Many of you have read my personal journey of how I overcame years of Fibromyalgia symptoms by eliminating food additives from my diet; and I hope you will also take the time to read the guest post below from one of our readers, Cris Potter. We are incredibly grateful that she has taken the time to put into words her very own journey with food additives in an effort help others. It’s amazing what she went through over the years, and we are so pleased that she found a solution for herself! Please share with anyone who may benefit!
Hi, I’m Cris Potter, retired social worker, and wellness enthusiast extraordinaire. I live in Oceanside, California, a community in San Diego County, with my husband, Dave, and our two kitties, Lily and Freddie.
I love learning, gardening, cooking, crafts, yoga, biking, and lots more.
My health woes began in 1958, the year I was born.
Don’t worry, I’ll summarize…
Lifetime of insomnia, fatigue and migraines
Throughout the years, I’ve faced a lot of health challenges, but the most debilitating has been chronic insomnia. It began when I was an infant. I am certain of this because my mother, a typical well-intentioned mom, brought me to a doctor because she had never witnessed me sleeping. I was under a year old, and she had literally not seen me sleep. At night, when she checked on me, I was in bed, singing. I sang a lot, according to mom. I suppose it was better than crying.
Throughout my childhood, I can recall that night after night, I lay in bed and listened to an old clock chime on the hour and half hour. It was a pretty chime, but I grew to dread it. I still remember thinking, “Oh no, three gongs, then one at the half hour, and oh no! . . . there goes four . . . ,” and on it went. By the time I was in grade school, it was clear to me that the remaining five members of my family were enjoying a night of sound sleep, something I knew little about.
When I mentioned my insomnia to my mother, she repeated the same thing the doctor had told her years before, “Some people need more sleep than others. You’re fine.” Not surprisingly, I was frequently exhausted as a child, and although I wasn’t diagnosed as such, I struggled with a learning disorder. My mother couldn’t understand why my three siblings easily made good grades, and I often didn’t pass. She was afraid of holding me back a year in school because I would be in the same grade as my younger brother. She feared I would be bullied and called ‘flunky’ for the rest of my days. So summer school was a must for me. It was awful, and it didn’t help me read any better!
When I was in the third grade, my father, who was in the military, was transferred to Japan. My siblings and I received numerous vaccines. Every week for several months, we went to a military hospital for a shot. At about the same time, I began to experience a lot of dental issues. My mouth was filled with silver fillings. Within a few months of those events, I started to experience what I called, “The ants.” I felt as if there were swarms of ants crawling just under my skin. It was terrible, but not as bad as the chronic headaches that I had also developed. I was eight years old.
During those years, I became an outstanding day dreamer; and I continued to live in my inner world throughout the long nights. If you’re beginning to feel sorry for me, please don’t. In spite of my health challenges, I had a lot of fun. I was close to my siblings, and I had friends and a great ‘banana bike.’ I loved that bike! I really only had one problem – my health, or lack of it. Okay, maybe two problems – my poor health and my learning woes.
At school, I struggled along as best I could. Then, in the summer between sixth and seventh grade, a miracle occurred. I discovered that if I snipped a slit into a piece of white paper and isolated one line of text at a time, I could read pretty well. From that point on, everything improved for me academically – but not physically. I complained to my mother that I felt terrible most of the time. I can recall thinking, on more than one occasion, that I must be dying. My mother consoled me, took my temperature and told me that I was fine. But I knew it wasn’t true.
When the headaches got really bad, mom took me to several different doctors. It was clear to me that the doctors had no idea what I was talking about. Some of them actually scolded me for wasting their time. Since then, I haven’t been a big fan of our medical system. I have seen herbalists and naturopaths in the past; but the more I read about wellness, the more I decided to go it alone. Ironically, as a State of Alaska retiree, I have the best medical insurance money can buy. Yes, I would seek medical care in the case of a broken bone or trauma; but, other than that, I am not interested.
From my early teens and throughout the remainder of my life, I have been on a mission: To discover what was ailing me, and to resolve it. At some instinctual level, I knew it was the food. Knew it. The information seemed to be encoded in my DNA . . . I never doubted it, and I didn’t believe anyone who told me otherwise. Even so, it was a long and tedious road to wellness. Probably the biggest barrier to getting the fresh foods I craved was that my family had moved to Juneau, Alaska, when I began Junior High. There was very little fresh, whole food available.
