A Kitchen that Heals

April 11, 2012

Sometimes there are posts that have been in my head so long, written and re-written mentally, that I am afraid to actually publish them for fear that they will never live up to my expectations. Today is one of those posts.

I have talked a lot in this space about my kitchen. It is a space that has been very important to my family, and a place where I spend the majority of my days. It is also the place where most of our healing has been found.

Many of you know that my oldest son, Jacob, was diagnosed with celiac disease a little over 5 years ago. Since then we have found out that all of our children carry it, as well as my husband and I. What I haven’t shared, and what I even hesitate to share now, is the journey that Jacob and I have been on these past few years. I hesitate because the story is not mine, it is his. So I want to preface this by saying that Jacob has been a huge part of writing this post today, and he has expressed that in the future he would like to write a few on his own (that would be cool) that goes into even more detail. We both decided that we wanted to share his story after he was invited to talk on the subject to a group of young people who had recently been diagnosed, and who were struggling to change their diets to accommodate the illness. In putting that talk together, Jacob realized that his journey has actually been a lot tougher than he realized, but that the changes that we have made have truly given him a whole new outlook on his life and his future.

I grew up in a family that valued good food, which to this day I count as a huge blessing. My mom and dad tell stories of how they carried around tackle boxes of vitamins wherever they went in the 1960’s, and my brother loves to joke with my mom that he had to sneak Doritos, his favorite snack, because she was so against processed food. Our pantry rarely had a snack in it, and my mother insisted on cooking us meals, rather than giving us empty nutrition. I have to admit that I hated that as a kid, truly hated it. I always thought that life would be better if only I could have a Pop Tart in the morning.

In my early 20’s I became a yoga teacher, and at the same time I was struggling with my own chronic illnesses that were wracking my body. I saw every specialist that I could, had surgery after surgery, tried experimental medications, and things just kept getting worse. As I reached my late 20’s I became pregnant with Jacob. I struggled to keep my thyroid in control, my weight dropped, I developed eczema, and asthma, and I could feel my body declining. After Elwood was born, I developed severe post-partum depression, insomnia and PMS.  I began to see a naturopath who helped me to see the way that my body was attacking itself. I saw acupuncturists, massage therapists, alternative medicine practioners, etc. As good as they were, and as important as they were in the beginning of my journey, my symptoms persisted.

Then Jacob was diagnosed. He was 3 1/2, had not grown an inch since he had turned 18 months, was underweight, and was clearly experiencing mal-nutrition. I was dumbfounded. We were such a healthy family, how had this happened? I never once drank caffeine, took medications, drank alcohol while I was pregnant, etc. How had this little boy that I had done everything to protect and be healthy, how was he this sick? It was in that first appointment with his doctor after his diagnosis that I figured it out, or should I say that I began to figure it out. No matter how healthy we were, we were not eating the right foods.

Celiac is an auto immune illness that is triggered by gluten in the gut. In removing the gluten from the system, the celia are able to grab the nutrition from the food being eaten, and health begins to be restored. At first I thought that this would be the end of the discussion for us, that simply removing the gluten would provide all that we needed for Jacob to get better. That turned out to be anything but the case. Although Jacob’s overall health was getting better, he was beginning to grow, and you could tell that he was absorbing nutrients from his food, things were still off. He was developing neurological tics, anxiety, and other neurological issues that were impairing his happiness and ability to relax into his days. Any kind of excitement would trigger severe anxiety, even though we lived in a very calm household, strived to create rhythms that would bring about a sense of peace, and kept him away from such things as TV, the computer, and video games.

We took him to one doctor that said that he had Tourette’s, another that said that he had ADHD (although he was never hyper), another that said that he had transient tic disorder. I was honestly starting to lose my mind. This child who was so bright, and such a joy to be around seemed to be quickly fading away. My anxiety levels rose, and the stress in our household was palpable.

Although we were going through so many different diagnosis and paths, I also knew from my own experience the power that food could have. For at this time I had gone gluten free myself, and had made other changes to my own diet. From those changes, all of my previous illnesses, asthma, etc. had gone away in full. I was clear that food and health were interconnected, I just still did not have the answer I needed for my son.

My mother had always taught me that when something feels overwhelming, let it all go and go back to the basics. I took that advice and began to look at the fundamentals of what we were doing in our days, and in our kitchen. Joel and I decided to go back to the root of it all, and start again with his food. We removed dairy, that helped. We removed every ounce of processed sugar, that helped. The tics began to dissapate, the anxiety became a little more under control. Jacob suffered from horrible insomnia, and that began to subside slightly. We could see some definite changes happening.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was the beginning of an answer. I spent countless hours researching food and health. It was confusing because there are SO many theories on food and diet. Everyone believes that they have the answer. From Paleo, to GAPS, to Eating Right for Your Blood Type, to Macrobiotic cooking. I read it all, dismissed what did not feel right, and then began to put some new things into place. I remembered in my doula training that high protein diets were considered to be a huge benefit to women for not developing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, and I had heard that protein could help with tics. I took the target of 100 grams of protein that we suggested for pregnant mamas, and fed that amount to Jacob  everyday for about a month. It was instantaneous. Within weeks every last tic was gone, the insomnia disappeared, the nose bleeds ceased. It all just went away. This child who had struggled so bad for so long, was literally someone new.

Now, before I go on, I want to make clear that this worked for him. I am not suggesting that exactly what we did would ever be a cure all for everyone. The idea of what occurred here, in our kitchen and in our lives, is that we looked at our food as healing, and we were determined to make the changes that we needed to get our son, and ourselves better. We did not follow any one diet, but instead realized that Jacob was different from anyone else, as were each of us, and that what he needed to eat needed to be as individual as he is.

That was July of 2011. We still continue, daily, to look at the foods we eat and how they heal us (or harm us). We have continued to make changes, and I am sure always will. In a funny twist of fate, I have followed in my mom’s foot steps and we keep all processed foods out of the kitchen. That makes for some long days, and a lot of good menu planning, but it is worth it. Knowing where everything that we eat comes from, and feeling a greater sense of connection to our food helps me to understand what is best for each us.

I am a baker, a lover of food, and certainly someone who wanted to keep the joy in eating with my children. Even though we made a radical shift in diet over the past few years, I really want to convey that we certainly did not take away yummy eats. I still bake, daily, and my children still enjoy everything from scones to cinnamon rolls, we just do it with alternative ingredients and added protein. We cook with almond flour, use coconut oil and milk, use small amounts of agave nectar and honey, rather than sugar, etc. It felt a little overwhelming at first, but really once I knew what they could each eat, I was able to adapt most recipes to suit their well being.

There is a lot of discussion right now about food elitism, and how only the wealthy can afford to eat well. Nothing breaks my heart more than hearing that. The local food movement, the drive to bring healthy food back to the table is anything but elite. It isn’t an easy shift, and it does take some very creative budget planning, but health and well being is something that we all deserve and can achieve. I think that more than money, eating well takes time and patience. The amount of times that we have had to go back to the drawing board feels ridiculous. In the end, it has been way cheaper for us to make all of our food, as well as grow it, rather than buy it.

There are countless doctors (including Dr. Sears), nutritionists and scientists who are currently researching and bringing to light the connection between food and children’s health, especially in the areas of ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Tourettes. I have a strong feeling that as time moves forward, we will see greater discussion on this subject. However, I think that it is the parents that will have the greatest impact. Those of us who are determined to help our children recover and be the healthiest versions of themselves will help to show that food has a strong impact on some of the major problems that little ones are combating today.

A few months back, when Joel and I made the switch to leave processed foods out of our diets, I told him that what I was most afraid of was running out of ideas for cooking. If I was going to make every meal, every snack, every beverage, I needed some good resources. At about the same time those words came out of my mouth, Heather announced she was holding an online course on Whole Food eating. Heather’s work centers around creating a healthy kitchen, plant based/whole food nutrition, and individualized enjoyment. She has a wonderful way of drawing you back to the kitchen, of drawing you back into a joy of food. We have spent the past 10 weeks eating from her course, and once again jumping into a new way of looking at things.

Heather’s class brought me a lot of joy at a time that I really needed to see food as not only healthy, but fun and delicious. It is in that spirit that both Heather and I would like to give back to all of you.

Heather’s new class, 30 Day Vegan opened for registration a few weeks back, and I signed right up. At the time Heather was kind enough to be offering a Bring a Friend discount. I emailed and asked her if it would be ok if I gave the spot to one of my readers in a giveaway. She not only agreed, but offered a second spot!

