Health Held Hostage: Step towards reclaiming My Health (Part I of III)

I carefully watched as she pinched her finger and a mound of blood pooled. I couldn’t help thinking, why did she make a boo-boo? And then it got worse! She put the blood in a device that gave her numbers and then got a needle like the doctors have, pulled medicine in it, and then pushed the needle in her skin. She gave herself a shot! Why would anyone want to do that!? Why is she hurting herself? And what’s more, she did this every day and more than once!! Those were some early thoughts and memories from childhood. I was around 2 or 3 years old and my grandmother would watch me before, and, sometimes after preschool. That was when I first learned about Type II Diabetes. And over the next 13 year I would watch as my grandmother’s body deteriorated due to complications caused by Type II Diabetes. She had open-heart surgery, kidney failure, dialysis, congestive heart failure; eventually losing her struggle at 63 years young, just mere months before her husband retired and they could finally take that trip to Hawaii to celebrate 40+ years of marriage and raising their 7 children together. She was a fun, vibrant individual, she had a contagious laugh, sloppy kisses, and hugs that made your soul feel safe; she had a way of making whomever she was speaking with feel like the most important person in the world. I so treasured every moment I spent with her. I just wish our memories could have had a different setting/backdrop, like at beach or road trip, as opposed to hospital rooms, dialysis, and towards the end, hospice.  For the first 16 years of my life I witnessed what my grandmother ate but it wasn’t until 15+ years later that I made the direct correlation of her diet with her rapidly deteriorating health.

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It wasn’t until I was living her life, as a mom, as a wife, with so many responsibilities and obligations, pressure, and lure of the convenience foods. I am sure most women, wives, mothers/parents can relate to the fact that it is impossible to do it all, the laundry, dishes, work, housework, children’s homework, chauffer kids to practices, games, clubs, etc. and still have 3 square homemade meals.  Something has to give and thanks to the food industry “we’ve got you covered moms” slogans and ease of convenience we can easily outsource meals.

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But what we are actually outsourcing, without realizing it, due to the hypnotic tactics of the same individuals who so creatively got us hooked on tobacco (Tobacco Giant Phillip Morris owns Kraft (Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Post cereals, Maxwell House, Kool-Aid, Tombstone pizza) and Nabisco (Oreo, Ritz, Snackwells) http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Tobacco-Giant-Philip-Morris-Buying-Nabisco-2751987.php ) , is our family’s health!

After drinking the “Kool-Aid”, so-to-speak (no pun intended) for so long, it can be difficult to differentiate the truth amongst all the Sudo Health Slang. And let me tell you, I bought into it all! The ‘no fat’, ‘fat free’, ‘fortified with fiber’, ‘added fiber’, ‘low fat’, etc.

light-foods

I honestly thought by purchasing items that were fat free and/or low fat that I was doing something good for my family and myself. I never lost the baby weight from my first child and just packed it on with each additional pregnancy, thus I needed to lost weight and doesn’t it make sense to purchase food with no fat if you want to lose fat? Turns out a lot of those foods which contained no fat were actually drowning in sugar!! (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10668189/Low-fat-foods-stuffed-with-harmful-levels-of-sugar.html ) And,” since fructose molecule is not a natural part of metabolism and humans do not produce it. In fact, very few cells in the body can make use of it except liver cells. When we eat a lot of sugar, most of the fructose gets metabolized by the liver. There it gets turned into fat, which is then secreted into the blood”. (Source: 4 Ways Sugar Makes You Fat https://authoritynutrition.com/4-ways-sugar-makes-you-fat/ ) At this point in my research the lightbulb goes off in my brain and the connection between my grandmother’s obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high fructose foods is made….and that was the first step towards reclaiming the health I had allowed The Food Industry to hijack.

What I did…over the course of 3 years I made small modification here and there to my family’s diet and lifestyle. The key is to take it slow; there is no magic pill, shake, etc. just adjustments here and there that will have you reclaiming your health. Food is medicine, food is your preventative health care, your livelihood, no one else should lose a family member due to Type II Diabetes….we, as parents put so much time, energy, effort, and love into raising our children we should be able to witness the fruits of our labor and watch them flourish, thrive, and watch them become parents.

Here are some actions I started taking 3 years ago to help my family and myself (I was a size 18 after giving birth to my first child and am now down to a size 10! I have more energy than ever before, I no longer have that foggy feeling, my mind is clear, my skin, hair, nails look awesome….it’s amazing and I want everyone to feel this good, which is why I am sharing my journey with you).

