Hi there! My name is Julie, and I am a mommy and wife, with a passion for healthy food and cooking, documenting our family’s journey toward a healthier diet. I am not a nutritionist, dietician or doctor. I have my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and I firmly believe much of our emotional well-being has to do with our diets. (Mood disorders and mental illness can be directly related to the consumption of processed foods, sometimes as a major cause and almost always as a contributing factor to some degree.)
My son, Chase, is 8 in the third grade, Lane is 7 in the second grade and Bree is 4 in pre-school. My husband truly is amazing – he has been my guinea pig and science project throughout this journey. Every morning he wakes up to and every night he comes home to a new concoction of some sort. Many times he has been pleasantly surprised, other times, not so much, but he never complained … choked it down with a smile — my cantaloupe parsley smoothie comes to mind at the moment (I will not be sharing that recipe).
For years my husband has been struggling with his weight. We have had some success and many setbacks. If there is a diet out there or a product, chances are we tried it. Some of them worked, but at what cost? I recently asked myself this question when Chris, my husband, asked me to put him back on the “Bowflex Plan”. We had done this diet a few years back and it was very successful. He lost a lot of weight, but as many people experience, he quickly gained it back. So when he asked me to put together this diet for him again, I was reluctant, but being the supportive wife I am :)… I went to the store to buy all the “food” for his next endeavor.
When I started reading the labels for the food included in the diet, I was disgusted! The items were not food, rather a food-like product composed of more chemicals, toxins and preservatives than I could pronounce! There was no way these “food products” could be good for him. Sure, he may lose weight (for the short term), but at the same time he would be poisoning his body instead of training himself to eat for real. The problem I see with diets is they are not sustainable. (I don’t know anyone that wants to eat a dehydrated “hamburger” for the rest of their life in place of a real hamburger.) Eating a real food, whole food diet is sustainable once you understand the difference between real food and processed food and how to make the real food more readily available. The trick is to plan, plan, plan. If you have healthy food at your disposal, you will eat it. This is why fast food and all the processed food has taken over — it is easy and quick. If we make our healthy food easy and quick, by allocating time to preparing it for the week, we will be successful. We will in turn, have the energy to prepare the food for the week because we are taking care of our bodies and nourishing them with the ingredients they need to thrive.
This same day when I came back from the store, my kids asked me to make them some microwave popcorn. Just coming back from the store having read a bunch of labels, I immediately read the label on the popcorn. Again, there were ingredients that made me question the snack choice I was providing for my children. So I set out to find a replacement for our microwave popcorn, which I will talk about in a later blog. I also knew this popcorn would not taste like the microwave popcorn they were accustomed to, so I tried to “dress” the popcorn up to look fun. Surprisingly it worked!! I put the popcorn in cute little polka dot muffin liners I had — they were so excited about the presence of their snack, they didn’t pay attention to the altered taste. (Unfortunately, polka dots have not worked for every replacement we have made and we will discuss those hurdles in this blog too.)
Since then we have gone from Slurpees to Watermelon Slushies, from Flavor-Ice Pops to Kale Pops, from Pop Tarts to Almond Flour Muffins, from Potato Chips to Pistachios, from Croutons to Sunflower Seeds, from Milkshakes to Smoothies, from No Seeds to Chia, Flax and Hemp seeds, from Butter to Ghee, from Canola Oil to Coconut Oil, from Sugar to Raw Honey, from Mrs. Butterworth’s to Maple Syrup, from Gatorade to Coconut Water, from White Flour to Coconut and Almond Flour, from Coffee to Lemon & Cayenne water and so many more changes! (The coffee change may be hard to believe, but we have a new found energy with eating whole foods and we have not needed it… this is coming from a girl who drank 3-4 cups of coffee a day). It becomes easier every day because we are becoming more comfortable and familiar with the foods we should be eating. As you work more with these foods, you will discover how versatile they are.
The lifestyle changes we have made aim to create an alkaline body because disease can only thrive in an acidic body. We eat anti-inflammatory foods because inflammation is a leading contributing cause to diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Inflammation is a condition that damages healthy tissue, raises blood pressure and can potentially encourage cancer cells to grow. Most diseases such as arthritis, asthma, allergies, cancer, Alzheimer’s diabetes and heart disease, have an underlying basis in inflammation and can be made better or worse based on your diet.
We have only been on this journey for a few months, but in that time we have noticed increased energy, clearer heads, better digestion and an excitement we want to share. And my husband lost 18 pounds in 3 weeks! No pill, no diet, no calorie counting, no gimmicks, just healthy eating. My mission for this blog is to document what we have learned, to learn from others, and hope others will learn from us. Most of all, my goal is to inspire a love and appreciation of real food! There is a lot of trickery going on in the food industry which makes it very difficult to make healthy choices. Together, we can decode the confusion.