The giveaway is simple.  Leave a comment here and we will draw two winners on Sunday afternoon. I will email Heather your name and she will send you what you need for registration. We would love to also hear what changes you have made in your kitchen that have brought healing. Sharing those stories always gives me inspiration to keep moving forward in our quest for health and well being.

This is not the end of the story for my family. Life is not one sided, and many things contribute to one’s overall health. For us, food plays a major role, and if what we eat is off balance, everything else seems to go with it. My hope in writing this post today was not to assert the idea that food always changes everything, but simply that food and health are interconnected. Jacob’s story will continue to go on, but I am confident that even at 8 years old, he has learned what health feels like for him as an individual. That, I suppose, is all that I could ask for as his mama.

Congratulations to the two winners who were chosen though the random # generator (thank goodness for that thing, because I never could have chosen a winner from all of the amazing comments)

Heather Green 
Loved this post! I strongly believe that food and health are connected. It’s no surprise to me that the countries who often have the lowest cancer, autism, alzheimers, and other disease rates are often countries that eat primarily whole grains, non-processed foods, and minimal meat. Though I am blessed to not have any allergies in my household, I am always looking for ways (preferably easy) to incorporate better choices. I garden, I cook with whole ingredients when possible, research food often (latest is bringing chia seed and coconut oil to ourdiets), make all our soap/shampoo/lotion and am always on the lookout for ways to avoid toxins. I often am challenged with a lack of inspiration and perhaps training in the kithen…behind unhappy with foods that don’t abound with flavor. My husband is Sri Lankan, and spices and flavors are a must. Though I stay home with my kids now, when I was previously working, my kids were in daycare…where they (unfortunately) developed a taste for processed bland food. I struggle with getting them to enjoy whole foods, and would so appreciate a dose of inspriration! Thank you, Heather, for sharing your family’s journey….what a blessing to have such a clear voice to put to words so beautifully what you experience.

Lisa
It is with thankfulness I post a comment here. Sharing your story helps those of us that pursue a healthy walk in our kitchens to know that we are not alone. Others are struggling with issues, bigger than ours, and doing it with those we love in mind. I too struggle with auto immune issues and much pain. Because others depend on me I must press on and fight this fight in order to nourish myself and them. Thank you for the encouragement, inspiration and keeping it real. 

{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Akari April 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

I loved this story; thank you for sharing it, you and Jacob both! My youngest daughter was developed an allergy to dairy when she started eating solid food. At first I thought, “Oh no! What am I going to feed her?!” which, in hindsight, was such a overreaction. Although dairy is so prevalent in our Western diet, I’m happy to say that in the past 2 years I’ve discovered all kinds of delicious (and healthy) alternatives.

Reply

Lynn April 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

This was lovely, Heather. Thank you so much. I have too much to say about my family’s journey to cram it all into a comment box, but suffice to say we have relied on diet changes repeatedly over the past few years to cure what ails us. We have come to a place where my sons do fine as long as they avoid processed foods (especially artificial colors) , but I have found that my own diet needs to be much more restricted, especially as I weather the slings and arrows of perimenopause! Sugar in particular causes instantaneous adverse effects, and wheat, dairy, corn and nightshades aren’t too good for me either. Your discovery about the need for adequate protein really resonates with me, and the vegan approach got me excited as I have been a dedicated vegetarian for 26 years and a mostly-raw vegan for much of the past 18 months. I look forward to hearing more details!

Reply

Lynn April 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

P.S. Please exclude me from the drawing. The course looks like fun, but it begins on the very day that we leave for a five-week visit to England (land of many veg eateries with gluten-free options!). Thanks!

Reply

Jules April 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Oooh, you’re going to be over here! Where are you going to be, Lynn? I might be able to get some restaurant ideas for you! Hope the trip is fab.

Reply

Lynn April 12, 2012 at 6:59 am

Nearly everywhere, Jules! Cumbria, Northumberland, Durham, York, Norwich, Cambridgeshire, London, Birmingham, the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall, and West Sussex. Feel free to email me at bloglynn@gmail.com. And thank you!!

Reply

Wendy April 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. So inspiring to read about the dedication you and your husband have put into making life healthy and enjoyable for your boys and yourselves.

While our family, to this point has not had to struggle with issues of food sensitivities or allergies (to this point), healthy eating has always been a huge interest of mine–something that I’m constantly reading about and trying to improve on . When my first son was born (I have two older stepchildren), I committed to not giving him dairy milk for the first two years of his life–he had his first antibiotics and ear infection at age three, just a few months ago–the doctor was shocked that he had never had an ear infection or been on antibiotics before that. I feel that he got that first (and hopefully only) ear infection because of the large amount of refined sugar and dyes he had just a few days before during the Thanksgiving holiday–which has only intensified my resolve to feed him and my youngest child (1 month old) as little processed food as possible. My biggest challenges in continuing to improve our diets are time and resistance/lack of support from family members (mostly extended) in the ways that I want to feed my family. Thank you again for sharing!

Reply

Cindy April 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you for sharing your trials and remedies. It’s given me a lot to think about as I try to help my child (now 22) deal with her anxiety issues. We’ve both given up gluten and found that to be extremely helpful in maintaining physical and emotional health, but it’s not the whole story. We’re still experimenting, trying to figure out which foods help us feel the best.

Reply

MJ Easter April 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

I read your post with interest. I struggle with both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, and probably some other undiagnosed neurological issues. I have been working with a VA nutritionist (I’m a disabled veteran) for the past 2 years and have lost 20 pounds and tried several dieting strategies, including 3 weeks of an allergy elimination diet (dairy-free, gluten-free, no refined sugar, and a couple of other things I can’t remember) My problem is that while I want to eat healthy and cook from scratch, my energy levels do not permit a lot of cooking, so I need simple healthy things. Living on disability pay, I also need affordable foods. Can this class help me?

Reply

Zoe April 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thanks for sharing. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with several food allergies just before her second birthday. We consider it a gift that has helped us realize how much food can affect your well being.
Z

Reply

Lena April 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

Loved this post, I would love to be able to participate in one of Heather’s courses….I am mama from Europe w/ whole food background philosophy and even though we have no allergies, I try my best to cook everything from scratch for my two boys….blessings to you and your lovely family!

Reply

sherene April 11, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thank you for sharing your story. It is wonderful how you outlined that this way was what was best for your family- and how each of us have an individual need from our food. I would love to be included in the giveaway. After years of researching healing diets around the world, and eating locally, I am now trying to combine the two. Through mostly natural intuition and inspiration based on what I have learned these last few years, I hope to create a culture of food for our family. Not another cultures food made with local ingredients, but a diet rooted in our local farms and with dishes that say where WE come from and who WE are. I feel that this in itself will have a huge impact on insuring that our foods are the right foods for our bodies.

Reply

Pam April 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

Wow, this is perfect timing. I was just looking into food allergies for my son. I’m fairly certain we’re going to need to try an elimination diet for him. His first grade year has been tough and I’m afraid he’s going to be labeled with ADHD. I would love to try Heather’s 30 day vegan class. I think I could learn and ton and it would be so helpful for our food journey.

Reply

Jaime April 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thank you for taking us on your journey. I feel food, health and behavior are all connected. I love to bake and have a horrible sweet tooth, so our simplest (and hardest) change has been to not have a sugar loaded dessert every night. Thank you for the giveaway.

Reply

Amanda April 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

It’s always amazing to hear a story like this, and how a health struggle can be so greatly helped through diet. I wholeheartedly believe in this and it is interesting how it can seem so complicated to discover what works but then so simple (esp. compared to medications which cause their own problems) once discovered. I commend you for facing your own anxiety and committing yourself to finding answers. Please continue to share what you learn, and any recipes as well! We make everything from scratch as well and new ideas are so appreciated!

Reply

lorena April 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

i love reading your posts! always full of so much good information. thanks for the chance to win a spot – it is just what i need right now!

Reply

Kelly T. April 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

What an inspiring story! :0) I, too, have experienced the healing power of whole foods. I was raised in a family that consumed processed foods on a daily basis. During high school, for example, my typical lunch consisted of a popular, name-brand lunch “kit” (the ones that include processed cheese, deli meat, and crackers), a diet soda, and candy from my school’s vending machine. In my late teens/early 20s, I began to develop the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome and insulin resistance– two related conditions typically found in obese women. My doctor was perplexed that I– a young woman who was not overweight– was exhibiting these symptoms. She warned me that I probably would experience difficulties when I eventually attempted to conceive. I was crushed but gradually channeled my anxieties into researching healthier foods. Additionally, my roommate at the time encouraged me to eat whole, organic foods.

