Our Healthy Eating Journey, Part 8

healthyeatingjourney

If you missed them, please catch up on
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

Because of Malachi’s severe eczema, we had started looking into the world of healthy eating.  Here’s one of the first (and biggest) things we learned:  This new definition of healthy eating I was reading about was WAY different from anything I’d ever heard of.

For sure, I had spent years thinking that healthy eating meant eating as little fat as possible.  Avoid the french fries and the pizza. Choose margarine over butter, don’t eat eggs, watch the cheese, eat chicken not beef.  Drink fat free milk, choose fat free candy, eat fat free yogurt.  This is what I’d been taught was “a healthy diet”.

Suddenly, everything I had ever learned about eating healthy was being challenged.  Not only that, but if I was going to start eating these whole foods I’d been reading about, I was going to have to actually spend money on food.  I didn’t like spending money on food.  What was I going to do?  How important was it to eat healthy, anyway?

About the time we were starting to wrestle with and learn about healthy eating,  my asthma started giving me some real trouble.  The boys were 8, 5, 3 and 8 months at the time.  I was pretty exhausted, mainly from getting so little sleep night after night trying to comfort Malachi.  I was still nursing him exclusively because we were very afraid to feed him any food.  I was drained.

My guess was that it didn’t help that I was drinking a lot of Pepsi every day.  Even though I was in the process of learning about raw milk and grass fed meats and free ranged chickens and organic produce…I was having the HARDEST time giving up my Pepsi.  I drank Pepsi because I LOVED it.  I drank Pepsi because it tasted so good.  I drank Pepsi to “give me energy”.  I drank Pepsi because I was in the habit of drinking Pepsi.  And also, I just LOVED it.  (But I think I said that already.)

I drank it in the morning with my breakfast (I always called it my “coffee”).  I drank it with my lunch.  I drank it in the afternoon if I had some “down time”.  I drank it in the afternoon if I didn’t get my “down time” because well…then I really “needed it”!   I would usually go through almost a liter and a half a day (or 3-5 cans, depending on what I had bought on sale).

And…if I went out to eat?  I would SO take advantage of the free refills!!!  Oh yes, I would.  It’s almost embarassing.  (almost?) 

All that to say…my immune system was pretty shot.  (I’m sure the Pepsi wasn’t the only reason, but, WOW that’s a lot of sugar consumption!)  Once my depleted body started to have worse asthma symptoms…I found myself unable to fight back. 

It started with what seemed to be a cold, but I could not get over it.  I got so sick I could hardly walk across the room for lack of energy and breath.  Friends came over to help with the kids and laundry.  I lost a lot of weight (I looked terrible).  I had no appetite.  Every breath hurt.  I coughed all the time.  I fell asleep in the middle of a noisy room with the kids playing all around me.  I couldn’t answer questions.  I remember my friends asking me what I’d eaten for lunch and I’d just give them a blank stare.  Matt was trying to juggle his work and the kids and a very sick wife.  He would fall asleep at night with his clothes on, he was so tired from trying to keep up.  (By the way, during the time I was the sickest, I wasn’t drinking Pepsi anymore…I wasn’t that stupid!  But I hadn’t decided to give it up for good yet!)

My doctor was trying different medications to get the asthma under control, but nothing seemed to work.  He was very concerned about my weight and overall health and wanted me to stop nursing Malachi since I was so depleted.  He finally insisted on hospitalizing me so that we could do something about my lungs and get me hydrated.

I was in the hospital for four days.  My friends and church family were incredible.  They took care of the kids.  They brought meals.  Some of my fellow nursing mothers were even kind enough to pump extra milk for Malachi. 

It took almost two months for me to finally begin to feel well again.  And then, I began to drink Pepsi again because I missed it so much…and I was feeling so much better, so why not?! 

It didn’t take long for my lungs to feel wheezy and my energy to wane.  I was getting sick again…

To be continued…

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Comments

  1. Laura says

    I am so enjoying this series. I want to eat healthier but I feel overwhelmed. I feel like, with this series, that I’ll be able to take small, baby steps towards eating/cooking better. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles and insights :)

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  2. says

    Thanks for this great series! My family is just at the beginning of our healthy eating journey. I’d love to hear more about what you read and where you got your information about real and whole foods from. I want to read and learn everything about it that I can, so any recommendations you have would be great!

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  3. says

    Wow! As a former Pepsi lover I understand what you mean totally :) I gave up pop a year ago and truly do not miss it one bit. In fact, when I decide to take a “sip” I immediately remember I’m not missing anything. Now to help my hubby break that Pepsi habit as well :)

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  4. says

    I gave up my Diet Coke habit for Lent, and now that it’s almost over, I’m thinking just sticking to giving it up forever wouldn’t be such a terrible idea. The aspartame, the calcium leaching carbonation, really, it’s better if I don’t go back.

    The problem: I don’t see any direct health correlation right now between my health and my Diet Coke drinking. I wish I had something that miraculously improved as a great example of why this pop habit is awful.

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  5. says

    Wow, I have got to go back and read the rest of your series. You sound so much like me health wise! I have been struggling for years with poor health. The only difference is I’m on A LOT of medications and have gained so much weight. I know it’s from my diet and the meds. I’ve been trying hard for the last two months to do away with all processed foods loaded with chemicals and preservatives, and have been making almost every thing from scratch. Although I am starting to feel a little better, I still have a long way to go. I really think your own to something though.

