My Personal Story of How We Took Control of Our Family’s Health
with common questions answered below
Our journey towards health all started when my oldest son was about two-and-a-half years old, and he lived with a constant runny nose with yellow-green snot.
We all know the dreaded, yucky, yellow-green snot.
Although it was gross and annoying to have to wipe his nose all the time, I shrugged it off as “normal,” and “he must have allergies.” After countless trips to the doctor’s office and several prescriptions of antibiotics, I had this feeling in my gut like something wasn’t right.
This can’t be right. How is my son having a constant, snotty nose, in spite of the doses of antibiotics on an almost-monthly routine?
It seemed as though I was missing work at least once a month to take him to the doctor because his nose was clobbered with green mucus, and he was coughing miserably. He was always diagnosed with either a cold, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinus infection, etc. He was also diagnosed with croup – nothing serious, just a bad cough that sounds worse than it really is. Everywhere we went, heads were turned toward us at the sound of that cough. He also had negative results when tested for allergies.
My internal alarm went off, and I felt like there had to be more answers.
It was then, that Google and I became best friends.
I started searching for natural remedies and homeopathic treatments for the symptoms. During this time is when I found out about the truth about antibiotics and how harmful they are to our system. Yes, they can save a life in an emergency situation, but generally speaking, antibiotics are being overused. They compromise our immune system, and cause more harm than good. Over time, they wreak havoc in our bodies, causing all kinds of future problems and sickness. It’s basically a revolving door. You have an infection, you go to the doctor, doctor writes a prescription, you take the antibiotic, you get better quickly, then months later you have the same recurring problem.
I also started to learn about fever. As my son was having fever pretty regularly as well (every 2 months), I would get scared and give him acetaminophen and ibuprofen, just as the doctor and nurse would instruct. The fever would last a few days, kept under control by the medications.
Little did I know, fever is good for your body. Fever is your body’s response to infection or sickness. Medication to reduce fever interferes with your body’s natural response to heal itself. I’m not referring to extreme cases of sickness such as meningitis or life-threatening illnesses with 104 and above for an extended period of time. I’m talking about a 99-103 fever, that feels hot and alerts you that something is wrong. In order for your body to build up antibodies and fight against the illness, your body must be allowed to have a fever.
Once I learned this, I decided to let my son’s fever “do it’s thing.”
The first time I ever did this was super scary. I had never before let my son maintain a fever without giving him fever-reducing medication. He looked so awful laying on the couch. He fell asleep, but eventually, I caved and gave him some ibuprofen. I did it out of fear. It was so hard this first time. So, if you’re ever contemplating using this method to let the body heal itself, it is very hard the first time.
Later that day, I tried one of the natural remedies I read about. I read about the healing properties of olive leaf extract. I made a half gallon of tea with it (sweetened with honey) and gave it to my son for his drink all day long. I didn’t give him anymore medication, and before I knew it, he was getting better. I’m just glad he likes tea because it tastes like a green tea.
Ever since that sickness, we have never again used antibiotics in our home (well, except once, for me – for an extremely bad case of bronchitis that was borderline pneumonia). Every time anyone had a fever, we would simply let it run its course without medication. One time, I brought my son to the doctor, got the prescription filled, but I never gave it to him. I had it just in case I needed it. After that, I avoided the doctor’s office altogether.
I was hooked on home remedies and natural cures. Every time we would get sick, I would Google a remedy. Of course, I wasn’t just searching any site and any remedy, blindly and naively. I eventually had a reliable source of go-to information. My favorite websites for information on health and wellness are Dr. Mercola, Wellness Mama, Dr. Axe, and Dr. Sears. Also, check out Chris Wark at Chris Beat Cancer – fascinating! You will find that most of my information comes from these websites, but that is what has worked for us for years now, and I’m happy to share our story with you. On their websites, you will notice that they link their content to reliable sources if you want to do further reading. I’m here to share our testimony and information that has changed our life.
Fast-forward to six years later, and we started to learn even more about health. I watched The Truth About Cancer: A Globest Quest, and was sold by the countless interviews with doctors and patients and their success stories, as well as their failures. I learned about the dangers lurking all around us in our food sources, beauty products, toiletries, etc. I was radically changed by the information, and it made so much sense. The next two weeks of my life was spent heavily saturated in research from many different sources, as well as eating a completely raw diet.
