Monday, November 28, 2011

My Journey to a Healthy Life Continues

Five months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Overnight I gave up eating pasta, bread, cookies and most of the food that was currently in my cupboard. This really was the start of a new life. My body began to heal slowly as it was not constantly under the attack of gluten. Shortly after this, I discovered my body was not healthy enough to process most dairy, so this was cut out of my diet as well.

I am still on a quest to be healthy and to feel good. It didn’t just stop with a gluten free diet. I thought that it would, but it didn’t. This is my story.

On a gluten free diet I had to say no to so many yummy things, I thought that I should be able to enjoy all the other gluten free things that I wanted to. I was making cookies and treats and buying lots of gluten free candy so that I didn't feel deprived. I had some good GF (gluten free) bread, rice chips, GF crackers and other high carb, processed food. Life was good.

This fruit platter was for my kids. I now leave off the chocolate on my bowl.

I spend a lot of time on the intranet reading blogs and finding recipes. I found a bunch of great blogs written by others who have stopped eating all the highly processed, high-carb foods and have started eating healthy food. Most of these people did it for the health of them or their children. So many of their stories are similar to mine.

One site I was on was really interesting to me. It is called Lexie's Kitchen. This is about a mom who made some radical changes to her families meals in order to help her toddler live a healthier life due to medical challenges he was having. I started reading stories that were shared on her site by others that had made the switch from processed to whole foods. Since I had made major changes to my diet in order to become healthy, I submitted my story. A bit ago I was hosted on her site as a guest blogger. Here is a link to my story and her website.

I was feeling good most of the time, but still not all of the time. I had tasted what it feels like to be healthy and I wanted it all of the time. I have been on a path to change my life style so that I can be as healthy as I can. I want to feel good and to have energy to do what ever I want.

My diet had changed in some radical ways, but I could tell that I was still eating things that made me feel sick and sluggish. It wasn’t until after Halloween that I finally figured out what it was. We had made delicious home made caramel apples and caramel popcorn. I was loving the great tasting gluten free food that was supposed to make me feel good, yet I was still feeling so ill. After the second night at work (I work night shift in the NICU) I finally decided I had had enough. I wanted to get healthy. I wanted to feel good.

As I said before, I really liked Lexie’s Kitchen blog and enjoyed reading other people’s stories about how they made the switch from processed to whole foods. About this time I read a story of a lady who had made a radical switch to her diet three years ago. She talked about how and why she tossed out all the processed food and started buying things that she could recognize. Her energy level increased and she started feeling so much better. Her story and the others on this website truely inspired me.

So much so that I began a new phase of getting healthy. I finally decided to stop eating most processed foods and I have now cut out almost all sugar. My diet is mostly veggies (though I do need to work on eating more of them), fruit, meat, safe grains and some dairy.

This was really, really hard to do at first. I love sugar and chocolate and anything sweet. I ate something sweet every day. My body craved it. I couldn’t say no. But I finally got to the point that I wanted to feel good more than I wanted the sweets. So I stopped buying candy and cookies that were safe for me to eat and were tempting me. That night I decided to make the switch so I took my two little girls and my sweet sister in law, Shonna, to Trader Joes. I loaded up the basket with veggies, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, eggs and salad. I started eating these good things instead of the processed food I used to eat.

For those of you who are interested here is a glimpse of my current diet.
Breakfast: GF Oatmeal with raisons or craisins and a touch of honey. Corn tortillas with eggs and cheese. Fresh or frozen fruit smoothies. Occasional GF cereal (mostly GF Chex). And of course hot cocoa (Lactaid milk) with a bit of sugar and cocoa powder.
Lunch: Left over dinner. Chicken tacos. Salad. Fruit. Smoothies.
Dinner: Home made dinner every night. Mostly lots of different chicken recipes. GF pizza crust with my toppings (super yummy), Beef-any way you can make it, Rice, veggies, fruit, salad. Occasionally we have GF pasta with pesto, alfredo or spagetti sauce (all home made).
Snack: Fruit leather, nuts/seeds, fruit, chips and hummus, carrots, celery with peanut butter, dried fruit, mozzarella cheese stick.

It has been four weeks since I changed my diet to a truely healthy one. The cravings are gone. I don’t want or need sugar every day. My body has more energy and the sugar highs and lows are gone. I love feeling like this. It is amazing! I truely wish I could go back and do it all again.

I would really love to hear your story. What changes have you made to get healthy? How have they impacted your life? Your families life? Feel free to share it in the comments or with a link to your own blog.