My Turn

Story published: 03-14-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

A Healthy Journey

By Angie Gambill

My family and I have set out on a path that I never thought I would take – at least not willingly. We are embarking on a journey to a whole new lifestyle for us, one that is natural, organic and healthy.

Most of my family has had a lifelong struggle with weight issues, and until recently I was under the erroneous impression that cooking for weight control was enough. I had managed to lose 45 pounds a couple years ago and discovered a whole new me underneath the layers. To say that losing all that excess body fat made me feel better is a drastic understatement. As the fat melted away, so did my lack of energy, my asthma, gastrointestinal problems and even the flirting relationship I had begun with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

I’m sure you’re thinking at this point that if losing weight had solved all those problems that should be the end of the story. Far from it. As my metabolism adjusted to my new weight and eating habits, the pounds began to creep back on. Eventually I slipped back into my old dietary routine and by January of this year I had reintroduced myself to 30 pounds, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels and waking up at 2 a.m. with heartburn and indigestion.

I had promised myself that this would never happen again, but there it was staring me full in the face. Where to from here? Resign myself and my family to bad health and pudgy bodies? Accept it as fact that life is downhill from here? No to all the above.

Although I rarely turn the TV on during the day if I’m home, one morning in late December I found myself watching an infomercial that could have well been entitled, “You are what you eat.” As I became more and more engrossed in what the doctor hosting the program had to say, slowly the simple truth of his words began to sink into my brain. Chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, genetically modified organisms … my mind whirled as it tried to process all kinds of information. I ordered his book and began to read.

I followed up on the TV program and book by beginning more research online. Maybe there was something to this tree-hugger mentality. Perhaps this middle-aged southern girl could learn something about a lifestyle that didn’t involve chicken dumplings, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

Then, as if by divine plan, I happened on a website that explored the link between the food that we Americans eat on a daily basis and neurological disorders as well as poor physical health and obesity. Perhaps the tendencies to Alzheimer’s in my family are not genetic. Maybe it won’t be necessary for me to walk defenselessly down the same path to dementia that I have watched my loved ones travel.

As the neurologist told the story of his own parents’ struggle with Parkinson’s Disease and his fight to save them, I determined that I could not and would not continue to lead my family down the same path to self-destruction that we currently were walking. No longer would I set a meal before my family that is laced with poisons and toxins. In this instance, ignorance is definitely not bliss.

I have already made some shocking discoveries along the way including that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has other agendas besides looking out for my well-being. Little gems like the “natural flavoring” named in the ingredients on a can of chicken noodle soup is not remotely natural. My body doesn’t even know how to digest all the chemical garbage I put into it, so it stores it as fat while it wreaks havoc on my system. I have barely scratched the surface in my research thus far, and already the list of atrocities we have been “fed” (both literally and figuratively) over the years is extensive. I had been taught all my life about a healthy diet and thought I knew what that entailed. It has actually been causing a multitude of detrimental effects on my body and my family’s, and I’m quite angry about this news.

Fortunately, I have also become recently acquainted with a few new words and terms that give me hope for the future. Did you know there are such things as healing foods? Have you ever tried quinoa? I have even found recipes for wholesome and homemade versions of almost every preservative laden convenience food on the market.

My healthy journey has begun. Join me on this path as I learn more about the real food God put here to nourish and sustain us and what mankind has done to taint and poison His creation.

What we don’t know will most certainly hurt us.