I did my best, however; and, as a teenager, I grew wheat grass for smoothies in an indoor window box. I experimented with many different diets, supplements and health programs. I also started a program of daily exercise, a practice that I am still committed to. Even when I was terribly fatigued and had a roaring headache, I went to the gym. It helped me psychologically as much as it helped my physically. At times, I improved somewhat, but I still reverted back to insomnia, headaches and fatigue.
When I was in my early 20s, I moved to Anchorage, a much larger city. There was better food available, and I continued to study whatever health-related information I could get my hands on. I also enjoyed my life, worked full-time and got married to a great fellow, Dave. He shared my views on health, which was a good thing for both of us. Although I often didn’t feel well, I never gave up. I knew there was an answer; and I knew that, eventually, I would find it.
In the early 80s, I decided to have my amalgam fillings removed. I had eight of them, and I’d become concerned about the mercury they contained. I was fortunate to find a good dentist who could perform their removal safely. The fillings were so toxic that they had to be disposed of as “hazardous waste.” I continued to experiment with green smoothies, fasting, cleanses, etc. Little by little, I started to feel better. Even so, I still had plenty of setbacks. It was pretty frustrating.
My dietary changes
Around the late 90s, I came to the conclusion that the only way I could be assured of feeling well was to eat a strictly organic diet. Just about any commercial product, from condiments to canned goods, produced debilitating migraines and insomnia. I didn’t know what was in the food, but I knew that whatever it was, it was not being labeled. And I knew another thing: It was toxic.
I started making all of our food from scratch and using only certified organic ingredients. In time, I became a pretty good cook. Since retiring in 2005, and moving to California, I’ve made a lot of new friends who share my views on health and wellness. Some don’t, however, and that’s okay. When I connect with these folks socially, I bring my own food. I explain to them that, due to health challenges, I simply cannot eat commercially made food. If they don’t understand it, they at least accept it, and that’s good enough for me.
Research confirms my suspicions about food
It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve found scientific evidence for what I’ve known for years: That the commercial food supply in the U.S. is poisoned. Dr. Russell Blaylock is probably the best source of information on MSG (monosodium glutamate), which causes many health problems. MSG is in many processed foods, and it is not labeled. It is known to cause ADD, migraines, insomnia, fatigue, and many other health problems. I could go on and on, but if you haven’t already seen it, I’d recommend you watch Dr. Blaylock’s video entitled, “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” He also has a book on Amazon by the same name.
I’m also a big fan of Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has a great website, Mercola.com, and provides a free weekly newsletter. Dr. Mercola is focused on disease prevention, and he has a lot of excellent information on his site. These men, along with countless other professionals and citizens are working hard to get the word out to the public. Oh yeah, I don’t want to forget Christy Pooschke, whose website you’re currently on. I love to see young people like Christy spreading the word!
As a Californian, I am watching the debate to label genetically engineered foods (Prop 37) with interest. I have been an advocate for labeling for years, and I belong to numerous consumer groups that support labeling, as well as organic and sustainable farming. I never miss the opportunity to email or phone my representatives to express my views. My fingers are crossed that if Prop 37 passes, it will raise public awareness. I am hoping it will also set a precedent, and we can push for labeling of MSG, as well.
Since the 1970s, I have seen a steady grass-roots movement towards greater awareness of our food and how it is impacting the health of our nation. One thing that has surprised me from the onset, though, is how hostile many folks are about the notion that their food is unsafe. Because my health issues were so extreme, I was willing to try anything, and I do mean anything, to become well. I guess some people don’t like the idea of change, and that’s okay. Another big issue, I think, is our cultural conditioning to ignore our health, turn it over to a doctor, and take a pill. To my way of thinking, that is a prescription for disaster!
No MSG for me!
