Why write a blog anyways?

I got an email a few days ago from a friend urging me to write a blog. Why write a blog I though? Who in the world would care about what I eat and how I feed by family other than those who know and love me? Well, apparently my posts on Facebook about our way of eating were enough to inspire her and she thought I should share with the world. Will anybody want to read my ramblings? Who knows, but I am putting it out there.

Here's my story: I am Julie Anne, a 41 year old SAHM with two active boys and a husband who works hard (and a lot, I might add). In October of 2008 I turned 40 and it blew me out of the water. Its not like I didn't see it coming, but I was really blown away by what it meant. My husband, great guy that he is, whisked me away for a celebratory vacation to Lancaster County, PA. As we usually do, we snapped loads of photos. When I got home, I had a good look at those photos and was mortified at what I saw.

Now, for those of you who don't know me, I have been heavy my entire life. Varying degrees of heavy, to be sure, but always heavy. Well, when I looked at the photos of my 40th birthday I realized that I hadn't been this heavy since before my first child was born. I looked old, tired and fat. Delightful.

Still reeling from the sting of my birthday photos, my doctor suggested a blood panel as I was now officially in my 40's. Being the good patient that I am, I submitted and had the blood drawn. No surprise, I had massively elevated insulin, borderline high fasting glucose and, despite my overall low cholesterol, high triglycerides (in ratio that is). Combine that with the high blood pressure that I developed when I was pregnant with my second child, the doctor politely told me that I was a ticking time bomb.

Now, I am not so stupid to not realize that someday, sometime, youth would no longer be on my side and I would start to feel (and see) the effects of my seemingly unhealthy relationship with food. But, I had no idea it would happen this fast. It sounds so cliche, but really, where did the time go? How did this happen? Well heck, it HAS happened. Now what? I certainly cannot die right now. I have two small kids at home. Something has to change, but what?

For the next three months, I read, read, read and read all I could about food science and nutrition. Then I looked at my diet, honestly assessing what I was eating. From what I could see, I ate no more than anyone else that I know (thin or not). OK, so if it is not how much I was eating, obviously the problem was what I was eating. I was eating a standard American diet - cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta or potatoes and meat for dinner. It seemed to me that every around me ate exactly the same sorts of things that I did, but I was (literally) twice the person that they all were. Obviously my body doesn't act like everyone else's.

In my research, I came across something called the Glycemic Index. This measures the effects on the breakdown of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. I will spare everyone the details (Google it and you will find loads of information) but the upshot is that with people who have elevated insulin (me) have much better control of that insulin (or insulin response really) when eating foods that are low on the GI scale. Moreover, some recent studies have suggested that eating low GI can help to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (which is coming next for me, for sure) and coronary heart disease. Other studies have shown that eating high GI carbohydrates is associated with increased risk of obesity. Hmmmm....maybe this low GI thing is worth checking out.

In addition to learning about the Glycemic Index (and its cousin, the Glycemic Load - again Google it), I did a lot of reading on our food supply in general. I was shocked to learn how much of our food contains non-food (specially chemical additives, sugar, stabelizers, etc.) Reading a grocery food label these days is akin to taking a science exam. What in the heck! I had no idea. I felt like I had been duped. Not only was the diet that I grew up on intrinsically bad for me, but the food that I purchased at the grocery store wasn't even food at all. OMG, something has to change and it has to happen now.

So now, here we are, 1 year in to a low glycemic, whole food eating experiment. It hasn't been easy, but you know, it hasn't been all that hard either. A word of caution (or explaination really). I am not on this diet (and by diet, I mean way of eating) to lose weight. If I happen to lose some weight (which I have), that's great. If I don't, that is OK too. I know that either way, I am doing something good for myself by chosing to eat in this manner. With this blog, I hope that I can inspire you with what we as a family have done to better our health. I am not crazy-militant about it, but I try as best I can to feed myself and my family good, honest, healthy meals, but, if we eat processed foods occasionally, that is OK. I don't beat myself up about it. I simply understand that last year at this time we would have been eating almost all processed foods and know how much better off we are now. I strive for balance. I strive to honor my body and those of my family. I know that we are on a path to good health and hope that I might, in some small way, help you to get there too.

(BTW, here is my disclaimer: I am not a doctor, scientist, or medical professional. Any information on this blog should be interpreted only as those of my un-scientific personal opinion. Before you change your eating habits, please consult your physician.)


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