The following narrative is an excerpt from my new book, Seed to Soul. This excerpt reflects my experience as a mother raising my son, Jason, and how I learned about the dramatic effects of sugary foods and food chemicals. Jason was born in 1969 to give you an idea of the food culture at that time. Watch "Hungry For Change" online free from March 21st-31st and learn much more about food additives, sugar and chemicals. Click here for a reservation. Read my story below:
With abnormal congestion and a thrice-fold recurrence of severe ear infections before my son JD reached ten-months-old, he ultimately needed a surgical procedure to place tubes in his ears for drainage. What went wrong?, I asked myself. How could this be? I did everything right – didn’t I? Only later did I learn what caused his extreme congestion.
The tubes helped, but JD's allergies persisted. Red circles outlined my poor boy’s cheeks and his nose dripped constantly. Other than these slight imperfections, JD's little body quickly grew into what I imagined to be a little Mr. Universe: strong and robust.
I can look back now and recognize how nonchalantly I treated (and many other benign but casually indifferent mothers often still treat) most health conditions. Our peculiar culture accepts that many diseases are just…normal – inevitable annoyances that are par for the course. To this day, mothers are still taught to accept that copious amounts of pharmaceutical drugs are required to eradicate the worst of our children’s symptoms…and then, poof, life magically goes on. Then, as is still so often the case, we didn’t even think about a medication’s side effects or long term effects, or better still, dig around and confront the disease’s root cause.
Regular food adorned our cupboards, or so I thought. Although I only served soda as a rare treat, the ice cream, cake, and other yummies stocked in our freezer and pantry constantly drew us into temptation. I cooked the fare I grew up eating; but, working in our family business while raising JD, my life was often overwhelming. Thankfully, the solution to my shrinking daylight hours lay right around the corner: fast food. Wow! I could drive though the drive-in on the way home for tacos, burgers and fries and in a matter of minutes I’d be home for a little TV and a clean kitchen. Worked for me.
Shortly after JD turned ten, I stumbled across an article about kids’ food allergies. The puzzle pieces came quickly together as I read: Jason’s symptoms fit the allergy description perfectly – not just the physical but also the mental and emotional symptoms, too. JD's teachers alerted me to his propensity toward occasional outbursts, restlessness and irritability at school. Believing the TV psychologists I’d seen, I boiled JD's behavior problems down to the stress in our lives at the time. Besides, what child doesn’t act out from time to time? He was not that bad. Even as an adult, I was known to be ten times less pleasant at a particular time every month! We just accepted it and moved on the best we could.
Even so, as I read through the article a nagging feeling persisted, urging me to test JD for these so-called food allergies. To begin, the doctor put us on a strict diet (similar to the Feingold Diet: www.feingold.org). I say us because I became a very specialized kind of chef. No more wheat. No more dairy or eggs. Orange juice? Off the menu. We said goodbye to peanut butter, refined sugar, preservatives, food dyes or other additives.
Whoa, wait just a minute! How was I going to feed my growing ten-year-old boy without him feeling like I removed him to a different planet? Mind you, this was 1980. Small mom-and-pop health food stores carried specialty items like wheat-free bread and cereals, sugar-free nut butters, rice milk, chemical-free nut bars and nitrate-free lunch meats, but they were the only game in town. We did not have the natural and organic food choices so prevalent in today’s markets. I soon learned to bless these stores and the companies that pioneered the purer foods sold in them.
In the market I became a compulsive label-reader, and in the kitchen, a magician. To my surprise, I made easy, tasty meals within our new dietary constraints that remained fun and kid-friendly, too. For instance, a piece of fruit warmed in a little honey and topped on a piece of wheat-free toast easily satisfied JD's sweet tooth. Apple juice rather than milk accompanied Jason’s new cereal of choice – hot wholegrain oatmeal. My own new dressing creations enlivened our veggies. Potatoes, squash, and rice became our daily staples – blank canvases for all kinds of delicious inventions.
My time in the kitchen, health food markets and reading everything I could get my hands on led me to the amazing discovery that the Earth supplies us with everything we need to grow a healthy body. If we only learn to bypass the factory-processed pseudofoods our nation’s food industry constantly bombards us with, we can open our eyes to see that there’s a bounty of nourishment available and affordable right in our own communities. Giving up his daily guzzle of cow’s milk became JD’s greatest challenge. I persevered over the steep learning curve, and once over the hump with a new dietary system in place, the gifts just kept on giving.
Now consider if you will, a red-nosed, red-cheeked child who cannot sit still through his homework; a child whose nose drips with continual congestion; one who gets irritable and cross when he doesn’t get his way; who snores loudly at night because he can’t breath freely. What kind of life is this for a child? The long, heavy burdens plaguing my son all these years were about to end.
Within just two weeks of beginning our new diet, JD’s eyes were bright and his nose dry. His appetite normalized: satisfied with what he ate, he no longer begged for junkie treats. Stigmas around food disappeared, leaving room for a whole new style of contemplation, focus and creativity. JD could sit still, follow directions and focus on the task at hand. He was responsive, pleasant, playful and peaceful. He slept quietly. He exuded happiness.
JD could finally express his own unique beauty – a precious person unveiled, liberated from the disruption and confusion that clouded his soul. Nourished by our new healthy lifestyle, JD's true, inner seed flourished rather than perished in the poisonous environment his former diet burdened him with. By watching, participating in and facilitating my son’s healing, I learned that proper, pure nourishment is vital to unleash the latency of our own inner potential – to fully manifest the potential sheltered by our sacred seed. This vital nourishment certainly held the key for JD’s healing. So too, is it the key to unlocking all of our seeds’ potential.
A War Waged Against Pseudofoods
This was my first experience revealing the significant role food played (beyond weight loss) in psychosocial stability. With his mental and emotional body in balance, JD began to grow in a healthy way toward his own self-discovery. Within time, we reintroduced some of the whole foods like eggs, wheat and oranges back into his diet, with the exception of dairy and what I call the Pseudofoods (factory-produced foods containing loads of artificial ingredients like food dyes, preservatives and refined flours and sugars).
As the years passed, I always attempted to serve healthy dinners. Even so, we ate the normal American diet: lots of fast food (burgers and fries), which I thought was fine at the time, and pizza, frozen burritos, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and the occasional ice-cream and desserts. I considered that my limitation of sodas and candy bars made us pretty healthy. I was about to learn differently.
Stay tuned for more...............................
Watch "Hungry For Change" online free from March 21st-31st and learn much more about food additives, sugar and chemicals. Click here for a reservation. Read my story below: