Hi, my name is Heidi. Welcome to Getting Started With Healthy Eating!
I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s with the standard American diet. But I lived on sugar and caffeine, and I thought that the weak, jittery way I felt—all the time—was normal. I had increasingly severe gut problems, too.
Just one example. At college, in 1979, I had diarrhea for the entire first semester. At the time, I wasn't surprised that I couldn't eat institutional food. What shocks me now is that I made no effort to find food that would suit me. It never occurred to me to try to cook meat in the rudimentary kitchen on my floor of the dorm, or to go to the farmer's market and then clean vegetables (how?) in that kitchen!
I was aware that my caffeine addiction was like a drug addiction, and that I was becoming increasingly frail. Attacks of irritable bowel syndrome kept me home from work and lasted for days. At work I was known for eating dry cereal for lunch on the many days that I could get down no other food. I often tried to quit chocolate but I was never able to give up both chocolate and non-chocolate sugar foods at the same time. I was aware that was like a drug addiction, too, but I felt helpless to stop it.
A series of health challenges started for me, with chronic fatigue, in 1993 at age 32. Over the next ten years, I tried several different radical diet changes, including giving up all refined sugar. With great effort I finally conquered caffeine. One thing always remained though: sugar cravings.
Then nearly a decade ago, I started a type of elimination diet intended to find which foods suited me best. To do this, I had to completely stop eating processed food and food additives. Within two weeks, I was calmer and more relaxed, and to my surprise, 95% of food cravings--mostly for sugar--were gone. Permanently.
I never stopped this diet! I expanded it, to all the additive-free foods that prove to be suitable for my unique metabolism; and I'm always on the lookout for additional exciting and healthy foods. Healthy eating is fun!
Now I'm a celebrant of whole, fresh, additive-free foods. I believe that everyone is different; there is no one diet right for everyone. Maybe some people should and some should not eat meat; some should and some should not eat grains. But the healthiest foods for everyone are chosen from among whole, traditional, and additive-free foods.
On this site, I hope to share with you what I've learned, what works for me, and what has worked for others. I firmly believe that even small changes provide immediate benefits. Healthy foods lead to a taste for more healthy foods and inevitably lead to improved well-being. Oh, and did I mention that healthy eating is fun?
Finally, I want to thank my mother, Ellen. My mother was an excellent and accomplished cook. She enjoyed fruits, vegetables, and many traditional foods. She gave me a respect for, and an enjoyment and satisfaction in, food and its preparation. I only regret she isn't here to join me in my education and journey toward healthy eating.