Do you want your family to be a Real Food Family?
We live in a time when there are way too many options for “food”, yet most of what is available to eat shouldn’t even be considered food at all. Eating “real food” is fortunately becoming a popular trend lately and there is a ton of great information available now on whole food lifestyles, organic food, natural health and natural living. But when you dive into this crazy new “real food” world, it can be extremely overwhelming.
Should I be an omnivore or vegetarian…or even a vegan?
Should I be Gluten Free? Grain Free? Paleo? Low Carb? Low Calorie? Low Fat?
Should I be taking a multivitamin every day or are supplements a big nutrition industry hoax?
Should I be using essential oils? Herbal tinctures? Juicing?
Should my family be seeing a chiropractor and acupuncturist every week?
Am I poisoning my family with medications, childbirth drugs, and vaccines?
I’m not claiming to have all the answers to all of these questions, but in this series I’m going to help you figure out how to navigate through the world of “real food” and natural health with a simple, step by step approach. My goal is to meet you where you are, give you the most important information first, then help you take the time you need to make the changes you want to make for your family.
It has to start with Passion
I emphasize the word WANT because you have to want a real food and natural health lifestyle, and by want I mean you have to have a real desire- a passion- to commit. You can’t just jump into some special diet on a whim because it’s trendy or your friend lost a few pounds on it. Special diets may be really good for you, which I’ll discuss in a later post in this series. But I believe everyone needs to start with the basics of understanding REAL FOOD, and be driven by an understanding of WHY it’s so important to be very picky about what you eat.
Here are just a few of the motivating reasons I’m so passionate about our family’s real food and natural health lifestyle:
- Approximately 40.8 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with all cancer sites at some point during their lifetime (source)
- Degenerative diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease and Obesity are killing more of each generation and at younger and younger ages
- 1 in 68 children have autism (1 in 42 boys, 1 in 189 girls) source
- 1 in 12 people (including children) have asthma, and that number is growing every year (source)
- 1 in 5 people have allergies or asthma symptoms (source)
- 1 in 6 children have “Developmental Disabilities” like ADHD or a learning disability, and that number is growing every year (source)
- At least 10% of women ages 15-44 struggle with impaired fecundity or infertility (source)
There is so much more I could list here, but I think you get the picture…and most of these sources only cover through 2010 or 2011. You can’t turn around without someone needing prayer sent their way for a loved one dealing with some horrible diagnosis, or a news report of another horrible health statistic.
To All the Critics and Scoffers
I get really frustrated when people laugh at or even mock me when I make such a big deal about my family’s diet or health choices. Older people might say, “We ate or did all that stuff our whole lives and we’re fine.” Well, actually, we’re NOT fine. According to the statistics our elderly are dying of painful, degenerative disease instead of old age, and every generation underneath them is facing higher chances of chronic and/or irreversible disease.
Every single friend of mine can name at least one child they know who died of cancer and/or a degenerative disease. Every single friend of mine knows at least one couple who can’t get pregnant or stay pregnant. Every single friend of mine knows someone dying of a serious disease at way too young of an age. Every single friend of mine either has or knows someone who has a child with autism, ADHD, developmental or learning disability, serious food allergies, asthma, or another “common” disorder that was considered rare only a few generations ago.
As I write this, in May, I’ve already lost 4 family members this year. Two died of cancer and one was a baby who died in the womb at 26 weeks old. One of those cancer deaths was my beloved aunt who died unexpectedly after 16 days of knowing she had cancer. I’m not saying that a plate of organic food and some cod liver oil capsules would have saved their lives in their final days, but I am saying that we are living in a very toxic world, and many of those toxins are coming from our food and health system. It is not fair to ourselves or our children to ignore this fact.
I could just be a lemming and let my family follow the “norm” and become a statistic like everyone else, or I can live and die fighting- believing that my nutrition, healthcare and lifestyle choices are making an impact on family’s health and future. I know that certain diseases may be entirely unavoidable (like in my aunt’s case) because we live in a fallen world, but there are plenty of choices I can make for my family that will eliminate the toxins we know lead to cancer and degenerative disease, even though many families still consume and expose themselves to these toxins every day.
