I’ve had a lot of new subscribers over the last few months (WELCOME!) and I feel like that awkward friend who doesn’t know your name. Sorry! I’m also not confident that you know my name or much about me. So let’s fix that, shall we? You may be reading this via my Facebook page, or you found my blog online and took the plunge and clicked on that “subscribe” button on my site. However you found me, THANK YOU! I appreciate you! I have a “Meet Michelle” page on my blog, but I know (through personal experience!) that most people don’t click on those anyway, plus, a lot has happened since I created that content a year ago. I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself and give you the background on why I started this blog, the big changes in our family this last year, and what I envision for the future. Don’t worry! I know that sounds like a lot, but I will save most of it for upcoming blog posts and will keep this to the main points, I promise.
Marriage, Moves, & Motherhood
My name is Michelle, and I’m a wife and a homeschoolin’ mom of four young kids. I had a fun childhood growing up in rainy Washington State, moved to sunny Southern California to attend a small Christian college, and met my tall dark and handsome husband there and we got married. As a newlywed, I didn’t know how to cook, or keep a house, and we both worked full time and commuted at least an hour each way to our jobs. Marriage was wonderful, but definitely a growing experience! My poor husband had to put up with my adjustments to being a wife and a grown up. I thought that all meat was to be cooked well done and I didn’t even know how to make a pot of coffee! It wasn’t long before our little 500 square foot house in costly California was not the place that we wanted to raise our future family.
We moved to the East Coast where we enjoy the beauty, four seasons, and the history. But the ocean is on the wrong side, the roads change name on a whim, and we seem forever unable to break the habit of referring to a freeway or an interstate without the article “the” before it. In California it is “the 5”, or “the 101”, and on the east coast it’s simply “95, 395, 495”. There are too many “95’s” for my memory and they all have bad traffic at rush hour! In our first 6 years of life in Northern Virginia we were blessed with four kids, several moves, and my husband discovered his passion for owning and building his own business. From about the time our oldest was one year old, whenever my husband wasn’t working his “real job” as a fireman, he was working at or on his business. He was away from home most of the time, and I and was at home most of the time.
Last year I was super excited when my husband retired early from firefighting so that he could spend more time at home and pursue his business ventures. After his long absences and spending years of feeling like a single mom, it was such a blessing to have him home every night and on the weekends. Because he can now be his own boss, we enjoy his flexible schedule and have discovered our love for travel. We are a roadtripping family! We completed a month long coast-to-coast roadtrip in August of 2015, a 2.5 week roadtrip to Arizona and back in March of 2016- plus a family trip to Savannah and a “just the two of us” trip to Hawaii in the last two months. I am convinced that we have spent more days in the car traveling than most people do in their whole lifetime. It is exciting, educational, exhilarating, and completely exhausting-all at the same time!
My Food Journey
I may have started out as a newlywed who didn’t know how to cook beans, but I learned and quickly discovered my passion for food. I love food so much that I always want to make every meal as enjoyable and satisfying as possible! When I started this blog last spring I focused on healthy and homemade foods, and I was SO excited! My goal was to provide healthy, easy, and delicious recipes that everyone could enjoy. Just a few short months later, I discovered that myself and my son had multiple food allergies, and suddenly the variety of food that I could prepare became limited. Like, REALLY limited!
I’ve been challenged to find or create allergy friendly replacements for many of the foods that we used to enjoy. It has required a lot of trial and error and “Pinterest fails”, but all with the blessing of a darling 3 year old boy who is very complacent and satisfied with the “special foods” that I prepare for the two of us. I still do some “normal” cooking and baking for my husband and kids, but a lot of our foods have become gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy free. The foods I miss the most are my perfect scrambled eggs, and quiche! And life without sour cream and Greek yogurt has been less rich and I do miss my “dollop of daisy” as my children call it! But before I sound like I’m whining (or actually begin whining!), I do want to express how thankful I am that we have food allergies NOW, and not 20 years ago! If you look for it, you can generally find allergy friendly foods served at most restaurants and the “natural” section of nearly every grocery store contains a selection of gluten free, dairy free, or even vegan snacks. You can make AMAZING allergy friendly scones, and even gluten free and vegan sandwich bread! Although the last year has been challenging and has caused me to spend a LOT of time focusing on food, I’m one thankful momma for how far we have come, what is available to us, and what the future holds for my family.
I discovered our food allergies through this food allergy blood test that my functional doctor suggested for both my son and myself. I was pretty certain that my son had food allergies, and although I was suspecting that I had a dairy intolerance, my issues with gluten, eggs, and a few other foods was quite the surprise! It did however explain why I struggled with fatigue, digestive upset, brain fog, confusion, acne, and even some anxiety and depression. It also made me realize why that “healthy” post workout smoothie that contained whey protein powder and peanut butter made me feel so terrible! It can be shocking and overwhelming when you realize that even healthy foods can be unhealthy for you! In my allergy research I learned that over 60% of people have food allergies and are completely unaware they are allergic to foods that they consume on a daily basis. Wow!
