Home » lifestyle

Tag: lifestyle

Is Gluten Really the Problem? How Glyphosate Impacts Vitamin A Toxicity

VAD Diet update

I have good news for my gluten free readers…you probably are not actually gluten intolerant! Even if you have celiac disease there is hope. Is gluten really the problem? Nope! Glyphosate impacts Vitamin A Toxicity significantly, causing the gluten-related problems.

I have good news for my gluten free readers...you probably are not actually gluten intolerant! Even if you have Celiac Disease there is hope. Is gluten really the problem? Nope! Glyphosate impacts Vitamin A Toxicity significantly, causing the gluten-related problems.

What if I told you gluten was not a problem…for anyone? Would you think I’m crazy? Probably.

Gluten is somewhat of an evil word these days. It gets blamed for just about every health problem and disease.

There are lots of scientific studies that link gluten to specific conditions and to the health of the gut. Some say that all grains are evil and that it’s more than just the gluten.

I don’t believe them.

I know. A bold statement. Remember, it’s coming from someone that has been on a gluten free diet for six years. All of my kids are gluten free as well. I even wrote a whole post about why we are eating gluten-free. So I’ve been on the gluten free bandwagon for a long time. And I’m not jumping off just yet.

But that could change. I’m hoping to get back to making traditional sourdough bread (with gluten-containing grains) soon. For my whole family.

Turns out the scientists could be looking at the wrong details.

Whether mistakenly or on purpose I’m not sure.

When they study the impact of gluten on the gut and autoimmune disease they see a correlation. And for good reason. But it’s not the gluten itself.

So what is the problem?

Glyphosate. And Vitamin A.The Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids!

What is Glyphosate?

According to the EPA: “Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds and grasses.”

It has been used as a pesticide since the 1970’s in products such as Roundup®. It is sprayed on many crops such as fruits, vegetables and almost all non-organic grains.

Although the EPA claims that it “has a low toxicity for humans,” recent events have proven otherwise. In August, 2018 a school groundskeeper was awarded $289 million in a court case against Monsanto (the maker of Roundup®) because the herbicide caused him terminal cancer. [source]

He’s not the only one. There are actually thousands of people suing Monsanto, claiming the herbicide gave them cancer.

In March of 2015 the WHO declared glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” [source] The EWG agreed with this claim.

Glyphosate is classified as likely carcinogenic (and many would argue that it most certainly is). And yet it is sprayed on a large portion of the world’s food supply. Anybody else see a problem with that?I have good news for my gluten free readers...you probably are not actually gluten intolerant! Even if you have Celiac Disease there is hope. Is gluten really the problem? Nope! Glyphosate impacts Vitamin A Toxicity significantly, causing the gluten-related problems.

How Glyphosate and Gluten are Related

A lot of commercially grown wheat is currently sprayed with glyphosate just before harvest. The glyphosate does not help in growing the wheat. It simply speeds the drying process before harvest, desiccation. A toxin is sprayed on your food to get it to the supermarket a few days sooner. Sounds like a good idea, right?

Glyphosate is also widely used on oats. Although oats are gluten free, many people with some type of gluten intolerance have trouble with oats. Many have speculated cross-contamination from wheat since they are often grown in nearby fields. But it could actually be the glyphosate.

I want to briefly add in here that the use of glyphosate generally implies a food is genetically modified (learn more about GMOs here). The modification is made so the plant can tolerate the glyphosate. So the two go hand-in-hand. They are NOT the same thing. But they often go together. I am not a supporter of genetically modified crops either. I don’t think God intended for us to mix DNA between plants and even between species.

Glyphosate and Celiac

Here is an entire interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff about the relationship between glyphosate and celiac disease. And here is some great information from the interview:

The use of glyphosate on wheat crops has risen in tandem with the rise in Celiac disease. In fact, it correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on corn and soy. According to Dr. Seneff, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came in vogue about 15 years ago. Interestingly enough, when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds. “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies,” Dr. Seneff explains. “At its last gasp, it releases the seed.”This results in slightly greater yield, and the glyphosate also kills rye grass, a major weed problem for wheat growers that is resistant to many other herbicides. What they’re not taking into consideration is the fact that rye grass helps rebalance the soil, and from that perspective is a beneficial plant.So, most of the non-organic wheat supply is now contaminated with glyphosate. A large percentage of processed foods are made from wheat, and this helps explain the explosion of Celiac Disease and other gut dysfunction.What happens is that the villi in your gut get destroyed by the glyphosate, which reduces your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Also, wheat contains gliadin, which is difficult to break down. Normally, a reaction takes place that builds connections between different proteins in the wheat.But glyphosate gets right in the middle of that process too, resulting in wheat that is highly indigestible. Dr. Seneff and her co-researcher Dr. Anthony Samsel believe the glyphosate may attach to the gliadin as a consequence of a chemical reaction. The end result is that your body develops an immune reaction.

According to this study, “Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids.”

How Glyphosate Impacts Vitamin A Toxicity

So what does this have to do with hypervitaminosis A? I want you to really listen here. Because this is one of the biggest factors in your health problems and your ability to detox Vitamin A.

Glyphosate slows/stops the natural breakdown of Poison/”Vitamin A.

Let’s put the puzzle pieces together here. Glyphosate is on wheat. Glyphosate stops your body from detoxing Vitamin A. Eating wheat causes worse Vitamin A toxicity and then prevents your body from getting rid of Vitamin A.

So eating wheat is actually giving you symptoms of Vitamin A Toxicity. What appears to be a reaction to gluten is actually poisoning from Vitamin A.

The fun doesn’t stop there. “Glyphosate chelates…minerals. It forms a cage around them, such that the bacteria can’t get at them even, so the gut bacteria become deficient, and then they die because they can’t get these critical nutrients. Because glyphosate is caged.” [source]

Glyphosate also impacts methylation. This topic has been popular in the natural health world in the last few years. Knowing if you are an over or under methylator can tell you a lot about your health. It also closely related to genetic expression. But your health problems are not the fault of your genes. Glyphosate actually can increase and decrease methylation in different areas of the body in different people.

Some say glyphosate is the main culprit in our autism epidemic. Since glyphosate is so prevalent in our food and water supply and it is even in vaccines, this is very plausible. Which would mean that detoxing from glyphosate could reverse autism. This could also be why a gluten free diet seems to help many kids both on the spectrum and with other neurological disorders like ADD/AHDH. You can read more about the glyphosate-autism connection here.

Sadly glyphosate and it’s relation to Vitamin A toxicity is even linked to birth defects. I’ll dig deeper into this issue in a future post.

I have good news for my gluten free readers...you probably are not actually gluten intolerant! Even if you have Celiac Disease there is hope. Is gluten really the problem? Nope! Glyphosate impacts Vitamin A Toxicity significantly, causing the gluten-related problems.

Is There A Solution?

It’s pretty obvious that the prevalence of glyphosate in our food supply and our environment is a problem. So is there a solution? Yes and no.

One way to try to avoid glyphosate is by buying organic wheat (and all other grains). Unfortunately glyphosate has been so widely used that it is now unavoidable. The wind carries it from the wheat fields to other fields (even organic ones). Glyphosate is in our water supply. Even rain water now tests positive for glyphosate. So it rains glyphosate on organic crops. You really can’t get completely away from it.

As a probable carcinogen, even small amounts in your food can have a big impact on your health. And we all get at least small amounts.

Some people that are gluten intolerant switch to einkorn, an ancient variety of wheat. While this may help remove the glyphosate factor, it is not a great solution. Einkorn actually is higher in Vitamin A than other varieties of wheat. Most grains do not have any Vitamin A. So if you are already toxic, einkorn will just compound the problem. If you are not dealing with hypervitaminosis A, then einkorn may be a suitable solution.

Almost everyone dealing with Vitamin A toxicity and gluten problems should take Vitamin C. This is protective against retinoic acid and helps the liver detox. It also decreases glyphosate toxicity. 

Activated charcoal help detox the body by absorbing toxins.

Only drink filtered water. Especially if you have well water. If it is not filtered it will be full of glyphosate. You can have your water tested to check the levels. A whole house water filter is ideal. But at the very least filter all drinking water. Some good options are Berkey water systems (find them here) and reverse osmosis.

Finally, eating all organic food will go a long way in limiting your exposure to glyphosate. This is especially true for grains. And this may be the real reason that many people feel better on a grain free diet. It’s not the grains, it’s the glyphosate!

Do Other Substances Impact Vitamin A Detox?

Glyphosate is not the only culprit hindering your body’s ability to handle Vitamin A. Many commonly used drugs have a similar impact.

Birth control pills actually raise Vitamin A levels in the body.

I know this holds true for me (and many other women I’ve talked to) that some of my biggest health problems started when I took birth control. There have been a lot of factors in my health journey over the years (lots of antibiotics as a child, processed food, vaccines, etc.). But if I could go back and just change one thing I would tell myself not to take birth control. It led to infertility, weight gain, OCD, anxiety to the point of panic attacks, thyroid problems…the list goes on. And guess what? Those are all complications from Vitamin A Toxicity. 

Even everyday pain medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can have a significant impact on your health if you are dealing with hypervitaminosis A.  Pain medications can damage the liver. And if Vitamin A Toxicity is rooted in the liver, then any extra damage will just compound the problem.

I have witnessed the pain medication reaction first-hand in my two youngest children. Both when my 4 year old was an infant and just last week with my 8 month old – the use of Ibuprofen had a huge impact. I am not a fan of OTC medications. I use them only when absolutely necessary. My son’s fever got VERY high one night. So I gave him Ibuprofen. For the next few days his nervous system was on high alert. He couldn’t eat well or sleep well. He wouldn’t let me set him down. He got spots on his belly. Every time he tried to nurse his whole body would jerk, like he was having spasms. Even just my hand on his spine would cause him to jerk.

