In a nutshell, it’s inspired out of my own health woes and those of a dear friend. I can’t really remember a time when I felt truly well that doesn’t date back to my childhood. You know, the time when we didn’t pay attention to our bodies (unless we were ill), but only attended to whatever activity it was that got into our brains each day. As a child, I don’t have memories of how my body felt (unless I was injured), but only of what I did and how much fun I had playing or learning. From the time I hit adolescence, I just didn’t feel ‘right’ in general. Nothing was wrong. I was what the physician would call a ‘perfectly healthy young woman’ in every way that she had to measure. And therein lies the point.
I bought into what the physician told me for many years. I was wonderfully healthy. Until one day I realized that a physician wasn’t the best person to evaluate my level of wellness (aka health). Perhaps, an M.D. is the best person to evaluate whether or not I am U-N-well or ill given the medical model to which our society ascribes. Yet there is a large difference between telling me I am healthy and well, and telling me I am not U-N-well. There is much wisdom in recognizing this difference. (note: I make no claim to this wisdom, only to learning and heeding it as it was passed on to me.) And this is where my search began.
It wasn’t until after I finished high school and had my firstborn son that I became interested in the science of the human body. I continued on to earn a closely related degree in exercise science. The constant stress of deadlines in university certainly didn’t increase my health, even though that was the basic topic I studied. Outside of school, I developed an interest in medical care and worked in jobs as close to the medical field as possible, including a job as a chiropractic assistant for a period of time. If my doctor wasn’t the best person to evaluate my state of wellness, maybe it would be my chiropractor. I concluded that a chiropractor certainly could add an element of wellness, however, I continued my search.
In university, I had learned to research primary sources from peer-reviewed journals. This is important but the pieces were too small to put together enough of a picture that could help me to feel well. Textbooks didn’t get specific enough. When I googled all sorts of reliable and unreliable sources online, I simply learned the difference between the two. WebMD was too simplified. All of it was knowledge, and all of it helped me to round out my education. It all helped me to made educated choices or to be able to ask questions when the doctors and specialists offered me prescriptions or tests. It was a step further.
As my knowledge of diseases and disorders and treatments and their side effects grew, so grew my interest in alternative health care options. I followed leads this way and that and learned about this technique and that. What I had found to this point was a hodge-podge smattering of things and nothing cohesive. Nothing pointed me in the direction I needed to go and nothing added to the whole picture of wellness. Obviously, I wasn’t looking in the right places.
I was very familiar with what a ‘healthy’ diet consisted of and knew it was miles apart from what I was consuming on a daily basis. I was also very overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at the same time. Overwhelmed by the vastness in the changes I would have to make in order to meet the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide. I was very underwhelmed by what seemed to me to be such limitations in what I ate every day. Between my children and I, there just weren’t that many ‘healthy’ foods that we liked. If you compiled all of them in a list it could not be considered variety. Would I be destined to eat apples, oranges, and broccoli every day for the rest of my life? Ugh!
Something just had to give. So I made a decision. To this point in my life, nothing had motivated me to eat well. I couldn’t fathom never eating candy again, or never having fried food again, or missing out on donuts….. How on earth could I strong-arm myself into rarely eating these foods? It was just so far away from where I was at, that I knew only one thing would help. I had to surround myself with enough information about having GOOD health that I would naturally move my life in that direction. It’s an underlying principle of how our minds work. And that is exactly what I did.
I liked watching television and movies so I began by watching a documentary here and there. Then I would follow up with a website here and there. I found a few recipes that I saved to try at a later date. Of course, all of this adds up to a whole lot of nothing in terms of real progress. And I felt discouraged. Could it be possible to eat well considering the sources of our food and the state of our environment? For a while I took a step back from the dead ends and began a full-time job.
It wasn’t long before the health concerns I had had become barriers, and all-too-soon I had left my full-time job due to illness. Now I had nothing but time on my hands. So I stepped up my efforts to fill my brain with healthy information. I stumbled upon a small farmer who gave me a Slow Food booklet. I checked it out and made mental notes to remember some of the local farms and restaurants. I read part of the book by Dr. Mark Hyman entitled “The Blood Sugar Solution” introduced me to functional medicine. Somewhere about this time I happened upon a Facebook page called Just Eat Real Food. It had interesting recipes with healthy, mostly unprocessed ingredients. I bookmarked them but did not make any of them. To this point, none of my lifestyle behaviors had changed in any significant way.
I can’t really pinpoint the next specific websites or tidbits I found but I can tell you the information was making sense to me. This great information began to grow exponentially – I would find a recipe that led me to a new google search or to a podcast that would lead me to a book or a website. Within a few months, I had not only become EXCITED to change my diet and eat well, I knew that it was do-able! This was absolutely monumental to me!
This is where my brain was saturated with enough of the right information that I found motivation. I began to change my behaviors in a positive direction. I made a few new recipes. I tried juicing. I started cooking homemade meals. I learned new places to shop locally for better quality foods. I listened to nutrition podcasts. I read a book. I applied more and more of what I was learning. I was fascinated and I was hooked!
I strategized which things I would implement next, knowing that a slower, steady approach is what jived with my temperament, personality, abilities and means. And it worked even better than I thought it would! Over a few days, the way I felt improved. Over a few weeks, I had more energy and began to lose weight. Over the next few months, I noticed my skin looking better, my brain was clearer, self-discipline was nearly-natural, the emotional turbulence I experienced since adolescence started to resolve. I was so enthused that everyone in my path would hear me go on about some topic on nutrition. (sorry).
My background in exercise science lent itself very well to new pursuits in nutrition. I spent several months learning business practices and marketing ideas before I knew which direction my business itself could take. I’m so thrilled, excited to embark on this business venture. It’s the culmination of my life experience to this point. And it’s an incredible gift that I can implement it in my own life, in the lives of my children, and then share it with you…………and you, too, can become Gratefully Fed!