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  6. Amber says

    Well I love to see your monthly cooking for the freezer. I am very inspired today. I was looking at yor granola bar recipe the other day do you think there is a way to make them without peanut butter, my son is highly allergic and so I would love to make oe he can enjoy as well! Thanks for all the good ideas. And good luck getting everything done! Amber

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    Kathleen Reply:

    Could you try raw almond butter? Or roasted almond butter? Most health food stores carry some or you can find some online.

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  7. says

    Laura,
    I am so glad I found your site! My step-mom gave me Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions a few years ago. I was in college at the time, and also struggling with an eating disorder, so even though I found all the information interesting, I wasn’t interested in making time to change my diet! I enjoyed my diet of diet coke and apples! Well, praise God, He has set me free from the bondage of that eating disorder and He continues to give me more and more freedom each day. I picked up Nourishing Traditions not that long ago and have been taking baby steps to change over how my husband and I eat. My husband is a music pastor at a small Baptist church and we are newly married, so I appreciate your ideas and recipes because they are practical and affordable! I made your burritos last week for dinner using some ww sourdough tortillas and my husband was thrilled :) Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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  8. Amy says

    Thank you for your website! I saw the link on Sammie’s page and thought to check it out. I’m digging all the new recipes i’d like to try out. Thank you for sharing!!

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  9. Carrie Beth says

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and all you have learned! I have been enjoying your recipes too…I read Nourishing Traditions several years ago and was totally overwhelmed- like you, I was a low-fat, no saturated fat kind of girl! Your recipes help me to work in parts of that book into our daily meals and snacks. God’s blessings on you!

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  10. says

    I am really enjoying your website/blog. It has breathed inspiration back into me to cook healthy food on a more regular basis. I used to be a good healthful cook, with our first four children. Four years ago we adopted 3 more children from Russia. It was an amazing experience, but also threw quite a curve ball into my cooking convictions. The biggest emotional upheaval we had, was connected to food. Needless to say I began cooking those things which brought peace back into the household. Over all, the kids have come a long way in learning to like a greater spectrum of food, but I have found myself stifled in the realm of healthyful food because I find I desire peace above all else these days. I often find myself saying: “When I’m done raising this batch of kids, I will go back to the old healthy way of cooking” but I know I really need to incorporate my old habits back in to the program now. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t eat a lot of junk food, but we could do better. Your recipes look great, I found you when I was googling graham crackers/animal crackers, and up popped your recipe. I have made it and loved it many times. I am excite to try more.

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  11. Courtney says

    I am loving this series! We are already eating healthy (well, most of the time :) ) but you have given me so many great new ideas and recipes to try.

    Regarding asthma and your Pepsi addiction, did you know that caffeine can actually be beneficial in treating asthma? We learned that from our doctor when our son was diagnosed a few years ago. Caffeine belongs to the same family of plant chemicals as the main ingredient in asthma medication, and it has the same effect – it’s a bronchodilator that relaxes the airway muscles. So whenever our son starts feeling a little bit wheezy, but not quite wheezy enough to need the inhaler, he drinks some caffeine and the symptoms usually disappear. The other thing that has really helped him is using the neti pot every day.

    Anyway, thanks for all you do. Your blog is one of my favorites :)

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  12. Mama D says

    How amazing!! I’m so excited to hear the rest of your healthy eating journey – it mirrors my own! A dear friend whose judgement I trust completely recommended Nourishing Traditions, which I’d never heard of, so I bought it and read it. Oh wow, so much to assimilate! I’d been learning to make cheese, so I had LOTS of whey on hand that I could not bear to throw away. Great stuff for soaking grains and for lacto-fermentation. Unfortunatley, my first attempt at lacto-fermentation was a big no-go, as I kind of forgot about that jar sitting near the stove full of shredded carrots and stuff. It was not pretty when I remembered it. We’ll try again, though! :-) I just placed a HUGE order of whole grains to grind myself. I’ve been making 90% of our bread, and we’re on our journey to raise chickens and goats for eggs, milk, and meat. We hunt moose, caribou, and bison for most of our large meat. But this is very much a JOURNEY, and we are not there yet. I’m loving following your blog and your journey! And your recipes are fantastic!!!

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  13. says

    WOW laura! I am loving all of these! I also have a very similar story…mine just resulted in my thyroid going crazy to put me in the hospital!
    I now also believe that I had/have not only hypothyroidism, but also hypoadrenalism or adrenal fatigue, which sounds like you did too…where when I had a lot of very young kids at home I was so exhausted that I could also fall asleep the MOMENT I sat down and only would wake up when something would smash and break or a loud bang would happen-very scary. I remember my mom would call often to see how I was hanging in there and I would tell her that when I woke up in the morning I felt as though I had been run over by a semi-truck…aweful.
    Here is a great post by a fellow healthy-eater-blogger about your adrenal glands health. You’ll love it and it’s a quick read:
    http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-adrenals-understanding-the-keys-to-health/
    Hope you enjoy this and I love all that you are doing!
    God bless you!
    Tarena

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