Tips to Take Action:

  1. Removed cereal from house-I started making breakfast. Scrambled eggs, omelet, hardboiled egg, leftovers from the night before, basically whatever the kids would eat, but cereal, it was no longer welcomed into our home. cerealThis one was a struggle; it took a good 6 months for the kids to conquer their cereal detox. (Interesting Read: Trisodium Phosphate currently used as an industrial paint thinner is used inside children’s breakfast cereal- http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/trisodium-phosphate-paint-thinner-in-consumer-products-kids-cereals.php )
  2. Stopped watching television in the evening-this gave us more time to prep lunches for the next day & it made me a much more patient mom in the evenings, I had no idea what kind of a hold a television program had over me. As we continued we started reading and saying the Rosary in the evening too….funny how people say they don’t have time- you need to make it a priority and you WILL find the time, promise!
  3. Removed Cable from the Home– you are probably thinking what does that have to do with food? A lot actually! See, we removed cable and purchased an antenna that only works on occasion (drives my husband nuts) which basically forced us to only watch Netflix, which is commercial free, thus the children aren’t being bombarded with commercials about toys and food, especially food. Junk Food request went down exponentially!!
  4. Start reading nutrition labels and only purchase items with 5 or less ingredients– this one was tricky, and I totally caved a few hundred times and bought items with 10 or so, but at least it got me in the habit of looking at the ingredients and surprisingly eliminating a lot of preservatives and additives from our diet.
  5. 1/3 of the cart needs to be fruits and vegetables– this was probably the hardest, even harder than giving up watching cable television. I struggled with this one as a mom because I didn’t want to waste food. We used to actually have fruits and veggies expire/go bad….fast forward 3 years and strawberries, bananas, & mini peppers are lucky if they make it to day 2 after grocery shopping. I found that I had to be the model, I had to model to the children how delicious fruits and veggies can be….and they can be convenient (this is often a big issue too), the key is to wash and prep, slice, cut as soon as you get home so children can just grab and go.

 

To be continued…….

 

Road trip + convenience food = THE WORST temptation!

 

As many of you know, I “killed” cereal, as my 7 year old so eloquently expresses, about 11 weeks ago. It hasn’t been the easiest road but the results have sure made it worth it! Since limiting consumption of grains in our diet I have lost 8 pounds and 4 inches around my waste but more importantly I feel SO much better! The foggy feeling has lifted, I have more energy, I feel like I have SO much more patience, peace, I feel more even keeled.  I believe it has something to do with my blood sugar levels, granted, I am not a doctor, but, I can tell you from personal experience that I do not feel that rush of energy & then immediate crash and tiredness that I used to feel when consuming cereal, bread, bagels, basically any grain. They say it takes on average 66 days to develop a new routine.  I fully agree. This path has been a difficult one. It requires SO MUCH SELF CONTROL!!! It is SO hard to pass on pizza when gathered around with friends. To order the salad when all your friends order the gourmet grilled cheese.  To take a delicious Boston Crème pie over to the in-laws and then declared that you will pass on dessert! Oh the despair!! I have successfully gotten over those hurtles. Next hurtle, Road Trip!!

 

When I think road trip I think pit stops, iced lattés, cheese burgers, French fries, Twizzles, yum!!   Just the words, road trip, to me are synonymous with convenience food.   Stopping to use the restroom should be simple but the aroma of Starbucks coffee, those greasy delicious fries, oh the temptations!! In the past we would simply grab a latté, a burger, fries, etc. when we were on the road. It was a pretty simple concept, we wanted something and they provided it. Now that we are grain free and eating healthier the convenience factor is removed. The truth is, if you want to eat healthier more time, energy, effort, and planning needs to go into your nutrition plan.  And yes, it can be a pain, but it is worth it.  So how does one plan for a road trip filled with temptations?

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So, here is what I have packed for a 3-4 hours road trip with kiddos. Mind you, we all get bored in the car and our first inclination to fulfill that boredom is food, is eating! When you pair that with the temptations of the delicious greasy aromas you WILL smell when you make a pit stop to use the restroom, a snack IS necessary! Here are some yummy snacks that I prepared before we hit the road…..

 Strawberries (good source of fiber)

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Celery & cucumbers (mostly water)

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Grapes

Mixed Nuts (protein)

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Cuties

Bananas

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Mind you, those first couple road trips ARE hard. Our brains need to be rewired. We still have those feel good hormones that are released when we smell the grease. It isn’t easy. If you do slip up that is okay. Forgive yourself. Start fresh the next day. Thank goodness God gives us a new 24 hours each day. IT IS HARD but TRUST me, if you stick with it you WILL see results & they are amazing!! You can persevere though the most tempting road trips! You are stronger than you know!

Make it a great one! Drive safely (It isn’t how fast it’s how safe 😉 ) Cheers!!

Traveling with kids? Here are some fun activity ideas to keep them occupied.