It reminded me of his big sister as a child. Then I remembered it happened to her after her tongue tie revision…and giving her pain medication. Not surprisingly they are my two most Vitamin A toxic kids. So every little thing that compounds the problem is obvious.

The Glyphosate-Gluten-Vitamin A Conclusion

I know that was a lot to take in. Vitamin A Toxicity is not a stand-alone issue. It is impacted by many other factors in our modern society – how we eat, live and medicate. Glyphosate interferes with the detoxification of Vitamin A, leading to gluten intolerance symptoms (Vitamin A Toxicity). Some say glyphosate is actually THE foundational problem. Vitamin A toxicity then piggybacks on that. This is a very complex issue. But one that NEEDS to be addressed.

Again I feel like I am just barely scratching the surface of a monumental issue. But that is my intent. I want to create awareness. Then your job is to keep digging. I have some great links in the post. I strongly encourage you to read each one.

I also want to encourage you to start taking steps TODAY to protect you and your family (see the section on solutions). We speak with our dollars. Do not support GMO products that use Glyphosate. Buy organic and local whenever possible. Or grow your own! Talk to your government officials. Tell your friends.

My next step is to talk to the farmers that plant wheat, corn, soybeans and oats right next to our yard! We are already dealing with Vitamin A Toxicity. I don’t want an abundance of glyphosate in our water supply to compound the issue.

Once we are through the Vitamin A detox I plan to add traditional sourdough back into our diets (using organic wheat of course!). My kids and I are very excited!

Do your kids struggle with gluten intolerance or celiac disease? How will you try to eliminate exposure to glyphosate and Vitamin A?

Want to read more? Here are some other posts linking glyphosate to gluten intolerance:

Your Gluten Problem May Actually be a Glyphosate Problem

Glyphosate and Gluten Sensitivity Series

Is Roundup the Cause of ‘Gluten Intolerance’?.

Does the chemical glyphosate (Roundup) mimic gluten sensitivity?

You are not gluten intolerant, you are glyphosate intolerant

Have you ever wondered what all of the vitamins and minerals do you in your body? Or if they are really that important? Or that maybe we're getting too much? What does Vitamin A do in the body? I'm sharing the details today.

What Does Vitamin A Do in the Body?

VAD Diet updateHave you ever wondered what all of the vitamins and minerals do you in your body? Or if they are really that important? Or that maybe we’re getting too much? What does Vitamin A do in the body? I’m sharing the details today.

Have you ever wondered what all of the vitamins and minerals do you in your body? Or if they are really that important? Or that maybe we're getting too much? What does Vitamin A do in the body? I'm sharing the details today.

Last week I presented the theory that Vitamin A is not really a vitamin at all. It is a toxin/poison.

Whether you are warming up to that idea or not, today I’m digging into the role of “Vitamin” A in the body. What does Vitamin A do in the body? What happens after you ingest it? And where does it go wrong?

I’ll admit, some of this stuff is a bit technical for me. It kind of makes my head hurt to read the details. But I’m going to do my best to break it down for you so you have a basic understanding. If you like the nitty gritty details make sure you read Grant Generuex’s books that I linked to in my previous post on Vitamin A. Most of the information in today’s post is what I learned from Grant’s book. But I tried to summarize it and break it down for you.

How Vitamin A is Supposed to be Handled

In a healthy (not toxic) person there is a simple cycle that the body uses to maintain balance when it comes to Vitamin A.

  1. Vitamin A is ingested.
  2. That Vitamin A is quickly transported to and stored in the liver.
  3. The stored Vitamin A is periodically called for by cells in the body when it is needed.
  4. The Vitamin A is delivered to its destination via Retinol Binding Protein (RBP).

RBP is like an envelope to deliver the retinol safely to its destination (this is a critical point). The body does not want to be exposed to retinol without RBP. Plain retinol is toxic. Also, the cells calling for retinol have receptors specifically for RBP. So the retinol goes directly where it’s needed in a nice protected package. A wonderful design.

Pretty straight forward. And harmless.

Have you ever wondered what all of the vitamins and minerals do you in your body? Or if they are really that important? Or that maybe we're getting too much? What does Vitamin A do in the body? I'm sharing the details today.

How Vitamin A is Handled in Toxic Individuals

But this simple cycle is messed up if the liver is saturated from excess Vitamin A. Now the tissue of the body is exposed to plain retinol without RBP because it is sitting around, not able to enter the liver. Instead excessive Vitamin A levels are now found in the blood serum, giving it time to combine with fat (remember it is fat-soluble). Other systems and organs try to deal with the excess vitamin A by storing it in the only safe wrapper it knows – fat. So that’s where it sits. And there is speculation that this is the cause of obesity! The body stores fat to handle excess Vitamin A.(you can read more about the connection of Vitamin A with obesity here).

So now the simple cycle above looks more like this:

  1. Vitamin A is ingested.
  2. That vitamin A is stored in adipose tissue (fat) because the liver can’t hold any more.
  3. Some of the retinol is converted to retinoic acid.
  4. Specific gene expressions (all my epigenetics fans – this is where it comes in) and immune response of the individual dictates how the body responds.
  5. This causes inflammation.
  6. Serum pH drops.
  7. Calcium is drawn from bones and teeth to compensate.

Not so simple now. The liver is swollen from excess Vitamin A (fatty liver). Organs and tissues are being exposed to retionic acid. And the body gradually breaks down little by little completely inflamed. In other words, you now have health problems like autoimmune disease. And you develop weak bones.

That is the big picture. Did you follow me?The Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids!

Vitamin A at the Cell Level

There are two inflammatory responses in the body.

One helps heal. It is the body’s natural response to infection and injury. The immune system uses inflammation to protect against pathogens. In this case the inflammation is healing. You get sick…the body heats up and fights back. Wonderful.

The other is the body’s response to cell injury, damage or incorrect mutations. In this case inflammation is destroying. A damaged cell must be killed before it creates problems.

We all know that inflammation produces heat. This helps kill the pathogens/intruders. It is why you get a fever when you are sick. Your body is doing what it is supposed to do to fight and heal. And this is great when it really is a temporary invader (like infection or injury) or random cell damage. The body calls in the troops, heats up in battle and then settles down.

Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease

But that is not how it works with autoimmune disease. In this case the inflammation is chronic. But here is where current understanding goes wrong.

The inflammation itself is NOT the cause of the disease.

The inflammation is the body trying to do its job like always…but not succeeding because it is searching for phantom pathogens. So it is never-ending since it can’t actually find a pathogen. But there is no off switch. It is a search and destroy mission. And the heat applied to the retinol-containing lipids (fats) is like setting off a bunch of bombs!

The body is attacking a damage-associated molecule instead of a pathogen – your own tissue cells with the molecule. And all that heat it generates is what you know as an autoimmune flare-up.

The human body has quite a defense mechanism. It uses a lot of proteins and acids as weapons – one of which is retinoic acid. As the body produces more and more retinoic acid it creates more inflammation. As the retinoic acid destroys tissue (like skin, intestines and joints), it makes them very thin and weak (think eczema, Crohn’s and even leaky gut!). Ever heard of chemical peels for the skin? It’s retinoic acid!

After the acid attacks, the body quickly tries to make more tissue to compensate. But this time around the tissue is much thicker (sclerosis). This is how conditions like arthritis and psoriasis come about.

Where Does Retionic Acid Come From?

Obviously we don’t consume retinoic acid. So where is it coming from?

The Vitamin A we eat is retinol, retinal or its precursors carotenoids (like beta carotene). The conversion from Vitamin A to retinoic acid happens at both the cellular and molecular level. It is converted in the intestines and in other cells. Not damaged cells either. Retinol is metabolized to retinoic acid in normal cells.

I mentioned that the body knows how to transport retinol properly via RBP. Once it reaches its destination it is unwrapped and converted to retinoic acid (RA). The RA goes to the nucleus of the cell to be used for gene expression and protein generation.  The gene expression can produce cytokines. Which in turn can produce an immune response. This is all well and good when the cell actually requested some retinol. It needs the retinoic acid for a specific purpose. And the liver is able to supply sufficient retinol for all the body’s needs.

Now here is where the real problem arises. When there is unbound retinol (excess retinol just floating around not packaged by RBP) it can still enter the cell. But the cell did not request it. The extra retinol has now bypassed the cell’s regulatory system. But it still produces cytokines and potentially more inflammation.

This is what we know as autoimmune disease. But it is not “auto.” There is a reason for it. Excess Vitamin A. The body does not just randomly produce inflammation. It is responding to something. And now we know what that is!

This conversion of retinol to retinoic acid will happen much more frequently in people with an over-saturated liver.The Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids! A Parent's Guide

Too Much Vitamin A

Once your liver reaches saturation, the Vitamin A will be stored in other tissues – skin, fat and intestines. And disease begins. The body’s primary defense mechanism (liver) is out of commission. So any amount of Vitamin A you consume after that will cause problems (like a bathtub overflowing with water).

A little extra keeps the inflammation going. A lot extra makes a full blow autoimmune flare, burning holes in your skin, tissues and organs.

All Autoimmune Disease is the Same

Here’s where it all comes together. All autoimmune diseases are actually the same condition – Vitamin A Toxicity. Where the inflammation happens is unique to each individual based on genetics and lifestyle/diet. When the inflammation starts and how severe it gets just depends on how long it takes your liver to become saturated. It could happen at age two or age fifty.

I hope you followed all that! You may have to re-read it a few times for it to make sense. I know I did! That is the basic idea of what happens in the body when you consume Vitamin A. In small amounts it is totally fine. And probably necessary. God didn’t create it for no reason. But we have gone WAY beyond small amounts. And now we have so many sick individuals, including young children. It should not be common for kids to have diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease and autism. But that is the reality of our world now. It has to stop!

