Questioning Food and dropping SUGAR... eeek!

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm on a bit of a kick right now when it comes to habits.  I've been really challenged from within to make some big changes and what better place to share than here?  :)

So... food.  I love food.  I love all kinds of food.  I have especially been drawn to food that isn't at all good for me.  Sugary, fatty, salty - you name it.  For years, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I was very (VERY) addicted to sugar and I would think nothing of eating two bowls of ice cream and a chocolate bar for a 'bedtime' snack.  Honestly.

This wasn't THAT long ago but it feels like it's been years since I ate like that.  Really?  It's only been about 5 months.  Can I share with you some of what has happened in the past five months?

Not because I'm 'there'.  But because this journey just HAS to be shared, in hopes that it could positively affect another person on this planet.  I feel I just have to share the transformation I've experienced over the past few months.  It's like it's my civic duty.  Ha.  But I'm also just really pumped!

And, just to emphasize that I'm still journeying, still seeking... and, yes, a little crazy - here's the pile of reading material I picked up at the library this week:


So, my tendancy is to question things.  Question the school system, question how we think about parenting, question how we look at media and pop culture, question what society tells us is 'normal'.  The one area I've really neglected to REALLY question is food.

We were Vegan for about a year when our youngest was a toddler, and I really knew this was a healthier option to the typical meat, milk, cheese and potatoes diet in most Western homes.  But I was young, uninformed, and didn't do the research needed to really go Vegan in a healthful, sustainable way.

I believe most of us have the best intentions for our families.  We want to be healthy and for our children to be healthy.  We want to cook great meals full of nutritious foods.  We envision what kind of healthful, mindful kids we'll raise.  But - so often we lack the knowledge, time, ability, resources, you name it, to really make it happen as it should.

So, some of us (ehem, me!) give in to the 'norm' and start buying a lot of processed foods, allowing our children to have too much fat, sugar, and just plain junk.  We start thinking potato chips are an acceptable 'side' dish with a sandwich.  We lose sight of that great vision we had for our family's health.

I get it.  I've been there.

But there was one thing that kept haunting me that I really couldn't ignore any longer.  Despite our children being healthy, active, and vibrant - I knew the way we were eating wasn't optimal.

And sometimes, it takes something drastic and persistent to wake you up.

 

For me, it was the headaches.


Since our first child was born, I'd had chronic headaches that only got worse with each child and remained awful after our third.

Almost daily I'd have pounding headaches that I just didn't understand.  I had been to the chiropractor about a sore neck, my adjustments helped a bit but didn't get rid of the pounding head.  I had talked to our Naturopath on several occasions and we'd figured out I was anemic.  I started increasing iron and taking a supplement.  Felt better but still had headaches.

Then, I remember what had been suggested to me by our Naturopath in the past:

"Cut out sugar and drastically reduce fat from your diet.  
Try that."

Oh.  Just, try that.

It sounded like a death sentence.  No SUGAR?  No FAT?

But, as I took time to really think about what I was going through with the constant headaches, fatigue, and how much weight I'd gained (30+ pounds), I started to really consider what might happen if I did *gulp* drop sugar and much of the fat from my diet.

When I realized I was taking up to 8 Advils every single day, I just knew something had to change.  Fast.

So, I decided, I had nothing to lose.

About four months ago, I went cold-turkey.  I just stopped eating sugar.  No added sugars in my coffee (and I was a double-double kind of girl), no sugary treats (NONE- yikes, I know...), no sugary cereals, snacks, jams, drinks, on and on.  Just as little sugar as humanly possible.

(Yes, there is added sugar in many processed foods, I know.  So, I dropped most processed foods from the diet too.)

I also dropped fat.  I stopped eating any fatty, empty calories and stopped eating things like butter, chips, snack foods, etc.  All, by the way, my usual go-to snacks for a pick-me-up.

Guess what?

I mean, GUESS WHAT?

I lost about 5lbs in the first WEEK.  Oh, yes, I did.  And that was enough motivation to keep on going.

And by week two, not only had I almost dropped 10lbs, my headaches?

My headaches were GONE.

I mean, not just sort of gone or a bit better.  GONE.  Completely and utterly vanished.  I couldn't believe it.  It was like a haze had been lifted from my whole body and especially my head.  My eyes were opened wider, I felt so alive!  I couldn't believe how the headaches were stealing my life and my joy.

I'd lived YEARS with chronic 'pain' and was relieved of it in mere days by simply CHANGING MY DIET.