Within a few years, I completely changed my eating habits. I not only felt better (no more migraine episodes from blood sugar crashes), but I also became regular in my menstrual cycle for the FIRST time in my entire life! I’m happy to report that I now am pregnant with my second child! :0) I’m convinced that, without having experienced the healing power of real foods, I would have needed infertility treatments in order to conceive!

Anyway, thanks again for this wonderful opportunity! My fingers are crossed, as I’d love to take another step in my healing journey with food! :0)

Reply

melanie April 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I really enjoyed your post! We decided to get rid off all proceed foods thre years ago, because it made so much sense to me that my body can only handle real food and tries to “fight” fake food.
I feel great and so does my husband and our three kids. Thank you for this nice giveaway and, again, for your honest and beautiful post.

Reply

Katy April 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for your post. We haven’t had the same struggles as you guys, but I am still striving to do better in our kitchen. We don’t eat a ton of processed foods, but I know we can do better. Sometimes just getting a meal on the table seems hard enough, then making sure it’s balanced and totally non-processed seems overwhelming, even though I am sure it is worth it. I’d love to learn a new way of eating to give us more options so we can eat healthier. Thanks for the giveaway and for sharing your journey.

Reply

Tatiana April 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Thank you for offering this giveaway. Your story is truly inspirational. I strongly believe that the kitchen is the place where health can begin. I work really hard to feed my family whole and nutritious foods, but there is so much more to learn! I especially would like to learn more about food that can be used to treat illness. For example, when we were battling colds the last few weeks I was cooking up miso soup with wakame, green smoothies with acidophilous, and lots of ginger and honey tea. I would love to hear what you do in your kitchen to respond to colds and flu.

Reply

Anne Fleming April 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Your words are a gift to those of us working so hard on this issue – every day. Thank you for so generously sharing – and reminding.

Anne

Reply

Amy@FashioningHearts April 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Great post, and one I really appreciated. I had logged on to the computer a bit discouraged with myself. I have been gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free for almost a year and reversed my health problems, but slowly I have been adding things back in and am not yet feeling the effects of it. Not sure where I should be drawing the line for myself right now. Although I know that eating right adds so much to my life, I have been sucked back in to white chocolate madacamia nut cookies and Easter candy and parmesan cheese, and I am having a hard time with moderation. Your post has been very thought-provoking.
I have been interested in Heather’s course for a long time now. What a fantastic giveaway!

Reply

Amy April 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Thank you so much for your wonderful words, sharing your journey. We are a gluten and dairy intolerant family with a few other problem food thrown in! It has also been a journey for us to find what works and to wean out all processed food. I also feel it is so important to keep food a joy and not a matter of just taking things away…a process that actually uncovers some wonderful nourishing recipes!

Reply

Sarah Jane April 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

What an awesome post, Heather. And thanks to Jacob for letting your share. I, too, have been very grateful for Heather’s class. Will you share more about how you’re getting that much protein in his diet?
Thanks much.

Reply

Mousy Brown April 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I am so inspired reading this post, it’s just the kick I need to make some changes I know I need but find so hard to start! I would love an opportunity to take this course for many reasons, I’ll keep my fingers crossed 😀

Reply

Kristi aka FiberFool April 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I so enjoy people’s stories of the changes they’ve made to live a more whole and healthy lifestyle. I really appreciate you sharing your story!

I only started in earnest to make real measurable changes about 18 months ago now. I think the biggest thing someone just starting needs to remember – 1 change at a time! It can be really overwhelming and intimidating to dive in and change everything at once. It can even feel like punsihment. But I found changing one thing lead me naturally to change something else once the first was becoming habit. Oddly, I started with changing what I put on my skin – it is almost all coming from my kitchen. Not long after that diet became the focus and I aimed for high fiber first which naturally lead to eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, then I ramped up the protein. I can’t believe how much better I feel when I have 90+ gm of protein each day. It is markedly better than even 70 gm days. All of that lead to an exercise regimen and just plain being more active and here I am 75 pounds lighter, starting to buy size 12 clothing (I started at size 24). Despite fighting chronic pain since a car accident in 2000 I’m not managing it instead of the other way around and that has really opened my world back up in so many ways.

I have a long ways to go yet, but each day is one step in the right direction and if I have a day that is not in the right direction I try to be as gentle with myself as I can. Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to do things right!

Reply

KC April 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

What an inspirational story! Hearing that your son did not grow for a long period of time makes me wonder about my daughter. For the whole second year of her life she only grew 2 inches. She didn’t gain a pound either. I’ve tried everything to get her to gain weight but at 2.5 she is still 24 pounds. We’ve done a full blood work up and she fine, but I believe there is a food issue somewhere in there. She is also so active that she burns off whatever she eats really fast so I have to fill all her meals with proteins and fats. She’s a great eater though.

My food journey started almost 5 years ago. We used to have no processed food in our house but then my first daughter was born and then the second. At it was harder to make everything like crackers and condiments. But now that the little one is getting older I am finding it easier to get that back. I would love to have only the basic ingredients in our house come from the store.

Thanks for the opportunity to join in on the class!

Reply

Cynthia April 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thank you Heather for sharing your family story. I am sure it will help countless families who are experiencing similiar challenges and need that extra push to both diagnose and manage their health problems! I firmly believe that good nutrition filled with whole foods paves the road to health. I have several autoimmune diseases including Celiac and Lupus (SLE) and people always wonder how I can do what I do with these diseases. I have twin 7 year old sons and I own a Financial PLanning firm and work full time. Life is hectic! I always tell them that taking care of yourself-eating a healthful whole foods diet and exercise-allows you to perform better despite the health roadblocks in your way. It frankly brings your baseline much higher than someone with the same conditions that does not eat well or exercise. I am not saying it makes it easy, but it certainly provides you with an advantage. Cooking in our household is a part-time job. My one son & I are celiac, I have an oat allergy and my other son has tree nut allergies. We are also vegetarian and my husband and I are lactose intolerant. Cooking from scratch is a necessity. Our kitchen is most definately a healing kitchen as well filled with love and good food.

Reply

Jules April 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

This resonated with me today, very strongly, and I needed that. I too was so careful during my pregnancy and then at just two years old my little boy developed Type 1 diabetes. It’s autoimmune, like celiac, and blew me out of the water. He is doing well but looks thin and so I am kind of where you were a while ago, looking into foods that might help him gain a little weight and really nourish him. I know this post today was personal and a challenge to write but it has made me feel less alone in dealing with big issues. As have all the lovely comments. I am following Heather’s Wholefood Kitchen at the moment and loving it! I did the vegan course last year and felt incredibly well and supported. I too, like Lynn above, don’t need to be put forward for the giveaway as we are off to Denmark for two weeks during the next vegan course, so I will have to miss it! Thanks for your blog. It is a blessing!

Reply

a little crafty nest April 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Oh, Jules, at first I thought this was me!!! But then I saw your “son” at 2 yrs old, but for me, it was my “daughter” at 2 yrs old. I would love to connect with you…you can find me at my blog by following the links…:)
xo Jules (the other one!?!)

Reply

Jules April 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh, how wonderful to have so much in common. Not the diabetes, that’s never wonderful, it just IS. I have sent you a little mesage via Ravelry as I looked at your blog and was blown away by all that lovely yummy knitting. Will put your blog on my blogroll now as it’s just the kind of thing I love to read. Thanks for introducing yourself. xx

Reply

sofie April 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story, and beautifully. Thank you also for the opportunity to take part in Heather’s course. I’ve been noticing my interest in nutrition grow as my boys grow, and would love some fresh insight into my cooking!

Reply

Dawn April 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Thank you for writing this. There is so much truth here. More and more, I’m learning about how food can be healing or harmful. My husband and I made some drastic changes at the start of the year, cutting out dairy, refined sugar, and most simple grains. We have lost weight and have a whole lot more energy now. I would definitely love a chance to win a registration to Heather’s Vegan course.

