This photo is of my girls (then, ages 8 and 5) staring at my Dad’s burial site. It represents to me everything we were feeling in that moment….shock, stillness, the inability to move. It was September, 2012, and my seemingly invincible dad had passed away 24 days after his lung cancer diagnosis and only one day after his 58th birthday. Twenty. Four. Days. 58. Years. Our world was rocked.
I think maybe the only thing worse than losing someone you love is watching the little people you love more than anything lose someone they love and adore. Looking back, I now know that the stress of losing my dad set off a string of events in our lives that led us to where we are now.
Since I started this blog, I haven’t done a very good job keeping up with it. It’s not because I don’t have anything to say, because I am ALWAYS thinking of things I want to share. Friends constantly come to me and ask me questions about how Craig lost weight, how to get their kids to eat healthier, or how to get rid of chemicals in various ways in their homes. If you get me in a one-on-one situation and start asking me about it, I will talk your ear off. I am a total nutrition geek. I am constantly reading about it. I am constantly experimenting in the kitchen and figuring out ways to make nutrient dense food my family loves. I loved to cook before, and I love it even more now. I just never seem to
find the time, ahem, make the time, to sit down and write anything out. I’ve told myself it’s because I am busy. And, I am busy, because….LIFE. But everyone is busy. I’m not special in that regard.
I have realized, though, over the last several weeks, that I haven’t kept up with the blog because I haven’t felt genuine when writing it. I’ve only shared part of the “why,” and not very many of the details that got us here. And really, why should anyone give me a piece of their very valuable time if they don’t know why this is important to me?
I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. I’m working on that.
Except for good friends, when people have asked why our family has transitioned to the holistic lifestyle we live, I tell them that a few months after my Dad died, Craig decided he needed to take his health seriously and get in shape so he could be around for our family a lot longer than Dad was. He started Crossfit, and he discovered doing Crossfit and eating Paleo kind of go hand-in-hand in many gyms. It kind of blew my mind, but we started eating Paleo to help him lose weight. He lost 50 pounds and we both started feeling so much better. The first entry on this blog says this very same thing. But that is only a mere slice of the truth. It is how we stumbled into our current lifestyle, but it’s not why we stayed. “Going Paleo” shoved me down the rabbit hole of learning about holistic nutrition. The more I read and learned, the more the lights started to come on. It was just a catalyst to prepare me for the real reason I would become so passionate about nutrition-our daughter, Natalie.
I haven’t been ready to fully share about Natalie until now. I have shared that she has food intolerances to gluten and dairy, but there is more to it. This is her story, and I actually asked her permission to share it with you. She looked me straight in the eyes and said “Yes, Mama, it might help someone else feel better.”
The title of this blog post is “How We Got Here.” Except until the last few weeks, I couldn’t have given the full and complete answer to where “here” is. In January of this year, I finally took Natalie’s health into my own hands, kicked our pediatrician to the curb, and took her to a Naturopathic doctor. She confirmed my suspicion that Natalie has food sensitivities and was totally vitamin and mineral deficient, but that is only part of the story. Now, I have firm(ish) grasp on what is going on with her body and her mind. I can explain things now that I couldn’t before.
There was storm brewing in our girl’s body we didn’t know anything about when my dad died. The stress of losing him flipped a switch in her that set off all kinds of reactions that we now know she was predisposed to having. Stress is HUGE when it comes to our health. If it hadn’t been the stress of losing Dad, I’m convinced, knowing what I know now, that it would have happened sooner or later.
Here’s the thing, though. Natalie is no different than a lot of kids…a lot of PEOPLE. Our bodies are so incredibly intricate and complicated. The medicines we take and toxins we are exposed to can affect us days/weeks/months later. They accumulate over time. The stress we go through, the status of our gut health, the environments in which we live, the quality and quantity of sleep we get, the intensity and types of exercise we do, they all affect so many things about our health. We live in an unprecedented time in which thousands of untested chemicals and food additives are unknowingly forced on us. Our crops are genetically modified, our meat comes from factory farmed animals stuffed full of toxins and antibiotics, and we are ingesting all of that. Autoimmune disorders, cancers, heart disease, food allergies and intolerances, they are all on the rise. Something is causing that. That lack of energy you have? Those skin issues? Migraines? PMS? All those things can be related to food intolerances and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies or other things going on in your body.
But there is also SO much we can do to help heal ourselves. That is really what this blog is about-how I went on a hunt to figure out what was wrong with my girl and how to help her when her doctor wouldn’t help. Now I’m passing along what we have done in the hopes that it will help anyone reading this. We chose not to slap a bandaid on Natalie’s health issues with medicine, tried to find the underlying causes of her problems, and treat her in as holistic a way as possible. There is a time and a place for medicine, and you will read soon how medicine saved her life as a baby. Many times, though, we have so much more control over our health than we realize. For a long time after Natalie started having problems we felt so helpless. We watched our girl deteriorate before our eyes and it felt like we were never going to find any answers. So, I want to share her story in hopes that it might help some of you, somehow. Maybe if you see part of yourself, or your child, or a friend in our story, it will help you find a path to healing, too.
I will be following this post with a series of four posts about Natalie-how we knew something was wrong and the conclusions we have come to. Thank you in advance for coming back to read them!