Wow, imagine that.  Now, I should add - this is something I knew inherently.  I'd been raised in a home that was somewhat health conscious.  I understood there was a relation to health and food.  We ate pretty well - most people would probably say we were a pretty 'healthy' family.  But, that's comparing ourselves to the norm.

Friends, do we EVER want to compare ourselves to society's norm?

Society's norm is seeing more heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimers, and dozens of other highly food-related illnesses stealing our children and our loved ones too soon.  Society's norm, well, it sucks.

And once you realize what a MASSIVE change can take place based on what food you are choosing to put into your body, you can't deny the truth.

We are what we eat.

Eat crap - feel crappy.  Maybe not right away,  but eventually, what we eat will catch up to us for better or worse.

So, I share these things and all these sentences starting with "I" (man, I hate that...) because of this reason - I hope my story (as it evolves) can inspire and positively affect other people.  Other Moms.

Our journey to optimal health is only beginning.  Hubby and I are talking heavily about Veganism and going Veggie (I've been meat-free for several weeks and feel AWESOME!).  We're reading (hence the crazy pile of books) and we're praying for direction.  Praying for the best for our family and for our health.

Hopefully you can tolerate some posts about our journey to getting healthier and questioning our culture's food norms.  I'm excited.  Really, really excited.

I'm gazing out the back window watching our organic garden growing, thanking God for His bounty and His beautiful creation.  He has given us EVERYTHING we need in plant-based foods that we need for full health.  What would a diet based solely on what God gave us from the VERY beginning (Eden) look like?

Life is a hoot.  How this sugar-addicted girl who wanted to be a TV Producer has changed... haha!  I was saying last night that if I could start a 'new career', I'd focus on health, organic farming, and missions work.  (Imagine bringing sustainable, organic farming to the mission field?!)

Wow, how things can change.  I used to get excited about watching a great TV show.  Now, I get really, really excited about walks knee deep in creeks, and the sight of fresh, organic produce from a local farm share...


Have a happy, healthy, and simply beautiful weekend, friends! 

xo

Cass

10 comments:

  1. Before you go vegan, please do some reading on a 'traditional' diet. Our bodies need good fats and you can't get all you need from a vegan diet. I would highly recommend reading Nourishing Traditions or I could recommend others. I've cut out sugar too and it makes a HUGE difference. :)

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  2. Thanks for the comment, friend! All of my research has really shown that we actually can get everything we need with a vegan diet, minus a few supplements. I think different diets give different results and there certainly are many reasons why people continue eating meat. As I said, it's a journey... but I really want to explore more and research more about Veggie/Vegan lifestyle... I really do think it's the best way to eat, if you can. xoxo

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  3. I was very encouraged by your post! Thank you!

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  4. I'm soo glad that your headaches are gone! I can't imagine what it must have been like to live with them daily. I loved when you mentioned sustainable, organic farming to the mission field. Rachel Moore (not sure if you know or remember her?) is headed back to Haiti to do just that! There is lots of opportunity when it comes to coconut oil/ milk and huge health benefits to their moringa tree (I have noo idea if I spelled that right whatsoever haha!) It's an awesome idea :)very inspiring blog, as usual! Love it..

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    1. Thanks Jenny. Yes... I think I do. Sounds really amazing. I'm just praying for God's direction! His ways are incredible and mysterious!! :) xox

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  5. This is my second day exercising & my second day with no sugar! I have a 2 month old & a 3 year old, so I knew I needed to make a change in order to have the energy to joyfully care for them. ;-) your post are encouraging!

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    1. Yaye, Angela! Stick to it. It's hard in the beginning when you still have those cravings for the sugar and fatty foods. Give it 2 weeks and you'll start feeling so great, you won't want that stuff any more!!! :) XO!

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  6. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease a year and a half ago, and have been gluten free since then. While my digestive system has gotten back on track, my entire body still feels sluggish, tired, weak, and sore. So I've been thinking about cutting out sugar and processed foods for awhile now, but just haven't done it. Thanks for posting this, it really encouraged, and inspired me to just do it already!! Looking forward to more articles on this topic :)

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    1. Ohhhh... gluten. I just was flipping through a book called "Wheat Belly". Though I don't agree with a lot of what the author suggests we eat... I was shocked with the facts about wheat. Wheat is the next step for us... after a few months Vegan, we'll start eliminating the wheat as best we can. I'd say, try it. You have nothing to lose if you';re feeling so crummy. Processed foods are so full of junk... and the sugar has SUCH an affect. Keep up posted!

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  7. I've never met anyone that had the same addiction as me... or at least was honest about it lol. I read this post with 2 pumpkin spice doughnuts and a dr pepper :/ You're inspiring me in so many areas of my life,

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