One thing people have asked me over the years is: “How can you be certain it is MSG that is the problem?” It is an excellent question, and one I will answer now. I became aware of my severe reaction to MSG during the 1970s, when it was in Chinese food and more frequently labeled. Many times, when I developed a particularly devastating migraine, I checked the labels and found MSG present. I became aware of a cascade of events that followed a large exposure. It started with a headache that rapidly worsened, and I frequently felt an uncomfortable itching just under my skin. As the day progressed, I braced for the night I knew was coming. Sleep would be out of the question, and I often had an odd urge to move my body. It wasn’t unusual for me to take off running at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning when I had been exposed to MSG. It may have been dangerous to run at this hour, but it helped me recover faster.
As time went on, I became very familiar with the sensations that followed exposure to MSG. When I began to notice the tell-tale signs of MSG exposure, but I could no longer find MSG listed on food labels, I thought perhaps a similar product had been put on the market. I read labels religiously, and in fact, I recorded everything I ate for a number of years. I didn’t realize at that time that food companies could legally add unlabeled MSG to products by diluting it to 98%. When I learned that MSG had been added to baby foods for decades, an inner alarm started to sound. I felt pretty certain that MSG had been the primary culprit in much of my suffering.
I say MSG was the ‘primary’ culprit because I know that nitrates produce a similar reaction in my system. Most of the time, however, nitrates are labeled and easy to avoid. In my long journey from sickness to health, I did a lot of research on the food production in the U.S. My health challenges and my intuition told me it wasn’t ideal, but I found out that it was far worse than I could have imagined. The more I read about genetically modified organisms, nitrates in meats, not to mention the growth hormones, antibiotics and gmo foods that are fed to cows, I realized that I didn’t want any of it in my body! As I mentioned earlier, I have only one guarantee for feeling well, and that is avoid all commercially made products. Because I know that there is no truth in food labeling in the U.S., 90% of what I eat has no label at all! Yes, I do eat organic chicken, cheese, and occasionally organic bread and pasta (imported from Italy); but for the most part, I make everything from scratch, and purchase only organic produce.
The good news
A word of encouragement here . . . You can be well. Yes, it takes a lot of work and commitment, but the results are absolutely worth it. In my mid-fifties, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life. Yes, I’ve had a couple of ‘MSG smack-downs’ over the last few years when I’ve gone to restaurants. As a result, I no longer eat out. On the rare occasions when I am socially obligated to eat out, I bring my own food in a baggie and do the old ‘switch-er-roo.’ Yes, I actually swap my organic food for what is on the plate. Having suffered for so many years, I absolutely refuse to have one more minute of sickness! Now I enjoy sound sleep every night and don’t get migraines any more. I’ve got tons of energy, too. I honestly believe that our bodies want to be healthy! We have control over what we put into our bodies, and we can bring about change. Every time you purchase food, you vote with your dollar. In a capitalist, consumer-driven society, spenders are king. Spend wisely.
In his guest post below, reader Jack Meyers shares how he stopped his years of “yo-yo dieting” and adapted a lifestyle change based on “clean eating” to maintain his weight and end his battle with binging once and for all! So what about you? Have you lost weight and kept it off by eating a real foods diet? What tips can you share with others who would like to do the same? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below….
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“Striking a Balance with Diet” (by Jack Meyers)
When I first started dieting and exercising six years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I did a little preliminary research, started working out five to six times per week, and restricted myself to 1,500 calories a day. I religiously counted calories, obsessed over the calorie burns on the exercise machines, and always ran into the same problem: inevitably, after a few weeks, I would throw my diet out the window and binge. Fast food, sodas, desserts… you name it, I demolished it during a one- to two-day binge fest before feeling guilty and hopping back on the diet and exercise bandwagon.
It took me a long time to figure out why this kept happening. I obviously didn’t completely lack self-control, because I had enough discipline to get myself to the gym every day and to make “smart” food choices during most weeks. What I lacked was knowledge. I fell victim to the same marketing ploys that many people fall victim to – I saw 100-calorie snacks and equated that with healthy. I saw “low-fat,” “reduced-fat,” and “fat-free” and assumed those were good for me. I completely deprived myself of anything I deemed a “bad” food until I inevitably lost all self-control. I got stuck in this vicious cycle of self-destruction until, one day, I woke up and decided things had to change. In order to maintain a clean diet most of the time without going on binges, I started following these principles:
- Start every day with a healthy, protein-packed breakfast. Cereal may be a typical breakfast food, but unless it’s balanced out with some protein, fresh produce and healthy fats, it’s not going to do much in the way of keeping you full for long; and the simple carbohydrates are going to have you craving more. Instead, I try to eat a balanced breakfast of a mix of eggs and egg whites with veggies, a serving of lean meat, and a side of fruit. The high protein content keeps me full for hours and sets a healthy tone for the day.
