This is a family photo from my 40th surprise birthday party. A great time because I had achieved energy, vitality and good health! My guys had excellent health too, but then they never struggled with poor health. No matter where you are, you too can improve your health through your food choices. I want to share with you where I have been, where I am today, and where I want to go. We are all on a journey of life, and just as I am always striving to grow closer to God spiritually, I am also always striving to eat the best I can in today's world of processed foods and toxins. I have personally seen in my life, my family's lives, and my friends’ lives, the difference food makes in how we feel and function each day. I want to enjoy life to the fullest, and for me, I enjoy life when I feel good, physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of these areas are dependent upon the food that I choose to eat. I hope you join me and that my story will be an encouragement to you.
My Story. I am 52 years old. I was born in 1960, four weeks premature after spending two months bathed in my mother's tummy by a very addictive drug, Valium. Today it is not given to pregnant women, but back then, the effects of drugs taken by a pregnant woman were not well known. I am fortunate. I was born with no major problems or birth defects but I have never been a strong person with great endurance. I was extremely sickly growing up but as an adult I have obtained and continue to enjoy good health with no chronic pains or diseases. Perhaps because of my background, since I know how fragile good health is, I have been more motivated than others in this area. When I got pregnant at age 34, I was determined my children would not be sickly as I was. Though I did not have the nutrient stores to give my children inherently good health, I could and can control the nutrients they receive daily. I am happy to tell you that my children are extremely healthy today at age 15 and 17! I am also happy to tell you that my husband and I have also reaped the benefits of a diet of God's divine foods. My husband is 54 years old, and neither of us take any medication or have any chronic health problems. We spend zero dollars on over-the-counter or prescription drug medications.
Back to my story. I weighed 5 pounds when born, and slept round-the-clock for the first four months of life. Neonatal units did not exist so I was sent home; because I was so small, my mom was told to wake me every four hours to feed me. My mother started taking the Valium during her pregnancy at six months after my father had a severe heart attack, almost died, and was severely disabled. The Valium was to keep her calm so she would not go into labor prematurely. It worked for two months. My father never fully recovered and was a semi-invalid until dying when I was 15. My sleeping round-the-clock at birth was a blessing for my mom, who had 3 older children to care for and a very sick husband.
I developed normally and things went pretty well for the first few years of life as seen in my Christmas photo from long ago. Life was simple and I spent hours with my dolls and on my rocking horse. But things soon changed when I started attending school. I began to pick up germs from my classmates and I was sick constantly. I would get a cold and could not get rid of it, missing full weeks of school all the time. Finally it was decided I had allergies, and I was given allergy shots for the next seven years of my life. When the reaction to the shot got so bad and lasted the two or three weeks until the next shot (the inject spot on my arm would swell, get red, and get as hard as a rock), it was decided that I did not need the shots any longer.
Without those shots, things got better for a couple years, but by age 15, I was not well. I was having chronic severe stomach pains and headaches. I went through extensive testing, but nothing was found. The solution: a syrupy sweet purple medicine for my stomach pains, and a green liquid for my headaches. Luckily, even back then I knew this was not the answer, and I chose not to take them. Instead, I learned to just keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone about my pains. (This worked well until I married my husband and he noticed I would curl up in a ball each night - my remedy for my severe stomach pains. He also thought it odd that my stomach made SO much noise, gurgling and churning, when I lay down at night.) I no longer suffer from chronic stomach pains, stomach noises, or headaches. The cure, of course, was changing my diet, eliminating man-processed foods and eating real foods as created by God.
So how did I learn about eating God's foods? After graduating from college with an engineering degree and with even more fragile health due to a diet of college junk food, I took a job in Dallas and moved south. It was shortly after this that I saw the amazing power of divine foods created by God.
What a fun city Dallas was! So many young people and good restaurants to enjoy. I soon learned that I could control my headaches quite effectively by drinking Dr. Pepper, and my noisy, painful stomach was only a problem when home alone. Life was good (or so I thought at age 21).
Then a new symptom arose. One that quickly became a huge problem for a young, single girl in Dallas. I developed terrible acne. I went to a dermatologist and tried the standard drugs but nothing was helping, so it was suggested I take Accutane. I knew there were severe side-effects and decided I needed to pursue a different path. At this same time, my boss at work took me aside and told me she was very concerned about me, that I looked terrible. She said my color was horrible; she thought I might have a serious disease; and said that I should consider seeing a doctor. She was very serious and sincere, and I decided it was time that I did do something more.
