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Jan. 10, 2014 8:46 pm 
Updated: Jan. 18, 2014 4:52 pm
Nine years ago, I took my daughter to the pediatrician and asked, "Is her tummy supposed to be that bloated?"

He said, "Well, mine is!"

It took another year and another doctor to find out my child was allergic to eggs.  And our family's quest began.  

I was raised on microwave burritos, frozen pizzas, meat at every meal, cream of mushroom soup, dairy, ice cream (which had its own isle at our grocery store), sweets, potato chips, soda, diet soda, and don't forget bread.  We ate well back home.  By that I mean we always had food in the house, we ate together for dinner, we loved to eat, every gathering included food, Mom planned and cooked, Dad loved to grill, and nobody was a dreaded "picky eater."   There may have been plenty to argue about when I was a teen, but food wasn't it.

When I learned my child was allergic to eggs, the one great thing I carried from my mom's table to mine was, "Well, if there's one thing she can't eat, we're all giving it up.  When we come to the table, she belongs here just as much as anyone, and she should be able to eat anything here."  Of course, going to other people's houses were exceptions, and there would be times once or twice a year that my husband and I would make our own brunch; but I was now on a journey to get eggs out of our life.  Little did I know that eggs were not only in our breakfast, but often in our lunches and dinners.  And while I was reading labels, I started to notice other ingredients I couldn't pronounce.  Some of them turned out to be made from eggs, so I had to learn about the fine print.

One thing is sure - I get sidetracked.  I love little tidbits of information and interesting stories, so I am very easily distracted by stupid things nobody cares about, and I am endlessly asking questions.  I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, and when my fellow students weren't murmuring under their breath, "Who cares?" my teachers were often in tears as I would ask them "Why?" again.  So, as we were reading fine print, I got interested in stuff.  Like, "Why am I eating stuff I can't pronounce?  What does hydrolizing do?  Why do they put transfats on a nutrition label if it is ALWAYS zero?  Who eats 3 potato chips?  Are they the same people drinking half the soda can?"

Meanwhile, after a few years of trying to keep eggs out of our kitchen, we found other sensitivities we didn't know we had.  After three kids, ten years, and lots of research, we have figured out so far, that we should steer clear of eggs, dairy, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, margarine, corn oil, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrolized/partially hydrogenated foods.  We have to limit bananas, bacon, chicken, fish, pork, beef, salt, and most oils.  Then there's the conversation for the environment, fair trade, fair working conditions, supporting local businesses, and so on.  Clearly, it is enough to drive a person insane.  I was incredibly lucky though.  I had a brother-in-law.

Sam Bart-Williams, another incredibly inquisitive person, has a very interesting hobby.  He loves learning about food and how it can be used to fuel your body.  He loves trying to use food as medicine and he has spent hours upon hours studying this stuff.  It doesn't hurt that at 44 years old, he is in excellent physical condition and hasn't had a cold in what seems like an eternity.  Regardless of his credentials, he's still my husband's little brother, so I wasn't gonna listen to him.  Well, I could have saved myself seven or eight years of heavy lifting had I listened from the jump, so I'm here to present you with a time machine.

Do what he says.  You'll look better, you'll live longer, you'll think more clearly, and you'll be happier. Your home will be more organized; and you'll save money.  Your diabetes will disappear, your high cholesterol will go down, and you will suddenly fall in love with your husband all over again.  You will suddenly have more time to do those things you never had the time to get to, and you will know peace.

Ok, maybe not.  But I'm willing to bet dimes to doughnuts that some of that stuff is actually true.  We have attachments to our food: how we eat, what we eat, how we prepare it, when we prepare it, how we shop, and how we expect our dishes to be received.  How and what we eat seems to say a lot about how we feel about ourselves - one way or another.  And rarely is it saying whatever it is that we happen to be speaking at the moment.

So this is an invitation.  This is an incredibly slow and detailed process that is created for you to redesign your eating habits.  You get to decide how much change you make and how long you want to be on this road.  Like I said, I grew up on microwave burritos, so I am convinced that you can live a great life, and even a long life on microwave burritos.  Absolutely nothing needs to change here.  It's just an opportunity to educate yourself or refresh your memory on the choices you make when you eat.

Because what we eat is a choice, and bringing consciousness to that choice can absolutely revolutionize how you choose to live the rest of your life.
Jan. 18, 2014 4:52 pm
So where can I find Sam's plan?
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Jessica Bart-Williams

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Germantown, Wisconsin, USA
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Hercules, California, USA

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