Friday, April 13, 2012

change can hurt. doesn't mean it's wrong though.

Have you ever just mourned something so profound, it makes your heart & soul hurt for what could have been??... Speaking for myself, I have many times (too many to reminisce, nor would I want too!)… But this last one has really thrown me for loop. I have recently been re-evaluating our diet and health as a family. And I can honestly say, I could easily believe we are the average Americans household. Eating a home cooked meal 5 times a week with a couple of fast food options during our 7 day week due to scheduling difficulties/ obligations…. No biggy right??.... and I have always promoted the best nutritional/ benefits caloric intake over the best taste option for my family for as long as I could remember, during those outings… but, recently I feel like my ignorance has completely, close-lined me. I’m talking; “are you F@cking serious?”, “Shit.”, “that can’t be right, Right??”, and… “Wow, I’m such a dumb.ass!”kind of slap in the face, wrong.  I really always thought that I was on the right health path.

See… when you wake up at 23 with a husband, 2 baby boys, your own home and you’re been hit across the head with the ugly Autism stick against your youngest baby boy… all you can do is live in a perpetual state of survival mode. It’s a much known fact within my private circle that I didn’t sleep for over a month after his diagnosis (truth)… And you do so… with no questions asked, because hurt like that for your children motivates you to an entire different place of existence in this life. You learn about the crazy world of sensory integration, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, environmental doctors, naturopathic doctors, Floor Time therapy and home based Applied Behavioral Analysis,  mineral & vitamin supplements, and certainly diet.

And then after several years of due diligence and dedication… you see a change. A real turning point, one where you can once again engage your child on a mutual level. Where he sees you as much as you’ve... always seen him. An awaken… of sorts, if you will. And all seems right, if only for your small sacred family. And a few years go by like this in your land. The land where the trials, don’t amount to IV’s and chelation to detoxify heavy metals… but, where passing on a class field trip involving water or choosing to not push a vacation from 4 days to 7, in fear of your son’s reaction are the most pressing issues. Fucking gravy, these years and I am so thankful for every  damn day of them. They all become a bit more quite and calm; but, they makes me curious about what else is in my world.

So… I start digging around, and end up opening a whole new can of worms (pandora's box, to me.). And it hurt. After watching Food Inc, Knives Over Forks, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead too… plus ordering a shit ton of new books to research and learn from… I just cried. Cried, until I was a hiccuping mess and regretful that while I was battling one monster, I was feeding another. I’m pretty sure this family has just started falling into that damn rabbit hole again. One where you only hope to reach the ground on your feet.  it is true that I’m not one to judge another… especially for how they choose to live there life, but if I had one, singular, "issue"… it would honestly be; that if you know the right way and choose to do less (because it’s easier), then how do you ever expect the world to evolve into something greater than it is today for… you or yours??? I have to make a change. And it won’t be easy, but it will be right. Please, don't misunderstand either... i love and am  grateful for the chance to keep learning every secret to becoming a great mother and wife, even if it humbles me personally in the process. i just want mine to always be healthy.  

If any of you care to watch these documentaries and would like to take this ride with me… Id’ love to have ya! Xoxoxo

X, Heather

ps... i'll pick the Auiril winner on Sunday ( maybe even two ), however... i just think think this is more important for today.


  1. Heather, while I haven't watched those documentaries, or walked in your shoes, I'd like to let you know that I understand. In some small way.

    My daughter was born with hearing loss and I remember it - the therepy 6x a month, constant doctors appointments and evaluations. My husband has been fighting a hard battle with food for years and it makes me look at our society and what food has become. I'll say a prayer for you and your family - it's a hard but rewarding life - keep living it! :)

  2. oh heather! i am so sorry! xoxo. i watched fat, sick, and nearly dead but i haven't seen forks over knives but i will watch it tomorrow! :)

  3. I definitely understand where you are coming from. I've recently seen two of the docs you referred to and I'm reeling from some of the realizations I've come to as a result. I think it's awesome that you're going to make changes and it encourages me that I can find the resolve to do the same. Here's to something greater!

