Only those who have known me for a long time can fully appreciate the fact that I am in the kitchen, grinding my own flour, making EVERYTHING from scratch for my family. Not one preservative or even a speck of food dye crosses our lips.
You see....I was the one in nursing school who survived on Jell-O chocolate pudding for breakfast. For lunch, it was an ice cream sandwich and a coffee. Snack? Pop tart. Dinner? I usually skipped dinner, but spent late nights studying with Ben & Jerry's. My friend Julia would sit in lectures beside me, her lunch box loaded with fresh vegetables, nuts, breads. She would shake her head, looking at my pop tarts like they were something from another planet. Julia comes from a world of organic produce, international travel, and conscious living. Though we were fast friends as adult learners in a world of 20 year old Long Island girls, we were worlds apart.
I am a complete sugar addict. Up until recently, I’ve been unable to stop. My mom made us sugar and butter sandwiches when there was nothing to eat. I’m sure I was given sugar-water in my bottle. Chocolate ice cream is the first thing I crave when I am happy or sad. Sugar is my first love and a primal comfort to me.
When my sister got breast cancer at 36, I read up on things and found out that while sugar does not cause cancer, if you have a few stray cancer cells lying around....they love it and use it to thrive. Even with this newfound knowledge, I couldn’t break my habit.
Forward almost five years (Go Kelli! Go Kelli! Five years! Go Kelli!) to the DC DAN! conference where three different mothers presented info on the Specific Carb Diet. They claimed the diet, formerly used just for celiac patients, was doing wonders for their kids with autism. These mothers were powerfully convincing. The specific carb diet eliminates sugar and all white flour, among other things.
We have not had any processed food or even one grain of sugar for almost three months. Somehow I am doing this, and it isn’t that bad? I was overwhelmed at first, with this whole new way of cooking and eating, but I never felt withdrawal. I haven’t felt hungry or deprived. I’ve lost five pounds. Todd’s lost 20. Riley is eating better than ever before in her life. Seth is on board, happy with his new food choices. My kids get as excited about eating a fig, as I do about a chocolate bar.
Turns out grinding your own flour is just crunching up nuts in a food processor. It’s not that big a deal. It takes a little forethought, but I am getting good at planning ahead and packing up a whole day of food in the cooler if I need to.
This is just the latest area in our lives that Riley has cleaned up for us. This little girl has already performed housekeeping on our judgements, our ideas about parenting, and our understanding of God. She’s taken us through the ringer kicking and screaming but we’re coming out shinier, healthier, better, more peaceful. She is our canary in the coal mine. She is our wisdom girl.
After packing up food for a day in Charlottesville this week, I e-mailed Julia. This was my message:
"I am soooooo qualified now to pack your snacks."
I could feel her smile all the way from Philly.
*For info on the specific carb diet: http://www.pecanbread.com/
*The DAN! website offers a free webcast service. You can listen to the above mentioned speakers from the DC conference for free by following this link. http://www.danwebcast.com/ All of them were wonderful, but Judy Gorman's presentation is the one that convinced my reluctant self to try the diet. Her speech was extremely powerful.