About Me & My Journey

My journey to living a life filled with whole foods and unrefined ingredients started as a young mother.  Discover my journey and then join me as we learn to live a “whole” life.

Part 1:

About 7 years ago I was dealing with a 4 year-old child who had very irrational behavior and crazy temper tantrums that just seemed so uncharacteristic and unnatural  that I was actually considering counseling.  I was at the end of my rope and was willing to try just about anything.  I was talking to a woman at church who was dealing with similar issues with her son and said that she had narrowed it down to an allergy to corn.  Corn?  Seemed like an odd thing to be allergic to, but nonetheless I was ready to try anything.  I cut EVERYTHING corn out of his diet, including corn starch and…drumroll please….HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!  Literally, within 48 hours of cutting out corn, corn starch and corn syrup, my son had returned.  The crazy monster child that was living in my house was gone.  I was amazed.  I was thankful to God and I knew that it had something to do with corn.  After doing some research online and reading some testimonials regarding the effects of corn syrup on some people’s behavior, I was convinced it was not the corn, but it was the corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.  It all was related to the process that is used to create the sweetener.  I was floored.  I was flabbergasted.  I was essentially poisoning my child for the previous four years, feeding him everything that seemed “normal” and “healthy” by society’s standards.  I thought I was doing him right by the healthy crackers and cereals and lunch meats and breads I was feeding him.  Here, everything I was feeding him, was harming him!  I realized that I had been feeding him this horrific sweetener since he was an infant!  He nursed only a few months and then moved to formula and I realized the formula indeed had high fructose corn syrup (HFCS!)  I felt like the worst mother ever.  I beat myself up inside, feeling the guilt for not knowing better.  But, alas, I did NOT know better.  How would I know that HFCS was bad for him, or me, or anyone for that matter?  It was in everything, so it must be good, right?  Wrong!  I know that my son was a unique case, he had an unusually strong reaction to it, because my other son did not appear to suffer the same effects.  However, “the proof was in the pudding,” so to speak based on the immediate and extreme change he experienced.  I was sold on the fact that the HFCS was the culprit.  I cleaned out my pantry and went on a search for foods he would enjoy that would not hurt him.  This was extremely difficult since this was before it was trendy for manufacturers to advertise that they no longer used it in their products.  This was before it was blacklisted by moms and health practitioners across America.  Essentially, it was before it was “cool” to not want to consume HFCS.  It was so hard to find anything that did not have HFCS.  My saving grace were fruit leathers I found at Wegmans and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish which were already a favorite of his.  Forget cereal.  It was unheard of unless I bought Cheerios.  I would estimate about 75% of his daily food consumption was turned upside down.  Next, I had to tell his preschool and Sunday School teachers that he could not have the snack provided because it most likely had HFCS.  It was really difficult because they didn’t understand how it would change his behavior and even though it was technically an allergy like a peanut allergy, I had to tell them it was an allergy otherwise I would not be taken seriously.  They didn’t understand that even one lone cupcake for a snack rendered me a terror within hours and sometimes into the next day!  I could see my son behaving with the telltale signs of his irrational and extreme behavior and ask him, “now, what did you have for snack today?” and sure enough, he was giving something that contained HFCS.  I would get so frustrated because people did not take it seriously because it was not a life-threatening allergy and it was commonly overlooked by his caregivers.  I would send in special snacks and anyone with a child with an allergy knows how difficult it is to see you 4, 5, 6, 7 year old deal with being “different” and not getting to enjoy the Oreo cookies.  My heart broke when the other child had yummy rice krispie treats and my son had his pseudo-snack.  He was a trooper but I could see his hurt and it hurt me.  I knew I was doing what was best for both of us (his health and my sanity) but it was still so hard.  I remember back to Kindergarten when he was sick and missed the Valentine’s Day party.  I was sad for him to miss the party because he was looking forward to it so badly, but part of my was really relieved that he would not suffer watching other children munch on sweets and he have something different.  Oh, my heart breaks even now remembering the struggles.