The numerous conditions Vitamin A Toxicity can influence is beyond the scope of this post. Again, I refer you to Grant’s books (Poisoning for Profits and Extinguishing the Fires of Hell). 

I am just scratching the surface of the Vitamin A Toxicity details in this post. But hopefully it’s enough to help you understand how Vitamin A can go wrong and make you curious enough to read more.

I hope you’ll stick around for next week’s post. The one I know everyone is waiting for…how to detox the Vitamin A and get help for your health problems! This is the key to getting your child to eat!!

Do you think Vitamin A can be the root of all disease? Does it just sound impossible?

Is Vitamin A Really a Vitamin?

VAD Diet update

What if everything you thought you knew about about nutrition was wrong? Are vegetables really good for you? Do you need loads of Vitamin D and calcium? Is Vitamin A really a vitamin? Let’s dig into these questions!

What if everything you thought you knew about about nutrition was wrong? Are vegetables really good for you? Do you need loads of Vitamin D and calcium? Is Vitamin A really a vitamin? Let's dig into these questions!

I want to start this post with an apology to all of my readers.

I’m Sorry.

I’m truly sorry if I gave you incorrect health information. Like you, I am on a learning and healing journey. And my views on what is healthy are constantly changing as I research and experiment. And I love sharing all of it with you! Thank you for joining me on this adventure!

For the last ten years I’ve been mostly following a traditional food diet. There have been modifications along the way, like grain-free, gluten-free, allergen-free, etc. But overall I have focused on nutrient-dense, whole traditional foods.

And while I still believe whole-heartedly that real food is the best, I’m no longer fully on board with a WAPF/Nourishing Traditions diet. It gets some things right. But other parts are so, so wrong.

Somehow our culture has also latched on to some of these misconceptions. And we now have a nation that is toxic. I’ll explain more in a moment. But first, please accept my apology. And prepare yourself for something crazy (at least I feel like I’m crazy just talking about it!).

Also remember that I am not a doctor. I am not giving you health advice. I am simply telling you what I’ve been researching and what my family is doing. What you do with the information is up to you.

I am going to try to be much better about listing references so you can research for yourself too.

Are There Vitamin Impostors?

I will preface this by saying that you need to have an open mind. Forget what you know about nutrition for just a moment and listen.

We’ve all been taught since grade school that we need vitamins. They are important for our health. There are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K, etc.). There are lots of important minerals as well (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc.). We get these vitamins and minerals from our food. Our bodies use them to function well. Pretty straight forward.

But what if I told you there were a couple impostors in that list?

It is well-documented that Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin. It is a hormone. [source] Yet, people are supplementing with “Vitamin” D left and right. Somehow we’ve been told that everyone is Vitamin D deficient. Here’s a little secret…you’re not! And if your Vitamin D truly is low (you can find out with a blood test), supplementing is not the solution. A low level of Vitamin D (low is below 25 ng/dL. Ideal is 25-40 ng/dL…don’t think you need sky high Vitamin D levels) is an indicator that something is not working properly in your body (often times a Vitamin C deficiency). So you need to figure out what that is and fix it. Supplementing is like putting on a band aid. It might change your symptoms, but it’s not actually fixing anything. Here is what is actually happening.

Supplementing with Vitamin D is like taking hormone replacement therapy. And people are doing it to their children!! Even infants. Vitamin D drops, cod liver oil, multi-vitamins. You don’t need it. The excess fills your liver and then gets stored in your tissues (joints, digestive tract, kidneys, skin, etc.). You wouldn’t give your baby estrogen or testosterone drops. So why give hormone D drops?

Think about DHEA. Most people consider it good for health…but that doesn’t mean we call it a vitamin!The Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids!

Isn’t Vitamin D Good For Your Bones?

Wrong again. Actually quite the opposite. One of the roles of Vitamin D is to maintain calcium levels in the blood…not the bones [source]. So it does whatever it takes to maintain that balance, including drawing calcium from your bones. All that extra Vitamin D you’re taking displaces the calcium in your bones. So if you want to guarantee that you have weak bones and teeth and that you will develop osteoporosis, keep taking Vitamin D supplements. Or keep drinking tons of Vitamin D fortified milk…and see if you develop arthritis or kidney stones.

Ok, that was kind pf a tangent. I just wanted to give you an example of a common health claim that is totally bogus. This post is really not about Vitamin D. It does relate to the rest of the post, though. If you want to learn more here are some great articles.

What if everything you thought you knew about about nutrition was wrong? Are vegetables really good for you? Do you need loads of Vitamin D and calcium? Is Vitamin A really a vitamin? Let's dig into these questions!

Is Vitamin A Really a Vitamin?

Now for the real heart of the matter. Vitamin A. Is it really a vitamin?

Let me start at the beginning.

After my fourth was born I started having some odd symptoms. I was already experimenting with my diet to help my nursling feel better and nurse better. So I was very observant of how I felt and how he felt in relation to what I ate.

I started noticing the symptoms appeared when I ate desiccated liver. That was odd. I’ve always thought liver was a super food loaded with nutrients (like Vitamin A and D). Knowing that it is one of the highest sources of Vitamin A I started to wonder if you could get too much Vitamin A.

I stopped eating liver and felt a little better. Ok. Maybe I didn’t need it or I wasn’t tolerating it. No big deal.

Then I happened to see this post from Matt Stone…all about Vitamin A. Good timing I thought. It was interesting. And helped me decide to stop the desiccated liver completely. Back to my crazy life trying to figure out why my kids won’t eat.

Then I saw Dr. Garrett Smith, ND post on Facebook about how Vitamin A is toxic. I started following him a few years ago at the suggestion of my Nutritional Therapy Practicioner (NTP), but hadn’t seen any posts from him in well over a year (and you know how picky Facebook is…why would I happen to see this one?).

I watched one of his videos and thought it was interesting, but a little out there. Carrots and spinach are bad for you? Avoid egg yolks? I don’t know about that. Those are super nutritious!

I was elbow deep researching histamine intolerance and methylation. So I focused on that and figured I’d ignore the Vitamin A stuff. It just sounded a little too strange for me.

Breastfeeding Challenges

At the same time my son continued to struggle with breastfeeding. My four-year old was not doing well either. She had an eye infection, followed by a month of full body hives and then stomach aches and poor appetite. She was back to hardly eating. It was getting so bad we had her pediatrician order a bunch of blood work.

I was praying daily for wisdom. I was on a low histamine diet since many of my symptoms match histamine intolerance. But I knew that was just a temporary fix. Not a true solution (now I know how Vitamin A impacts teething, tongue ties, bones, and more!)

God Gives Wisdom if You Ask!

Over the next few weeks I saw daily posts about Vitamin A toxicity. I tried to ignore it. But God wouldn’t let me. It was on the top of my feed every time I got on Facebook. Ok, ok. I’ll listen to the information.

And that started our new journey of healing. The more I read and listened, the more it made sense.

And it explained all of my symptoms, all of my son’s symptoms and every other feeding challenge we have faced over the last ten years. Every. Single. One.

What is Vitamin A Toxicity?

So this is where I’m starting (hopefully you made it this far to get to the heart of the post!). Today I’m telling you a little bit about Vitamin A Toxicity (Hypervitaminosis A) and giving you some resources in case you want to dig in for yourself. If you want to hang back and just watch how it goes for us, that’s fine too. I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I’m just giving you the information.

And I will forewarn you…once you read about it you can’t unread it. And it could change your views on health and nutrition forever.

A quick Dr. Google search will tell you that hypervitaminosis A is a real condition[source]. You can have hypervitaminosis of any vitamin (true vitamin or substance called a vitamin) really. Yes, hypervitaminosis D is very real too! The list of symptoms hypervitamimosis A is lengthy. It includes:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased pressure on the brain/headaches
  • Blurry vision or other vision changes
  • Swelling of the bones
  • Bone pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Dry, rough skin
  • Itchy or peeling skin
  • Cracked fingernails
  • Skin cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Yellowed skin (jaundice)
  • Orange skin (carotenemia)
  • Hair loss
  • Respiratory infection
  • Confusion
  • Softening of the skull bone
  • Bulging of the soft spot on the top of an infant’s skull
  • Double vision
  • Bulging eyeballs
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Coma
  • Fluid-filled cysts
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Picky eater/refusal to eat
  • Oily skin and hair
  • Osteoporosis
  • Eczema
  • Food intolerance/food allergy
  • Cradle cap
  • Asthma

Did you catch all that? Crazy, huh? And those aren’t even all of them.

Another search will tell you that pregnant women should not get too much Vitamin A because it can cause birth defects. I wish I had known that! Sadly I listened to the WAPF pregnancy guidelines that claims you shouldn’t worry about too much Vitamin A. Just one example of something they got SO wrong.

Where Does Vitamin A Come From?

Vitamin A is found in many common “healthy” foods today:

  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • dairy
  • brightly colored vegetables
  • pork and lard
  • avocado

Really most foods have at least a little Vitamin A. Meat and grains are probably the lowest in Vitamin A. And the body can handle a little.

The problem arises when the liver gets saturated. Which, you can see, won’t take long if you eat a healthy diet by today’s standards or from a traditional diet. The WAPF dietary guidelines for pregnancy would give a woman an overabundance of Vitamin A! Truly excessive amounts.

Initial symptoms usually impact the skin (dry skin, eczema), hair (thinning, graying), eyes (dry, red, itchy, poor vision) and bones (osteoporosis, weak bones and teeth, joint pain). But as the toxicity continues it will gradually break down other systems. The inflammation reaches the intestines (think Crohn’s, Colitis, IBS, leaky gut, food allergies), the brain (cranial pressure/migraines, ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) and other important organs (thyroid, kidneys and heart).