My apartment neighbor suggested I go to his doctor and have food allergy testing done. He had been trying to teach me for six months about the benefit of eating real, natural foods. He introduced me to Bluebonnets, which later became the first Whole Foods in Dallas, and he cooked delicious meals for me. I enjoyed the taste of the real foods, but it seemed the more I tried to eat better, the sicker I was becoming. Of course, it didn't occur to me that eating some real food while continuing to eat man-processed food might be an issue. It also didn't occur to me that the outgassing of chemicals from the brand new building I was working in might also be a problem (I was chosen to be one of the first working at the new site, helping set things up).
I was so confused. I was desperate. I decided to try my friend's doctor. My family thought I was pursuing a quack medical solution, and tried to discourage me. The doctor told me that my immune system was shot and I had developed chemical sensitivities. His recommendation was strict diet changes (absolutely no man-processed foods) and giving me a few supplements to help my body heal. After hearing the doctor's recommendations, my family was convinced the doctor was a quack and continued to dissuade me over the next several months from pursuing his advice, even after I started seeing amazing positive results.
The results? Wow. Within a week of following his diet suggestions and taking some supplements, for the first time in over a year, my face was not painful with new acne eruptions!!! Within a few weeks, my face was entirely cleared. And I was feeling great. After 6 months, I was the picture of health, full of energy and vitality. For the first time in my life, I felt good, really good. God had shown me the power of his foods and planted the first seed.
Christmas again, age 25, I was healthy, happy, and thinking I was invincible. Unfortunately, once I felt great and was cured, I no longer thought it was necessary to continue to follow the doctor's diet suggestions, and slowly went back to eating a more typical American diet. Not surprisingly, I was starting to feel tired, sluggish, and have stomach pains again. Then at age 28, I was in a severe car accident with my fiancé (who is now my husband). Our marriage was postponed a few years and on our original planned wedding day, my husband had his first back surgery. I had severe debilitating neck aches and headaches for two years, and was told by the doctors I saw that I would never fully recover. I even went out-of-state to see a specialist. I did not want to accept this prognosis, but nothing helped. During this difficult period, food was not a concern and I did not see a correlation between recovery and my food choices. The only thing we knew to pursue for our pain relief was drugs and conventional medicine.
Fast forward to age 34. After trying every possible medical suggestion (except surgery), massage and natural treatments finally cured me enough that my neck and headaches were manageable. I decided it was time to have children. I knew it was time to wean myself off the Vicodin that I was still taking a couple times a month to control my pain and clear the birth control medication out of my body. This is the point when I decided to make serious diet changes so my children would not be sickly like I was. I knew deep in my heart that what a person ate determined his health and I wanted a better life for my children.
I thought six months was enough time to clear the drugs out of my body before getting pregnant, but I was pregnant after only three months. At this point, I was eating much better but my diet was not great. I still did not fully comprehend the detrimental health effects of eating sugar, and I was very addicted. I felt if I ate good quality, nutritious foods, it was fine to also be eating my sweets, especially since I was eating good quality ones.
My first son, Tom, was born in 1995. A healthy, 8 pound baby. I nursed him and started to research real foods created by God. I wanted to give him only the best. At this point in my life, I finally fully embraced the importance of eating only divine foods created by God! My second son, Jon, was born in 1997. Between my pregnancies, I started to understand the negative effects sugar was having on my health. I was constantly catching all the little kids' colds and suffered frequent stomach viruses. My gut was still a mess, though I no longer had stomachaches. My ever increasing new knowledge and research quickly paid off however, and it did not take long to put the final pieces of healthy eating together. I became involved in facilitating a natural foods coop and began teaching and helping others.
This journey of learning and experimenting has brought me and my family to where we are today. I am still learning and making changes to our diet. I love learning new things and experimenting with the natural foods, spices and herbs that God has provided for us. I have been able to enjoy my boys' adolescent years and finally, my own life, with great health and happiness.
I hope my story is an encouragement to you, and I hope through the information I provide and the support of this group that you will be able to succeed in a much shorter time period. I wish the same joy and good health that I have achieved for all of you.