Reply

Maeghan April 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Thank you for sharing Jacob’s and your families food story. It touched me in so many ways. Being a Mama to an amazing 8 year old Aspie/ADHD/OCD, the alphabet goes on, I am still learning every day how foods affect Cameron and me too. I suffered the first 38 years of my life with Reflux, IBS and more. Gluten really affects me too. Although not Celiac and I see a difference in my world and Cameron’s when we are without it. This class would be amazing as Patrick and I are very interested in Whole Food Eating and a Vegan lifestyle.
Blessings,
Maeghan

Reply

Lynnette April 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thank you Heather. I’m currently taking the whole food kitchen workshop and have learned a bunch but I guess I am still in the stages of being overwhelmed. My daughter was diagnosed with juvenile polyposis this year at the age of 3. I don’t know what to do other than give her body the best opportunity to heal through food. I’m not much of a baker and it feels like every turn in the road I have to learn how to cook all over again. Your family’s story is a light for me as we travel this road. Thank you for sharing it. Your words always seem to simmer in the back of my mind until my heart is completely ready to get it. =)

Reply

lisa April 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Thank you for sharing this story. We are a family of 7 and each of us has some food allergies. It can be difficult having enough snacks etc. for everyone’s individual needs. We think that our youngest son~age 3 has Sensory Processing Issues. I am interested to explore how food plays into this. Thanks so much for sharing and please thank Jacob for his willingness to tell his story. ~lisa

Reply

Michelle April 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Thank you for sharing! Healthy eating has also made a huge difference with my daughter – behaviorally and physically. And it can be hard! But it is so worth it to feed your family healthy and to give them the foods that each individual needs. I would LOVE to win this!!!

Reply

Beth April 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

How exciting to have a chance at a spot in Heather’s workshop – I read her blog and have wished I could take part!

We are currently working on a major reduction in carbs and refined sugar in our kitchen as part of a real shift towards better health for our family. I have always been focused on feeding our children as natural and healthy as possible and it’s time to really give my husband and I the same.

Reply

stacy watson April 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

thank you for sharing, you have given me some hope. would love to take this class. i have been so sick with so many different things this last year, all my blood tests arent normal and my 6 yr old has sensory perception disorder. it would be wonderful to learn how food could make us both healthier. thank you

Reply

Sue April 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thank you for writing this post. We have been struggling so much with my 3 year old daughter. She had blood drawn yesterday for what we suspect is celiac disease. She had been gluten free for a while but we put her back on wheat for the test. She became a different kid. Screaming, kicking, tantrums like I’ve never seen from her. I know that food is a huge part of our path to healing. This class sounds like a wonderful way to gain some new tools.

Reply

Heather Green April 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Loved this post! I strongly believe that food and health are connected. It’s no surprise to me that the countries who often have the lowest cancer, autism, alzheimers, and other disease rates are often countries that eat primarily whole grains, non-processed foods, and minimal meat. Though I am blessed to not have any allergies in my household, I am always looking for ways (preferably easy) to incorporate better choices. I garden, I cook with whole ingredients when possible, research food often (latest is bringing chia seed and coconut oil to ourdiets), make all our soap/shampoo/lotion and am always on the lookout for ways to avoid toxins. I often am challenged with a lack of inspiration and perhaps training in the kithen…behind unhappy with foods that don’t abound with flavor. My husband is Sri Lankan, and spices and flavors are a must. Though I stay home with my kids now, when I was previously working, my kids were in daycare…where they (unfortunately) developed a taste for processed bland food. I struggle with getting them to enjoy whole foods, and would so appreciate a dose of inspriration! Thank you, Heather, for sharing your family’s journey….what a blessing to have such a clear voice to put to words so beautifully what you experience.

Reply

Heather April 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

Congratulations Heather! You won the giveaway!

Reply

Raquel April 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I am going thru a similar journey. My son has a dairy allergy. I love Heather blog.
This gilf would come in the best time. Thank you and many blessing in your journey.

Reply

Paula April 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm

This course sounds AWESOME! Our family of 6 recently starting eating dairy and eggs after several years of being vegan. A few months in, (and eating WAY too much dairy) I discovered that our youngest is allergic. Now I need some new inspiration! I can only eat so much pasta and veggie hot dogs!! THANKS!

Reply

Rebecca April 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Wow – such beautiful dedication to health, family, and simple lifestyle. Thanks for sharing this account! Also, how generous for you to think of others who might benefit from the 30 Day workshop. I’ve had my eye on this workshop and would love to commit to this. My partner and I are both vegetarians and since we both work full time, we try to take turns keeping the kitchen full of homemade food, but this has been challenging. Thanks for including thoughts about the assumption that healthy, local eating is only for wealthier people…As a social worker in the mental health field, I try to help my clients make a connection between their choices with their physical health and how this could influence their mental well-being. I actually write out budget comparisons sometimes between fast/convenience foods and fresh/healthier foods. I could probably write about 8 more paragraphs on this subject, but I’ll stop there. Thanks again for sharing this encouraging post!

Reply

Donna Rae Barrow April 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Thank you so much for sharing you family’s journey. Mine began several years ago, seeking a way to gain control over diabetes. Two months after beginning a vegan diet, I was off insulin! All went well until three years ago… within a six-month timeframe my father died, my mother had a difficult recovery from major surgery, and I was diagnosed with a colon full of polyps and have to have the entire colon removed. Eating vegan was suddenly more difficult. I began to slide back into processed foods. This fall, my mother died after a long illness during which I turned too many times to quick, convenient, processed, and fast foods. The course you describe sounds like a great way to get back to basics and back to healthy eating!

Reply

Heather April 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Dear Heather

What a wonderful post. My family has travelled a challenging path over the past few years with myself being diagnosed with ceoliacs and my daughter has all the symptoms, including positive bloods but negative biopsy. Doctors advised us to put her back onto gluten as she doesn’t have the illness ‘yet’. They also said that ‘she will get it one day’ and that we need to keep doing invasive testing. My reaction to this was to find a wholistic doctor who listened to my husband and I and who supported us in our decision to remove all gluten from her diet to address her symptoms and to prevent her gut from being destroyed. As well as this I also have a second auto-immune condition. It is through meditation, diet that I have managed to stay on top of it and halt its symptoms. We eat alot of almond meal, organic food as much as possible and I bake, bake, bake. It is time consuming but if it means that my family stays strong and healthy then it is more than worth it. Reading posts like yours is comforting as I know that my family is not alone on this journey of ours. x

Reply

Angie April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

What a wonderful story! I loved reading it! We started our whole food journey 5 1/2 years ago when the time came for me to feed my first child. I panicked and researched everything! I stumbled upon Weston A. Price and have thoroughly enjoyed his research, it really resonates with me. Now, here we are, much further down the road and transitioning again to Dairy Free and Gluten Free as we have recently discovered some intolerances. So its more research and learning, but I’ve already noticed amazing changes in the whole family! The cooking class sounds amazing!

Reply

Shannon April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hello Heather,

Your story today has come at a serendipitous time for my family. My husband has been struggling with digestive issues for years and we have learnt that he is allergic to gluten (along with a slew of those things). This has brought up alot of resentment for me as I am the maker of meals in our family of five and its been quite the struggle balancing this with homeschooling and owning a yoga studio. I sometimes feel like my lifelong love of cooking/baking has been replaced with frustration and a jaded sense of duty. Then my children were diagnosed as well. I now feel empowered that I have some control over my families health and am letting go of the resentment. But i still am struggling with meal plans, failed attempts (which is sooo demoralizing and brutal!) and frustration of our extended families lack of support/care. Anyways, long story short – its great to hear your story on this journey as a mama. I’ve been eyeing Heathers workshops for awhile – this may just be the push I needed to sign myself up. Just in time to justify it as a birthday present to myself :)
Thank you again, Heather.
Be well.

Reply

Shannon April 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

those=other

Reply

Julie April 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

My kitchen has a long way to go! Thank you for sharing your family’s journey. The thing that has been healing for me is to make my family’s food when I can and involve my children and our friends in that process. I hear a lot of friends express surprise when they hear of families actually being able to eat together but for us, I am proud to say that we have easily incorporated this practice into our lifestyle (so far!). Another source of healing is an accepting attitude, to do the best I can in our current circumstances. I serve nutritious and good food as much as I can, but a grateful heart and peaceful intention goes even further, even with a serving of processed food. And that seems to add a wonderful ingredient to so much in our kitchen.

Reply

Gina April 11, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Heather and Jacob – thank you for this peek into your lives, and thank you for supporting so many people with your words, ideas, love and vision. Awesome!

Reply

Sarah April 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I would love to win a spot in the course! In the past year, my family has switched to drinking raw milk and eating eggs from our backyard flock, and I can definitely see a difference in our health. We’re vegetarian, and often do eat vegan, and I’m always looking for new ideas and recipes.