Does that sound like you or anyone you know? Or everyone?The Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids! A Parent's Guide

Where “Healing” Diets Fail

And what is the solution these days? A “healing” diet like GAPS, AIP, Keto, Nemecheck. Where you load up on brightly colored fruits and veggies, bacon, lard, egg yolks, liver, sweet potatoes, unrefined coconut oil. Are you seeing the irony here?

What if our “Eat the Rainbow” mentality was actually doing more harm than good? In the plant and animal world bright colors are a sign of poison (called aposematism). Plants are brightly colored to keep animals from eating them (should we be doing the same?). Animals that are poisonous are often brightly colored (think snakes and frogs). It is a warning sign. Yet we have come to see them as the holy grail of nutrition!

You may be thinking, “But we have soil nutrient depletion and other factors now.” True. But they aren’t enough to cause such a drastic increase in health problems and autoimmune diseases and conditions like autism in recent years.

Is a Standard American Diet Less Toxic?

And what about people that don’t eat healthy? What about people on the Standard American Diet?

Well, they don’t have it much better. Somehow the government has thought they know better than we do what our bodies need. For the past fifty plus years now our foods have been fortified. All pasteurized milk must be fortified with Vitamin A and D. Most grains/flours, cereals, milk alternatives, yogurts and snack foods are fortified. We’re all told to take multi-vitamins and random supplements without any kind of testing.

Everyone worries about not getting enough vitamins and minerals. But we are bombarded with them…certain ones at least. And it’s causing so much overload and imbalance. Excessive supplementation will not fix anything. It will just make problems worse. God designed our bodies to get nutrition from food and to maintain balance. Our bodies now have to compensate for all of the over-supplementing and it is causing big problems (you can read more about the dangers of supplements HERE).

Unless you and your children somehow fall in the middle (no processed/fortified foods AND no abundance of veggies and traditional foods) you probably have Vitamin A Toxicity. That’s right. Just about everyone has it.

What About Vitamin A Deficiency?

But wait. Isn’t Vitamin A deficiency really serious? That depends on your view. IF Vitamin A is actually a vitamin and IF the established symptoms are truly from a deficiency, then yes. The problem is those could both be false assumptions.

Are you still with me? Do you think I’ve lost my mind yet?

In the 1930’s when Vitamin A, the first vitamin, was discovered, the experiments were done incorrectly. The scientists were actually loading the rats with Vitamin A instead of depriving them! They were poisoning the rats instead of inducing a deficiency.

If you look at the symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency and the symptoms of Hypervitamonosis A (listed above) you’ll notice something odd…they are the same! Whether or not that’s possible I’m not sure. Whether Vitamin A deficiency is actually a condition I don’t know. I’m not sure there have ever been any true studies to prove it. Would you actually go blind without Vitamin A? I don’t know. It would take a long time to actually get it all out of your system (could be 5+ years!). How did everyone not go blind hundreds of years ago without supplements and without orange veggies?

It turns out that Vitamin A may actually not be a vitamin at all.

Our bodies can handle some. But too much is toxic. Where that threshold lies is different for everyone and depends on the health of your liver (this is key!).

That rainbow we’ve been told to eat…could be acting more like poison if you are overloaded. (side note – the “five a day” and “eat the rainbow” campaigns were completely arbitrary recommendations).

Now What?

I don’t like to leave you hanging. I just told you that you could be poisoning your family after all! But I also don’t want to overwhelm you with information. And this could take a while to digest.

Plus I’ve got homework for you.

I’ve got more posts coming on other factors that contribute to Vitamin A Toxicity, what happens to Vitamin A in your body and what you can do about it. That’s really what we all want, right? A solution!

There is one. And I have a new book that will help guide you through it. This could be the definitive guide to solving all of your feeding challenges. I know that is a bold statement. But I truly believe it.

You can get your copy of the Vitamin A Detox Diet for Kids! HERE.

I also want you to do some reading and research of your own. And you may know just about as much as I do if you actually do all the reading. So if you just can’t wait, get started!

Engineers Are the Best Problem Solvers

All of this information started with some personal experimenting from an engineer named Grant Genereux (I truly believe engineers make some of the best doctors since our passion is finding root problems and coming up with a solution. Yes, I am an engineer too). He was diagnosed with eczema, an autoimmune condition, and told he would have it for the rest of his life and there was nothing he could do for it. 

Not an acceptable answer for an engineer.

He healed his own autoimmune condition and wrote two very detailed books about his research on Vitamin A.

They are totally free and totally worth reading every word. I could not pull myself away. If you really want to understand Vitamin A Toxicity I suggest you read his books. At the very least his second book, Poisoning For Profits. It will blow your mind.

To be fair, I also wanted to point out that often times engineers are Analytical Eaters (see my Eating Styles for more details), myself included. Analytical Eaters tend to get in food ruts and cause excesses and deficiencies. So whether or not Grant had created a severe Vitamin A Toxicity in himself I don’t know. Just an observation on my part. So he may just be one more extreme case, not the norm.

Here are his FREE books:

Poisoning For Profits

Extinguishing the Fires of Hell

I know, not everyone has the time or interest to read 400-page books on vitamins.

Here is another great blog post from Butter Nutrition about the symptoms of Vitamin A Toxicity.

So, Is Vitamin A a Toxin?

I applaud you if you made it to the end of the post. And even if you do now think I’ve gone completely mad I hope this at least got you thinking. Let it sit a while and come back to it if you need to. That’s what I had to do. And lots of praying for wisdom. But I feel this is truly where God is leading me.

Big changes are always hard. Changing your perspective on health and nutrition is very hard. But change can also be good.

As I said at the start of the post, I’m always researching, learning, and experimenting. After a year on the Vitamin A Detox Diet I’m still not fully clear on my views on Vitamin A.

I truly believe that it is toxic in certain doses (and probably lower than people think) and that a state of toxicity is quite easy to reach these days with fortification, supplements, superfoods, glyphosate, and other toxins.

I also think the health of your liver and your body’s ability to detox is of utmost importance and a key factor in the whole equation. But whether or not Vitamin A is a toxin I’m not sure.

Unfortunately most scientific studies are done in the extremes. They are either trying to prove the impacts of toxicity or deficiency. But we are supposed to live in balance. There are no studies in the balance zone. What that balance is, I’m not sure. Do we need certain amounts of Vitamin A to balance other things? Does eliminating all high Vitamin A foods create other imbalances? There is a LOT we still don’t know. Just because there are studies that show the seriousness of Vitamin A Toxicity does not mean there can’t also be a deficiency? I’m not sure a true Vitamin A Deficiency study has ever been conducted!

Bio-individuality and listening to your own body is also critical. Regardless of any scientific study or prescribed diet, you have to do what works for you and makes you feel your best.

After a year on the Vitamin A Detox Diet we are learning that we have developed some serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies and most symptoms have returned. We are adding in foods that we tolerate and finding a new balance.

Have you ever heard of Vitamin A Toxicity? Have you ever wondered about over-supplementing?

The Best Way to Keep Your Family Healthy This Year

No matter what feeding challenges you face there is one key strategy to keeping your family healthy and well-fed this year. I’m sharing my number one tip…meal planning!No matter what feeding challenges you face there is one key strategy to keeping your family healthy and well-fed this year. I'm sharing my number one tip...meal planning!

When my son was two he was diagnosed with a myriad of food allergies. Feeding him became my new challenge.

Then when my youngest daughter was an infant she reacted to just about every single food I ate. Even harder.

Before I even had kids I went through my own journey of different diets to help my digestive issues.

Over the last fifteen years I’ve had so many different dietary restrictions to figure out and work around. In spite of that I’ve always had healthy, homemade food on the table for my family.

It never really mattered what foods we could and couldn’t eat. I can work around any food restriction. I like the challenge!

How to Keep Your Family Healthy

But there was one common solution to keeping my family healthy: meal planning.

That’s right. The best way to keep your family healthy this year is by meal planning.

As long as you plan ahead you can make good food choices. You can work around busy schedules and restricted diets. Even if it’s homemade chicken lunch meat sandwiches in the car between sports or a simple split pea soup you put in the crockpot at 6 am so dinner is ready when you get home from a busy day. Real food can take on many forms. But if you don’t plan ahead the packaged food and takeout meals will win.No matter what feeding challenges you face there is one key strategy to keeping your family healthy and well-fed this year. I'm sharing my number one tip...meal planning!

How to Meal Plan

There are varied strategies for meal planning. Some people plan a month at a time. Some do a week. Maybe you normally just figure out meals the night before. Some like variety while others rotate through a handful of family favorite meals. There are online meal planners and apps so you don’t have to do the work.

You can copy someone else’s meal plans too! I’ve got about five years of weekly menus on the blog.

It doesn’t really matter what meal planning method you use, as long as you actually use it!

My Meal Planning

Before I had kids I would plan meals one day ahead. And I hated it. The meal planning never ended! I had to do it every day.

As life got busier and we added in food allergies and special diets that method went out the window.

I now meal plan one week at a time, typically on Saturday. I base my meals on our schedules (when we might need a prep ahead meal or a quick clean up meal) and what food we have on hand. I find that if I try to plan farther ahead schedules change and I have to make adjustments anyway. So one week at a time works well for me.

My kids like to help too. They give input and I try to make it fit. I also try to plan meals they can help make.

Friday we always have breakfast for dinner. It’s good to do a fun night every week. My kids always look forward to Friday!

No matter how you do it, meal planning will help keep your family well-nourished. Plan a day ahead, a week ahead or even a month ahead. Cook daily or batch cook and stock the freezer. Make 30-minute meals or use your crockpot or Instant Pot. Find what works for you and stick with it!

How I Gave My Daughter A New Start: Natural Remedies to Help Mouth Breathing

Does your child seem to sleep poorly or wake up grumpy? There are many causes, one of them being how your child breathes. There is natural help for mouth breathing to get a well-rested child.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Every parent does it. Every night.

