“I don’t know how you do it all.”
How many times have you heard these words? More than you can count I’m sure. Do you ever just want to scream, “I’M NOT?” Have you ever secretly felt like you could shatter into a million pieces, but that would just leave another mess?
As a homeschool mom, it’s an easy place to get to right? We give and give and give, and then there’s just nothing left. Sometimes we become so immersed in the homeschool life that we forget about ourselves. For some reason, we think we need to become a sacrificial lamb for our family and just let ourselves go.
So I thought I would take a minute to tell you about my journey to a healthier life. First, a little background on me. Several years ago (at about the age of 32) I became plagued with unexplained joint pain. It was absolutely debilitating, to the point that there were days I couldn’t even get out of bed. I had multiple rounds of blood work, as well as x-rays. Nothing produced any answers. I gave up gluten and saw a small amount of relief, but nothing significant.
Just prior to New Year’s in 2016 I broke out with a horrible case of hives. Some were as big as my fist. I took two rounds of steroids, as well as two shots, but nothing helped. The hives had seemed to morph into a small rash that covered my entire body. Eventually, I tested positive for strep throat. Three rounds of antibiotics and 2 negative strep tests later the hives still hadn’t disappeared.
I visited two different allergists. My food allergy test showed several small allergies across the board. I was put on a strict elimination diet. For the next six weeks, I avoided wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, potatoes, carrots, celery, citrus, and bananas. The rash continued. I had to take anti-histamines (OTC, as well as prescription) just to control the itching. I was exhausted all day long.
In June I ended up at the dermatologist. She concluded that I did, in fact, have hives, and I was diagnosed with chronic urticaria. She felt that my hives had never been hit “hard enough” with antihistamines for me to recover. I was put on three separate medicines a day, with the hope that I would eventually be able to taper off. I am not very tolerant of medicine in the best situation, and this was not the best situation. Suddenly I was a cranky, exhausted zombie. I was riddled with joint pain, and covered from head to toe in an itchy rash.
My body was broken, yet my labs continued to show that I was in pristine health.
In August our new school year started. I was at our homeschool co-op when a good friend & I were discussing diets. I started telling her about a “diet” book I had found on Amazon, the Trim Healthy Mama diet plan. A couple of weeks later she mentioned that she had started the plan. I went home and thought, why not do it with her? I didn’t realize that it was the last day of my old life. The next day (September 12, 2016) I started Trim Healthy Mama. At the end of the first day I thought why not keep going? I’ve already made it this far. My life changed on that day. Sugar withdrawals are no joke, but I just kept going. The first week I had lost 7 pounds.
Within three months my hives had mostly subsided. Now I only have flares when I eat something I shouldn’t. Turns out I don’t really have any actual food allergies. They now believe that I am intolerant to the dyes and preservatives in our foods. My body simply can’t handle all the toxins at once. The joint pain is COMPLETELY gone. I have lost 25 pounds (and 21 inches), despite being a painfully slow loser.
There are other perks as well. My family is healthier! My husband is off his cholesterol medicine, and my daughters continue to make healthier choices. I am fully convinced that our love affair with the Standard American Diet is slowly killing us all. Maybe that’s being overly dramatic. If not killing us, then at least slowing us down in our everyday life.
Has it always been easy?
NO WAY! I have not been perfect. Recently I fell off the wagon….BIG TIME! I’m currently battling a huge hive flare up. Poor food choices are everywhere! It is hard! You just have to wake up every day and decide to do this for your family. I am a painfully slow loser, but every day I wake up and make the decision to keep going! I have to be the best I can be for my family because they deserve nothing less.
Why did I decide to share my journey with you? I feel like there is a HUGE lack of sensible diet advice out there. We live in a world that focuses on opposite ends of the spectrum. Either you are grinding your own flour to bake your own bread (who has time for that), or you are covering crescent rolls with cream of mushroom soup at every meal. (Yes I love crescent rolls too, but that doesn’t mean we should eat them all the time.) I am not a nutritionist or a health guru. I am simply a mom who found a few things that work. Hopefully, by sharing these with you I can help make your family healthier too!
What is my food philosophy?
Our food supply is full of ingredients that we have no business ingesting. Don’t believe me? Turn over the package of your processed food. Most of the time you will be lucky to be able to pronounce it, much less know what it is.
I believe that food must be quick & easy, as well as tasty. I am a busy homeschooling mom! While I love to be in the kitchen, I simply don’t have the time for elaborate meals. In the beginning, it FEELS like you are constantly in the kitchen. This gets better, don’t give up!
Food is delicious in its natural state! If you clear sugar from your body you will acquire a new taste for foods!
Find a partner……Someone who will be honest when you are misbehaving. My support system is my lifeline!
The right tools make a big difference!
Get the junk food out of your house! If you don’t need it, neither does your family. Plus it’s super hard to eat healthy when a pack of powdered donuts are staring at you.
You have to find balance. I am a MOSTLY clean eater. This means is that every now and then you will see a store-bought convenience item (like these wraps) in my recipes. It’s the only way I can make a healthy lifestyle doable. I don’t beat myself up for that. My diet is still 85% better than what it was.
Baby steps are okay! I’m still not 100% where I want to be, but guess what…..I’m way better off than this time last year! Make one small change at a time.
Healthy food doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. I am the queen of frugal, but I am making it work!
So there you go…..My very lengthy take on food! Need more support? Hit reply and we will take this journey together!