- Make it a point to fill half your plate with veggies. Veggies are like a free food as far as I’m concerned. They offer a variety of health benefits, they fill you up, you can prepare them a number of different ways, and they’re low calorie. When it comes to health foods, it doesn’t get much better than that! So every meal I try to stock up on veggies. Not only does it make you feel better, but it makes you want to continue to make good choices.
- Choose the right carbohydrates. When you think of carbs, what do you think of? I used to equate carbs with breads, pastas, and cereals – which are all foods that are packed with preservatives, weird ingredients, and a lot of empty calories that leave me craving more of the same type of carbs. These days, I try to get the majority of my carbs from a much healthier source: fruit. Fruits contain the kind of carbs your body needs, and help satisfy any sweet cravings you may have. The next time you find yourself craving carbs, grab some fresh berries or an apple with natural peanut butter instead.
- Allow a little bit of wiggle room. I typically try to let about 20% of my total diet be up for grabs. That means I try to derive about 80% of my calories from wholesome, real food choices, but I leave a little extra room for a glass of wine one night or a piece of chocolate the next. By allowing a small amount of indulgences into my diet, I’m much less likely to feel deprived and go on a binge.
Once you start eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, you’ll start to notice a shift in how you feel. You’ll find yourself more energized, more focused, and more alert, and the cravings you have for unhealthy fare will start to diminish – at least it did for me. And by allowing a small amount of room in my diet for my favorite unhealthy foods, I find I’m able to stick to a mostly clean diet pretty easily.
Jack Meyers is a freelance writer and regular contributor at www.nannybackgroundcheck.com/. He has a passion for various subjects like education, career and technology, parenting etc. If you have any questions, email Jack at jackmeyers08 @ gmail.com
It’s difficult for me to believe, but just 5 short years ago, my kitchen was fully-stocked with commercial “diet” products. My freezer and cabinets were filled with “low calorie” frozen meals….weight loss and protein bars…and, yes, even….(gasp!) diet pop and sugar-free gum! Like so many Americans, that is what I thought I needed to do anytime I wanted to drop a few pounds. Of course, now I cannot imagine ingesting any of those products! Not only are they comprised of mysterious chemical ingredients, but they also taste… horrible! (Of course, at the time I convinced myself that I liked them – – because I wanted to lose weight! Yikes!) Luckily, I now realize that these weight loss gimmicks and products are SO not necessary, and they actually deplete our health in the long run. So I just stick with eating an additive-free diet, instead!
In her guest post below, wellness coach Jedha D. shares with us how she lost weight without any “specially-formulated” shakes or other “diet products” – by just eating real, unprocessed foods! She was even kind enough to include one of her favorite, figure-friendly recipes below! Check it out!
So what about you? Have you lost weight and kept it off by eating a real foods diet? What tips can you share with others who would like to do the same? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below….
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Weight Loss the Easy Way = REAL FOOD Nutrition! (by Jedha D.)
When it comes to weight loss, it really seems to baffle so many people. We chase the diet fads and the bright shiny objects that claim to help us lose weight fast. We get drawn into the advertising campaigns, the ‘so called’ truthful claims, and the airbrushed images that portray perfectly beautiful bodies.
Weight loss is easy! I know because, after years of yo-yo dieting, I discovered real food and lost the 33 pounds that I had gained. I learned about the types of foods that cause weight gain and health deterioration, and I got them out of my life for good!
Since then I have never looked back, I can sustain my weight easily and I am more healthy and vibrant than I have ever been. I’m here to share the real truth about weight loss so you can stop chasing all the shiny objects coming your way and buckle down to getting some real and long-lasting results!
