Our Food Revolution Part I: On the Road to Bastille Day

Photo by epSos.de
Photo by epSos.de

have pretty much always desired to eat things that are good for my body. I come by it honestly; I was the kid sent to school with a thermos of homemade soup and carrot sticks rather than the pb&j on white and chips.

From a young age, I even had this sense that I was contaminating my body if I ate certain things.

(However, I wouldn’t say I had the greatest grid for evaluating “contamination.” Fast food was anathema, but starburst candy and pretty much all desserts were kosher. Hmm).

More to it than ditching fast food

Fast forward ten years or so and my husband is reading The China Study, telling me I have to look at these tables that show how scientists can turn cancer off and on in lab rats using diet alone.

A few years later, a dear friend is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and is prescribed meds that promised a myriad of side-effects as bad or worse than MS symptoms themselves. In hopes of avoiding these, he and his wife radically alter their diet. About a year later, he was experiencing zero MS symptoms (except when he went off the eating plan).

Not long after, in response to basically a lifetime of sinus issues that surgery, antibiotics, steroids, and neti-pots haven’t been able to touch, the Hubs gets food allergy tested and we learn that he is allergic. to. everything. Interestingly, in all of his interactions with doctors, no one ever suggested that the root cause might be diet-based. Having this awareness, he now notices a huge difference in symptoms when he avoids certain foods.

Throughout our marriage, Hubs and I had tried various ways of eating, usually initiated by whatever health book he was reading at the time. I was all about health, but the food roller coaster was getting tiring (especially because the latest diet change he suggested came during my first trimester of pregnancy with #2).

The culmination of all of this was me wanting to figure out the food thing once and for all.

I had become aware enough of nutrition to know that eating well wasn’t just a nice thing to do but was actually pretty essential to the whole picture of personal health–and that food could be pretty powerful medicine.

Where to start?

But the question was, what to eat? Thus began my consumption of copious books, documentaries and websites on nutrition. (When recently asked my favorite book of 2012, I replied, “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollen. It has been an orthorexic year).


But as my information base grew, so did my confusion. Should we go vegan or did we need animal products? Was eating an entirely raw diet necessary? Did everything need to be organic? Could we even afford that?

As anyone who even touches the tip of the iceberg of nutrition knows, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. It’s downright daunting.

I kept telling Hubs that we were on the brink of a food “revolution,” but I was so overwhelmed by data–not to mention life in general, new baby, a big move, etc.–that at times seemed contradictory and the prospect of radically changing the way I grocery shopped, cooked, and prepared food. I didn’t even know where the Bastille was, let alone how to storm it.

(You like that? I mean, what’s a post on food without a little Vive la France? And, we are talking revolutions here, after all. Just give me a little time and I’ll go Viva la Revolucion de Mexico on you).

Come on back next Friday and we’ll wrap up our chat about real food–and real revolutions. 🙂

Until then, do you have any neat stories of changing diets/changing health? Would love to hear! Share in the comments.

*One more thing: If you liked the Excellent Books for Children (And Everyone Else) post, you might be interested in this link party of readers over at Jones Design Co today! Everyone is sharing what they’re currently enjoying. Here’s to happy reading!

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Way to leave a girl hangin”! I’m dying to hear your thoughts on this. We’re currently back on the paleo diet, but I haven’t even picked up a book yet because I feel like there are too many to choose from. Good to know “In Defense of Food” gets your vote. I might just check it out from the library this week. As it is, “Forks over Knives is currently sitting on the dvd player waiting for a view, but I’m avoiding it for fear of what it will do to my weekly meal planning/grocery shopping list.

    • 🙂 I think In Defense of Food is a fantastic intro to the whole “real food” thing. I’m not super familiar with Paleo but from what I hear it’s similar to what we do (we do limited grains, though). The Maker’s Diet was the kicker for me, though. Learning about how our body processes food and how vital the health of our intestines/digestive system is to our immune system and overall health was crazy. Keeper of the Home is doing a great series right now on food stuff. She is a super resource. Here’s one article she did this week: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/the-grain-controversy-should-we-eat-them-or-not.html

  • Alex Sudan

    I always feel overwhelmed when it comes to the topic of food! There are too many conflicting opinions and theories, that I just quit before I try something different. Plus, eating organic or completely “whole” is expensive…but maybe that is an urban legend you are going to dispel in your next post!! 🙂

    • Girl, I totally hear you. It can be so overwhelming. I wouldn’t call the cost factor an urban legend because it is a challenge. But I do think it’s possible to eat “real food” on a budget if you’re strategic. Knowing some strategies helps, though, right? 🙂 I’m still learning in this area but will definitely share things that have helped us in future posts!

  • Simplicity helps me. #9 on my post this new year sums it up “Eat Brown things, eat green things, eat the rainbow.” That and “when you eat bad things.. make sure you get the most for your calories..” Small amounts of nice chocolate is better than copious amounts of cheap chocolate. 🙂


  • I like the idea of “getting the most for your calories” and couldn’t agree more about chocolate. Thought I will say that British cheap chocolate (love me some Cadbury) tends to be better than American. 🙂

  • Andrea Russell

    Excited to talk more about this with you next week! (since I am horrendous at finding a time to talk on the phone as of late) :/

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  • Stacy

    Saw your post to Tsh on Simple Mom and decided to check your blog out. Your quandary is mine! Too much information and too much fear I’ve gone wrong! I just purchased Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Have you read that one? I skimmed and I’m concerned already by the abundant use of soy milk…I love the taste of soy but not so much for the long term. I’ve opted for almond but it contains gluten–unless I make my own. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

    • That book sounds interesting, but no, I’ve not read it. I’ve read enough about soy to have suspicions about how it affects our hormonal balance. (This article might be helpful: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/06/the-soy-decoy-dont-be-deceived.html) We try to avoid it, although soy lecithin seems to be in EVERYTHING. I didn’t know almond milk contains gluten. I drink Silk Coconut Milk, which I’m almost positive is gluten-free. Plus, I think it tastes amazing. 🙂

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