Before you get in bed you check on your sleeping child.

You stand there for a minute watching them lay there so peacefully.

Unless your child is a mouth breather.

Then you see covers strewn about and a child tossing and turning. You hear snoring and snuffling.

Sleeping While Mouth Breathing Looks Anything but Peaceful

Not only does it look bad, it is bad. Mouth breathing has a big impact on health and behavior. Here are some of the effects of mouth breathing.

  • Restless sleep/change positions constantly.
  • Lack of clean oxygen to the body (that comes through the nose).
  • Bad breath and body odor.
  • Sensitive teeth/chewing problems/dental problems.
  • Adrenal fatigue/lack of sleep.
  • Sleeping problems/hard to settle down/inability to nap.
  • Lack of focus/symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Mood swings/tantrums/meltdowns.
  • Oral sensory processing disorder.
  • Narrow mouth/palette.

This list of symptoms should not describe any child. But it does. My daughter included. She had displayed every single symptom on this list at only seven years old.How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion. #mouthbreathing #oralspd #kidshealth

Why do Kids Mouth Breathe?

Mouth breathing happens during the day and night and can have a variety of causes. For my daughter the root issue is environmental allergies.

Her first symptoms started at a very young age with chewing problems and sensitive teeth. She needed pureed foods until age two. But things really started to get worse around age three when she stopped napping and could no longer settle down during the day.

We played around with diet and removed gluten and anything artificial. We saw some improvement, but not enough.

How Allergies Impact Mouth Breathing

At five years old we had her tested for allergies and discovered severe dust mite and mold allergies. The allergist put her on a steroid nasal spray. Although hesitant we tried it for a while with no improvement. So we turned to more natural remedies.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Natural Treatment Options for Mouth Breathing

My daughter is now ten and breathing through her nose most of the time. It is quite amazing to see the difference in her health, mood and behavior. She has been given a new start after years of mouth breathing.

Every child is different and responds differently to treatments. But if your child is a mouth breather it is important to figure out what works for them and find a way for them to get quality oxygen and sleep. Here are the treatments we have used.

  1. Speech therapy – We saw a speech therapist for three years. It is great for calming the body, integrating reflexes and training the mouth. Being able to do exercises at home that open the nasal passage is also wonderful.
  2. Remove food allergies – Allergies to food can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, including the nose/airway. You can figure out allergies through formal testing, an elimination diet, muscle testing or trial and error. Cut the offending foods out completely while you work on healing.
  3. Clean the whole house and clear out the bedroom – Dust and mold allergies are some of the biggest offenders. Dust mites live in mattresses, pillow cases, couches and stuffed animals. Dust collects quickly on dressers, toy boxes and bookshelves. There are some simple solutions.
  • Use dust mite covers on the mattress and pillow case.
  • Change bedding weekly and wash it in hot water.
  • Remove stuffed animals from the bed.
  • Clean the floor regularly. Wood floors are ideal. If possible remove carpet.
  • Remove as much clutter from the bedroom as possible.
  • Dust regularly in the bedroom and the whole house.
  • Keep windows free of mold.
  • Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils can provide a tremendous improvement in breathing. A blend of lemon, lavender and peppermint diffused through the night is effective for clearing airways. Purification is great too.
  • Palette expansion.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Palate Expansion for Mouth Breathing

Palate expansion has had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health. Her mouth breathing has caused her palate to gradually become narrower and narrower. We found a naturally minded dentist that focuses on expansion plus reshaping the jaw. It is not just the typical expander for a few months and then move on to braces.

There are a few different methods of expansion. We are using Biobloc Orthotropics. It is a three year process with several phases. First the mouth is widened to allow room for all of the teeth and to open the nasal passage. Then the jaw is reshaped.

My daughter is breathing through her nose more in the night and getting better quality sleep. She is using mouth exercises to practice keeping her mouth closed during the day to retrain her jaw. No more sitting with her mouth wide open!

We also use tape over her mouth at night. I know it sounds strange, but our orthodontist suggested it…and it really works! You can buy special tape already cut in strips or use a hypoallergenic medical tape. Just avoid it if your child has a cold or is really stuffy. You can read more about mouth taping here!

Instead of bad breath daily it is only an occasional problem. She is also much more efficient at eating. Instead of a meal taking an hour she can finish in about ten minutes.

Looking for more ways to figure out why your child struggles with meal times? Check out Why Won’t My Child Eat?! Mouth breathing is just one of the many culprits.

How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.Can you Eliminate Mouth Breathing?

We have many days now of greatly improved focus and attention and with less hyperactivity. She is able to quickly get herself ready for school in the morning and stay on task at school.

Her adrenal health is gradually improving as she gets more sleep and we continue with a nutrient dense, allergen free diet. Her hair and nails are stronger. She has not had severe skin problems this winter for the first time in years.

The mouth breathing is not 100% gone, but it is drastically decreased. We are still using tape at night and doing mouth exercises during the day.

Is Your Child a Mouth Breather?

Don’t let it go untreated. It will change the shape of the face and impact overall health. Find the root problem (i.e. allergies). Then seek appropriate treatment to eliminate it.

Finally consider palate expansion to undo the structural damage, keep the nasal passage open and create a beautiful smile with enough room for all of your child’s teeth. I’m so thankful we stopped the mouth breathing in its tracks and my daughter has been given a new start. Her smile says it all.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

The REAL Reason I’m Teaching My Kids To Cook

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook. Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

“It’s a good thing I like to cook.”

I made that comment to my husband earlier this week. And I really meant it.

With all of the varying allergies in our house cooking is a full time job. I’m not joking. I spend half of my day in the kitchen.

It’s a rare treat if I can come up with a meal the whole family can eat. There is no such thing as convenience food (unless you mean a box of raisins.). Eating out? That’s a thing people do?

Even as we look ahead to visiting family this summer I have to do the meal planning. I don’t get a break whether I’m home or traveling.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Nobody Else Can Cook for my Family

There is no substitute for me. Even my husband doesn’t know how to cook.

It doesn’t matter if I’m sick.

It doesn’t matter if I’m tired.

If I don’t cook, my kids don’t eat.

I happily accept the challenge of keeping my kids well fed and healthy. It is actually my passion.

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

Everyone Deserves a Break From Cooking

But let’s be honest. Everyone needs a break sometimes. If you don’t get one, that passion fades a little. The joy of cooking isn’t quite the same when your food is reduced to a handful of safe options. And I don’t have ten hours a day to cook.

Have you tried cooking when you can’t let one person’s food touch another’s food? You must use a new knife for everything you cut. Did I stick that spoon in this pot or that one? Better get a clean one just to be safe. What rotation day are we on? Better check so we know what your snack options are. Does this measuring cup have latex? Gotta wash my hands after I add the flour to the bowl (or buy new measuring cups). Everyone must wash up as soon as they are done eating so you don’t get an allergen on anything.

Nothing is Easy with Allergies

Easy meals like sandwiches are a big undertaking. It requires me to make my own lunch meat and bake a minimum of two kinds of bread. Pizza…three separate crusts, two kinds of sauce, different toppings, some with and some without cheese, bake on separate pans, use different pizza cutters. Not so easy.

Cooking and eating at my house is like a very delicate juggling act. Fun in some ways. Not as fun in others. And one little slip up and it comes tumbling down.

Cooking is a Learned Skill

When I got married I really had no idea how to cook. I had a handful of things I could make. But not very well. And most of them involved packaged foods.

Over the years I have taught myself to cook. I have learned to be creative in the kitchen with evolving food restrictions and new diets. I always gladly accept each new challenge. I’m thankful I get to share my journey and my creations with you!

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

I Want to Teach my Kids to Cook

But my kids won’t be little forever. I won’t be in control of what they eat when they grow up. I can’t make choices for them when they are not home.

I want to empower my kids to take control of their own health and understand how to eat well in spite of their allergies. I want to share my passion for real food with my children.

Yes, we are working on and hopeful for healing. It would be wonderful if someday we can all eat the same food and a much larger variety of food. But that is not guaranteed.

What I can for sure give my kids is the knowledge and ability to cook and care for themselves.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Here’s the Plan for Getting Kids in the Kitchen

That’s where the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse comes in. We started it almost three years ago. When we do the lessons my kids LOVE it. And they learn so much. Now they are always begging me to help in the kitchen.

The real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not so I can take it easy.

Sound good? Go check out The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse! There is something for everyone. Do it at your own pace and watch the videos whenever it fits in your schedule. It works for kids of all ages.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Set Goals for your Kids

My first goal was to have my eight year old be able to make an entire meal by herself, start to finish. Then in a pinch I know I could rely on her to make a meal. That may sound like an ambitious goal if your kids don’t normally cook. But she’s been cooking with me since she was nine months old. She loves helping in the kitchen. Now I can let her really take responsibility.
Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.
Even my toddler has been doing the course and helping cook meals for two years. She’s very skilled with a knife!

Who knows, maybe I’ll even convince my husband to tune in to some of the classes and learn a few cooking skills too.

I love cooking in spite of our challenges. But I don’t want my kids to depend on me forever (well, I do, actually…can I keep them this small?). Sadly they do have to grow up.

I could say I’m teaching my kids to cook so I’m off the hook. But really that’s not it. I want them to be safe. I want them to stay healthy even if a situation comes up where I can’t be around to cook a meal. I want my children to be able to visit Grandpa and Grandma and tell them what they can eat.

How about you? Are you ready to give your kids skills for life?

Click here to register for the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

It’s an investment in your kids’ future.

The real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook is to empower them and keep them safe and healthy. What is your motive for teaching your kids to cook?Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Need more info about picky eating and allergies? Check out my books!