Real Food Nutrition
When it comes to weight loss, it’s ALL about real food nutrition!
That’s right! 80-90% of your results are going to come from what goes in your mouth! The other 10-20% can be boosted through exercise. So if you’ve been running wild on those cardio machines at the gym and not getting anywhere, then maybe you’ve just realized why.
Yes, it’s ALL about the food. And despite what many people think, you do not have to starve yourself to lose weight either. You simply have to eat the right foods, real foods!
So the simple equation to real weight loss results is to get your nutrition right, eating the right foods that promote weight loss and improved health. That’s it!
Okay, right now you may be thinking…I’ve heard all this before. But just wait a minute. Has anyone told you what those right foods are? Has anyone told you that a calorie does not just equal a calorie?
Not all calories are created equal. Junk foods, sugar, and even grain-filled foods are all empty calories that do not promote weight loss. They are the type of things you need to cut out in order to lose weight effectively. Additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and excess chemicals all have to be cut out of the equation for best results.
So what foods promote weight loss? Believe it or not, it is proteins and fats! Chicken, eggs, beef, pork, and turkey are all good protein sources. Avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut cream, and a few nuts are all good fats that promote weight loss. Of course, you still need a big variety of vegetables and a bit of fruit. So to lose weight easily you combine a source of protein with a variety of vegetables and a bit of healthy fat at every meal.
It’s not rocket science; it’s actually that simple and works every time! That doesn’t mean your diet is boring. Far from it because there is actually loads of variety and hundreds of tasty dishes you can make. Essentially you eat real food that is tasty, satiating, and super good for you. That’s the whole idea, right?
It’s not all about just losing those pounds; the focus should be on getting healthy so you feel great as well. One thing is for sure; you must get your nutrition sorted out. Clean up your diet, and you will lose weight without fail so you can finally stop chasing all those bright shiny objects and sustain a healthy weight and a vibrant life forever!
Here’s a delicious real food recipe that is good for you and your waistline (click picture to enlarge)! 🙂
- 6 lamb cutlets
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 egg – beaten
- 1 cup almond meal
- Coconut oil or olive oil for cooking
- 2 cups lettuce – shredded
- 1 cucumber – halved and sliced
- 1 tomato – halved and sliced
- 1 carrot – grated
- 1/2 red bell pepper – diced
- 1/2 lemon
- Olive oil
1. Trim the cutlets of any really big chunks of fat around the edges of the cutlet
2. Pat the cutlets flat between your hands and set aside
3. Place the flour on a plate and the egg in a bowl
4. Place the almond meal on a separate plate. Put the ingredients in line in this order: flour, egg and then the almond meal.
5. Take the cutlets one at a time, and first coat them lightly in flour. Second, coat them in egg; and lastly coat them very well with almond meal, pushing the cutlets well into the nutty mix to coat them thoroughly. Then set aside on another plate.
6. Repeat the process for all the cutlets.
7. Place a thin film of oil in the pan so it completely covers the bottom of the pan. Then heat the pan until the oil is hot and ready for shallow frying.
8. Place the lamb cutlets in the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. You may have to reduce the heat on the second side to allow them to cook through at a slower rate.
9. Watch them carefully because you don’t want to overcook them. When you think they are done and the crumbs are nicely browned, turn the heat off and let them sit in the pan covered for 5-10 minutes. This resting period will complete the cooking and they will be ready to serve.
10. While they are resting, mix the salad together in a bowl and divide onto 2 plates. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil.
11. Serve your cutlets with the salad, and you have a delicious and tasty meal. Yum!
As you can see, this meal contains a good protein source in the lamb, some fats in the olive oil, and a little carbohydrate in the salad, making it a well-balanced meal.
These are the kind of delicious meals you can eat every day, and you certainly never feel deprived. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy!
Jedha D. is a weight loss and wellness coach who is passionate about helping people get off the merry-go-round and change their life from the inside out. She helps people achieve better weight loss results and a lifestyle they love, with real food and positive mindset changes. She is the author of a paleo breakfast cookbook and 30-day meal plans, and she writes an active real food health blog over at Paleo Weight Loss Coach.