  4. As someone outside of the US I haven't got Netflix. Could you give the names of the documentaries you watched aa without the subject matter your post is only half informative. Very frustrating!

  5. It so badly sucks when life deals us a curve ball! I understand that crazy wheeling feeling only too well. I tried to take a look at the documentaries you mentioned but they only displayed as the Netflix sign-up page. If you get chance to let me know the names of them I'll see if I can check them out :-) hugs to you xx

  6. wow! good for you in doing the research (hard work!) I am not a member of Netflix so can't view what you've been watching... I know my daughter would be just as interested. She's a stay-at-home-mom to my 17 mth old grandson and a "retired" special ed teacher, trying to be the best mom, etc., etc. Good luck in your quest!

  7. I'm sorry for your struggle Heather, I can only imagine how painful it must be for you. Many of us have struggles with our children, ours is depression. I'm one of those people who believe that vaccines and diet severely affect our brain and body chemistry.

    Another documentary you might want to wach is "The Medicated Child" and "The Brain that Changes Itself"

    My thoughts are with you,


  8. H, the videos aren't available in my country. Can you please leave a title?

  9. It all sounds intriguing, I tried to watch the documentaries but I woulda had to join Netflix and I'd rather not have to join another online service. Is there somewhere else like Youtube for this?


  10. :big hugs: change is really tough but you're right - it doesn't make it wrong, it is probably a really good thing. And more healthful food certainly sounds like a worthy reason!!! I am intrigued and keen to come on the journey - we are slowly moving in that direction too, though I confess I have resisted watching the movies because - erm, i think I'm scared? (How pathetic! But true! Baby steps...and thanks for being a good influence!!!)good luck!

  11. Hi Heather, great post and ot's made me curious, and it sounds like you must've been really moved by them (errr understatement alert) but because I'm not a netflix subscriber I can't see which documentaries you mean - is it possible for you to add the names in there so my curiosity can be cured? xxx

  12. Good morning Heather! I clicked on your links, but each time was directed to a Netflix log-in. ??? I feel your pain, and think you're quite wonderful to be such a proactive she-bear regarding your family's health. Gotta do whatcha gotta do. Seems everything food-wise that we buy these days is chock-full of shit-crap. Nasty, nasty. We have a acreage, and have resorted to raising two beef cows each summer. No hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides; happy, loved, well-cared for livestock = healthy meat. I buy local organic eggs, and try very hard to be a locavore shopper. Have you watched the documentary Food, Inc.? That one is an eye-opening stunner. If you have time, please provide links again----and take heart! you're not in this alone! Many of us are also just now waking up to smell the coffee......take care and be strong!!!

  13. I'm going to chime in here and say that I have seen Food, though the other two are now in my queue. It's always heartbreaking when you think you're doing everything you can, that you've found the right path and it feels like sunshine, then you turn a corner and there's a kick in the pants with a Cheshire grin just waiting for you to try dancing by.
    Fight with the knowledge of fighting you have and then add to your arsenal. Documentaries like Food open our eyes and then we choose to do things differently, lovingly. (Nice way of not stating that it feels like we've been whacked over the head with the information! But I swear, the load gets lighter…And yes, I wish government regulations were such that we could all eat store-bought without ridiculously high, invisible health risks). Now your ears will be open to doing/eating differently and you will be in contact with people who can help guide you along this new path.
    I asked my son to watch it with me (16) and then we talked about differences we could/want to make. We've implemented many of them, including purchasing enough farm-raised chickens to get us through next winter (we will pay to have them cage free, veg diet, and then the final processing so they're ready for the freezer).
    Guaranteed, something like that is coming your way!

