I am grateful for health


I am grateful that I have learned how to be healthy.

Three and a half years ago my family cut out gluten, dairy, citrus and soy after taking food sensitivity tests through my naturopath. The changes in my three girls were miraculous. The changes in me were life changing. I started living life instead of simply getting through each day. It didn’t happen over night and it was very stressful to change three kids’ diets with the snap of my fingers. I think I had my first panic attack when I went to the grocery store searching for foods that my kids could eat AND like. Maybe they could survive on grapes, strawberries and rice milk??

My girls were ages 2, 4 and 6. They liked fish crackers, pretzels, chocolate milk, tortellini pasta, pizza, orange juice, toasted cheese sandwiches, and of course chicken nuggets. These were the typical foods you would see on a children’s menu or for snacks at school, church or playdate. All of the foods they liked were now out. One of the pediatricians scolded me for restricting my 2 year old’s diet so early in life. I was on a mission though. The lab reports gave me the conviction that eating a donut was akin to running with scissors. It was as dangerous as swimming in a shark tank – which is how I felt at the time. Suddenly there was danger everywhere we went and other moms looked at me like I had lost my mind – and I probably had.

Meanwhile I was reading The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman among about 50 other books on the topic including Detoxify or Die… I always go a little overboard when something suddenly hits my consciousness like a ton of bricks. Mark Hyman’s book has questionnaires for you to identify areas of deficiencies and I had a lot of them. His book was a paradigm shift in me that became borderline obsessive.

I grew up with my dad who had been a cook in the navy. When he cooked it was things that he liked – t-bone steak one night and Hamburger Helper the next followed by several days of Godfather’s Pizza, McDonalds, or Skippers. Lunches were Wonder Bread with Velveeta Cheese and bologna sandwich combined with a ding-dong or hostess cupcake. Super healthy… So many things make so much sense now. As a young teen I just stopped eating and took dexatrim (when it was essentially speed) so I could stay thin. By college I had traded diet pills for a short stint with an eating disorder and then became obsessed with not eating any fat. The no-fat diet was in every magazine and in every book store. I was very good at it. I also did step aerobics for 2 hours a day. I thought I was in really good shape after all I looked great but little did I know that eating no fat was ruining my ability to detoxify, make needed hormones and traded high quality protein needed by the body for so many things for a low quality bagel or rice or pasta – essentially sugar.

So fast forward into my twenties where I did calm down a bit and was a healthy weight without being obsessive. I had 3 children in 4 1/2 years, every one of them I was sick 24/7 and had been working for pharmaceutical company to which I adopted the mentality of taking a pill for every ailment not to mention living 10 miles from Ground Zero in New York. I was CRUSHED. I had chronic migraines, ADD, memory problems, I would get a stomach bug just by looking into a preschool and generally grumpy most of the time. I literally had all I could do to just make it though the day without incident.  My children were either crying or bouncing off the walls and were sick so much that year that it became traumatic. I was on a crash course to the asylum.

I still didn’t understand the idea of ‘putting your own mask on first’ and started looking for help for my kids. My girls had about 12 ear infections that year between the three of them and my 1-year-old had just gotten tubes inserted. The pediatrician was of no help beyond “waiting it out” and I was beginning to learn about the connection between food and health. I found my naturopath (who I credit with saving my family’s life) and made appointments for them and myself. WOW! After reading Mark Hyman’s book and all the tests that I took through my naturopath it was no wonder I wasn’t dead. Although now that I think about it, I was practically dead just still moving…barely.

Within a couple of months of eating healthy, natural and organic foods and taking a few supplements, the changes were unbelievable. I had a moment when my husband was gone where I was quietly cooking dinner and all three girls were occupied with coloring or a game. It was peaceful. It was heaven. I felt clear and in control and my girls were the same. Amazing. Even my husband who had many doubts during all my changes was blown away by our girls and how they were able able to be their true, peaceful, fun-loving selves. The ear infections went from 12 the year before to 1 that year. I was able to have a complete thought, I could remember more and my migraines had been reduced from about 15-20 days to maybe 1-5 days. Real results through changing my families food and adding a few vitamins. Truly a blessing.

I am so thankful to have learned how to keep myself and my family healthy.

I am grateful to be a stay-at-home mom

I am grateful that I get to be a stay-at-home mom.

In eighth grade I told my friend that when I grew up I would be a lawyer and would not have children until I could afford a nanny for them. I would not become a stay at home mom as I had witnessed the cartoon in my house: a step-mother vacuuming during the day with her zip-up bathrobe, curlers in her hair, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, talking to her girlfriend on the phone (cigarette precariously about to fall to the ground) while the kids were banished from view. Quite lovely huh?!

No, that would not be me (and it isn’t for the record). I saw education as the ladder out of  this world into the world where women dressed up for work, kissed her husband and children good bye and went off to do something important in the world. I would never be dependent on anyone for anything. I can do it myself, thank you very much. I went on to college with the drive of a herd of elephants. No time for fun. No time for new friendships. I graduated with a job at a time where there were no jobs, worked for 5 years and went to graduate school in business (just as I had planned). Upon finishing graduate school, I was pregnant with my first daughter. There was a move to North Jersey, promotions, a wedding, etc. in there too.

After 9/11 my husband and I needed to get out of the Tri-State area for obvious reasons and managed to get back to Washington State by way of a job change for my husband right after my daughter was born.

Now I have worked my tail off since I was about 10 and now I am 32 suddenly transported from NY to suburbia with my extremely colicky baby, no friends, no job, no purpose and my husband was traveling quite often. AAAAAHHHHHHH! Talk about scary…

I began to devour child development books in order to wrap my brain around this new world I was suddenly flung into (with bad visuals about what could happen to a person) and found that WOW there is a lot going on in a tiny person’s brain from the ages of 0-5 – not just sleeping… “I cannot leave her with anyone!”, I thought. For the first time it was not about me anymore. How could I go back to work which was about my survival, my needs and leave her, when her needs were far more important? Her needs were about building her brain at breakneck speed and it would be permanent. This realization has a lot to do with how I was mothered or more importantly un-mothered as my own left when I was 4 years old. It was devote all of me to my job or devote all of me to my daughter. There was no in between for me. There was no choice for me.

How thankful I am for that lack of choice. For two years I would fret about never getting a job again, how will I get a job again, how will I ever be marketable again… Then something happened. I started to find myself, my true self. I found a new path to take that was previously so hidden that I didn’t even know it existed. I have taken side roads; started a business, worked part time, consulted and done volunteer work but all these diversions have taken me back to the path that I started on when Ellie was born. This path has gotten wider, brighter and more lush the deeper I have traveled.

So thankful to be a stay-at-home mom, thankful to my husband for taking on the extra pressure of providing for our family, thankful that God has allowed me to trust that things will work out if you follow your true path.