I think it’s so helpful to read stories about how other people have changed their lives through nourishing food. It can be encouraging to see how small changes can really add up, and how we all had to start somewhere - and how no one became a expert on nourishing foods overnight! So here is some of my story:
I’ll begin with some background: I grew up in a mildly health-conscious household (stress the mildly!). We unfortunately basically ate the Standard American Diet (aptly dubbed SAD), though not absolutely brimming with junk food compared to other kids I knew. I started my first diet at the age of thirteen when I suddenly became a self-conscious mess (who doesn't at that age?). I knew nothing about dieting except to eat less. I dropped a few pounds like magic and I thought, “Hey, this is great!”
So throughout my teen years I dieted on and off. I craved junk foods like fast food burgers and candy bars (probably because I wasn't getting any healthy fats and not eating enough in general). As I got older and began to venture out on my own, I also ate fast food more often and indulged in junk sugar way more than before. By the time I was sixteen it was hard for me to stay on a diet for more than four weeks, but eating less still worked for me in the short term.
At this time I made my first step toward healthy eating: a dear friend told my family about the danger of eating hydrogenated oil and trans fats, and I’ve been avoiding those bad boys ever since. Unfortunately, it would be quite some time before I would make any other healthy changes in my diet!
Wedding bells and baby bonnets...
Well, life moved on and I got married. Soon we decided to start a family. I thought natural childbirth would be the best for me and baby, and during my childbirth classes I learned a little more about nutrition (like keeping my protein intake up). This was really helpful, but I still had no clue about healthy fats and how much we needed them. My diet was mediocre at best, but it definitely could have been worse.
After my daughter was born, I again went for eating less as my weight loss method of choice. No specific formula, just cut back on the food (and I tried to ditch the ice cream, which was hard!). This time my weight loss was really, really slow, even though I’d heard weight loss was supposed to be easy when you’re nursing. Yeah, well, not for me. And those last five pounds just wouldn't budge!
During my second pregnancy, I was obsessed with not gaining weight like I had the first time around. I would eat very light all day and binge on ice cream most nights. If that’s not a body and baby crying for help, I don’t know what is! But I'd never heard about listening to biofeedback, so these desperate calls for help went unheeded.
After the birth of my son, I picked up Dr. William Sear’s book about family nutrition. Worst. Mistake. Ever. I might as well have read the food pyramid in book format. Saturated fat was portrayed as the evil health villian (well, all dietary fat was on trial in this book). Soy and vegetable oils were on the healthy food list. Right then and there I hopped on the low-fat bandwagon with my whole heart. It was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.
I lost weight fast (still cutting calories and now cutting fat as well), and I thought it was great. I was 10 lbs lighter than I had ever been! I don’t know why I didn’t notice the other ways this kind of eating affected my life: I was moody and exhausted all the time; often lightheaded and forgetful; and my son was a very fussy baby who nursed just about every hour around the clock. It just never occurred to me any of this could be connected with my diet.
And then I became a Cardio Queen...
Of course, life became hectic and I quickly put all the weight back on. Enter cardio queen phase. Coupled with low-fat dieting, it was like a slow death sentence. I fought my body tooth and nail to get back to my skinny weight. Being thin made me feel like I was a better person. I thought to myself: See, I really do have willpower and determination!
But I was also an emotional wreck, suffering from mood swings, fits of rage, and bouts of depression. I also had a poor complexion, pasty with lots of acne. And then came the intense sugar cravings and I started gaining weight again. What the heck was wrong with me?!?
The Precipice for Change:
That summer I realized my life was headed down the toilet if I didn’t change something. Aside from finding more spiritual direction in my life (which I believe goes hand in hand with a nourished life), I finally picked up my copy of The Schwarzbein Principle and read it thoroughly. I realized I’d been getting it all wrong. So I read more. And more. And more. Then I remembered a close friend had once recommended Nourishing Traditions and quickly read it. That's when I finally started making better choices and reaping the wonderful benefits.
I found so many things when I started eating traditional foods like real butter, whole milk, soaked whole grains and coconut oil. I found it was easier to make changes as time went by - my body was starting to want healthier food instead of junk and sugar! I found out what satiation felt like, physically and emotionally. I found the joy in life again, I found I could be a more patient person, I found I could handle some very stressful situations without breaking down. I am far from a perfect person (and I still battle junk food cravings at times), but I feel a hundred times better than I felt two years ago.
And that is why I want to share with others about how eating the right foods can really nourish you inside and out. Getting the right information and choosing nourishing foods can really change your life completely. And I know this because that is exactly what happened to me.