’t use) toward healthcare with natural doctors. We actually save money this way as we have found that overall, the cost of natural doctors/chiropractors is much less than walking into a regular clinic.

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  8. Sheryl says

    Laura,

    I’ve been reading your blog off and on for some time now, and I truly feel like you are a kindred spirit. Of all the nourishing food blogs that I have bookmarked (and there are a lot), I feel that yours is the most balanced and encouraging. I’m looking forward to reading through your recent devotional series. We may never meet this side of Heaven (I live in CA), but I am thankful for your posts and for you sharing your life with the masses. :) And by the way, we have had the same eczema journey with our son. His started at 2 months also. He is now 13. From creams, salves, Chinese herbs, diet changes, changing of food philosophies, supplements, it’s been quite the ordeal. We know this is more about the gut, but drastic food changes, are well, drastic. We have prayed a lot over the years, and thankfully, we are seeing some consistent improvement. But it really is about baby steps, trusting the Lord, and not being fearful. I would not say that his eczema is completely gone, but it is manageable , and right now…minimal. I could go on and on, but this has become the longest response ever! I just wanted to say how much I enjoy this blog, and how I wish we could meet for coffee. :) Blessings to you and your family Laura!

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  9. Kim says

    Thank you for your story, we all have similar one’s. Except my story is one of me being sick and gaining a ton of weight, now 3 yrs. later (found your site to start my healthy journey), my family eats wonderfully, well most of the time. I eat 90% whole foods, I leave that 10% for the occasional birthday cake, or sip of root beer. I share your site with so many of my friends that struggle to find a starting place. Thankful each day for the food God gives us.

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  10. says

    Love this ~ I could sooooo relate! Just yesterday our kiddos were reminiscing around the lunch table about how my cooking and our family’s eating habits have changed over the years. Even our oldest (21), who has been the most resistant to some of the changes, was not missing poptarts & canned raviolis and said the changes were for the better …. thankfully I was sitting down when he said it!! lol!!

    Even though it makes me sad to think how it used to be, it blessed me so much to hear them excited about healthier things ~ and I think of the impact on their 6 future households and my (someday) grandchildren!

    My encouragement is to make small changes, one thing at a time. Focusing on small things we could change long term has been our journey.

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  11. Lisa says

    Very good post! I too am on a slow but changing journey. Soda was the first thing I gave up. Then McD’s, then all fast food in general, and also now try not to buy processed foods. (All these things are “yuck” to me and I don’t crave them at all anymore.) I still have to work on giving up some things like those pesky X-Cheddar goldfish – I could still chow down a whole bag of those things in one sitting! But I have come a long way and now when I overload on junk food, I can certainly feel it. (blech!) I am eating way better than I used to and often wish I was in this mind frame when I was raising my kids. My son had eczema too, when he was a baby. He’s a grown man now and suffers from psoriasis, and I know it would get a lot better if he would only give up the Pepsi and processed foods. I cannot change the way he wants to eat, but hopefully someday he will understand this. (Or he’s going to get so sick that he will be forced to change.)Thanks for sharing your experience – it was very encouraging!

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  12. Shaela says

    Laura, thank you for being real. You are one of the people I strive to be like and due to the real nature of this post, it let’s readers realize health is a process, a journey. Baby steps and you’ll get there just one day at a time.

    Shaela

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  13. says

    I’ve followed your blog for a LONG time. But seriously love this post and your humor. This came at the perfect time. I’ve been sliding in the wrong direction on the healthy eating scale. My pants are telling me this is not good. So I’m doing the next thing. Making my healthy menu & sticking to it. Thanks again for the laugh and inspiration!

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  14. Diane says

    You are SO FUNNY! I believe this is my favorite post you’ve ever done. Thanks for the help, humor, and realness. I totally understand the Pepsi thing: I gave it up many years ago (and I’m glad I did) but still crave it when I see it on someone else’s meal tray. Thanks again for all you do.

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  15. Sam says

    Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. I always enjoy reading your blog, you really have a gift for writing! This is a great reminder to not get too crazy, do what you can, give yourself a little grace and trust God with the rest! thank you :)

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  16. Jane J. says

    Thanks for the post. If I wanted to find a “natural” doctor, would that be a naturopath I’d look for? I’ve been considering switching to one, but am not sure what to look up.

    Also, how exactly did you detox from sugar? I eat healthy, but am addicted to the sugar also. Do you just mean, you went cold turkey, or are there things you did to flush out the sugar??? Does the rest of your family still eat dessert (because mine would riot if I totally took it away from them!)

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    Laura Reply:

    Natural doctors go by different titles, so I am not sure what you would look up. I’ve learned about my doctors by word-of-mouth. I would say ask chiropractors and other people who seek natural alternatives to health. Usually, people know people and are happy to refer you.

