Friday, June 24, 2011

Onto the Details

I'm one of those people who doesn't think to take "before" pictures of a project until I've already finished it and it's too late.

That's how this journey has been.

I didn't think to jot down what we did and when until we were so far along, it's hard to remember.

Before we launch into the details, I have a few disclaimers.

1. I'm no doctor. I don't have any nutrition training. I'm just a girl sharing our experience. Don't take my advice without doing your own research.

2. There are plenty of people out there who have done a lot more learning on this subject than I have. I'll link to some other blogs and sites from time to time when I feel like they have better facts than I do.

3. The title of this blog is "Unnatural Journey to Natural Living." Meaning, I may jump around. Because that's what this journey has looked like for us. We may get into some details and then I realize I need to fill y'all in on something I forgot. Bear with me.

Now that those are out of the way, here's how we got started.

When I last left you, I was baffled at how we were eating "healthy," yet not seeing stellar results.

So I began searching the internet.

I stumbled upon several blogs written by women just like me who were sharing their experience.

What's more, they were reporting that they had seen a reduction or elimination of symptoms similar to ours by just changing the way they ate.

I was intrigued.

What was more intriguing, they seemed to agree on the same eating plan.

That's unusual.

Normally, for every 10 people, there are 10 different ideas on how to improve.

The fact that they all seemed to agree struck a chord with me.

And then, we watched Food, Inc.

That documentary, along with several others, really opened our eyes.

The food industry is just that.

An industry.

They're out to make money.

Large profits.

They're not so concerned with the actual healthiness of what they're selling.

They just tell consumers what they want to hear to get them to hand over their cash.

Once we realized that, we began to question why we had placed so much trust in advertising.

We began to look at what food was intended to be.



A way to grow and heal.

That's where the blogs and the documentaries collide.

The blogs I'd stumbled across were talking about a man named Weston A. Price.

He was a dentist who, in the 1930's, began to wonder why Americans' teeth and health were declining.

He went around the world and documented how other cultures that were less advanced than ours had better teeth and better health.

According to Wikipedia, "He argued that as non-Western groups abandoned indigenous diets and adopted Western patterns of living they also showed increases in typically Western diseases, and concluded that Western methods of commercially preparing and storing foods stripped away vitamins and minerals necessary to prevent these diseases."

Thus, he began documenting "traditional" foods.

Ways foods were prepared and eaten that provided the most nutrition.

Being a natural skeptic, I began to look into what he was saying.

What I was reading seemed to make a lot of sense.

I had three primary thoughts.

1. Somehow the world survived for centuries without things like margarine and low-fat, skim dairy. How did everyone not keel over from a heart attack? I don't know much about the old-fashioned ways of eating, but the little I do know seems to fly in the face of modern advice. Things like lard and bacon and butter and frying were pretty common, I believe.

2. People that are chiefly interested in profit are not as interested in helping people truly resolve their problems permanently. Kinda like the drug industry. They survive by selling pills to alleviate the symptoms of a problem rather than figuring out what causes the problem to begin with.

We saw an example of this recently on the show "Shark Tank."

There was a guy trying to get the panel to invest in some nasal filters that would prevent particles from getting into the body.

As part of their questions, one of the panel asked why he wouldn't just sell the idea to a drug company.

The guy responded by saying that he had "considered licensing the product to a major drug manufacturer, but he found out that they would rather buy his product and shelf it (not sell it) because they make more money by selling the drugs to cure the patient then (sic) to prevent the disease.*"

*(taken from

So it just makes sense that an industry isn't necessarily as interested in what would be the most beneficial as they are in what will make the most money.

3. What could it hurt to experiment with this way of eating? I had experimented with quite a few things over the years, so this would just be another one to check off the list.

If you're interested in getting started on some research, check out the Weston A. Price foundation's website.

There's all kinds of good info on his theories and eating recommendations.

The biggest thing that changed for us was FAT.

As in, we ate MORE of it and found our bodies were carrying around LESS of it.

How could that be?

I'll do my best to answer that next time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Every Journey Starts Somewhere Part 2

When we last left off, we had just been enlightened to the fact that maybe we couldn't just eat however we wanted and expect things to go well.

So we began changing our diet.

We cut out soda.

We cut out candy and almost all desserts.

We began checking labels.

Anything with trans fat or partially hydrogenated oil was out.

High fructose corn syrup was out.

We bought all whole-wheat everything.





We began eating salads.

We bought some fruit.

We bought veggies.

Most of the stuff went bad before we ate it, but we were trying.