Reply

desiree April 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

What a beautiful, honest story of transformation and healing – and eating good food – thank you!!

Reply

Kate D. April 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Your description of the conflicting diagnoses and the tension it creates in a household rang so true for me. Thanks to you and your son for sharing <3 Feeling inspired to keep trying in the kitchen after reading this!

Reply

Teri April 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thanks so much for sharing. We feed our family a whole foods diet (okay, there are SOME processed foods that sneak in!) and we still have been experiencing lots of illness this season. On top of that, my 4 year old daughter’s molars are crumbling, literally crumbling in her mouth! For someone that was never given sugar until she was 2 years, breastfed until she was over 2 1/2, doesn’t drink juice, etc., this just baffles me! But the more I research, the more I understand how critical diet is for healing. Even teeth, which seem so static and dead like fingernails, have the ability to remineralize and heal from within. So now we’re really taking a look at how we can shift our diet to bring greater health and vitality to all of us.

I appreciate the giveaway, but have already registered for Heather’s 30 day vegan course! Can’t wait!

Reply

joanna April 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

this sounds lovely.thanks

Reply

Holly Malinowski April 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thank you so much for this chance,I would love to take the class.Right now we are doing what you have done,find what diet is right for every member of the family.I am a vegetarian,so the gluten free diet is a bigger challenge than it is for my kids,its one day at a time.The Vegan class would be so helpful with new ideas!!!!!Thanks again!!!!Hol

Reply

Emma April 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thank you for this interesting post. I feel like I have had to relearn how to cool as I have shifted myself, and my family, towards a low-grain, low-sugar, high protein but vegetarian diet. It’s a lot of work, but slowly getting easier.

Reply

andy April 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Would love to win a spot in a course that would be for the benefit of my family (and me!) ! Personally, I think we eat extremely well, but there are those times when we cave for the simple and quick Annie’s mac and cheese… I never feel good serving my children this – and, of course, they love it. I wish they didn’t … but, what I do observe is their intolerance for sweets and such things served at birthday parties. They can not be far from a restroom when served cake and/or ice cream. I am not sure if we did that to their systems – by not really acclimating their systems for heavy dairy and/or refined sugars or if this is something innate in the human system…. We are always looking for the “new” in food – so thanks for this chance!

Reply

Bridget April 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. We are in the process of learning about making changes to our familys diet. This would be a great time to get to try the 30 day vegan course, thanks!

Reply

Joy April 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

What a beautiful post, Heather! I have been on quite a journey with food myself, although my journey did not include the illness that yours has. What an admirable gift you are giving to your family. I’d love to win a spot in that class. Even 10 years into vegetarianism, there’s much to learn. Be well. <3

Reply

Brooke Gustafson April 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Food should be a major concern for anyone who cares about their or their families bodies! It seems that the worse you eat (ie processed junk food and out to eat) the worse you feel. I grew up in a home that my mom got to stay home and cook all our meals (mostly out of necessity because of finances and a family of 6+), and being a stay at home mom myself, I try to cook all our meals… but it is incredibly easy to get in a rut (which I am in right now!!), and I would love to take one of Heather’s classes. I have been so intrigued by them! My kids are addicted to sugar right now… as am I, so I would love to just change the way we all view food, and eat as healthy as possible.
Thanks for the opportunity!

Reply

Beth April 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I think a lot of us have stories like this. Mine, for me, began a little over a year ago. I had let my health get so out of hand and decided to make some changes. I had to lose weight – I had ignored this for 3 years. I did homeopathic HCG- and while I would not recommend this for anyone really- it was part of my journey, a part that was needed. I eliminated grains, sugar, processed food, soy and dairy and found out I felt sooo much better. This lead me to do a lot of research after I finished my rounds of HCG (I did lose 80 pounds so really cannot complain, but 500 calories and almost no fat are hard on a woman’s body). After the research I found out just how hard all those items are on a person – they all wreak havoc on your endocrine system, etc. I started going to a naturopath and was tested for food allergies… yep, you guessed it Celiacs and lactose intolerant, which goes right along with my hypothyroidism. I found out that eating lots of veggies, some berries, a healthy amount of protein and a higher fat (coconut, palm, olive oil, and grass fed meat) diet has kept me at a maintenance weight and allowed me to start thriving again- not to mention sleeping better. I cannot tell you how long I was really sick (I suspect somewhere along college this just started to snowball), but I did not know I was. I just accepted as norm. I had no idea. Now I know better. My garden is larger than ever this year, and I get excited about that. I get excited when people approach me and ask me how I lost all the weight and have kept it off because I get to tell them what I found out in a condensed version. I see them leave with the look in their eye of “oh my, my family eats like she used to… “. I hope I make an impact on those and hopefully they make at least one small change, do some research of their own.
I live in OK, so

Reply

Tracey April 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thank you for this post Heather, it was just what I needed tonight. As someone who has an auto immune disease, I have always paid attention to my diet, usually with good results. Today I was diagonosed with hypertension!?! I am speechless and now that I have stopped crying, I am ready to tackle this problem. I guess I should look at the positive, life is never boring!

Reply

Elizabeth April 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Thank you for sharing this. My family (four boys 6 and under & hubby) and I are gluten free due to a host of autoimmune disorders. I’ve seen lots of western and eastern specialists from the alopecia (hair loss) induced by pregnancy and babies I lost it all, and just recently started experimenting w going vegan/raw, but would love some support around it. I too have enjoyed heathers whole kitchen course and am also a doula. Thanks again for your post. Food can heal.

Reply

Amy April 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. I have struggled with IBS and other food sensitivities since high school. however, back then, I didn’t really think about what a critical role my diet played in my overall health. I am slowly learning which foods are “triggers” for me and how to cook in a way that is both healthful and tasty. I feel overwhelmed quite often with coming up with ideas to feed my family and I that we all enjoy. I know a course like this is just what I need right now! Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Reply

Renea April 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Thank you for this post on the importance of food in our children’s and our own lives. We are just beginning our whole foods journey, and your post has given me even more to think about. Thank you for the opportunity to join you and Heather in her workshop!

Reply

Rebecca April 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. We’ve done a 180 with our eating habits since my yogi sister visited us (in MN) from Maui over the Christmas holidays. Eating Raw/Vegan started off as a challenge, something possibly temporary, just a way to get our family of six back to healthy after an especially indulgent Christmas season. But our new lifestyle is here to stay. It’s been life-changing! My 5-year old daughter has seen relief from stomach aches that have plagued her since infancy (apparently it’s dairy, not acid reflux!), my infant daughter already eats healthy foods I’d never even heard of before January 2012 – and most remarkably! – my husband who’s suffered from insomnia, sleep issues, snoring, anxiety and a multitude of related health issues has lost 25 pounds, stopped snoring completely (and stopped taking his Ambien!) and is changed person. We wouldn’t miss our morning Green Lemonade juice (lots of kale!) for anything. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s hard work, as you well know, so it’s nice to be reminded just why we make the effort. I certainly applaud yours.

Reply

Alissa Brennan April 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your story. :)

We are also a Celiac family, and my oldest daughter (who is 7), also has Asperger’s Syndrome, and food has a huge impact on her life. Going gluten-free after her Celiac diagnosis made a huge impact, and I have since removed all dairy, sugar, and processed food. I’m now trying to figure out where to go from here. We are currently following the Paleo diet but I am looking into GAPS as well, and planning to get us all allergy tested so I can see what our individual sensitivities are. It’s quite a journey! But the small improvements I see each time are worth it.

We are also Waldorf homeschoolers, so I’m finding your blog quite interesting. :)

Alissa

Reply

alison April 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Thank you for this thoughtful sharing. We are working through a few different issues, and I am hoping to learn as much as I can about healthy food preparation!

Reply

amanda April 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thank you so much for honestly and openly sharing your family’s journey to health. So often, I feel that some writers present their end point, the healthy and holistic ways they lead their lives, without offering anything of the process that brought them there. I do feel lucky to have been raised in a family that valued healthy and fresh foods, and we work to bring the same to our family, with a focus on being involved with the source of our foods as much as possible. I would love to be a part of Heather’s program and continue to expand the ways we can use food to promote our well-being.

Reply

Li April 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Wow…what a powerful story! Thanks so much for sharing! I have used my kitchen to not only heal my family through nutrition, but economically! I have used homecooking as a way to solve some of our financial burdens, so besides helping my son deal with various food sensitivities. Thanks so much!

