**updated since original post in early 2011**
I’ve known for a long time that something had to give in way of my family’s daily diet. We were, what I considered, a normal family. We ate the typical balanced Standard American Diet (SAD). Still, we were always striving for more. Our bodies were crying for help. There were series of escalating illnesses, allergies, behavior problems, miscarriages, fatigue, and intense mood swings. Something had to give.
The mainstream doctors were of little help. They always desired to medicate any symptoms that I put before them. There was a period of time that I thought this was my new normal. I diligently tried to accept this new state as my cross and decided to offer it all up. It soon became unbearable.
Seeds that I had to abandon the SAD had been planted for many years. A dear friend had been encouraging us for seven plus years to go clean with our diet. I offered every excuse in the book. You know how it goes, “I could never go without my bread or sweets. I don’t have the time to prepare meals from scratch. I can’t afford to eat organic. What will we eat? I’ll starve my family. I don’t need to go to that extreme, I’ll just apply moderation to my diet.” I was not willing to do the impossible and did not see the need.
The seed began to take root with time and continued suffering. I began to research clean living options. I would get excited with what I was reading and then get crushed when my husband and children did share my enthusiasm. Time would pass and something new would happen in my life to lead me back to researching. The excitement would swell and then diminish due to the lack of will power and support from my family. I eventually managed to find a balance, or so I that.
I turned to running for the added boost I needed. Surely, my physical and emotional aliments could be solved with exercise. The increased physical activity did help but the physical symptoms actually worsened. Still, I held on to exercise with all my might. I fought against my body’s cries. I became more depleted with each day of long runs. My body turned to carbohydrates. It was the only thing that provided me with immediate relief. The problem was that the relief was short lived. The cycle continued and my family suffered right along with me.
Then I received a sweet consolation. I met a kindred spirit while on a field trip with the kids. She was two years older than I and had children in the same age range as my own. We were learning how to make whole grain bread from scratch. We got to sharing. She shared her daily regime and family’s diet. I became intrigued, further interrogating her — I was desperate for answers. “Why do you eat this way? Have you always eaten like this? What symptoms were you experiencing?” It was as though she was in my home recalling what I was experiencing. I so closely identified with her that I welled up with tears. They were tears of joy. I realized at that moment that I was not the only one who suffered from such fatigue, pain, depression, and sloth. There was hope! I was not the miserable mother that I was coming to believe I was. I realized that I was most likely suffering from adrenal insufficiency.
The journey continued. I was left with my self-diagnosis since I did not have health insurance and was on a very limited budget. I began to identify all the ways in which I could help my body return to a functioning state. I did what I could within my means, which means only the things that did not come out of pocket or completely remove me from the demands of being of mom of a large family. I turned to my number one physician, my Heavenly Father. I sought to glorify God with my body and health. I prayed for a complete healing if it was His will for me.
My flesh was weak and the trials continued. I was not able to make the necessary radical changes in my lifestyle. My sad normalcy continued. Eventually my prayers were answered in the most undesirable way—I miscarried for the third time. My heart was broken and my womb ached. Still, I trusted that the Good Lord was leading me to something more. I prayed to surrender completely. I could not go on alone.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.~2Corinthians 12:9-10
I needed to be in full union with Our Lord. He called me to fully unite myself to Him. I sought direction and rallied my prayer warriors. I went forth to the desert to hear Him speak to me.
“Jesus Himself has shown us by His own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As He taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29).”~Pope John Paul II, Gospel of Life, 100
It became clear that the Good Lord willed me to have a complete healing of body and spirit. He showered me with the graces to move forward and radically change my daily diet. There was a peace with each forward movement. Each new nugget of info that I uncovered was like a missing piece to a perplexing puzzle — such sweet consolations. I knew that I must take my family along with me. My husband agreed that the entire family must make the necessary changes to truly glorify God with our bodies.
We adopted a strict Paleo diet. The entire house was purged of all processed foods, sugars, and every other item that contained ingredients that we could not pronounce. All seven of us strictly adhered to this new lifestyle for 30 days. It seemed as though time was in slow motion and daily life was riddled with challenges that never existed for us prior to these changes. Yet, we persevered with His grace.
Soon, the 30 days turned into 45 days, 60 days, …. I had experienced such great improvements in my well-being that others began to ask what I was doing. My husband was astonished at the level of improvement with my mood. We even witnessed a complete turnaround in our children’s health and behaviors. We were convicted to carry on with this lifestyle of a cleaner, natural way of eating. I prayed that He would continue to be my guide and continue to shower me with His grace so that I could live such a radical call for His glory—ALL FOR!
9.2012 – It’s been about a year since my family adopted a modified Paleo diet. During that year I experienced my fourth miscarriage and eleventh pregnancy. I’m due in February with our newest blessing. We have not been perfect but we are committed.
(This is not an endorsement for self-diagnosing oneself.)