There were four of us in medical school who studied together, drank coffee together, went to movies together, and ate at McDonald’s together. Medical school was almost fun because of these girls. We keep in good touch still. They all work, trying to shuffle life, kids, and gainful employment. When I stumbled upon dietary changes (big changes) to treat disease, I immediately shared my experience and research with my friends. There is one in particular who I harped and harangued on, in no gentle terms (I was meanly blunt), to change her eating and her kids’ eating due to a family history of celiac and dementia. She thought I was OVER THE TOP, and anyhow with working and moving, she just didn’t have the time. A year ago, she finally took the bull by the horns, caught THE KITCHEN ON FIRE WITH COCONUT OIL, and is as impressed as I am. We are working on a third medical school friend now, Dot, trying to help her see what this diet stuff can “cure” for her. On Monday, January 5th, Dot started “eating this way” as a two-week trial (Only two weeks? I’ll take what I can get.), and she recruited a friend from her residency, Hannah, to come along. All of us have been in communication by text and e-mail to support, cheer, and share ideas and recipes. Here is a letter my friend wrote to encourage Dot and Hannah in their endeavors. I am so proud of her! It is not easy to work, raise four kids, and put low inflammatory foods on the table! Or to defy the straight-jacket grip of traditional medicine.
Maybe the change in medicine’s stance on nutrition will occur in the home! One mom, one family at a time.
I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read her letter. It may be the encouragement you need to eat better and to convert your family. I wish I could share all of our texts and letters to keep you motivated, too. But this will have to do. This letter is shared with permission, changed names, and some italics/bolding/underlining/coloring/capitalization to perk it up for aesthetic purposes.
Try not to get discouraged. Yes, sugar withdrawal is real! At least for me! In fact, Terri will remember that early in my journey I concluded that it was not the gluten that I was addicted to, but the sugar! I personally can’t believe how much I’m noticing it just from the holidays, even though in all reality I didn’t consume that much sugar (compared to years past) because so many treats have gluten, which I never eat, and dairy, which I try to avoid as well…
I know you guys have kind of gone COLD TURKEY on everything, which in some ways is easier, but in other ways it’s harder. I personally prefer a “WEAN” period before I go cold turkey…it seems to make the absolute a little easier for me. But, the fact of the matter is, somehow you just have to make it through a few weeks, and then the cravings get much, much better!
When I first started a year ago, my main goal was to completely eliminate gluten, processed foods, and all refined sugars, using only honey and maple syrup. I have antibodies and am considered “sensitive,” my sister has celiac, and another sister is like me. Both of my daughters have the same gene for celiac as my sister and at least one of them most likely has celiac–unfortunately in retrospect we didn’t do antibodies in kids, just genetics, prior to d/c gluten, making it too late to check antibodies now. Both of my boys most definitely have issues with gluten and stopping gluten has eliminated a multitude of medical issues, including 8 and 10 years of GERD requiring PPIs [proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec]–which they are now off of, headaches that were occurring several times a week, and some neurological weakness in my oldest.
Anyways, when I stopped the gluten,I LITERALLY DREAMED OF MUFFINS AT NIGHT. I mean seriously, I am not making this up. It lasted about 2-3 weeks and then no more. It took several weeks to months and really the addition of no dairy to really feel better. My kids showed some improvements immediately (one daughter’s unexplained rash was gone within 3 weeks) and others over a longer period of time. I can absolutely tell when my kids get into food they shouldn’t. It’s way more noticeable now because it is a lot easier to pinpoint, and the behavior changes, etc are so much more pronounced. Food dye should be banned! I know Terri will second me on that! It’s waaaay worse than sugar, which I don’t worry all that much about with my kids!
It probably seems hard to do this forever (and the cooking is a pain in the butt, I will not lie) BUT eventually you will seriously feel so much better. And, you will likely bring your family along on your adventure, and they too will feel better. And, more amazingly, you will start to change your taste buds and actually prefer to eat this way! Terri and I comment all the time that we don’t realize how “weird” we eat. (Ok, for the record Terri eats way weirder than me! LOL!) We forget how far removed from the norm we are.