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

How Raising Animals Helps Picky Eaters

Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard someone ask if you can’t have eggs because you are dairy free. Let that sink in a minute. Eggs…from chickens. That has nothing to do with dairy. It’s a completely different animal! Unless they know a secret I don’t and can milk a chicken!

What’s really sad is that it is adults asking this. Adults. That don’t know eggs are not dairy. Just because they are close together in a grocery store (as if that means anything about where they come from!). That doesn’t bode well for the future of our children. Food knowledge is not being passed down.

Kids have no idea where their food comes from or why it even matters.

This needs to change. I think food education (about REAL food) should be taught in schools and should be fundamental knowledge. It’s hard to make good choices about how and what you eat when you don’t even know there is a choice to make.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

Parents are Responsible for Food Knowledge

It is up to parents to turn this around. Because let’s face it – kids are bombarded with neon-colored packaged junk everywhere they turn. From a very young age my kids help in the garden, planting, weeding, harvesting. They also help in the kitchen (with their skills from Kids Cook Real Food) preparing food from scratch. And they help raise animals.

Right now we just have chickens. We hope to expand to other animals in the future. But for now we are enjoying our little flock.

My seven year old feeds the chickens and collects the eggs every day. All of the kids like to help care for our hens. They are learning by first-hand experience.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

Raising Healthy Chickens

But I am adding a new tool for learning. I recently received the book Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens by Carissa Bonham.

It is a great resource for all of your chicken questions. And I love how easy it is to read! Every subject has one page (kind of like a daily devotional). So you can quickly browse the whole book or go right to the topic you want and easily find the answer you need.

Since my oldest two can read they will be reading this book to give them a better understanding of chicken care. We have some chickens that are molting. So I’m going to let my kids use this book to figure out how we can help the hens through it.

Prevent Picky Eaters

Not only does this give them knowledge and a better understanding of how to care for God’s creation, it helps them not be picky eaters.

My kids know all the work that goes into raising healthy eggs. They appreciate the nutritional value. And they know not to be wasteful. For them it’s not just about food on the plate. It’s everything that goes into getting the food there.

The same holds true for our garden produce and our apples. A jar of home-canned applesauce isn’t just applesauce. It’s pruning trees, picking apples, making and canning the sauce.

I hope to instill an appreciation and love for well-raised food in my children. They can turn up their noses at processed pseudo-foods. But when it comes to real, nourishing food they will be the farthest thing from picky eaters.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

How You Can Raise Adventurous Eaters

Whether or not you raise your own food or animals, it’s important that your kids know where their food comes from. You can visit a local farm or even just try growing a tomato plant in a pot.

And grab some good books about raising animals like Carissa’s Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens. Your kids will learn a lot. And the pictures are so cute. Who doesn’t love page after page of adorable chickens and eggs?!

I did not grow up farming, so I’ve been learning a lot about chickens myself from this book. Even as the one that mostly only deals with the food once it’s in the house. Carissa’s book taught me about  how to properly clean eggs to prevent spreading bacteria. I had no idea you shouldn’t run them under water!

Food knowledge is so important for this new generation. And feeding kids real, nourishing food will improve health and help prevent picky eating.

Whether you’re raising your own chickens or you just want to learn more, check out Carissa’s book here.

How much do your kids know about where their food comes from? One simple step you can take today is to provide quality books about real food for your kids to read.

The Parental Stress of a Child With Feeding Challenges

As parents, especially moms, we are wired with the desire to nourish and care for our children. But when your child has feeding challenges it can create a lot of parental stress that is hard to handle.As parents, especially moms, we are wired with the desire to nourish and care for our children. But when your child has feeding challenges it can create a lot of parental stress that is hard to handle.

I spend a lot of time on the couch nursing baby number four these days. And I can only look at my phone or stare at the wall for so long. Which means I’ve gotten back into reading! It’s been great to actually have time to read again. Even if it’s usually short intervals because I get sleepy or lose focus. Postpartum sleep deprivation will do that.

Recently my husband suggested a book he bought called “Boys Should Be Boys” by Meg Meeker, MD. Sure, I thought. I’ll give it a look. After all, we do have two sons! And a pediatrician should have some good advice.

I felt encouraged that a lot of it was right in line with how we raise our children – don’t overschedule, let them have plenty of free time, let them explore outside, give them attention. Great.

All About Mom

Then I got to the chapter specifically for moms. I found a few areas to work on and more encouragement that I’m doing an ok job at this parenting thing.

And then I read one line that made me pause for a moment.

“In my medical practice, the most stressed-out mothers I have encountered are often the mothers whose sons have growth issues. If a child fails to eat well and fails to grow, a mother subconsciously feels that she has failed.”

It wasn’t until about thirty minutes later that the weight of that statement really hit me and the tears started flowing.As parents, especially moms, we are wired with the desire to nourish and care for our children. But when your child has feeding challenges it can create a lot of parental stress that is hard to handle.

After four years of watching my youngest daughter struggle with eating and being undernourished and now having another baby that struggles to eat, it was the first time I didn’t feel alone.

I’m not just the crazy mom that worries too much about her kids. If a pediatrician sees the parents of children with feeding challenges as the most stressed out, then it’s not just me!

And it’s Not Just You, Either!

To the mom who couldn’t breastfeed despite her best efforts – you are not alone.

To the parents of a child with an undiagnosed tongue tie resulting in undernourishment – you are not alone.

To the mother of a kid going through feeding therapy – you are not alone.

To the parent of a child whose diet is limited to ten foods – you are not alone.

To the parents of kids who throw tantrums at every meal – you are not alone.

To the mom who gets anxious before every checkup, fearing that your child is still not growing – you are not alone.

To the mom of a kid with food allergies – you are not alone.

To the mom that puts her life on hold to make feeding her children well a priority – you are not alone.

And to the mom whose baby screams at every feed, whose day is consumed with feeding attempts and you can hardly leave the house – YOU are not alone. I am not alone.

In her book “Cold Tangerines” Shauna Niequist describes feeding others like this:

“[F]eeding the people I love is a hands-on way of loving them. When you nourish and sustain someone, essentially, you’re saying that you want them to thrive, to be happy and healthy and able to live well.”

That is exactly how I feel about feeding my children. And it’s a challenge when there is a road block in the way.

I see other moms of little ones going out on dates or out with friends, while I’m over here wondering if I can manage a trip to the grocery store between feeding attempts. I see other families going to the beach or the zoo for the day, and I can’t go anywhere for more than an hour without a private place to breastfeed. There is no such thing as being discrete with all the bouncing, back arching and screaming going on.As parents, especially moms, we are wired with the desire to nourish and care for our children. But when your child has feeding challenges it can create a lot of parental stress that is hard to handle.

The parental stress of a child with feeding challenges is very real, but hard to understand if you’ve never been through it. If you know a mom struggling with feeding issues give her some encouragement and maybe a helping hand. She is doing such important and demanding work!

Parental Stress

I focus a lot on health and nutrition for kids. But also for parents. It’s important for mom and dad to be healthy not only to set a good example, but also to be able to properly care for your kids.

I’ve been working on my own health for many years. And it’s always a challenge during pregnancy and breastfeeding when I am sharing nutrients and often on a limited diet for baby’s food intolerances.

But one of the biggest factors in health problems is not the food you eat but instead the amount of stress in your life.

Ask any doctor and they will tell you to reduce stress.

You can declutter your house, free up time in your schedule, simplify meals and try to get to bed earlier…but you can’t get rid of your child! The parental stress of a child with feeding challenges is a permanent fixture as long as the feeding troubles remain.

I often joke with my big kids that baby brother only wants to eat as soon as I sit down to eat. So I have to rush through every meal with a fussy baby. Eating too quickly, not chewing thoroughly and eating while stressed is a recipe for disastrous digestion. Yep, that’s me. You too? I pretty much have a constant stomach ache from the tension.

The stress impacts how I interact with my other children and my husband. If my little guy is having a bad day I am having a bad day and patience goes out the window. If my four year old refuses to eat my anxiety builds and it shows.

As parents, especially moms, we are wired with the desire to nourish and care for our children. But when your child has feeding challenges it can create a lot of parental stress that is hard to handle.

Help for Feeding Challenges

I can’t make your stress go away, but I can offer assurance that you are not alone. And encouragement that you will get through this. As kids get older the feeding gets easier. And there are things you can do right now to at least ease the problems. I outline the details in my book “Why Won’t My Child Eat?!” I have tips for breastfeeding struggles here and feeding a child with sensory processing disorder here.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Meeker.

“Mothers love through sacrifice. They act. They will surrender whatever is necessary to keep their son alive. Whether it’s intuitive or not, that is what love does.”

Caring for a child with feeding challenges is stressful. It’s hard work. And it shows your deep, deep love for your child. Some days are more challenging than others. And some days you just need a good cry. But don’t give up. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up!

I wrote this post to encourage others. But also to encourage myself as I’m right there with you dealing with multiple children with feeding challenges at the same time. It is stressful. And it’s OK to admit it. Just know you are NOT a failure!

I hope that ten years from now when I’m not struggling with very young children this post can still offer encouragement to those in the midst of the challenge. And I will still be here to help you along the journey!

What has been the most stressful part of having a child with feeding challenges for you?

Letting go of Fear: A 33 Year Journey Comes to an End

Life isn’t always what it seems. Today I’m sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

If you don’t know much about my story you may think my life looks well planned. I am happily married. I have four kids, two boys and two girls, all about three years apart. And almost ten years to the day between my oldest and youngest. Picture perfect, right?

Yes, it’s true that I am a major planner, But I can assure you that God did all the planning when it came to building my family.

As I approached Simon’s birth I realized just how monumental it was. His birth carried with it 33 years of dreams, desires and hopes…and struggles, doubts and fear. And in that one moment when he arrived a weight I’ve carried with me for so long was lifted.