Reply

Michele N. April 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. There are some changes my family will be dealing with when it comes to the foods we take in. Heather’s workshop may just be what we need to turn us in the right direction. We’ve been slowly weeding out all processed snacks/foods and preparing most meals from scratch.I firmly believe once these changes are in place, the issues some of us have been dealing with will improve. Thank you for this generous opportunity and I wish you well on your journey with your family.

Reply

Agnes Espinoza April 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Thank you for the inspiring post. My family is currently experiencing various health issues and we are trying to eat healthier do this class sounds wonderful.

Agnes

Reply

erin April 11, 2012 at 10:35 pm

thank you for sharing your story. inspiring to say the least. i have been eyeing heather’s course so it would be lovely to be part of it:)

Reply

Kerri K April 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Like many other commentors, my family is also experiencing the confusion, wonder, and discovery of food allergies. My nephew was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis many years ago, and he is still going through food trials to learn what few foods his body can tolerate.
My own little boy has eczema, nut, and milk allergies we believe, and we’re set to visit the allergist next week. As long-term vegetarians, I worry about removing various sources of protein from his diet. He’s only a year old, and while I feel we’ve all been very healthy, I worry about my own ability to feed him a nutritious diet. My husband and I have also been diagnosed with IBS, and I think it’s time we were tested as well.
It means so much to me to read posts like this from you and other bloggers. I appreciate the time you take to share your story.

Reply

a little crafty nest April 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Dear Heather…I appreciate so much of what you poured into your post today. It can be a vulnerable thing to open up about your child’s health challenges, and I do believe your story can help at least one other person. You may knowthat my 3 year old daughter has Type 1 Diabetes and it is incredible how much I have learned about the interconnectedness between health and diet. Even before her diagnosis, I was quite fanatical about what my children ate, (including no sugar ever ~ but T1D is not related to sugar intake, that is a whole different thing called Type 2 Diabetes), but over the last 15 months since diagnosis, it has brought me to a whole different appreciation. Celiac is strongly linked with Type 1 Diabetes, so I am doing the pro-active thing and avoiding gluten as much as possible. I often come to your blog for inspiration and ideas. I am so sorry for all the hardship you have experienced upon this new journey for your son. There is nothing, NOTHING, more agonizing than watching your child suffer. My heart goes out to you because I know all too well what that is like, every single day. I do believe that bringing it to this public place is helpful and educational and may only serve to raise awareness to help find a cure ~ that is why I occasionally discuss my daughter’s condition on my blog. Heather, you are a strong, loving mama and your courage, grace and tenacity to help your child is a beautiful thing indeed. HUGS,
xo Jules

Reply

Allegra April 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Thank you Heather for sharing this post, and an extra special thank you to Jacob for helping mama write it. My husband and I are firm believers that good food and good health go hand in hand. I think we do a pretty good job, but can always do better. Best wishes to all of you as you continue on this journey.

Reply

Allegra April 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

PS. I just signed up for 30 Day Vegan. I am very excited about this and always looking forward to new inspiration.

Reply

Kristin April 12, 2012 at 12:10 am

Thank you Heather for sharing your beautiful story. Your story has given me the courage to move forward. I am a mama to five sweet children ages 1, 4, 6, 8, and 14. I have had recurrent mastitis and adrenal fatigue for the last seven years. Our four year son old has A LOT of anxiety and frequents bouts of screaming each day. He becomes upset if I leave his eyesight or do anything, it could be folding a towel, without him next to me and demands that I do it again. He wakes often at night screaming and kicking his legs. I am one exhausted mama. We are both so tuned into each other’s physical and emotional health. Our whole family wants so much for us to be healthy. We practice naturopathic medicine and have been working with our naturopath for years, trying different supplements, herbs, homeopathcs, but without significant changes for either one of us. I know the solution lies in healing through food. I feel stuck in my mastitis cycles unable to muster the energy to cook all that I aspire to. Sometimes it can feel easier to eat the Ezekiel bread or spelt tortillia wrap than to plan out and make gluten free meals. I would love the opportunity to join Whole Food Eating. Thank you for sharing your story and for the lovely giveaway.

Reply

Adrie April 12, 2012 at 4:25 am

Heather,
What a fantastic bunch of posts you’ve done recently! This one, of course, is close to my heart. Thank you for all the time I know it took, and the courage to put yourself out there with such honesty. And hallelujah for addressing food elitism – I couldn’t agree more. It makes me feel physically sick when I see people say organic is too expensive, and then drive away in a BMW (no joke, this has happened). Love to you and yours!

Reply

elflyn April 12, 2012 at 5:10 am

Thank you for sharing your (and Jacob’s) inspiring story.
I am mama to 5 lovely littles. We are looking for answers to help our 8 year old who although essentially healthy suffers from chest and upper respiratory infections every time he gets a cold. I know the answer lies in food and feeding him more natural foods and less sugar. Although I have cut almost all processed food from our diet I still need a final push to get rid of the last of them and some fresh ideas will certainly help.
Thank you and Heather for the lovely giveaway.

Reply

Amanda April 12, 2012 at 6:35 am

Thank you for sharing your family’s story! I would love a spot in the 30 day vegan course. I gave up dairy after my last two children were born, but have been unable to stay off of it. The hardest thing for me is the fact that going dairy-free means relearning how to cook, as most everything I make and my family loves has dairy in one of its many forms. I know how much better I feel without it and I think this course would give me the skills and confidence I need to guide me on this journey!

Reply

Nicole April 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

what a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing.

Reply

Laura Scappaticcil April 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

Thank you for sharing your food journey with us! I particularly resonant with the fear of running out of ideas for cooking. My husband was the cook in our family for many years, and now that he is working later in the evening, I am at the helm. I love to bake, but find that I am challenged every day by trying to please our family of five with healthy meals. Both my husband and I would like to eat less meat, but I’m not sure how to make recipes that are yummy and varied enough for all of us without beef or chicken. The course seems like a great way to engage with our goal of more meatless meals. Much love to all. Laura and Family

Reply

Laura Scappaticcil April 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

In addition, it seems that as a mother, we are responsible for leading our family in all things related to health, discipline, manners, kindness. We set the example. I would like to do this with our food!

Reply

Andrea April 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

I have been pondering joining Heather’s course. I’m struggling with feeding enough to my teen and tween children and my slim husband while cutting back for myself. I have a lot of strong cravings and eat when I’m not hungry. Is it will power I need? A new mental outlook? Inspiration? Will this help. Here’s hoping.

I loved your post. It is so affirming. You truly are what you eat. When nutritious food made with love is your diet, good health will follow. If I could only live that truth!

Reply

Paula April 12, 2012 at 8:18 am

a beautiful post, and encouraging. i find the connection between preparing food with love, the love in my heart and hands, the nutrition and goodness, it is all one. when i am scattered or even emotionally down, disconnected, i am parted from this abundant flow of life and can’t create the wholesome. with love to you and your family.

Reply

Kiran April 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

Heather, I loved this post. I also had a boy, my first child, who didn’t gain weight as a baby and young toddler. We went through bazillions of tests and finally concluded that he was just small. But I have struggled so much with what the right foods are to feed him to keep him strong, growing and healthy. As a family we have recently decided to go vegetarian with an aspiration to go all the way Vegan. I am doing what you did and studying everything I can get my hands on about how to make the transition. I have noticed that since we have started down this path everyone is healthier. We’ve had a few mild colds this year but no flus or fevers at all, which is a big deal when you have 4 kids in various different schools with all of the germs that go along. Anyway, thanks for the post and I hope I win a spot! I’d love to learn more!

Reply

Helen April 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

thanks so much for this posting Heather. I have long known that our diets have to change, not because we had any major health issues (yet) but all the research and everything I’ve read just reinforces the fact that food in this country is so grossly underrated and understudied– really as a nation we seem not to put any thought at all about what we are putting in our mouths daily, even hourly! We are in such a sad epidemic and with our lives so entangled with work and working to sustain our posessions and lifestyle– we have lost so much in the way of feeling and knowlege of our bodies and our health and what is real. Your mother is so right– Back to the basics– for all of us! We need to do this.

Reply

Anna April 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

Heather, Thank you and Jacob for sharing your story. I’m thrilled that his tics seem to have disappeared and that you are all feeling healthier. All of this — food, health, good nutrition, medication, etc. they are hard. It’s hard to find balance. It’s hard to know what is “right.” The Journey is long isn’t it? Oh, dear friend — I feel like I haven’t had time to visit your space or to comment much in the last several months, but this space remains dear to my heart. Your path is guidepost and an inspiration and today in particular has given me much to consider.

