Guest Blogger: The Barefoot Essence – Wheat, and soy ….oh my!

23 Aug

Please welcome back Jackie, author of the blog Barefoot Essence, for her hat trick appearance on VBU! Feel free to read her previous posts:  Change your diet, skip surgery and I’m a shareholder…in Community Shared Agriculture. Stay in touch with Jackie through her Facebook, Twitter and blog. Welcome back Jackie!

When I met my husband in 2003 I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am today. I tried many diets and some were successful, until I stopped following them. I lost 20 pounds or so shortly after getting married by getting a dog and becoming more physically active. I started to pay closer attention to what I ate noticed I had more energy and my clothes were getting looser.

Fast forward to pregnancy. Pregnancy was a time where I really began to pay attention to what was going in, and on my body. I was growing another body inside of me; I had a responsibility to ensure my baby was healthy. I received the extensive list of forbidden foods from my doctor. I was told to avoid cold cuts, soft cheese, fish more than once a week and undercooked meat, as these could all pose a risk to the fetus. I gained about 50 pounds with both of my pregnancies. I ate a mostly healthy diet incorporating lots of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately I negated the healthy food effects by eating ice cream every, single, evening.

After I had Jacob, I wanted to get back to my ‘normal’ weight. I paid attention to serving size and ate as healthy as I knew how to at the time. I did a lot of walking. This was easy as we lived in Chicago at the time. I would pack up Jacob and some diapers and go for a 10-mile walk, peeking into shops and eating lunch in grassy parks. I had heard somewhere that dairy should be avoided to assist in weight loss. I replaced my huge daily glass of skim chocolate milk with soy chocolate milk and ate cheese only occasionally. I watched the weight fall off effortlessly. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in three months.

When Jacob was about a year old, I became more conscious of our family’s eating habits. I had to feed my son real food now. I had a responsibility. I began reading books by Michael Pollan; ‘The Omnivores Dilemma’ and ‘In Defense of Food’. His books made me question our nation’s food supply. How much processing happens to the chicken nugget in that cardboard box at McDonalds? I began arming myself with as much food education as possible. I watched the documentary ‘Food, Inc.’ and switched to mostly organic foods. I read the books ‘Skinny Bitch’ and ‘The Thrive Diet’ which both advocate an animal-free diet. Animal free? I grew up eating animals, so did my parents, didn’t we need protein from them? And milk? The milk ads on television tell us we need three servings a day. I thought back to all the ‘forbidden foods’ from my pregnancy – they were all animal products. If those foods were unsafe for me when I was pregnant, why would they be safe any other time? Hmmmmm. That was a moment of clarity. I began having more meat-free meals and still had the occasional cheese or yogurt. I felt better when I avoided meat, but I still felt bloated by the afternoon. I was also getting sinus infections several times a year and had terrible seasonal allergies. At the recommendation of a massage therapist I saw a naturopath. The naturopath asked me to document what I was eating for a week. She noticed I ate yogurt daily and suggested I go without dairy for about three weeks to see how I felt. After about two weeks without dairy I wasn’t sure if felt a difference or not, was it all in my head? Then I had a bowl of ice cream. I was instantly bloated and gassy. Nope, never doing that again. Goodbye dairy.

When I was pregnant with Talia, I ate a mostly plant-based diet, I avoided dairy like the plague and ate meat once or twice a month, usually if someone else was cooking it. After I had Talia, I ate a plant-based diet 99% of the time during my pregnancy and afterwards, and lost the weight effortlessly in two months. I say 99% because I don’t worry about that trace of egg that might be in that veggie burger on the restaurant menu.

I still felt bloated after eating whole-wheat pasta, however. I wondered if this was bothering me as well so I eliminated it for a few weeks. In one week I lost 10 pounds I didn’t even know I needed to lose! I had some fresh bread at a restaurant a few weeks later as a test, and I paid for it dearly. I consulted a naturopath again to perform food sensitivity testing. I had good suspicion these foods didn’t agree with me and the test results echoed this feeling – I was sensitive to several things, including wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and peanuts.

Today, I eat a plant-based, allergen-free diet and have never felt better. You don’t realize how sick you are until you feel amazing! I don’t stress about traces of these foods in things like gluten free bread at a restaurant or in a piece of organic, fair-trade dark chocolate as they don’t seem to bother me, and having a more relaxed approach also keeps me healthy. By listening to what my body was telling me I was able to find the perfect lifestyle for me. I feel lighter, I don’t get bloated, my seasonal allergies have disappeared, I haven’t had a sinus infection in years, I think more clearly and sleep soundly. I am also still losing weight without even trying. I’m letting my body guide itself towards a natural weight …and I need to replace a lot of items in my wardrobe again.

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2 Responses to “Guest Blogger: The Barefoot Essence – Wheat, and soy ….oh my!”

  1. The Vegan Gypsy August 24, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    What a wonderful post! Since I’ve gone vegan I’ve noticed such a change in my digestive system – the bloating and gassy (sorry, TMI) episodes are gone! My PMS has calmed down substantially as well. I still eat too much whole wheat products but am cutting back on them as I feel better with more veggies and fewer grains in my diet. Congratulations on your healthy eating, what a wonderful example you’re setting for your children. 🙂

  2. Marissa Rath August 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Wonderful post. You are a good example of real life where eating perfect doesn’t always happen but how attempting to do better can make such a difference.

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