So, as you can see, my journey to eating more cleanly started about 7 years ago when I started finding out the evils of processed food but that was really the only thing I had focused on removing from all of our diets at the time.  I will give you the next step in my journey in a near future post – when I started recognized the evils of partially hydrogenated oils – before it was popular.

Be encouraged mothers, this is NOT easy, but it is so worth it.  Looking back, I remember the struggles, but knowing that I put my children’s health as the priority, I have no regrets.


17 Responses to About Me & My Journey

  1. Laura says:

    Hi! I’ve just started following your blog, and I think it’s great! I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Here’s my post: http://cooktolove.com/2012/03/23/liebster-blog-award/. Feel free to re-post, if you like!

  2. Your son’s behavior sounds a lot like mine. He is 4 right now and, well, I’ll try anything. Starting NOW I am cutting out HFCS!
    I love your blog!

    • lifemadewhole says:

      Wow! I hope it helps! It will be so amazing to me if my blog helps just one person / child! Please let me know if you notice a difference. You will need to be a major label reader which is a huge pain but there is HFCS in EVERYTHING — even bread!!!! Please give me an update. Please give him a couple days of detox before expecting a change; however, my son changed so quickly. Also, once he is “detoxed” he may have a more sensitive response when he does have it (from friends, preschool, church, etc.) Let me know if you have any questions or need any encouragement/advice!

    • lifemadewhole says:

      also, check me out on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lifemadewhole – I post pretty often on there and offer lots of advice and health / food news.

      • Thanks!:) I just got back from the store and WOW, you weren’t kidding. It probably took double the time to read all of the packages! 🙂

      • lifemadewhole says:

        It is the TRUTH! It will be worth it. As you become aware of what you are feeding yourself and your children, you will be shocked but you will also be compelled to change (as I have been) and it will be an exciting journey!!! I hope you were able to find some goodies!

  3. eatrealfood says:

    I just found your blog. I started doing research on health/nutrition after the birth of my first child 5 year ago and our family has gradually changed our diets. I relate so much to the struggle of how to deal with school, church, friends, and grandparents who give sugar and processed food to my kids. Any tips on effective ways to deal with these struggles would be great! If I could have a dollar for every lollipop I have refused for them, I would be rich!

  4. afpaofficer says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been on this bandwagon for awhile now. The big thing with my son is gluten. And they have pizza parties at school and other places. They serve breakfast items at church that are not gluten free. It’s just so hard to keep him away from it. I’m now following your blog.

    • I know how difficult it is with a child with allergies (if you read my “about me.” So so hard for parents to see their kids suffer. My heart aches to think how your son might feel at these parties, just know you are doing the best for him. I hope you enjoy these and can find great gluten-free treats! I have had success with brown rice pasta for spaghetti and such (Tinkyada brand is awesome!)

  5. jenn says:

    My son had asthma problems since he was born. We continued through the years of ear infections and sinus infections and breathing treatments. We did the allergy testing on his back at 5yrs and found a couple things but nothing significant. The doctors always treated his illness and not finding out what was causing it. We kept pushing for answers and found a Homeopathic doctor that did a blood test when he was 7yrs old. This showed ALL the food allergies that he had….mostly BEEF and DAIRY (Bovine family). It was very difficult as you explained in taking your son off of his favorite foods…he loved Salami and String cheese everyday! Happy to say that once he was off all beef and dairy, I was able to wean him off of the breathing (Albuterol) treatments and asthma medicine. He began to have a normal life with a much better immune system. He is now 15yrs old and has adjusted well to making his own good food choices! Hang in there moms!!!! Keep fighting for your kids to be healthy 🙂

  6. Renee says:

    We found the exact same thing with our son. Your story is almost identical. I find the hardest thing is even doctors don’t usually believe that HFCS can alter his behavior to the extremes that it does.

  7. Heather says:

    I love your blog and you have such an amazing story! Most people don’t link their or their child’s problems to food. It crazy that something so common like HFCS can have such drastic side effects! I will be sharing this information with my friends as well as your recipes. They all look so amazing!!

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