Mary | Just Take A Bite

Welcome to Just Take A Bite!! My name is Mary. I’m a SAHM to R (9), A (6) and J (2). I’ve been married to my best friend and partner on this crazy journey for 13 years.

Before I became a mom I knew raising kids would be challenging. I didn’t know how to change a diaper. I didn’t know what to do for a fever. I had a big learning curve.

The one thing I never thought would be a struggle was feeding my children.

Potty training? Yikes! Food? I’ve got this!

Then my daughter was born. Breastfeeding was a struggle at first. It was painful. She didn’t latch well (which we now know was likely due to a lip and tongue tie). But we got it going…and going….and going. She would nurse for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at a time. It pretty much consumed my day. Until she started refusing to nurse during the day at 11 months. And eventually weaned completely at 17 months.

As she started solid foods we encountered more challenges. She would hold a bite of food in her mouth for a half hour or more without chewing. She gagged on foods of certain textures. Although she was a good eater, she really struggled with the chewing/swallowing part. She was still eating quite a bit of pureed food at age 2. And there could not be a hint of spice or strong flavor in her food. Nothing crunchy (no raw fruits or vegetables until she was at least 3). Nothing too thick or mushy.

She had developed oral sensory processing disorder combined with a lack of focus due to adrenal problems caused by poor sleep.

Meal times became more and more stressful as it would take an hour to get through a piece of toast. I had to feed her every bite until she was about 4 years old. And still fed her at times until age 6. We ended up working with a speech therapist for about 3 years, a psychologist for 2 years and she is now working on palette expansion with bioblok orthotropics.

You better believe there were many (many!) days I wanted to shout “Just take a bite!!!”

Then along came my son. He nursed very well. But around age 2 he became a picky eater and developed severe eczema. We discovered he had a long list of food allergies.

While his gut was a mess his diet became so limited. We had to cut a lot out. Plus he no longer would eat the healthy foods he had once enjoyed. Put one piece of carrot on his plate and he would literally run screaming from the table.

It took a lot of work to improve his gut and get him to eat more food. Now he is a good eater most days and has eliminated a lot of his allergies. But if he has an allergy flair he gets an upset tummy and picks at his food.

And like his big sister he struggles to sit at the table for a meal. He prefers to stand in his chair, which does not work too well.

Again, through this journey I had many meal times of just sitting there thinking “Would you please just take a bite food!”family

Along came baby sister in 2014. Surely this child will be easier to feed, right? Not exactly.

From the day my youngest daughter was born she struggled with nursing. She would only nurse for a few minutes at a time (and still does at age one!). So feedings were every 45 minutes to an hour, even at night. She also made a clicking sound when she nursed.

For the first time I started to read about tongue ties. I had her evaluated by the speech therapist and the pediatrician. They both advised to leave it alone as long as she was eating ok and growing well. So we did.

At one month old we cut out dairy because she was having very strong reactions to it.

Around five months old she took a turn for the worse and started reacting to coconut/palm/dates and a few other foods. We also had her tongue and lip ties clipped.

It took a long time to recover from that and to figure out the foods that were bothering her.

I spent many days and nights worried and in tears, just praying she would nurse a little more and that she was getting enough nourishment.

She barely ate. She was dehydrated. She didn’t gain any weight for five months.

Around nine months old we had another setback and more food reactions. We had her tongue and lip clipped again. But the struggles still remained.

It was through careful observation and trial and error that I came up with her long list of food restrictions.

I am thankful she has made some great progress. We are working on healing for her. In the mean time each day is a challenge with feeding her. She is just so limited in what she can eat and gets sick of it (I do too!!). Plus if she has any kind of allergy flair her tongue swells and her tummy gets messed up. Then we have several days of hardly eating again.

It is a daily struggle. And again, many, many, many days of wondering “Why won’t my child just take a bite?!”

Needless to say I have learned a lot about eating challenges, allergies, tongue and lip ties, mouth breathing, SPD and feeding tactics over the last seven years. This led to my original fun recipe site Homemade Dutch Apple Pie turning into my passion of feeding nourishing food to kids that struggle with eating challenges of some kind.

Just Take A Bite is a resource for other parents that need advice, recipes and support through the hard days of dealing with children that won’t or can’t eat well.

After three kids with unique feeding challenges I’ve dealt with just about everything. I have learned how to get my kids to just take a bite without it being a struggle. And I’m here to help you do the same.

I had many years of my own struggles with food as well. From restricted eating to trying all sorts of diets to improve my health to finally just eating what I needed and overcoming OCD and infertility.

Yes, I have truly tried just about every kind of diet out there and have weeded out what works and what doesn’t.

Just Take A Bite is my motto for adults as well as children. Don’t obsess over food. Just eat real, nourishing food and enjoy it.

Don’t let food restrictions overwhelm you. There is plenty of good, nourishing food for everyone. You just have to get creative sometimes. I’ve got lots of recipes to help you do just that. So everyone in your family will willingly Just Take A Bite!

How did I get started with my passion for nourishing, healthy food? I started my Real Food journey in early 2010 after a 2nd failed round of IVF. I learned about Nourishing Traditions and started reading everything I could find about real food.  I adopted a GAPS diet in 2011 to continue the process of healing my body (which wasn’t the best idea and I don’t advise to most).  In 2012 I started adding foods back into my diet.

I now eat what works for my body. No diets. No rules. Just real, nourishing food that makes me feel good.

Mary H

I love soccer, reading, writing, math, being creative and organizing.  I also enjoy decorating cakes when I have the time.  Most of all I love to spend time with my family.

I am a regular contributor for Real Food and Health magazine and Kitchen Stewardship. I also partner with Stonyfield Yogurt. I love having opportunities to share my knowledge and experience with others.

I have a lot of knowledge on allergies, anxiety, OCD, disordered eating, thyroid problems and reproductive health (PCOS, hormonal imbalance).

If you spend your days wishing your kids would Just Take A Bite you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help!

 **Feel free to contact me if you have questions: mary@justtakeabite.com**


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*If you order by clicking on any of my Tropical Traditions links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.