Before this “new health” journey, I did suffer with headaches daily. Sometimes, I would wake up with a headache/migraine, and then go to bed with the same one because I had no relief. This went on for years, as I always contributed it to allergies (which I do have). After three days – yes, 3 days – of a completely raw diet (raw fruits and veggies, nuts, and juicing), I realized that I no longer had a headache. No headache? I wasn’t sure if this was even real. As I was sitting at my computer, I got really excited when I found this really cool video that confirmed that my healing wasn’t a fluke.
One by one, I began eliminating those toxic products from our home. I started with our deodorant. Then, it was our toothpaste and our soap. At the same time, I slowly began replacing almost everything in our pantry and refrigerator.
Sugar went first. The fruits and veggies were next, replacing them with organic. I had to start reading labels on EVERYTHING. I realized that unhealthy foods are everywhere in almost every product I had in our pantry – from granola bars to cereal. And to think, we thought we were eating healthy. Almost everything in our pantry was laced with sugar, corn syrup, and artificial dyes.
Then, I discovered that the most important thing to change is high-quality meats (if you eat meat) and organic butter. If your budget is tight, the first thing to change is your meat and butter. More so, eating as less meat as possible is even better. Your fat sources are very important, and if they’re not being raised humanely, you will be eating antibiotic laden and genetically modified material that is concentrated in the meats.
Then, I eventually replaced all oils with coconut oil and olive oil. Coconut oil can be cooked, and olive oil should not be cooked at high temperatures.
After a few months, I really started to notice something different. My headaches still weren’t coming back on a regular basis, and my younger kids weren’t suffering with yellow-green snot anymore. It seemed as though I was able to listen to my body much better now. Since I wasn’t always in pain with a headache or just feeling plain bad, I was able to pinpoint when something wasn’t right. Before, I didn’t know what could be wrong, because something was always wrong. Now, when I get a headache, I can pinpoint what it’s from and what could have possibly caused it. If I know what caused it, I can treat myself a certain way to get rid of it. For example, I know for a FACT that prolonged stressful situations will give me a headache in a certain place on my head. When I’m tired, I get a different kind of headache.
My oldest son has been taking supplements for his ADHD symptoms for almost a year now, and we have seen a big difference in his behavior. We refused to take the medicated route, so we have been working at this using an all-natural approach. It wasn’t overnight. It was a combination of many things – supplements, diet, and home-schooling.
Little by little, I began to see a dramatic change in our overall health. We weren’t seeing the doctor anymore, and we weren’t catching the illnesses that were spreading around all the time. If we did happen to catch something, we would treat it at home with this olive leaf tea, a raw diet, essential oils, and supplements. We also began to eliminate gluten from our diet.
To sum it up – we basically eat too much of it. Gluten is something found in wheat. Two hundred years ago, wheat wasn’t a problem. Now that our soil has changed so much and most of today’s wheat has been genetically modified, the percentage of gluten found in wheat is really high. This is why so many people today have gluten sensitivities, and most have sensitivities that they don’t even realize they have. It’s not necessarily the gluten itself, but the modification of wheat over time and the pesticides sprayed on the crops. Our bodies were not meant to consistently consume modified foods. Gluten accumulates in the gut, and eventually cause problems in the future, if not sooner.
We saw the most dramatic difference in our health when we decided to rid the pantry of gluten. We went completely gluten-free for a while, and now we do have it occasionally (organic, nonGMO).
What I noticed the most, was that my youngest son and my daughter’s nose would start running again when they ate wheat. I would even get really bad headaches when I ate too much bread. It was something I had never noticed before because I had always eaten bread and never paid much attention to gluten. A holistic nurse friend told me to get rid of gluten for a few weeks first, and then see what happens. When I did, and then reintroduced it, I noticed right away that I started to feel bad overall – allergy symptoms, headaches, sluggish, acne. Even so, I was still in denial that gluten was the culprit to all these ailments. It was so weird to me that something like that could cause so many problems, yet it seemed so harmless. I mean, gluten is everywhere.
After being in denial for a while, I decided to cut the cord. I have never felt better. Yes, I do have gluten here and there once in a while, but for the most part, I avoid it. I’ve replaced it with more nutritious and richer foods, therefore, I’m not missing much.
If you’re looking to heal your gut and potentially become tolerant of “healthy” gluten again, Wardee at Traditional Cooking School has some great tips for using sourdough recipes as an alternative to regular breads. This is different from store-bought sourdough, and contains healthy cultures that are good for our gut!
Please note, that just because something says “gluten-free,” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sugar is gluten-free, but it’s far from healthy.
What do we eat, then?