  14. I hope that you will be able to step back from those food related documentaries and remember that while there is some useful info, there is also some extreme emotion that comes from looking at nutrition through a microscope. You lose sight of the big picture. And the food/autism dilemma is far from answered. It's easy to get caught up in one person's view.

  15. I've seen those. King Corn and Fat Head were interesting also. I wish you well on this new journey. Change can hurt. Especially the way we eat. Thanks for sharing, Heather!

  16. Hi, I have not yet watched the docs. I feel for you girl, and please know that you are not alone. Life is not easy. I am happy that you are sharing. With others, you can and will get through this. You are one tought cookie. We all go through things in life, but please remember the most important are given only what is known that you can handle, even if we don't think we can handle it. xoxo, it will get better and you and yours will too.

  17. I put them on my list to watch today. Maybe if it really snows this weekend it'll be an incentive to stay home.

    It's amazing when you take a step back from every day life isn't it!

  18. Heather,

    I have been following your blog for some time, but I think this is the first time I have ever posted a comment. GOOD FOR YOU!!! I am speaking as both a farmer and also as someone who has worked with the ASD community for almost 20 years (I am a child psychologist). The food we eat is so important not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. Please, do not feel badly about anything you have fed your kids in the past, but just move forward with this new information and do the best you can. It is a long path. I also suggest you check out a British author/tv host named Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his series called River Cottage. You can find some of his shows online. If you liked Food Inc. you will LOVE his show. Good for you, momma, stay strong!!!

  19. I just noticed yesterday that my 18 year old son has Food Inc. on our Netflix instant cue. I am definitely going to watch it today.
    I know in my own family, we have slowly been making the change over the past few years. I, as much as possible, shop around the outer edges of the grocery store, buy organic for many things, but always for poultry, and dairy. We don't eat a ton of beef, but I have been buying grass fed. (so expensive!).
    I really started doing it because of the animals. I feel like animals that are raised on organic farms have a much better life than those raised on massive high production enterprises.
    The result for us has been terrific. We feel so much better, have lost weight and now the thought of eating anything processed is repulsive.
    My kids were slower to come around, but, now my son says the processed bread he used love tastes horrible, and he will only eat the whole grain bread that I buy now. Baby steps! :)

  20. Food is an insane journey. I'm guessing since you have the A-hammer in your family, you are probably on the GAPS or SCD diet. If not, those are some great things to google.

    There's even more food documentaries on netflix. I've watched all of them at one time. All you need to do is really just relax. Pick from what you like and see how it works in your family. I have a post on my blog I wrote as a guide to why I eat the way I do.

    Some say that animal products are bad for your health then others say animals are important because that's how we ate as cavemen. Then there is the juicers and raw people. If you are looking at juicing, I seriously suggest checking out John Kohler's youtube videos. Like Breville vs Omega to pick the right one for you. The Breville is what they used in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead but I did extensive research and am now completely in love with my Omega Vert. I can juice and make nut milk. The hubs and I adore this dude's videos.

    We don't have the ASD in our house but we had a very close call with my oldest daughter. See I had to go off wheat because it made me very sick. In my sickest days, I was unable to communicate. Trapped in my head. Unable to talk or even control my body movements. I went off a bunch of food and was healthy. Then my first daughter was born and had her first reaction to her first taste of gluten. I stopped and gave it another try many months later and she was unable to talk, barely could walk and just screamed while I held her.

    The moral of the story is I'm super obsessed with food. I know almost everything about every bit of food we put in our bodies. I make a choice about every food and it all becomes second nature after awhile. If you have some more crazy food crap to ask about, there is a good chance I know all about it and have researched the pros and cons. My Besties, Jenny

  21. I Loved Food inc and have recently transitioned to organic and I mean no , It might be organic, no I mean we dOnt eat out anymore unless it's an organic restaurant to avoid disgusting GMO food. Did u know they add viral, monkey, aborted cell DNA foots genetically modified food? Gag gross and morbidly unhealthy. In fact we are growing tons of our own food this year and cutting out a bunch of dairy and meat. Check out FoodMatters on Netflix too. Thanks for the post and eat well!