Today I want to share the journey with you. Though I admit I debated about whether or not to. Do I want to relive it? Or just forget it and move on? These thoughts and emotions have been swirling around in my head for the last couple months. Hopefully I can get them written and fully let go. And maybe it will give hope to someone else. So here we go!Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

When it All Began.

It started on my fifth birthday. The only thing I wanted was a Cabbage Patch Doll. But they were sold out everywhere. Finally my mom heard a store near us had just gotten ten more. We rushed over. By the time we got there only five were left. It took me all of two seconds to pick the one I wanted. A girl with a tuft of blonde hair and a paci. I named her Caroline Rebecca.

And from that moment I knew that more than anything I wanted to be a mom.

But more specifically I knew deep down I wanted four kids – two boys, two girls. How I knew this at such a young age, I don’t know. I think it was a seed God planted in me. A seed of hope that has kept me going through a lot of struggles. No matter how hard I tried over the years to shake it (and believe me, I tried! I prayed and prayed for God to take it away.), I knew my life would not feel complete without four children.

I spent a large portion of my childhood playing with dolls. Not Barbies. Babies. I pretended to nurse them, dress them, feed them. They went wherever I went. I was playing dolls well into junior high!

The teenage Years.

Fast forward to puberty. When the fear first set in. From my first menstrual cycle at age 14 I knew something wasn’t “normal” about me. I only had a period once or twice a year. I was too scared to talk to anyone about it. I lied about it at doctor visits. I thought my body was broken…for good. And the fear that I would never have the family I dreamed of set in.

I started an obsession with health (which sort of led me to where I am now). It was an unhealthy obsession then (and would be for many years to come). I actually knew nothing about health. In my mind there was only one factor. Skinny meant healthy. So I became fat phobic – the popular dietary misinformation of the day. I could live on fruity candy and fat free ice cream and call it healthy.

This is also when my obsessive compulsive disorder began (though I wouldn’t understand it/identify it for another 15 years). My eating became so restricted. My weight dropped like crazy. I was less “normal” than ever. But I didn’t care because I was skinny.

This continued all through high school. I was underweight, scared of food and so undernourished.

Coming to a Head in College.

Then I went off to college. All of my obsessive behaviors combined with my extreme shyness created a lot of anxiety. And it was hard to make friends or let anyone get to know me.

I was playing soccer and taking honors classes. My days were so busy I hardly had time to make friends even if I wanted to.

By the grace of God there was some positive change by my junior year. My soccer career came to an end…which made it possible for me to start a relationship with the man that would one day become my husband. We were both electrical engineering majors, which allowed us to spend a lot of time together.

I had no idea at the time, but I was gradually re-feeding my body (you can read more about that in this book). My weight had gone up enough to be in a healthy range. And I was eating more nutrients (though still low fat and plenty of processed food). For the first time in my life I started having regular cycles! I finally felt normal. I got excited every month when it showed up. My body was working!!

On the flip side my OCD and digestive problems were progressively getting worse (I didn’t understand how food impacted mood at the time). And getting harder to hide.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

A BIG Mistake.

One year after graduation Justin and I got married. A few months before the wedding I made a bad decision that would impact my health for many years to come…I started birth control pills. It was just what you do when you get married. I never thought twice about it, I never questioned what negative effects they could have. Or that it might not be how God wanted me to live. Trying to be in control instead of giving that to Him.

I now understand how harmful birth control is. And will teach my daughters so they don’t make the same mistake.

At first it was great. Having everything work like clockwork. I had no idea they messed up your hormones and that the period was just a withdrawl bleed, not an actual period.

Gradually I started to feel the impact. At the start of each new pack I would get so sick I would vomit, My anxiety and OCD were out of control. I was having panic attacks.

My digestive problems continued to get worse as well. I had constant painful colon spasms, I was constantly searching for solutions, I tried all sorts of dietary changes. None of them worked. They just made my anxiety about food worse.

I finally got to the point I couldn’t handle things and started working with a psychologist, I spent the next ten years working with her,

Time For our Family.

In early 2006 my husband and I started talking about having kids. The thing I had been waiting for since I was five. I stopped taking birth control…and the long journey through infertility began. I waited six months with no sign of my cycles returning naturally. Those three years on birth control had destroyed my health both physically and mentally.

During those three years I also underwent a host of tests to help my digestive problems, But every time the doctor would tell me everything was normal. After years of searching for answers I finally self-diagnosed my problem. At 26 years old I had a rectal prolapse. I met with a colon surgeon who confirmed it and ran more tests, In September 2006 I had surgery to correct it.

I was out of work for two months. It was a long, slow recovery. Something I don’t care to ever repeat.

Treatment Begins.

My first day back at work post surgery was also the day of my first visit with the endocrinologist. We started with three rounds of clomid – which my body did not respond to. Next we moved on to IUI. It was during this process that we learned we had both male and female infertility, As each month came and went with no luck my fear of not having the family I dreamed of really surfaced. I wondered if I’d ever be a mom at all.

The endo told us our only option was IVF. He didn’t give any health suggestions, No dietary advice, Just medical procedures. So began our journey through the lonely, painful, expensive world of IVF.

Of course my body never likes to follow the norm. The doctor diagnosed me with polyfollicular ovaries – not PCOS. But I could never find any information about it. He said he rarely had patients like me.

I didn’t respond as well as hoped to the procedure because of my condition. I produced tons of eggs…but most of them were not mature enough to be useful. So after the egg retrieval I hyperstimulated, In other words all of the empty egg sacs filled with fluid, which then filled my abdominal cavity. It’s painful. It makes you feel sick. It can damage your ovaries, And it makes you unable to transfer any fertilized eggs back. We had to freeze everything and give my body time to recover.

Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!
What hyperstimulation looks like – a belly full of fluid.

We waited another month to move on. Just when it was getting too hard to hope we received great news – our first IVF transfer worked! I was pregnant. I gave birth to our first child, a daughter, in 2008.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

Let’s Try Again.

In the fall of 2009 we decided to start trying for another baby. I weaned my daughter just weeks before returning to the endocrinologist to start the next round of treatment. In other words I didn’t give my body any time to recover or restore nutrients. We did another IVF transfer. Unfortunately it didn’t work. And it used up what fertilized eggs we had frozen.

So back to square one. We started right up with a new round of IVF stimulation. It was around this time that I first learned about real food and started making dietary changes.

As before I hyperstimulated and had to recover before doing transfers. We went on to use up all of our fertilized eggs with three frozen transfers…all of which were unsuccessful. The third one was dragged out a bit, but ended up being a chemical pregnancy. I felt so broken and alone (I wrote about it here). Those fears were taking over. Would I ever have more children?

After a couple months off we started yet another round of IVF. Again I hyperstimulated. The worst it had ever been. I was so sick and had to do transfusions to help my fluids balance. But finally we got to our sixth frozen transfer. Praise the Lord it worked! I gave birth to our first son in 2011. During that pregnancy I started the GAPS diet to try to help with my digestive problems. Unfortunately it made my OCD go out of control. It also made my food sensitivities worse in the long run.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

Baby #3??

In May of 2013 we headed back to the doctor, hopeful we would at least have one more child. We still had fertilized eggs in the freezer. Just as I was starting the hormone meds we got a letter that my endo was retiring immediately due to health problems. Panic. I’m already starting a round of treatment…now what?

Thankfully we have another great endo in town that was taking on all of my old doctor’s patients. And he was able to squeeze us in yet for this cycle. This was it. We had to use up all of our freezer supply for this transfer. The two week wait was eternal. I felt all of the usual symptoms. But the hormone shots do that to you.

Finally I got the pregnancy test results – positive!!! I was so beyond happy. It worked. We would have three kids. I would have to settle for that. And we would be done with fertility treatments.

But a week later I started to bleed. I went to the doctor for an ultrasound – inconclusive. No heart beat. But it could be too early. I had my hormone levels checked – they weren’t rising. I went for a final ultrasound to confirm it was a blighted ovum.

Dreams shattered. Fears in control.

Letting God Take Control.

Now what? Justin and I both knew we couldn’t do another round of IVF. My body couldn’t handle any more. And we had already spent so much money on it.

But this was when God really changed my life. Through this heartbreak he brought so much healing. You can read all the details HERE and HERE. When I tell people our first two children were conceived via IVF and our second two were natural I always get the same comment – “Your body just started working again! It figured out how to do it.” No. NOT AT ALL. There was a LOT of work that went into the healing process. And it was HARD work. So hard. But in December of 2013 I found out I was pregnant. Our second daughter was born in 2014.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

You would think that would put an end to my fears. But it didn’t. Her first two years of life were riddled with fear. From vaccine reactions to tongue ties to so many allergies I was worried she’d starve to death. She didn’t gain any weight for a year. We could hardly leave the house. It consumed me. By God’s grace we made it through. She is now thriving.

Yet through those years of struggles with her I thought daily about having another baby. It weighed heavily on me. I didn’t know if my husband would be willing to try again. I didn’t know if my body would work again. A lot of unknowns. A lot of giving it over to God on a daily basis.

Baby #4??

I weaned my daughter in early 2017 in order to start working on my health. To my complete amazement my body started cycling on its own about six weeks later. That alone gave me hope. That had never happened before. My body was working!! Nothing was regular. But I charted my cycles. On August 14, 2107 I found out I was pregnant with our final miracle baby.

I had a deep rooted fear in the back of my mind the whole pregnancy. All of the “what-ifs” played out over and over. I had experienced enough heartbreak and witnessed others go through heartbreak. What made me think I would get a happy ending? I had waited 33 long years for this. I was so close, but not there yet.

And I felt like I didn’t deserve it. That somehow it would all be whisked away just before I got there. I was so caught up in Satan’s lies that I couldn’t see God’s love.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

I could hardly even enjoy my pregnancy during the last six weeks. Satan was working hard to make sure my fears were front and center everywhere I looked. Every song I heard. Every picture I saw. It all seemed to point to something bad happening.