We tried juices that gave a serving of fruits and veggies in them.

Tomato sauce counted as a veggie most nights of the week.

We switched to low-fat.

Skim milk.

Low-fat/fat-free yogurt.

Cheese made with skim milk.

We ate more fiber.

The highest-fiber cereal we could find (that still had sugar in it...couldn't bring ourselves to eat the pellet kind with no taste).

High-fiber tortillas.

High-fiber snack bars.

We switched to ground turkey.

We didn't eat a lot of meat, but what we did eat was super lean.

We used canola oil and olive oil for all cooking.

The only things we didn't do were follow the low/no sugar craze (because we heard some scary things about the sugar substitutes) and ditch butter (couldn't bring ourselves to do margarine and butter just tasted better for baking, but we hardly used it in anything else).

Aside from those two things, we tried to be right in line with all the recommendations.

We bought products with the best ingredient lists we could find.

We waited to see our health improve and our weight drop.

It didn't.

We continued to see an ever-so-slight decline in how we felt and an ever-so-slight increase in what the scale read.

No big deal, right?

Maybe our metabolism was slowing down.

Maybe we're just not working out enough.

Maybe we're just coming in contact with more sick people.

If they sell over-the-counter medicine for the problems we're having, they have to be pretty common, right?

We were discouraged, but we figured we were just "normal" and couldn't do much about it.

Still, it bothered me. How could we be eating better than what was in most of the shopping carts we saw at Wal-Mart but still not be experiencing good health and effortless weight control?

My desire to know what was up led me to a whole new concept of eating.

I began looking at food for its nutrient value rather than for its convenience.

This became both exciting and challenging.

I’ve had to read, research and learn more than I imagined I would going into this. But the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

And I hope to share what I learn with you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Every Journey Starts Somewhere Part 1

The idea for this blog started a few months ago, when Matt (my husband) lost quite a bit of weight and we were regularly answering the question "Is he sick?" followed by "What are y'all doing?"

This blog is intended to answer the question of what we're doing.

First though, I need to start by taking y'all back.

Back to the beginning.

So pull up a chair, get comfy and bear with me as I fill y'all in on where we've been.

It was a fairly easy transition.

Matt and I grew up loving vegetables.

We hardly ever ate sugar and hated all the processed junk that we hear so much about these days.

All we really had to do was just start cutting out a little more fat and we were good to go.

The weight dropped off.


The end.


Maybe not.

Maybe the story went a little more like this.

Matt and I hated vegetables growing up.

I remember many a meal, sitting at the table, not being allowed to leave until I cleaned my plate.

I remember one meal in particular being gumbo with okra in it.

I'm sure it was delicious.

My Dad's a great cook.

But I was having none of it.

One of my sisters (can't remember which one, but I have a hunch) and I were stuck at the table until we finished.

We were trying the strategy of eating a bite and downing it with Kool-Aid.

We drank so much Kool-Aid, I thought I was going to throw up. My sister might've.

To this day I still don't eat okra.

For one of my birthdays, I thought it would be awesome if each guest got their own roll of cookie dough along with their own personal pint of Blue Bell.

I may or may not have been slightly overweight in my preteen years.

According to Matt, he never ate vegetables. He threw them across the room instead.

Our hatred of veggies is one of the reasons we thought we were meant for each other.

We would live a veggie-less life and be happy.

When we got married, that's exactly what we did.

I also did the coupon thing.

I cut coupons every week and bought what was on sale and used the coupons to get stuff dirt cheap or free.

We loved our life on Hamburger Helper, Cocoa Puffs and Pizza Rolls.

And then the weight started creeping on.

No big deal, right?

That happens to everyone.

So we started hitting the gym.

We worked out pretty hard for a while which kept things under control but still slowly creeping up.

I became aware of how not eating veggies might make one happy, but not necessarily healthy.

We began to think about whether we wanted to make changes while we still had the option or wait until we had some health condition that made it mandatory.

I started paying attention to magazine articles and Today Show segments that informed me on how to eat healthy.

I took notes.

We also began having some health issues.

Nothing major.

Just a few infections here and there.





Just the normal stuff.

But because they were fairly persistent, I began looking at what we might be able to do to help ourselves without spending a lot of money on yet another doctor's visit and prescription, which would lead to more side effects and over-the-counter solutions.

I'm definitely no expert on anything, so I figured if I was hearing that there was another way to eat and live and be healthy, why not try it?

So how did we get started?

Where did we go from there?

More next time.