My mother instilled in me a healthy respect for natural foods. She had an instinctive understanding that not everything modern science provides is an improvement over Mother Nature. The media and even the medical community told to eat margarine instead of butter, white grains and low fat. My friends ate brightly colored, sugary cereals and fake “fruit” juices, candy and soda. My mom would have none of it. She was steadfast about the importance of avoiding excess sugar and artificial ingredients. She didn't worry or obsess about it but followed her own instincts and common sense.
When I was old enough to begin making my own choices did I follow her lead?
Sadly, no. I drank coffee or soda all day long, every day. I skipped meals for snacks like chips or candy bars. I got by on coffee, hot dogs and pizza, oh my. Blessed with a quick metabolism, I thought I could feel good eating whatever, without the worry of weight gain. By my 20's I had chronic, severe acid reflux and other digestive problems, heart palpitations, acne and endometriosis, with accompanying chronic pain. Medical intervention seemed to consist of prescriptions that caused more trouble.
I had studied holistic health and nutrition, as well as mind/body medicine in college and on my own through most of my 20's. However I failed to put the knowledge into action for my own good. It wasn't until my husband and I considered our own family, that I decided to eat the way that I knew I should. When I started taking my own health in my hands and embracing a healthier lifestyle, I felt better quickly. Problems I thought would always bother me went away or became much easier to manage. I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with others.
Once I began talking with customers at Green Street, especially parents concerned about their children, I was perplexed with their inability to get them to eat healthy. I didn't understand what was so hard about getting your kid to eat vegetables. When my kids came along, I suddenly understood!
My theory is when children are of age to make their own food choices, they instinctively go for sweet or bland foods that are “safer” and more familiar. In a hunter-gatherer society, a child of about 7 or 8 would probably gain the freedom to venture out on his/her own and make his or her own choices about what to eat. Bitter foods could have the potential to be poisonous and plants that are sweeter or more bland may be less of a risk. It would also make sense to have a smaller repertoire of foods to keep track of what is safe to eat. So many kids I've known seem to follow the pattern of disliking vegetables and healthier foods around the “tween” years and then start to experiment and incorporate more good things as they get older.
With my own children, I see signs they may have taken some of my advice to heart. They'd now choose homemade over fast food or take out; organic over conventional. My oldest has even started eating salads with dinner on occasion! They know the hazards of hormones and antibiotics in milk and of factory farmed animal products. They've recognized their own negative reactions to fast food or too much junk food consumed at parties or a friend's house. I'd like them to eat more vegetables. I wish they didn't crave so much sugar and have so many opportunities to get it at school, friends' homes, Halloween or Valentine's Day, and even the natural and organic sweets from our own store. Still, I take heart when I see small signs that they have respect for the care of their bodies.
Some times I'm happy with the example I set. Most days my husband makes the two of us my favorite morning drink; fresh vegetable juices including kale, lemon, carrots, beets, cucumber, parsley, romaine, ginger and turmeric. After that I usually have pasture-raised eggs. Throughout the day, most days, I try to avoid wheat and cut down on other starches and grains. I feel better when I eat a low glycemic diet. I try to eat as many vegetables as I can and do better some days than others. I take fish oil, vitamin D, probiotics, Adrenal support and Curacel regularly. I add liquid kelp and Bio-sil to our juice. My favorite new product is Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
I used to be all-or-nothing when it came to nutrition. Once I recognized that how I felt reflected what I consumed, I'd remove something from my diet or start something new and get frustrated or defeated when I didn't notice immediate results. Wildly differing advice from studies and "experts" would throw me for a loop. Its taken a long time and a lot of experimentation to come to know how I should eat to feel good. I try to have a more balanced view and stick to the fundamentals. I think the most important choice is organic foods whenever possible. I always prefer to avoid GMO's, herbacides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and anything artificial. Sounds a little like something my mom used to say....