We live in a world where we want instant results, instant pain relief, and instant gratification. I’ll agree that eating a pesticide-ridden piece of non-organic fruit, a “Happy Meal” or some genetically modified (GMO) corn syrup candy isn’t going to kill my kid…not immediately, at least. The damage from our toxic food and environment WILL show over time, though. It is so frustrating to me that even when the diseases and diagnoses do appear we want to blame it on a recent cause or event, like the life-long smoker who can’t understand why they were handed the “bad luck” of fatal lung cancer, or the sugar addict who can’t understand why they are diabetic. Not many people want to acknowledge that they may have been slowly creating their health problem their whole life with careless food and health choices and exposure to a never-ending list of toxins in their environment.
Parents don’t want to believe that the choices they made before and during pregnancy, or in the first years of their child’s life, are possibly the reason their child is suffering from a certain disorder- even if there is a genetic factor involved. (This is the study of epigenetics, which I will cover later in this series.) Even more upsetting to me is the fact that people are unwilling to make the effort to change their diet or lifestyle (or their child’s) in a way that could dramatically help or even eliminate their symptoms or diseases. It’s never too late to make changes in your diet and lifestyle- whether to address some annoying symptoms or actually help your body heal entirely. I believe God gave us amazing bodies with the incredible ability to heal, if only we give our body the fuel it needs to get the job done, and eliminate the junk that is making things worse.
The REAL FOOD Life Is Easier
On a more encouraging note, I think people should WANT a real food and natural health lifestyle because it’s just an easier and more enjoyable way to live! Since changing my whole diet and lifestyle I look back in awe of how sick I used to be! I had chronic digestive problems, frequent injuries that I couldn’t recover from, hormonal problems, chronic fatigue and sleeping problems. The list could go on and on…and I thought I was “young and healthy”.
As a culture, we think it’s normal to get sick a lot or take our kids to the emergency room once a year. We think it’s normal to have frequent diarrhea or heartburn. We think it’s normal for our kids to “deal with” behavioral problems and learning disorders. We think it’s normal to have multiple allergies or food intolerances. We think it’s normal to be tired all the time or need caffeine to keep us functioning through the day. We think it’s normal to basically fall apart with different injuries and diseases as we get older until we finally die.
I don’t believe any of those things are “normal”. I don’t believe so because I dealt with a lot of that before changing my food and health lifestyle and experiencing the difference. I’ve witnessed family, friends and clients make diet and lifestyle changes that have dramatically changed or even eliminated these “normal” handicaps of life. I’m also not saying my family is immune to disease or a health crisis, but I like knowing I’m doing everything I can do avoid disease, and I’m enjoying the benefits of optimal health NOW.
It might take some effort and even a little more money to start eating only real food and living naturally, but the money and effort pale in comparison to the money and effort put into caring for sick kids, paying for medical bills and prescriptions, higher insurance premiums, and other endless costs of health care. You can also factor in the sleepless nights, sick days, frustration, pain and fear in dealing with disease in the family. (By the way, I probably spend WAY less on food than a family who eats out at fast food multiple times per week or eats a lot of food “products” from the supermarket!)
REAL FOOD IS FUN…and DELICIOUS!
I’m a foodie. I love food. I will travel for food. I will plan a day or even a vacation around what I’m going to eat, and where. I simply can’t eat crap anymore. Period. It just tastes horrible and isn’t worth the impending doom of digestive problems that will surely follow.
You don’t have to be rich to eat real food, either. You can eat fabulous, authentic rice and beans that cost way less to make from scratch than some dehydrated-then-rehydrated Taco Bell junk. You can eat rich, flavorful and nutrient-dense broths made from real, mineral-rich bones for less than the cost of canned soup made of chemicals and salt. When you stop eating food “products” and just eat ingredients, you will be surprised how much money you will actually save, and how much more you’ll enjoy cooking with and eating REAL FOOD!
Are you motivated? Do you WANT this?
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, Real Food Family University, which is all about the first easy steps you can take TODAY to become a Real Food Family (even if it’s just YOU).