  22. I usually just stop by to look at the fun stuff you sew. But we've been changing the way we eat too. Here is a blog that you might be interested in -

  23. Heather, you are an amazing woman, mother, wife, and blogger! Keep the faith and try to enjoy the journey, even the hard parts! You know how the quiltblog world can cheer us up on a bad day, or offer a solution to some stitchy issue? There's a whole blogging and flickring vegan world, too! You've just hooked into a whole new set of support! :-). Try reading the kind diet by Alicia silverstone. Possibly weird how she feeds her son, but her book and her website are, just as the title suggests, kind.

  24. Heather, I hope you don't beat yourself up too much. Life is such a learning process and obviously you've been doing great things for your family with the knowledge you had. Now that you've discovered new information I have confidence that you will find the right choices for your family. You are one tough Momma!

  25. Best of luck with your journey. I know that I'm a stranger but you have my support and love.

    As a teacher, I have been interested in the loss of connection with food that has ruined our health and our prospects for a healthy future. I will probably check out those docs. My own diet leaves much to be desired but I try to choose the real foods over the fake ones. I cringe every time someone reaches for a chemically-laden processed non-food because it's only "one point" instead of grabbing an apple.

    A book you might want to pick up, not really related to food, is Daniel Tammet's Born on a Blue Day. He's a person has the rare ability to articulate his experience of being on the autism/asperger's spectrum. Great read.

  26. Hello everyone! I see some people frustrated that you can't watch these films on Netflix, but they are ALL available for free online:

    Forks over Knives:

    Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead:

    Also - watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to see what is happening in the public school system's lunch program:

    Food, Inc.

  27. Heather ((((HUGS)))))!!!! You are an amazing mama and a wonderful person for putting it all out here for others to share and learn.

    I have been absolutely obsessed with food since reading Is This Your Child in 1993. I had a child that was allergic to food coloring and one with SID. I have read many books over the years and try my best to give the least processed possible at all times. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children, teaching food responsibility is something that will stay with them always ( even if they rebel especially during the teen years). My grown sons (24 and 21)are both healthy eaters and have actually thanked me for being persistent in making sure they stayed on a healthy diet.

  28. Something I neglected to say in my first comment, but was thinking the entire time I read your post, is "give yourself a break."
    Of course, I've never met you but, I am a longtime follower. My sense of you is that you are genuine, diligent and ernest in all things, but none more so than your family. I feel quite certain that you have left no stone unturned in the quest to provide, not only your child with autism, but your whole family what it needs.
    You paused and took a breath in these last few "gravy years." You needed that pause. So did your family. You all needed time to acclimate to the new normal. Now, you can continue on the path. There are many to the top of the mountain. Explore and figure out what works best for you and your little tribe. I have no doubt that you will find the right one!
    (PS Please come to Sewing Summit so I can tell you in person the difference you have made in my path as a rank amateur sewist!)

  29. Wow, I am so sorry that this has rocked your world. I know exactly what you mean though. I was pretty sick for a long while, and in my "survival mode" I fed my children and husband foods that I knew were not the best choices, and I still (and probably always will) feel guilty for that. I had a pretty major surgery and felt better, but I was still so worn down (and having so many digestive issues) and just felt like I couldn't get my energy level back. I just recently watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and it really made me think. We decided to go with the vitamix instead of a juicer (waste, mess, and fiber, and such), and now we have a green detox smoothie every morning for breakfast and many other fruit/veggie smoothies mixed in and we are watching so much more of our diet. I have felt so much better that I am actually starting to run (couch to 5k based app, I am on week 3!!!). I am finally feeling myslef again. I think that as mom's we always carry guilt for what we didn't do or could've done, but you really were doing the best you could for your family at that time with what you knew and what tools you had. Now that you know more, you will be able to make better choices, and your family's little bodies can heal and recover. And in the end, I know I will never be perfect, and know or do all that I could/should, so I just pray that the Lord makes up the difference for all that.
    PS. What books did you read? Do you recommend any of them as must have info? And I would love to hear more details about what changes you will be making.