As much as I’d love to take part in one of Heather’s workshops, there is no way my family could go vegan for 30 days. So please remove my name from the list. I will try to take her whole foods workshop at some point when time and money are on my side. Thanks and many blessings! — Anna

Reply

Alisha April 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

What an inspiring story. Im struggling with eating well right now and I was doing so well in the past. I would really love to get back on track.

Reply

farhana April 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Oh how I would love to win. Thank you!

Reply

Michelle Scheibe April 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

Great blog, thank you for sharing your story. I have been making major changes to my diet since I was pregnant. I as well, developed lots of problems, and have found changing my eating habits to help. It is really stressful at times, but I am trying to go slowly and not make to many changes at once.

Reply

Michelle Scheibe April 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

I made a mistake with my e-mail address, sorry. I corrected it here.

Reply

Madeleine April 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

What an inspiring post! Recently, I kicked coffee out of my house for good! I have begun making my own tea blends and have been enjoying it immensely! Thanks!

Reply

Alison April 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm

What’s so crazy is that I know this in my heart to be true and yet each day I allow my family to eat the wrong foods rather than work harder to find alternatives that they’ll enjoy. It’ll be a lot more work but you’ve inspired me now to take a grasp on it. Thank you for this.

Reply

Carrie Goad April 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I thank you for sharing. I grew up food-ignorant. Not knowing any better I’ve stayed that way and have done the same for my children. Only recently I have become aware of the importance of proper food choices and how they truly effect us. Honestly, my journey to healing, whole food eating begins right now. I am green and clueless; I have no idea where to start, what resources to turn to, etc . . . It’s looking at my 4yr old that I feel my family MUST begin on this path to see if we can find some relief to her behavior issues–going back to the basics of eating–eating whole foods, elimating processed and sugary foods. Whether I win the drawing or not I would love to hear more about this topic from you in the future; where you started, some resources you turned to, books, etc.

Reply

Cat Watts April 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

We are just starting our journey, I’ve always kept away from the nastier of the additives but I’ve come to see how my relationship with food is really flawwed, it isn’t joyous and it is doing us harm and it has been weighing on my mind these past few months. I need (more than) a little guidance and help, to bring that joy into our home and hearts and bellies!

Reply

Adriana Plascencia April 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm

What an inspiring post! When my older son was three we started to notice different tics, we too went thru different diagnoses and medical opinions, luckily I had an amaizing e-mommy group and they shared lits of information regarding using food as a way to heal, it was hard, especially trying to unlearn unhealthy patterns. I found great help in Dr. Sears website and books. However I see how 7 years later, still have so much to learn and keep my boys healthy (as well as my husband and I).

Reply

Jennifer April 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm

My family and I eat healthy…that being said my four year old has had a very minor on/off scrimmage with eczema since she was small. I kept thinking it would just go away on its own and it generally has, except this time. This time is not good. The kind of not good that makes one go back to the kitchen and regroup. The course sounds amazing and a much needed kick in the pants to get my alternative foods groove back on. Thanks.

Reply

Jillian April 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thank you Heather for posting this. We’ve been dealing with constant allergies and sensitivities in our family for several years and over that time I have been trying to go gluten free. It was easy when my first daughter was a baby and I was at home, but after the second and going back to work, I find that we have slipped back in to eating more processed food than I would like. This post has given me inspiration to try it again. I have wanted to take part in one of Heather’s workshops for a while now but due to financial constraints have not been able to. Thank you so much for the opportunity to possibly win.

Reply

Seve April 13, 2012 at 2:36 am

I’m fighting with health difficulties so this class would be awesome !

Reply

jamie April 13, 2012 at 7:08 am

Moved to tears. Thank you Heather.

Reply

Johanna April 13, 2012 at 7:24 am

Our diet has played a huge role in our families healing.
When my son was around 3 months he developed severe Eczema. After many months of trials and doctors. Living a healthy diet already I didn’t know where to begin. We began to eliminate things from my diet. We discovered that he was allergic to eggs, dairy, almonds, cashews and then the last and most important was a sensitivity to gluten. (my husbands blood test revealed celiac markers) I removed gluten from my daughters diet as well. (HUGE difference in her behavior!!) Discovered I was extremely sensitive to gluten as well. We now thrive on a mostly plant based diet. He is now 17 months old and doing extremely well. So is my 3 year old daughter. I am more clear than I have been ever. I have more sustained energy and feel radiant. (most of the time:-)

Reply

Daniela April 13, 2012 at 7:44 am

Thank you so much for posting this!
I am really moved. I have been dealing with autoimmune desease for two years now (reumathoid artritis).
After a lot of doctors and a lot of trying to figure it out I turned to the kitchen too. I now eat gluten, diary, sugar free. My body is now telling me to go meat free. AND I do feel a lot better. It has not been easy (I am Italian we love our pasta, cheese and bread!!), but once you have learned it there is no going back! My kids (and husband!) are slowly learning to eat that way too, my parents life is transformed. It is so nice to see change happening in our loved ones and ourselves.

Reply

Jess April 13, 2012 at 8:27 am

I found this post quite inspirational as well, thank you and Jacob for writing it! As a nursing mom of a little one who doesn’t do well with dairy or soy in my diet, I’m always looking for some inspiration in the kitchen!

Reply

Tracy April 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

This was a gift to read. Every word of it.
We as a family eat what I call “clean” as possible everyday. We still have a ways to go with certain foods like sugar but I reading your post motivated me to keep doing what we are doing.

Reply

Hannah@HomeBaked April 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

What a wonderfully well written post, Heather. I’m so pleased that you found a way to help Jacob (and yourselves) and that you felt able to share your family’s story here.
This has come at a poignant time for me as I have been struggling to get on top of my own health since a big scare back in October. I had been trying to live gluten free but struggled terribly to work it all out on my own and have since lapsed. What you said about the different theories and confusing information is exactly where I am right now. There are so many conflicting sources that I have become like a rabbit in the headlights, not knowing which way to go.

Reply

Evelyn April 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I have long wondered how I could improve my health with food. It all just seems to dauting to wade through. Conflicting information, time constraints, being pulled in different directions all affect my ability to change. I would be so honored to win this one!

Reply

DenaZS April 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Sounds like a wonderful class. I would like to get back to those ideas again.

Reply

Elizabeth April 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm

What a lovely testament to the healing qualities of food. Wish you and your family continued success! Thank you for the giveaway.

Reply

Laura F. April 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm

What a generous giveaway! Thank you and Heather for a chance to win and for sharing your story.
I have recently started my own business while raising teenagers.The more I work the less I cook.
I think this course would be a great source of inspiration and something I could share with daughters.

Reply

Isabel Wende April 14, 2012 at 2:23 am

Thank you (and Jacob) for sharing. I am inspired by your devotion and dedication to help heal your son through whole foods. I, too, would like to help my adopted son with his health issues, and I’ve always been interested in Veganism for myself. Thank you for your generous giveaway!

Reply

Louise April 14, 2012 at 6:30 am

Thank you for sharing your story.. I am mumma to a 5yr old girl who suffers from multiple anaphylaxis (6 common foods), multiple food intolerance (the foods she can eat are very minimal) and multiple chemical sensitivity. Discovering this when she was 7 months old meant I have been on a very intense journey of learning about health and food… Not a day goes by when I don’t feel that her food choices are so minimal that the pressure to create interesting food for her is huge! I’m not sure that the food course would be of much help to me because she’d likely not be able to eat most of the foods used, but I did want to say thank you for your story. It helps to know there are others out there on similar journeys…

Reply

Sarah April 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

Thank you for the information – we are all gluten free, but things still aren’t quite right with my husband and my son and I struggle with where to go next. I see the potential of who they want to be inside, but am not sure how to help them be their best selves. I am sure what they eat is the key. One step at a time.

Reply

Jenna April 14, 2012 at 8:28 am

What a wonderful post! I am just starting this whole foods journey with my family. Thank you for the giveaway!

