The quote in my title really resonates with me and where I find myself today. The subject of this post has been a long time coming and I could never articulate how important of a role it has come to play in my life.
After the birth of my daughter I started becoming more concerned about my diet and nutrition. I had always tried to eat healthy and had always tried to keep weight off. It was something that was always a work in progress for me, actually, and I was always jealous of other people that could eat whatever they wanted and never seem to gain any weight. I wish I had been more concerned while pregnant, but unfortunately I wasn't. I do feel more confident going into our next pregnancy. After gaining 70 lbs while I was pregnant and only losing 45 after delivery, eating healthy and 5 months of breastfeeding, I knew something had to be done. Even more important to me, I was starting to worry about what I was going to feed the munchkin to give her the best start in life.
So I started making little basic changes. Eating even more fruits and veggies, cooking more from scratch. I think the most significant thing that sticks out to me, the turning point to the complete overhaul in our family's diet, was when I started to look up ideas to get more protein into the munchkin's diet. I had been reading some ideas on websites about giving babies tofu. It was soft and plain and could be easily mixed with other foods. I had tried tofu before and had always been turned off by it, but I thought if I could mix it with other yummy stuff, this could be an option. Since I wasn't very familiar with tofu, other then that it was a product of soy, I started to do some research. My findings were disturbing to say the least. To be honest, they kinda scared the shit out of me.
I am not going to go into a lot of detail here about soy, other then that it is truly toxic for your body on many levels and particular on the bodies of children. You don't have to take my word for it, simply google "dangers of soy" and you will come up with all the information you need. Just a little research on the FDA's database of trials and studies of soy will show you the disturbing results and all of the studies that warn about its dangerous effects on the body.
Here's a list of studies that have been going on since the 1930s
I could give you links to hundreds of articles, with plenty of references and researched information with lots of stats and studies to back up this info, but if you really cared enough you could find it for yourself pretty easily. I will give you one link that sums it up pretty good, along with references and then you can decide for yourself. This explains how and why it has infiltrated our market so aggressively and how it is has been passed off as edible health food.
It took me a few months of digging and research to finally believe it. It wasn't any easy pill to swallow. I loved edamame. I had even given it to the munchkin a couple of times. I went through every item in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and threw out any item that had soy or a bi-product of soy in it. I couldn't believe how much stuff I had to throw out. This shit was every where. I was pissed to say the least, that this crap was being passed off as a health food and was being eaten in such large masses by unsuspecting people.
Luckily organic fermented soy is somewhat okay, as in miso soup and soy sauce (what would I dip my sushi in?!) and might actually have health benefits. Fermenting the soy changes the composition of it. Organic insures it is not made from GMOs.
My anger and the shock of what I had been learning really got me to thinking. What else were we eating that I wasn't aware of? Were there other things in our diet that were really bad for us. This started my quest to learn as much as I could, good and bad, about food and it's effects on our bodies, both emotionally and physically. I wanted to be educated and provide my family with food that was good for us, food that would make us feel good and live longer, healthier lives. After over a year of pretty intense research on the subject (seriously, almost all of my free time has been spent on this, I became pretty obsessed), I feel confident in my knowledge and where this path has lead me to today. There is still so much to learn and find out, and I get really excited about new discoveries every day. It's not just the food that I am so interested in, but the science behind how it effects our bodies and what happens to it once it gets past our mouths.
I also have to remind myself, almost every day, that not everyone is as passionate about this subject as I am. I too, was once much less concerned, and I have to try to keep that in mind. I sometimes catch myself going on too much about something (like the dangers of soy) and have to tell myself to shut up. Just because you care, doesn't mean they do. But the problem is, I care about them, and I sometimes just can't help myself. But I really don't want to be that person who is always talking about something no one wants to hear about. So for the most part, I keep to myself unless it happens to come up in conversation or someone wants to talk about it.
I don't want my blog to turn into a "food and nutrition blog". I just want to add to what it already is. My blog is a story about my family and our lives. Its a place where I can go to share my thoughts and ideas. A place I can blow off steam or share my passion about a particular subject. I would be absolutely thrilled if some of the information I relay about this could help someone else, but whether it does or not, it is such a huge part of my life now, that it will naturally become a part of my blog as well.
It's not just cooking healthy, but cooking in general that I have really come to love, even more then ever before. I spend so much time in the kitchen now, trying new recipes and experimenting with old ones, that I have more fun with it and have alot more confidence. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, but now it's with a purpose. I feel what I am doing in the kitchen is having a huge impact on the livelihoods of my family and my daughter's future. I really do feel that what we eat on a daily basis is that important! I can't help but take great pride in that and to feel accomplished when I am done preparing a meal.
“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”
~ Earl Nightingale
I have cut out processed foods, refined sugars and flours, and preservatives. We are eating real, whole foods and I have never felt better in my life. I buy mostly organic, to avoid the toxins from foods sprayed with pesticides, and have recently started buying 100% grassfed beef from a local source. Basically, if it doesn't grow from the ground, come from an animal, or have ingredients in it that are man-made or chemically concocted in a lab, I most likely will not eat it. To some, it might seem extreme (at first), but I know it is making a huge difference in our lives and our health. I see proof of it over and over.
We simply eat more simply. That's the simplest way to put it.
Here is a great overview:
I am not, however, a total nazi about it that I will never eat anything with preservatives in it or won't eat at a restaurant. I just do what I can, when I can, and don't worry about it when I can't. I still go out to eat on occassion and have dinner with friends or go to parties and eat whatever is on the spread. I pretty much go with the 80/20 rule. I don't want to have lot of posts similar to this one, I just wanted to put this out there. I know it will turn some people off and that really sucks, because I hope that I won't be judged negatively for it. It's something I have become kind of accustomed to though, it's really strange and I am not really sure why it happens. Just bringing a healthy appetizer to a party, has gotten me some really odd reactions, but there's really not much I can do about it. I am grateful for my amazing, wonderful friends that do share in this same passion, along with the ones that don't and have atleast humored me.
So there you have it. An overview of my journey and how I got to where I am now. I still want my blog to be about me, whatever that may entail, about my family (especially the munchkin) and about whatever I feel like sharing, I don't want it to take a new direction, but I do want to share more about what I have learned and some good recipe concoctions. I hope others will take from it what they will and maybe even be inspired to do some research of their own. I want to be all preachy about what people should or shouldn't be eating. To each his own. I just wanted to give a basic background of where all these new recipes and ideas are coming from and also to explain why I have been so MIA for a while.
Although eating really healthy and following my new guidelines would have eventually gotten me to my weight-loss goals, it doesn't explain how it came off so quickly. My current eating habits will keep my weight from going back up, but I did get some help. In July of last year, my sister told me that she was going to do the Homeopathic HCG diet and gave me a brief overview of what all that entailed. To be honest it didn't sound healthy. I started to research it heavily because I was worried about my sister. The more I read, the more I understood it, and the better it sounded. I did 3 rounds of the diet between July 2010 and January 2011, taking a few months off inbetween around events and holidays. I lost 45 lbs total between the hcg diet and my new eating habits. Knowing what I know now, however, I would NOT recommend the HCG diet as a healthy way to lose weight.