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Inspired Living

How I Eat (Part 1: An Overview of my Food Journey)

Sarah Stanley

If you follow me on Twitter, you've seen the photos I post of the meals I prepare and eat. While this is second nature to me, I've realized that the rest of you are curious about the food I eat. Over the next few weeks I'll share with you my food journey, the foods I don't eat, the foods I do eat, the foods I crave, what I drink, what I don't drink - my personal seven health principles. But first, an overview of my food journey.

I've always been a really healthy eater. From childhood, the food on my plate was a lot of fresh, organic veggies (that I planted, raised, harvested with my bare hands), fruit, organic whole wheat flour (that I ground), whole milk and then skim milk, goats milk that I milked (make sure they don't eat onions!), honey versus white sugar, 100 percent pure maple syrup that I helped make from maple trees on our farm (fun fact: it takes 40 gallons of raw sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup), drank my first soy milk when it first came out (1986? 1985?), ate kale before it became the 2012 buzz word (back in the early '80s), only drank water (no soda, barely any juice and no coffee), and if we ate meat we killed it. I knew where my food came from, how it was raised and the blood, sweat and tears it took to get that tomato on my plate.

I started cooking and baking at the age of 5. I began making breakfast then lunch and dinner. Everything was made from scratch, all organic and of course tons of vegetables. I enjoyed experimenting and creating new dishes. I cooked with fresh herbs and whatever was in season. It's probably why the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in a house. I love, love to cook and prepare tasty, colorful dishes for other people. If you've ever had my cooking, you know this first hand.

For four years (1994-1997) I had a successful bakery with my two younger sisters where we made everything from scratch. We ground organic wheat berries to make the whole wheat flour, we used honey  (I remember lugging 50 pound buckets of fresh honey up to the kitchen) vs. white sugar, we used all organic ingredients, fresh, in-season fruit, fresh organic brown eggs, organic dairy and of course made with a lot of tender loving care.

Translation = no processed crap, no food dyes, no additives, etc. in the food we ate. If it was a cookie, cake or tart, it was made with the freshest, purest and organic ingredients.

I remember when Muir Glen, Garden of Eden, Cascadian Farms and Stonyfield Farms weren't household brand names. Yes, I now feel old.

When I went to college, my body was shocked that the rest of the world didn't eat like I had. It was a great eye-opener. After college, I was happy to be back in my own kitchen and cooking/baking again!

Then in the early 2000s I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. For being so young I thought it was ridiculous that I was put on a variety of medicines instead of being encouraged to look at other treatments. (Prescribing pills is quick. Healthy treatments can be a long process.) I strongly dislike medicine(s) and took myself off them after a few months and began other methods of natural treatment and making sure the food I ate was organic and as fresh as possible. Much like I grew up on. For the first couple of years my body seemed to do well with it and I was happy that I ditched the medicine. Then my training started to increase and other added stress began to take its tole on my body and my endocrinology and adrenal system took a huge hit. My body responded my treating everything I ate as inflammatory. Now a little side note. Autoimmune diseases need anti-inflammatory foods. Combined with turning older (God bless aging), I needed to do something different.

So, I started experimenting with the foods I was eating. I did extensive research and came to the conclusion that I should take grains out of the food I was eating. A few months later I took dairy out. I loved cheese. I thought it would be really hard for me not to have it, but you know what? A few months into it I decided to have a cube of cheese at a party and I couldn't stand it. Proof that your body can learn new tricks. And by taking grains and dairy out of the food I ate, it pretty much eliminated sugar as well.

Since removing all dairy, grains (not just wheat or "Gluten Free"), legumes (and I loved beans) and pretty much all sugar I've noticed substantial positive body improvements. My body isn't fighting with itself (as much). I'm still a work in progress. I do have an occasional - and when I say occasional that means one or two times a month - a baked goodie. Like a cupcake.

Now I have many things to say about all the above. I wish I could write them all right now. But you don't want to read the entire journey right now.  And I need to keep your interest so you'll come back and read the rest of it :).

However, I'll leave you with a few thoughts based upon my research, working with people across the country, traveling across the country and my own personal opinions. I'll explain in greater detail in future parts what exactly I mean by each point. Here they are. Get ready, they are deep (laugh, it's a joke).

1) Too much dairy in our 'diet' (diet meaning the food we eat, not a diet plan)

2) Soy is not a health food

3) We don't know where our food comes from, how it is made or how it made it onto our plate

4) We mask our disease with pills vs. healing our bodies with real food that God created

5) We buy packaged food - wrappers, boxes, bags, etc. vs. buying or growing fresh produce

6) Farms and farmers are being replaced by developments OR being paid to genetically (GMO) grow crops (corn being a great example) (The food we eat today is vastly different then the food we ate 10, 50, 100 years ago)

7) We are a lazy, sick nation instead of being a hard working, healthy nation when it comes to our health and the food we eat

8) I believe we have the ability to heal our bodies (granted with God's help) and it is our responsibility to take care of the body God gave us (as well as the land He created)

In the coming weeks we'll discuss these points, I'll share the foods I do eat, recipes I've created, some of the myths and truth behind the different foods and why I believe that if everyone took their health as seriously as I do, some of the health problems we are seeing might cease to exist or be drastically reduced.

 

peace, sweat, love: life