All the fried foods I stayed away from for years because it was said to be “unhealthy,” and gave me a stomach ache, have now come back to our kitchen as healthy – fried in coconut oil. All battered foods, like fish and chicken, are now coated in almond flour and organic corn flour.
I’ve changed up many of the Cajun dishes we were eating beforehand, to healthier versions. Cooking everything from scratch leaves us with less processed food in the long run, and therefore a healthier family.
Our food has never tasted so FRESH!
Now, when we eat out at a restaurant (which isn’t very often), we are pretty picky. This reason is mainly because our food at home is so tasty and fresh, and it just doesn’t compare.
We eat lots of foods rich in good fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, homemade dressings with olive oil and full-fat Greek yogurt, and eggs. We indulge in homemade ranch dressing, homemade chocolate sauce, and nitrate-free bacon (on occasion).
I use whole foods as the basis for everything. Getting as much whole foods in their natural form into our bodies as much as we can is a no-fail approach to begin. No more pre-cooked frozen foods, and no more quick box dinners. I didn’t use too much of this type of fast food before anyways, but now I really don’t. The only thing we buy frozen is organic frozen fruit and veggies.
My kids love fresh fruit or veggies for snacks, and they love having a colorful plate of food.
Doesn’t it take more time to prepare everything from scratch?
Well, of course it does.
This is why weekly meal-planning has saved my kitchen – and my busy life.
We’re all busy. Most of us are way too busy to be making everything from scratch.
I’ll be making some weekly meal plans for my readers soon enough, but until then, you can find a few meal-planning and money-saving tips in my blog post 5 Ways to Use Extreme-Couponing Methods When You’re Too Busy.
Many times, I will make parts of a meal one day in advance. If I know I’ll be making deviled eggs on Wednesday, then I’ll boil the eggs and make some homemade mayo on Tuesday. That way, my eggs and mayo are ready to go on Wednesday when I’m ready to prepare.
What about the COST?
Ah, the cost.
Have you ever had to make a very important decision in your life when you had to weigh the options, and go with the most ethical choice? For example, an expensive family vacation vs. saving up for a house. Sometimes you can only have one. You can’t always have both.
Unfortunately, when it comes to our health, we can’t have both. We can’t have cheap, unhealthy food on a regular basis AND good health.
We all know that getting your weekly $5 fix at McDonald’s isn’t going to keep you from gaining those extra two pounds you’ve been trying to lose. More so, the cheaper, pesticide- and GMO-laden food you’ve been eating is equivalent to adding a few drops of Round-Up to your food on a daily basis.
It’s time to make a choice.
Higher doctor bills and more sickness VS. higher-priced food, more energy, more nutrition, healthier family
I know, I know, it’s not the answer you wanted, but the best things in life are worth fighting for.
Cooking from scratch will save you some money, and I share all those special tips with you when you subscribe!
To be specific with you about how much we now spend on groceries each week, I went from spending about $100 per week on groceries (using extreme-couponing as well) to spending about $200 per week. This jump in costs also includes an almost-11-year-old who now eats as much as my husband (and is still as thin as a rail – not fair). We have a family of five, plus one (my mother-in-law). So, that makes six. She helps out with her fair share of groceries as well. But, there you have it!
But what about the rest of my family? I want to change our pantry, but they don’t want to.
Tough cookie, you got this. Getting excited about trying new things, and explaining the “why” will be an encouragement for your family. I explained to my kids and husband how conventional food affects us in the long run. They may not have been too thrilled about getting rid of pasteurized milk, but they eventually got over it. Soon enough, we were able to seasonally purchase raw milk from a farm nearby.
Since I prepare all of our meals, they have no choice but to eat what I cook. It’s either that, or nothing. I stick to simple meals, and then throw in something different every now and then. I have one picky eater, but we have a rule that you must try the new food before you can say you don’t like it. Sometimes he likes it, and sometimes he doesn’t. Here is a GREAT post on how to get your kids on board with healthier food choices.
Often, I encourage the kids to join me in the kitchen to learn the process. I teach them where the foods come from, how to prepare it, and how important it is to eat certain foods and avoid others. They can then make the choice for themselves as to what is healthy and what is not. They will still tend to choose a candy when offered to them, but what kid doesn’t?!
This seems to be the hardest thing for most people, so I’m considering creating a video series on how to get your kids to eat new and healthier foods. If this is something that interests you, stay tuned!
I’d love for you to subscribe here to get healthier lifestyle tips and simple family recipes sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also get my free printable Healthier Ingredients Guide to start transforming your pantry today.