  30. I hear ya! I've been going through a lot of the same thing lately. It feels like from one day to the next I woke up a single mom and have just been scraping by since in a fog of depression and overwork. Sadly, I have been thinking about how I need to take Monday off from work, just so I can cook my kid a decent meal one night this week for dinner. How pathetic. Even though we don't eat fast food or drink soda, I still know that I can do better. I have started a small garden in the backyard, and have taught myself to can food. It's a start. Baby steps. And right now, it's the best I can do since some days it's hard just getting out of bed. I will watch those documentaries. Now I am curious....

  31. Hi heather! This was a really moving post. I started drinking green smoothies sometime back (BTW blending is better than juicing) and I feel so great! I need less coffee and food to get through a day! I appreciate the movie titles. I just watched the previews and they made me a little weepy. It's one thing to change your own habits but getting change in the rest of the family is so hard. I'm going to watch these with my family and hope that it inspires some changes in my boys. Thank you for being willing to post something so personal!

  32. Now I have to watch. Hugs heather hang in there.

  33. We are lucky as we have acreage and raise our own beef and chickens and eggs. I garden as much as possible. I am starting to study the Paleo diet and am trying to make small changes slowly. My husband is diabetic and does not really eat as he should. Just keep trying. We'll be rooting for you.

  34. I'm scared to watch these, although I've been wanting to for awhile. I have been reading and looking into the Paleo for months now, but not sure I can make that commitment. I don't think I can give up my cheese... My son has food and speech issues that have been challenging to deal with. I can only imagine what you've been thru, hang in there :)

  35. I found your blog from a reference about Modern Quilting but am so touched by your loving comments as a mother and wife. You write and express yourself beautifully. I am sorry for the complications in your life, but your family is so fortunate to have you.
    Learning is a part of life please do not spend negative time over what you didn't know, you are journeying on the right road.
    I have watched the food videos you mentioned (and more) and have been amazed at what is legal and what passes as food.
    You may want to check out Dr. William Davis. We found him 3 years ago after my husband's heart attack @ 53 (Web site: Track your Plaque; book: Wheat Belly) when we began our journey to better health. Many reviews of his book characterize it as a "diet", I believe it is a lifestyle choice. We raise chickens for eggs, belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture - usually organic farms sustained through the support of members) and frequent a local organic & grass fed farmer's market in the summer.
    Make changes as you are able and as you can afford and replace worry with love (as It seems evident you do).
    Wishing you the best on your journey,

    Denise Minger @ wrote a very informative (albeit technical) review of Forks Over Knives, and is an amazing 24 year old

    I have found being wheat (and mostly grain) free that I eat much less and am rarely hungry.

  36. Hi Heather,

    I just wanted to pipe in here to say that the day I watched Forks over Knives was the last day I ate meat and dairy/eggs. It completely changed my entire world!! I'd been eating mostly vegetarian for about two years so that part wasn't hard...but cheese is in everything! And it's delicious. But I never knew it was so bad for my body.

    Food Inc. made me so sad. Animal cruelty is the reason I became a vegetarian in the first place...Knives over Forks just added another reason to avoid it whenever possible.

    I'm not sure what path you're taking after watching these films...vegetarian, vegan, something else entirely...but I promise it will get will make new habits, find new favorite recipes.

    I know exactly what you're going through...over the past two years, I changed my diet from pretty much only carbs/meat/dairy/processed foods to a healthy diet of whole grains, vegetables and REAL foods. I feel so much better physically and mentally...and my conscience is clear.