The craziest thing I’ve noticed is that despite complaints about too many vegetables and no junk food (total lie on my kids part, we have junk food, it’s just different than before!), MY KIDS ALSO PREFER TO EAT THIS WAY!!!! And, my oldest (11) will actually acknowledge he feels better (when he’s not being too sassy and disagreeable…). My kids do not eat very much at my parents or in-laws, and they normally pound the food at our house. We seriously think it’s because they now prefer fresh, unprocessed foods prepared the way we do (and don’t even get me started on our parent’s “attempts” at healthy…) Also, do not be discouraged if you have picky eaters! All 4 of mine would have qualified as EXTREMELY picky a year ago.
And, I might add that at the beginning dinners could be painful. HOWEVER, they seriously eat the food I fix. Now, not all of them eat all of what I fix. Everyone has their like and dislike list. However, they all eat way more vegetables than I could have ever dreamed of a year ago. When we first started, dinner every night was a meat and two vegetables. They didn’t have to eat both, but had to try one bite (occasionally I caved on the trying part) and then they could pick the one they wanted. People always say, my kids won’t eat that stuff, blah, blah. Guess what? Mine wouldn’t either, until there was NOTHING else to eat! Now, my oldest who hated broccoli (and still doesn’t like it) eats it without complaint. One day I commented on this, asking him if he’d grown to like it. His response, “well, I’ve had a lot worse.” Ha! He REALLY hates Brussels sprouts! It is a long process, and we so aren’t there yet at all in my house. I’m continually attempting to improve things. Just hang in there. It really does get easier.
And, Dot, no worries about the cookie bribery with your kids! I absolutely have been known to bribe veggie eating with dessert! In fact, especially at the beginning, I made quite a few almond flour cookies, muffins, etc, because I needed to keep my kids on board with this. And, I wanted the older ones to be willing to say “no” to the gluten treats at school, ballgames, etc, by providing non-gluten alternatives at home. I believe Terri has even been known to pay a kid to eat a vegetable! THE GOAL IS TO GET THEM TRYING THINGS, AND EVENTUALLY EATING THINGS. My kids actually eat a much larger variety of food in general now than they used to. And so do I for that matter! When my kids complain something is awful, that I agree really isn’t very good (my recipes do flop sometimes) my response is, “You’re right. It’s not the greatest, but is it edible? Then eat it. We can’t always be eating our favorite foods!” We are most definitely still evolving though.
I will text you guys pics of a couple of recipes that I have used this week. I think they fit the parameters of your diet, but not positive. However, they are very kid friendly, not that complicated, and “normal food” if you’re cooking for the whole family. We had sloppy joe’s last pm (I serve on romaine lettuce boats, some kids prefer eating with a spoon, or for a real treat I serve with a few “Boulder canyon” potato chips for dipping, which are just potatoes, avocado oil, and sea salt) and a beef roast in the crock pot tonight, that is a very easy recipe and several of my friends whom I have made it for after babies, surgery, etc have liked, and they are used to eating a “normal American” diet, so your families should approve!
Hang in there ladies. I will have to admit that you guys are motivating me. I actually got my butt on the treadmill for 30 minutes yesterday, and plan to do the same again today. (I realize you do not know me Hannah, but I hate exercising more than I love sugar! LOL)
Good luck with your cooking!
From Terri (me): So what do you think? Can you overhaul your nutrition? These medical doctor mamas are! I’m doing my best, in a very slow manner I know because my own family comes first, to provide you the research to back it up. To help you explain it to a spouse or a friend. I wish I could be faster. I try to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The research is there. Eat real food. Stay away from sugar and processed flours. Funnel in produce, fresh meats, and seafood. I know it’s hard. I know it’s expensive. But we cut costs when we quit buying junk food. Quit eating out much. And stopped paying like 12-15 copays a month. You can do this. ~~Terri