    As far as detoxing from sugar, I was (am currently still) detoxing from heavy metals in my system (like mercury) and other messes my doctor found going on inside. It’s a huge long process, and in the meantime, my body started feeling horrible anytime I ate sugar. So, breaking away from sugar has just been a natural part of my detox process, not something I’m doing intentionally. If it was, then yes, I’d just have to go cold turkey like I did with Pepsi so many years ago. :)

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  17. mrs.p says

    Starting from square one. Fell of the wagon and life. Yesterday I made motherearth milk. Today, cleaning out pantry and freezer and make a menu plan. One foot in front of other. I thinking in the next month or two we may have some dietary changes. My duaghter startng to have issue

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    mrs.p Reply:

    Sorry pushed the wrong button. My daughter is having food issues. We will be seeing a allergiest end of this month. Her allergy been horrible this year. Constant ear infection due to drainage from allergies.

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  18. says

    I haven’t taken anywhere near as many steps as you have but I’m farther down the road now than I was when I started reading your blog. Thanks for all of the good information, inspiration, and recipes!

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  19. Kayla says

    Love this post. I do wonder so often how to get my children to love vegetables as much as they do spaghettios. It is so encouraging to read your journey and to see where you are now. We are getting there slowly and I even have my parents (somewhat) on board when they try to figure out what quinoa is and ask lots of questions about coconut oil while drinking their coke. I will continue my healthy, organic eating plan with my family and one day my girls will ask for vegetables instead of chips. I know I need to stop buying chips but I am also an avid couponer and its so hard to give up buying items for a few cents….GOD BLESS and keep the transparency coming. You are changing lives.

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  20. says

    It’s ironic to me that you posted this today. I have currently been struggling with Pepsi/sugar addictions as well! I eat fairly healthy most of the time, and then add a Pepsi or sugary treat on the side. Nice, huh? And I totally grieve the Pepsi/sugar when I try to give it up, and so I decide to have it “just one more time”. It’s a vicious cycle, one that I’m growing very tired and weary of. I’m tired of the joint pain and fatigue that I know is a result of the sugar, and God has really been dealing with my heart on this. I believe your post was just one more confirmation that it’s time to give up the sugar monster once and for all! Thank you so much for sharing your story; I enjoy your blog so much!

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  21. Tiffany says

    Hi Laura, thank you so much for sharing! I’ve enjoyed your blog for years and have been so encouraged by your wisdom, humor and dedication. I can totally relate to what you shared about eating a cookie and feeling sick. I wanted to ask if your doctor shared with you why that happens, what is going on in the body? I’ve been a sugar junkie my whole life but cut back significantly a few years ago. Lately I have noticed that even the slightest amounts make me feel bad and I was curious as to what your take is on it and what you are hearing from your doctor. Thanks and many blessings!!

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m assuming if I would have explained what I was feeling when I ate sugar that a conventional doctor would have told me I was hypoglycemic. I was having terrible blood sugar issues and it was getting to the point that even if I ate good carbs, I’d feel yucky and have what I assumed were blood sugar crashes.

    Finally, my natural doctor found that my organs were on their way to functioning well (after several years of working with her and detoxing) – but they were not communicating to each other! So my glucose wasn’t being absorbed when it should, and my pancreas and liver weren’t talking to each other so my glucose levels were wonky…and this is such my lame explanation. My doctor explained it so much better!!

    Either way, she tested to see what remedies I needed, and she put together a specific bottle for me to take each day to snap my organ sensors into gear to communicate with each other. After feeling horrible for over a year whenever I ate sugar, no kidding I felt better within two days of starting this new bottle of drops! HUGE relief! (I still don’t eat much sugar though.)

    Anyway, I’m not really sure how much that information will help you since my doctor doesn’t follow any particular formula but instead puts together remedies specific to each patient, but that was what was going on with my system that she addressed.

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  22. Tiffany says

    Laura, thank you so much for your thorough comment! You have pegged exactly what I’ve been dealing with. Definitely a blood sugar/glucose and communication issue. My husband is in the military therefore we are not allotted natural doctors. As much as I would love to see one, the finances just don’t support it. Do you have any idea what is in the drops? No pressure at all if that is too much to share. Thank you again and God bless your precious family!!

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    Laura Reply:

    I have no idea! She probably told me what she was putting in the bottle but we were also discussing other matters at the time. Plus, I just trust her to know what I need. Wish I knew and pray for you to find what you need to feel better. It is NOT fun to have that blood sugar crash thing all the time. Ugh! The only good thing about it is that it really did break my sugar addiction!

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