    When I started changing my diet, I found it was pretty depressing to make my favorite recipes vegetarian/ first, you'll totally miss the cheese/meat and it won't taste as good as what you're used to. Instead, what helped me was to try completely new recipes so I had nothing to compare them to. Either they tasted good (yay!) or not (that's okay, just try a different one tomorrow).

    Also, I found Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to be interesting...he's trying to get the processed foods out of the school systems.

    He shows how important it is for kids to learn healthy eating...and has some tips for getting the entire family involved.

    Anyway, feel free to ask me're the first person I know who watched those documentaries and decided to change they way they live. It's amazing and I'm so proud of you!!


  37. Add Hungry for Change and Crazy Sexy Diet to your list! It changes everything!

  38. I'm not a mama, just a young adult trying to make the best choices I can for myself and my own health and I've been transitioning over to the Paleo lifestyle, which is completely grain and sugar free (other than naturally occuring sugars in fruit) - if you're looking at books to read I would so reccomend The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. But don't beat yourself up over what you didn't know before - the important thing is that you're learning NOW. You're making the changes and gleaning the information and empowering yourself to make smart decisions that will work for you and your family and lead to better health for all of you. There's a TON of info out there - and since everyone is a supporter of 'their' diet/lifestyle/miracle the language will be biased and slanted. Take the information, digest it, and use what makes sense for you. Sounds like you're headed in the right direction!

  39. Cut and
    Cut and
    Cut and
    WOW! What powerful information.
    Would you please tell me which site is offering you the greatest amount of information? Have you bought any of the books yet? DUH....I should know that from Goodreads, huh?
    I have joined WW and am eating so clean. Now I know I MUST eat CLEANER! No wonder I have so many bouts of rent-a-meal!!!! :-(
    Thank you Heather for opening our eyes.

    BTW, you are a tremendous mother. Cut yourself a little slack!

  40. Hello Heather, I have never commented on your blog before, and while I will never watch these documentations I can probably figure how you must feel. Don't worry about what you might have been doing wrong in the past if you feel you're on the right track now. I've been a vegetarian since I was nice and realized what it was that I was eating, and became a vegan about 5 or 6 years ago, It's a learning journey that can and will sadden, disappoint and shock you, but you will gain so much from it, emotionally. On a health note, my husband and toddler boy are also vegan and doing great. I'm glad there's people like you that take an interest in what's going on. All the best.

  41. Hi--12 years ago due to 2 serious cancer diagnosis, we became vegan in a week through the Hallelujah diet and have never looked back but got very well and live this lifestyle of health. Juicing carrots, KALE, spinach and beets is huge and the most important mainstay of our diet. We juice on a Green Star juicer so that we can make it every two days. We store it in 8 oz. jelly jars in the ref rig - the body can only assimilate 8 oz every 2 hours - nutrients of live cells feed the body and regenerate the cells. Tha is health. God bless you on your journey of good health. Judy

  42. Hey, I know your pain regarding autism/diet etc. But the autism might get son was diagnosed at 2 years old and what a hot mess he was....with lots of training, etc he is now fully mainstreamed and doing quite well. It will likely get better as he ages... don't despair!! I never would have believed it, thought I must have screwed him up, but it all works out in the end. Good luck on the diet/juicing thing!

  43. Long time no see!

    Regarding the food changes - its gets EASIER!

    My husband has been on the strict diet from Forks (vegan but with no oils/nuts/fats), it has been almost a year and things are soooo much easier now.

    He lost 20 lbs, got his cholesterol and blood pressure down too. No meds of course :) Hang in there...

  44. I have seen those documentaries. I think what you are doing is pretty awesome. I found your blog today and was so happy to see the word "vegan". I have been vegetarian for most of my life, but about a year ago decided to ditch the cheese and go vegan. I have been baking vegan for years. It just took so time to kick the dairy habit. I started as an ethical vegetarian, and then gained the knowledge and strength to realize the health and environmental cost. If there is anything you need help with, feel free to email.


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