But over the past couple years my focus has been “Be Fearless.” God brought me this phrase. It’s hanging in my kitchen. I see it daily. And I have to give my fears over to God daily, sometimes hourly. Living fearlessly isn’t always easy. But it is living according to God’s Word.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

On April 23, 2018 we welcomed our fourth miracle baby to the family. Precious little Simon Arie. He has completed our family and once again shown me just how real God’s love is. Everything went smoothly. He is healthy and growing well. All those fears were for nothing. There is a song on the radio often these days called “Fear is a Liar.” I love listening to it. But I often replace the word fear with Satan. They are the same. I’m done listening to Satan’s lies. I will continue to Be Fearless.

Moving On.

It’s actually been hard to write this post because at just a few weeks postpartum I’ve already left it behind. I should have started writing it while I was still pregnant! This will always be my story. But I’m so ready to move forward without this 33 year fear controlling me. 

There are still challenges ahead. We’re working through nursing/food reaction issues with this little guy (of course – that’s just the way things are for us). I’m a mom. I will always be concerned about about my kids’ health and safety. There are still traces of the OCD that I’m working through and hope to get rid of through God’s power.

But I won’t have to carry the daily burden of whether or not we’ll have more children. A weight has been lifted that I can’t even describe. It was a part of me for so long. It almost feels like I’m leaving a piece of me behind.Life isn't always what it seems. Today I'm sharing my 33 year journey through fear and infertility. Through it all God is good!

I still have one more big milestone ahead. When I eventually wean our youngest. I will close the chapter of my life where I share my body with another person. When that time comes I’ll be ready to focus on fully nourishing myself and restoring my health. But thankfully I’ve got a while. I’m not quite ready for that yet. Breastfeeding is one of my favorite things about having babies. I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.

I never for one second take for granted these precious miracles God has entrusted to me. And although the journey was long and difficult I am thankful for all I have learned along the way. Each child has brought me so much healing. They have already given me more than I could ask for. I pray that I can be the mom they need and teach them well as they grow. Teach them how to love, how to take care of their bodies and how to live in God’s love without fear.

I am anxious to see what God has planned for the next chapter of my life as this one comes to an end. One thing I know is that I don’t have to be afraid of it.

Do We Really Have a Food Supply Issue?

There are so many Americans that go hungry every day. Logic says we must have a food shortage. But do we really have a food supply issue? Maybe not.There are so many Americans that go hungry every day. Logic says we must have a food shortage. But do we really have a food supply issue? Maybe not.

It seems in our country the solution to hunger is to plant more corn and soy. Spoiler alert…it’s NOT the correct answer. Unless your goal at the same time is a continued decline in health and well-being and in increase in the need for pharmaceuticals. Not to mention the elimination of small farms.

By now you know that is the opposite of my mission. I want to do all I can to support local farmers, encourage everyone to eat real food and to really make a difference in the health of the generations to come.

Guess what? There is a lot more that could be done to achieve this goal. And it doesn’t involve more fields of GMO corn.

Where are the Eggs Going?

I am blessed to have a good friend that shares my passion. And who also isn’t afraid to speak up when she sees a way to make a change. Trisha is kindly sharing a letter she wrote to small grocery store concerning food waste. I hope it helps open your eyes to the real problem of hunger. It’s not that we have a foods supply issue. It’s a food waste issue.

“Dear local grocery store,
 
468.
 
Four hundred and sixty eight. 
 
Try to remember that number while you read this letter. 
 
The last weekend of January, I stopped at a local grocery store in Valparaiso, Indiana (Strack and Van Til #8750). I was in town visiting family, and between the two families, there are 5 children. During our stay we ran out of eggs so I decided to stop at the grocery store to purchase some, due to the fact that it was only a couple minutes from where we were staying. As I approached the egg section, I noticed there was an employee taking eggs off the shelf and placing them into boxes. I asked what he was doing with the eggs, and the employee told me that they were being removed because their sell by date was that day, or the day before. In total there were 39 dozen eggs, 16 of which had that day’s date on them. Now where I’m from our grocery stores will markdown items that have reached their sell by date, on that date. I expressed interest to the employee that I would purchase all of them with today’s date on them, after he marked them down. He told me that they were not allowed to mark them down because they had that day’s date on them. I asked if I was able to talk with the store manager, and as I asked, the store manager came around the corner. I stopped him and explained the situation as stated above. He told me that the store policy is that if the item has today’s date on it, and it hasn’t sold, that you can’t mark it down because it is then “past” the sell by date. 

What would happen to the eggs then?

They’d donate them……. right?
 
Wrong. They would all be thrown away. There are so many Americans that go hungry every day. Logic says we must have a food shortage. But do we really have a food supply issue? Maybe not.
I questioned why they don’t donate them to a local food pantry. He said because the store didn’t want to be sued or held liable if anyone got sick from eating them. I wondered, as a store manager, and a local business, how does throwing away perfectly fine products not bother him. After being in the industry for over 20 years, he said he is, and I quote, “immune to it”.
 
How sad is that?! I can’t even begin to imagine how much food he has seen thrown away in the last 20+ years. In any other business, if an employee saw perfectly good product being thrown away, they would be congratulated for bringing it to someone’s attention. But somehow in the food industry, across the board, it’s “ok” and “acceptable”. I’m sure most people would be shocked to know how much perfectly good food really gets thrown away. But it happens behind closed doors, so no one talks about it. As a mother and a human being, that makes me sad. As someone who grew up in a family of 6 who relied on food pantries to feed us, it is maddening. 
 
Remember the number 468? On that day, at that store, they threw away 468 eggs. That could have been a breakfast for 468 adults and children in that community. (There are 950,720 food insecure people in Indiana.) I realize too, that those eggs were only the tip of the food waste iceberg. What about the produce department? Bakery? Dairy? Meat? This was ONE item, at ONE store, in ONE city, on ONE day.
 
To put that into prospective, In 2016, there were 38,441 supermarkets in the United States, and the average number of items (SKU’s) carried at one store….38,911. How many of those 38,911 items are thrown away every day?
 
Makes you sit back and think “There’s got to be a better way.” Well there is; the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Law. It protects businesses and nonprofits that donate food in good faith, from being held liable if someone got sick. The sad thing about it is that it was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996! 22 years later and we still haven’t made any progress on getting perfectly edible food to the people who need it most. I feel grocery stores, and other businesses alike, are still hiding behind the belief that they can’t donate food because they don’t want to be sued. 
 
So why do they continue to do it? Why doesn’t anyone hold them accountable? Wouldn’t it be easier to donate it then pay the garbage company to haul all that excess “trash” away? When you think of food waste from a grocery store, you just think of the actual food. What about the packaging that item was in? What if the eggs they were throwing away were the ones in the plastic cartons? All that plastic not being recycled. That type of plastic would take around 450 YEARS to decompose. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be around then. The sad thing, that egg carton will be.
 
This isn’t the part where I start telling you the same statistics that you’ve already heard…. “40% of food produced is thrown away”, “41 MILLION Americans struggle with food insecurity and 1 in 6 of those are children”, so on and so on. I do, however, want to share some other statics with you. 3/10 of a mile from this store’s location is Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. A school where 57% of the students that attend there receive reduced or free lunches. Over half the school?! When these students are not at school are they eating? Do they know where their next meal is going to come from? Maybe their family relies on a food pantry. Wondering if there’s one close by? It just so happens Hilltop Food Pantry is 2.4 miles from this same location. Their website states “accepts perishable and non-perishable food items.” I don’t think that any grocery store would be hard pressed to find an employee at any of their locations who would be more then happy to drop off items at a food pantry versus throwing it in a dumpster. Maybe this pantry would be over the moon excited to work out something with your company, to get the unsold food to their pantry. Want a pantry that picks up? Feeding America website states that they have free pick up from any location in the United States. Doesn’t get any easier then that! 
 
I could keep going, but I’m not sure I want to, especially if this falls on deaf ears. Since having 3 children of my own, I’ve tried to instill in them, how to always do the right thing. Like standing up for what you believe, and that they can be the good they want to see in the world. I will add that I enjoyed shopping at your store. It was clean, well laid out, and the employees I encountered were nice and genuinely seemed like great people. 
 
Upon exiting the store, I noticed some signs you have on the wall with your company’s Values, Principles, Vision, and Mission statements. I made sure to read them before I left and there were a couple sentences that stood out to me. Part of your Principles states, “We are dedicated to the supporting organization and events that enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve by being good partners, neighbors and friends.” And part of your Values states, “We love what we do and will continue to look for new and exciting ways to better serve our customers and communities.” If these two sentences are true, I want to challenge you:

Be a leader, not a follower!

Be the difference that could change your community forever. I’ve seen on your website that you have, so to say, “put your money (and customer’s money) where your mouth is” by donating money to local organizations. But I’d love to see a change at your store, and every other grocery store. Start putting your unsold food into the mouths of the hungry in your neighborhoods. Who knows, by donating this food you could be helping one of your employees? A friend? Or maybe someone in your family? 
 

‘Unless someone like you, cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’ 

Dr. Seuss”There are so many Americans that go hungry every day. Logic says we must have a food shortage. But do we really have a food supply issue? Maybe not.

Now What?

Let’s stop pretending this doesn’t happen every single day. Talk to your local grocery store. Find out what they are doing to support the community or if there is a way you can help facilitate change. Get the food where it needs to go – in the hands and mouths of the hungry. Find a local food pantry and volunteer.
 
As a family that works hard to grow our own food and share with others it breaks my heart to think of someone just throwing it away. There is no reason for that.
 
I truly believe we don’t have a food supply issue in America. I do believe we have a food waste issue. And it needs to change!