Thanks to advancements in natural medicine, it is becoming common knowledge that most food allergies can be traced to gut health issues such as “Leaky Gut“ and a weakened immune system. If you suspect that you suffer from food allergies, you can do an elimination diet yourself by simply removing a single food item (such as gluten or dairy) from your diet for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference in how you feel. For multiple food allergy concerns, I would recommend a blood test. Once we realized our allergies, we eliminated those foods from our diets and have taken other steps towards restoring our gut health such as clean eating, reducing sugar intake, taking probiotics, consuming homemade bone broth, as well as other natural supplements that support gut health.
My hope is that over time our bodies will be healed and we can reintroduce many of the foods that we currently avoid. Although many of my recent recipes have been allergy specific, I hope to cook and bake recipes with eggs in the future. Gluten I can live without, milk I feel better without, but eggs….. my beautiful freshly laid eggs from our chickens and guinea hens…. I mourn their absence each and every day!
My Health Journey
I’ve discovered first hand that health truly is a journey. I’ve come to appreciate learning more about nutrition and I embrace the “whole body” approach to wellness. The weaknesses of conventional medicine (that are the most obvious to me) are the lack of preventative care, inadequate attention to nutrition, and the compartmentalizing of the body into specific focused areas instead of viewing the body as a whole with each part and piece impacting the entire being. My hope is that each person will take an avid interest in their own health and be their own health advocate. My opinion is that doctors are too quick to prescribe, cut, or remove. When was the last time your doctor or dentist advised you to simply “wait and see” or “give it some time”? I’ve heard that a big part of the problem is that patients demand a “fix”. Let’s make sure that we are not the individuals demanding a “fix” and instead do some research ourselves to evaluate if there are other options outside of conventional treatments.
In my health journey I embrace natural solutions in the form of foods and plant based options whenever possible. Food can be a remedy, or a toxin, and identifying supportive and trigger foods is critical to improving your health! I also love the convenience of essential oils and how they have empowered me to naturally promote improved health in my family and to detoxify my home in countless ways! I’m quite an avid essential oils user, and I love sharing oils and education on how to use them safely and effectively. If you want to learn more about oils, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to help you! Or, sign up for my “All About Oils” e-course .
My own health journey has involved food allergies, leaky gut, sleep deprivation, stress, and adrenal issues. I speculate that most of these are directly linked to having four young children in 6 years, and a husband that was working most of the time. I know that some health issues can be complex, but I am of the opinion that many can be improved simply by healthy eating, adequate sleep, managing stress, exercising, reducing toxins, and taking the appropriate supplements.
My Vision for this blog
I want to encourage and empower you to make steps into more natural living. Health is a journey. It’s not a quick sprint, it’s a marathon. It involves daily steps in pursuit of a healthier and more natural lifestyle. It means hopping on the treadmill instead of sitting down in front of the tv. Opting for a salad instead of a hamburger, and maybe even learning to go “bunless”. Nobody is perfect, so please don’t get overwhelmed! But I do encourage you to start making changes in your life, one by one. The cumulative effect of many small steps is what will propel you the farthest in your health journey! If by sharing recipes and healthy living tips I can help encourage you in even one step towards more natural living, I consider my efforts to be worthwhile. I am that person who gets super excited when my sister Facebook messages me to tell me she just made my bone broth recipe or a friend tells me how much the oils I shared with her has helped her family. Knowing that my efforts positively impacted someone else is empowering and motivating to continue on in educating myself in whole body health and sharing my findings with you.
Raising up a new generation of children who are educated in health and nutrition is an exciting undertaking, and I consider it such a privilege! Moms have so much influence to create a safe and nourishing environment in the home. My 7 year old daughter was very enthusiastic when she told me recently “Mom, when I grow up I’m going to go all natural. I’m going to make healthy salads and healthy foods and not eat candy and stuff that’s bad for me.” I told her that I’m happy that she wants to do that, but that when she grows up she will be her own person and can decide to eat and do whatever she wants. If she wants candy every night, she can do that- although I advise against it! All of my children are very informed on healthy choices, but once they leave my home they will have the freedom to choose for themselves. I take every opportunity to nurture their hearts, bodies, and souls while they are in my home, but once they leave, their journey will become their own.
Your health journey is your own, so own it! What’s your destination? Where are you at in your walk? How can I help you? Thanks for taking a few moments to learn about me, I can’t wait to learn more about you!
Let’s support and encourage each other towards greater health and vitality this year!