Reply

Jackie April 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

Oh thank you so much for the chance to win a spot in heather’s class.
In the spring of 2009 after months and months of strange symptoms I was diagnosed with lupus. It sent me on a mission for health. I have been a plant based, whole foods, green smoothie, gluten and processed sugar free girl ever since. I’m currently weaning off my lupus medication and am hopeful that it’s in a full remission.
I cook healthy for my family, but my husband wasn’t really on board and did t get it all until this past January. He watched forks over knives and his father had a big health scare. He went cross country to visit him and came home convicted to be a vegan. It has been amazing. He has lost over 20 pounds, but the biggest success is he dropped over 100 points for his cholesterol! I’m so proud at how good he has been sticking with this when he’s out on jobs for long periods of time. He used to say he couldn’t help it he’d have to eat the bad food offered on his jobs. But now he has realized even the. He can find diet appropriate choices or he’ll find nearby health food stores or vegan restaurants when traveling.
So now I’m on a renewed mission to get really strict with my middle child. She has been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD (though also not hyper at all), a language retrieval disorder, auditory processing disorder and her anxiety over not keeping up in school is clinical. I’ve brought her home to homeschool her and her anxiety has greatly improved. But it’s also infuriating to me how often we as parents have no control over treats and candy and parties or birthday celebrations that happen at school. It didn’t matter if I’d pack her a gluten free lunch, her friend would give her cheese puffs and packaged processed cheese with crackers. The doctors and specialists all want me to put her on medication saying that it is the key to opening up her ability to focus and retain what she’s learning. When I said I’m not comfortable with that and I want to try making dietary changes first. They all say that’s not evidence based and one said, “so you’re basically doing an experiment with your child.”. I said well you could say the same about the medicine. Oh it’s such an up hill battle. Meanwhile the very neuropsychologist who is advising she needs medication is offering her candy and fruit roll ups in between her testing. I know I’m in a like minded group here and you get how frustrating all of this is. All in all I’m excited to see how my ‘experiment’ turns out and honestly the evidence from other parents is plenty proof for me that this makes a difference.

Reply

Stacie April 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

I am a grandmother of 2 little boys that might benefit from food changes. Their mothers’ have tried, but it is hard to start out and then still keep the creativity going. A class shared sounds like just what is needed. Thank you for letting us know about Heather.

Reply

Kelly April 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I find it so interesting to read about others’ food journeys. While I do not believe that my family suffers from any food intolerances, I do see the need to make changes in our diet. Often I feel so overwhelmed by this–where to start, how to get the rest of the family on board, etc. I like that your mother taught you to go back to the basics. Yes, this feels like something I can do. Start drinking more water, get out that cracker recipe, relearn how to make yogurt, more vegetables with every meal, how do I make this pumpkin bread recipe gluten-free. . . Small steps back at the beginning. Thanks Heather and Jacob.

Reply

Susan April 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

How perfect to read this post today. I just finished reading Crazy Sexy Diet, and she also talks about the connections between gluten and dairy with so many things. My husband has had Crohn’s for several years now, and I’ve never gotten him interested in trying to eliminate things in our diet to see what would help. Our oldest has just been diagnosed with Aspergers, so finally I’ve got my husband to agree to try out an elimination diet just to see how we would all feel. We were planning on starting it in May, after a few trips! The trickiest part for us is that he is the main cook and shopper, so I have to keep him on board for this idea. I really think it would make a huge difference in our family. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

Reply

Heather April 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I am near to tears reading this. One of my three sweet boys is struggling so much right now, and I. Would. Do. Anything. to help him. I am worried, overwhelmed, and feeling a bit lost. I would love to join this class. Sorry to sound like a pity party, this post caught me at the end of a very long day.

Reply

Melanie April 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

Oh Heather, beautiful and inspiring! We are so ready for some changes and as a family of six, I’m looking for lots of planning and cooking ideas and guidance! Perfect!

Reply

Taryn April 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

This is an amazing giveaway and i have been dreaming of joining Heathers workshop someday….preferably soon! Our family has been taking small steps to improve everyone’s health and we would love to win this and learn soooo much more! I’m very interested in learning new ways to feed my sons healthy yet enjoyable food. Thanks so much for this awesome offer!

Reply

Lisa April 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Heather,
It is with thankfulness I post a comment here. Sharing your story helps those of us that pursue a healthy walk in our kitchens to know that we are not alone. Others are struggling with issues, bigger than ours, and doing it with those we love in mind. I too struggle with auto immune issues and much pain. Because others depend on me I must press on and fight this fight in order to nourish myself and them. Thank you for the encouragement, inspiration and keeping it real.

Reply

Mandy April 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I would love to win a spot in Heather’s 30 day Vegan workshop. I did it last spring and it was so soothing and cleansing! Your story is amazing and similar to my own, as my third boy has food allergies as well. It has opened my eyes as to what we are eating and how much of what is sold as “food” really isn’t food at all. Thanks for the chance to play!

Reply

Penny April 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Heather for sharing your story. My story with food began 12 years ago when I could not stop sneezing throughout the spring. I was lucky enough to come from a family where our mother did not let us have processed food either, so the switchback (yes, I did become a junkfood addict in my late teens and 20’s)was not as radical as it may have been.

Reply

6512 and growing April 16, 2012 at 8:12 am

Heather,

What a journey. What courage and patience. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Reply

Rebecca April 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Beautifully written post.

Would you mind posting the different sources you use for protein? What do you have on hand for snacks? What is your go-to protein? etc?

Thank you so much!

Reply

Aubrey April 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Inspiring. Thank you for this sharing of your’s and jacob’s story, and for the giveaway. We, too, have been challenged to find a way of truly nourishing ourselves after my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last summer. Whole foods filled with protein and fats seem to be the best way to keep her sugars and moods in check so that she (and we) can live fully and calmly. All the best to you.

Reply

Stephanie April 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

I really enjoyed reading this post, I have wanted to change the way we eat for a while now, but it’s harder when it’s something you want to do rather then need to do. Although I do agree that our health is really coming from our food, so I am starting to believe it is something we NEED to do. I’m so glad you were able to find the right foods for your son, so that he can be himself without drugs and other medical interventions, because even with those I doubt he’d really be himself. I look forward to hearing more about the foods your family eat and it’s very inspiring!

Reply

renee @ FIMBY April 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

This was so beautiful Heather.

I sometimes run into people online and in real life who have a “we’re all going to die anyway so why bother with our diet” attitude. This just couldn’t fly in our family. We’d be miserable because of how poor diet affects our bodies right here and now – never mind trying to prevent degenerative diseases in our 80’s.

If you are itchy, overweight, feeling gross, can’t concentrate, hyperactive, fill in the blank that’s not the fullness of life I want for my children or myself. I want health and wellbeing. And if it takes some serious time researching and cooking to do that, than that’s what has to be done.

Thank you for sharing your story. ANd please tell Jacob thank you also.

Reply

Arabella April 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I’m so glad you wrote about this. I try – but not hard enough – to cook just with whole foods and to eat just whole foods but fail MISERABLY a lot of the time. Like you, I grew up in a VERY healthy food household (everything cooked from scratch, whole ingredients, very limited processed anything) but I’m not doing a good job of repeating this for my kids. However, I’m now staring down the barrel of an ADD (interestingly not the “Hyperactive” part) diagnosis for my five year old. It’s not a surprise…my Dad is exactly the same (although not technically diagnosed) as am I. Anyway, we will do anything to avoid medication and I know diet is an important place to start. Reading this gave me hope and ideas and faith that it can be done…THANK YOU.

Reply

Nicola April 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Heather, I have known bits of this…maybe from previous posts, reading between the lines, and emails we have exchanged? I don’t know, but I am so glad you shared. You know I, too, have Celiac Disease. I have not shared my own story. It is a very scary show of self to do so and Jacob, I am so impressed with you for sharing yours with your mom’s help.
One thing I very quickly learned is that not all healthy foods are healthy for everyone. I, too, and still working on the right balance of foods and it took about a year before I noticed any improvement at all. I am so glad you are feeling better, Jacob. I hope it continues.
Warmly, Nicola

Reply

AG Ambroult May 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

great post, heather. Your tenacity and dedication to your son is really admirable. How great that he got to speak about Celiac?!

I took Heather’s 30-day vegan course last year and looooved it. That reminds me, I should peruse the class recipes while planning my next shopping trip :)

Reply

Mitigraphy June 26, 2012 at 2:47 am

You have a lovely blog and this post is one I can relate to completely. I live in a country where growing and sourcing farm fresh food is a no go. Add to that the farming practices are pretty bad with the biggest problem being usage of grey water. My daughter developed allergies to a variety of foods just before she turned one and we as parents were left a bit dumbfounded for a while. But accepting her diet as a signal to change ours has made a huge difference in dealing with a problem for which there is no reason or cure. She also didn’t gain any weight for almost 2 years but was an otherwise happy child. It is important to be critical of the modern day food chain because clearly it is affecting our lives.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: