In-CourageBlog

It takes courage to make lifestyle changes and faith to overcome our obstacles. My hope is that by sharing my personal and professional experiences with you, we can both be courageous in our journeys of faith and fitness!

The Answer was in an Unrecognizable Package

My Mama Responsibility
From the moment you see the little plus sign on the stick to the day of delivering your precious package into the world, you only dream of the wonderful future for your little one. You picture the memories about to be created and you imagine how your world will be brightly colored with your newest family member. You NEVER dream about what it would be like to have a child with special needs, a health problem or deformity. If it crosses your mind, you quickly push it out. When you realize the the precious package you delivered needs to be “handled with care” and needs a little extra protection or special treatment, things start to feel a little overwhelming. The desire of a Mama’s heart is to give all that she is and all that she can to nurture and care for the love birthed in her heart then out of her belly. Knowing your baby needs more than you know how to give can be scary.

A mama's heart is to help her boys.

When we welcomed Noah into our world over 3 years ago, he was a healthy 9’4″ baby with perfect APGAR scores. He was as sweet as could be and stole the hearts of my entire family almost instantly. People would meet him (and still do) and say “there’s something uniquely special about Noah.” It was hard to say what it was. On Labor Day, 2010, Noah showed the first signs of seizures at 4 weeks old. Fast forward through overnights in the hospital, trips to the emergency room, road trips to Children’s hospitals, medications, side effects and a lot of learning and we have an amazing 3 year old who has miraculously had NO learning disabilities or delays in his growth, social or motor development. He still struggles with seizures anywhere from 2-4 times a week. The last appointment at the Neurologist was about considering surgery with no promises of it solving his seizures and a high likelihood of taking his development backwards. Trying a combo of meds was the last resort before surgery. I wasn’t convinced quite yet that we had done everything we could possibly do to do help him first. I decided our next step needed to be nutrition. Why I didn’t address it at the beginning with him? Well because he was nursed when he first started having seizures and then addressing a toddler’s nutrition is well, very challenging. To be honest, I didn’t put as much weight into his nutrition because I was under educated on just how powerful nutrition really is.

Three and a half years after Noah, Liam was born. You’d think after having 3 other boys, having Liam would feel like a breeze. Not so much. The delivery was great and he was nursing like a champ (with a little coaching for a few weeks from mama) but Liam could NOT sleep more than 10 minutes at a time unless he was being held upright. For the first 3 months, my husband and I would take turns all night long sitting in a chair so he could sleep. If that doesn’t make you a little crazy, you are a freak of nature. He wouldn’t nap or sleep during the day more than 10-30 minutes on his own and couldn’t lay on his back without refluxing and choking. After several doctors trips, trying all kinds of home remedies, asking Facebook (that’s like asking your lifeline on that millionaire gameshow) and lots of time on the internet, we decided I had better cut out dairy, soy and beef and put him on a reflux med. The idea of me changing my diet seemed overwhelming since I was barely getting any sleep and still having to take care of the other 4 in my family. Plus, I loved greek yogurt, cottage cheese and whey protein! I am now realizing that being forced to do this research worked hand in hand with what I needed to research for Noah’s nutritional changes and for the improved nutrition of my family. God really does work all things for our good. I needed to know I could do it, find substitutions for our dairy favorites, do more label reading and product searching. My eyes needed to be opened to what is really in our food and even how restaurants make their food. I needed to find new recipes and new understanding. It feels like I’ve been in school for the last 3+ months with all of the reading and learning I’ve been doing. I actually really like it. Especially because I’ve not only gained knowledge, but I’ve found solutions to our problems.

Disheartened
Before I can share solutions, I should share our problems. I’m not talking about our individual ailments like seizures and reflux. I’m talking about OUR problems; your problem and my problem. The problems I found are underlying issues for our nation. I shared in a previous post how annoyed I was by all of the articles by well-meaning authors out there about our “toxic world.” I hated how they all had a gloom and doom approach, a scare tactic. We all get tired of watching the news because all we hear are the bad parts and never the good parts. We hear about the terrible stories and not the good stories. I was tired of hearing about the horrible consequences of not changing our nutrition without a realistic solution or hope for change. Realistic is a very important word here. The solutions that many are offering seem daunting at the minimum, overwhelming for many and completely impossible for others who have no idea where to start. Well that’s not helpful is it?

The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know. The more I learned, the more I realized we had HUGE changes to make. The more I learned, the more I realized that this would be an incredible undertaking on my part to overhaul my family’s nutrition (and our diet would’ve been considered more healthy than the average American’s diet.) I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I was sure it needed to be done. I remember standing in the bathroom one morning and saying to my husband, “We have to make changes and I am trying to figure out the best game plan. We’re going to have to invest monetarily, our time and our priority. We’re going to have to make changes that go against the grain. I’m not sure which path I’ll choose, but I know it’s needed.” And he agreed. He AGREED! This was the first time I had heard a sincere “yes” on his part and we’ve been married 13.5 years. I knew right then that I needed to act quickly.

The problem was the “problems” I was finding with our food sources leave little option. Our cows are given hormones to produce more milk to meet the demands of the consumer and let’s just say it…to make money. Then they are given anti-biotics and fed grains instead of a natural grass fed diet. They are milked year round because the demand isn’t seasonal. This is NOT natural and we are receiving hormones and anti-biotics in our dairy. Then, through processing, the nutrients are compromised so what’s left is low on nutrient and high on junk. Our chickens are caged and crowded, our veggies and fruits are sprayed with chemicals, our crops are being genetically modified and our soils are mineral depleted from being overfarmed over the last hundred plus years. According to a 1999 study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, 43 types of common vegetables had less minerals and nutrients than their 1950 counterparts. A study from 1953 revealed that the daily requirement for iron could be obtained from just one bowl of spinach. In 1993, it was discovered that it took 43 bowls of spinach to receive the same amount of iron. If that was the case in 1993 and 1999, imagine how much our food is depleted NOW! The sad truth is this: We can NOT find all of our nutrition in the grocery store, EVEN IF you shop organic, grass-fed, cage-free, etc… And you can’t get all of the 90 essential nutrients by a whole foods diet alone. What does that matter? Mineral depletion can (and WILL) lead to lesser organ function, lowered immune system, illness, disease, and even death. I promise to not be another “gloom and doom” author. But I need to share another problem with you.

I briefly mentioned the word “toxic.” That sounds so extreme doesn’t it? I think of the Mr. Yuck sticker that we used to put on our household cleaners when I was a kid and of the container on the wall of the doctor’s office that has all of the used needles and such. Mr Yuk and toxins in our body!Toxic waste, pollution, nuclear waste…it all sounds so extreme. If it makes you feel better, substitute “chemical” in for toxicity. That’s what I did and it’s helped me to understand. A chemical is this: a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared, especially artificially. In other words, it’s unnatural and fake. It’s not found in nature and our body wasn’t made to process them in high amounts. There are chemicals in our drinks right? There are chemicals in our hair products, in our food, in our air, in our medications, in our cleaners, in our soil…everywhere. We are ALL exposed to chemicals every single day. You can’t avoid all of them. In fact you were exposed to chemicals even in utero! There was a study on baby’s umbilical cord blood that found chemicals in their bloodstream. This isn’t the mom’s fault. She could have been eating “perfectly”, but she’s exposed in her environment. Toxicity leads to inflammation, obesity, stress, early aging, sickness, disease and dare I say death. So where do we get our nutrition then and how do we deal with toxic chemicals in our body? I was disheartened as I learned all of this and wondered how I was going to best address these two issues for my family.

Considered My Options
How was I going to do this realistically with my time and our money? I am not a green thumb and we don’t have property to grow food. Like most people, we are on a budget and had trimmed way back after I lost my job. How would we afford the changes that need to be made? Would I get my kids to give up waffles and milk? Where would we get the nutrients that were missing in our food and how was I going to cleanse our bodies? I was beginning to believe more and more that Noah’s seizures might be helped if he was 1) cleaned out of chemicals/toxins on a regular basis (he is on meds which are chemicals and deplete him of minerals) and 2) given nourishment and all essential macro and micro nutrients that his body needs to function optimally. I knew we ALL needed that. But how? I went searching again and read all kinds of things on “cleansing” and “detoxing.” I read on nutritional supplements (which I’ve never been a big fan of supplements because again, they are USUALLY altered and artificial.) I asked people who were addressing these issues for themselves. I looked for simple things that I could change.

Starting Slowly
As I looked, read, researched, observed, and learned, I started making changes slowly. A simple change was to our household cleaners. Vinegar is amazing! It stinks, but it doesn’t linger. It cleans naturally without chemicals. I decided I was no longer going to have “mom’s food” and the rest of the family’s food. We said goodbye to Jiffy and they now eat mom’s peanut butter. We said goodbye to granola bars and are making our own. We said goodbye to cereal and substituted it with yummy ways to make oatmeal, granolas and other breakfast foods. These are just a few things we’ve done, but as I find something that is easy to switch, I do it. I am not trying to do it all at once for the kids because I want them to go into change with a good attitude. I don’t think I could make all of the changes at once either. It might make ME have a bad attitude. Attitude makes all of the difference doesn’t it? If I just pulled the carpet out from under them, they might fall and get mad. I’ve been working with Noah on introducing new foods like brussel sprouts. They are a vegetable with sulfur and sulfur is a mineral needed for brain health. We’ve had small victories, but it takes time and persistence (and a bit of stubbornness on my part to overcome the stubbornness of a 3 year old.)  I will have to share in another post about our blueberry 2.5 hour stand off we had the other day. Spoiler alert…victory was mine.

Change takes time

How could I get better nutrition into my family sooner? How can we cleanse our bodies now and replenish it with all that it needs now (even while we’re making smaller changes)?

Answer to Prayer
I don’t know about you, but I am certainly not ashamed to admit that I don’t know it all, can’t possibly understand it all, and will NEVER hold enough wisdom to make the right choices and do the right things at all times. Human nature right? I rely fully on the God who made me to give me wisdom. I have been praying for 11 years that my husband would desire better health for himself. I have been praying for wisdom for 3 years in handling Noah’s seizures. And recently, I’ve asked that God would lead me in the right direction to answer all of my concerns and help us make the right choices for better health for our family. You know how I know when God’s answered a prayer? The answer is usually delivered in an unrecognizable package that I would NEVER have looked for myself. It is often surprising and sometimes unrecognizable until later. It is most clear when you look back at it. That’s how this answer came.
His ways are not my ways, they are better.

As I would be online researching, I’d see a post by acquaintances and former co-workers on Facebook about some nutritional products that they were finding that addressed both toxins and nutrient depletion. I wouldn’t often click on them because it came in a package “I was not interested in” from a company called Isagenix.  It was something I had heard about over a year ago and turned my head because I had made assumptions, false assumptions. It kept coming and coming so eventually, I’d click and read. I was so caught off guard by the fact that what they were addressing were the issues I had been looking for an answer to. I was still so skeptical and hesitant, that I didn’t want anyone in my community to know I was “looking into it.” I didn’t want people to assume I was “drinking the kool-aid” and losing my professional perspective on health and fitness. I decided I was going to dig into it and discover for myself whether this would truly address the problems I had found…undercover.

Once I spent months researching it, talking to people outside of my community and eliminating anything harmful about it, I decided it was “test” time. I had started drinking the dairy free, soy free, gluten free nutritional shake when we decided I needed to make changes in my diet for baby Liam. I then decided I was going to put it all to a test. I got my husband and my parents to be my test subjects. I sent my husband to the heart health institute for a blood work up, EKG, and physical so that we could look at numbers. My parents were keeping track of everything on their end as they implemented this nutritional plan into their lives. The plan I tested on both my parents and my husband was a 30 Day cleansing and replenishing plan. It would cleanse the body of toxins and replenish it with nutrients. It’s partnered with a whole foods diet. I also got some things for my kids like vitamins that have no artificial ANYTHING and all of the RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamins and minerals. I got mixes that include antioxidants and nutrients from 30 different fruits and gives them 7-9 servings of veggies. I also included a nutritional shake into their breakfast. They love them and it feels so good to know I am giving them better nutrition NOW as we continue to make changes with the other part of our diet and environment at home. While I was becoming more and more impressed with what I had found, I was still hesitant to talk about it because it was so hard for me to believe it was this great! Too good to be true. So I went searching for the gimmick, the hang up, the loop hole.

Relief to my Mama’s Heart
I went looking, but found nothing. It was not a gimmick, a trend, a fad or a diet. It was a nutritional plan that promoted lifestyle change. A change of continual cleansing and replenishing. It was a plan that was simple and realistic. Remember how this was such a concern of mine? How in the world would I make the changes simply and realistically for my family? I was beginning to see that this was an answer to my prayer. There was an excitement rising up in me. A hope that I hadn’t had before. I was getting a bit giddy about finding a way to make this happen. It was a relief to this mama’s heart. I felt it was my responsibility to provide the nutrition for my family. It is the burden of a mama to find how to protect her children and provide the best in every way for them. I am beyond THRILLED that while I’ve gained knowledge about the problems we face both as individuals in our family but as a country that I had found SOLUTIONS that were realistic and simple.

I started sharing about Isagenix with my clients. I had been training hundreds of people in how to get fit and change lifestyle habits, but never had a way to address the issues I’ve talked about. Toxins create a steep uphill battle for weight loss. Chemicals trick our brain and cause cravings. Being depleted of minerals causes our brain and body to be starved of nutrients, but overloaded with calories. I was so excited to offer an even better solution to people to help find LIFELONG health not just for themselves, but for their families!

My Guinea Pigs
My husband dropped 13 pounds and 10 inches in 3 weeks and would say he never felt hungry. He has drank pop his entire life (multiple cans a day) and hasn’t craved it since he stopped it. He has better mental clarity at work EVEN THOUGH we still get very interrupted sleep because of Liam. He is convinced he will continue on to this being his lifestyle now.

My parents are finding that the vitamins in this nutritional line are better than the multiple bottles of supplements they were using before. They are finding that they sleep better at night, are losing inches, and excited about getting much needed nutrients. They are ready to continue with their healthy lifestyle as well.

My boys look FORWARD to making and drinking their shakes. We’ve found all kinds of ways to change them up. They love the fruits drink that gives them so many nutrients as well as their vitamins. I’m excited to implement more nutrition for them and will continue to make changes to their whole foods diet.

With drinking 2 dairy free shakes per day, having 2 whole foods snacks per day and one moderately sized meal, I have lost 6 additional pounds and HAVE NOT been that strict. The other day, I decided I would eat oats with peanut butter and blueberries for breakfast. I was hungry an hour and a half later. When I drink a shake, I am not hungry for 3 or 4 hours. This is not a deprivation diet. This is not a lose weight fast trend. This is a “feed your body what it needs and the rest will follow” lifestyle!

Can you tell I’m so excited!?

This is the first time I’ve put it out on my website or online for all of you. I wanted to be sure it was worth sharing and rest assured, it IS. I will be posting more about it and would love to see every single one of you implement it into your life too. You’ll never be as young as you are now and this is the oldest you’ve ever been. Live your best life now!

Live your best life now.

Please feel free to comment or email me directly with any questions you may have right now. I’ll be posting about the 30 day plan my family used on Facebook so check in there regularly.

Watch this video if you have time. It explains a little bit more about how all it works together.

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