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This is not the kind of blog were I just have a nice short little paragraph that talks about my love for all things food and photography and so I made a recipe blog to share with the world. Nope, i’ve got a story to tell and if you’re interested in knowing me a little bit then read on. If you’re just here for the pretty pictures and the food then that’s ok too, by all means check out the recipes 🙂
I am a parent… Not a doctor, not a chef, just a parent. As a parent I believe it is my obligation to be sure i’m raising my child to the best of my ability and nutrition is a key part of that puzzle. I’ve spent the last 10 years learning about food and nutrition and I’ve decided to share some of what i’ve learned in the hopes that it can help others.
18 years ago, between 1998 and 2001, I suffered from vertigo on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. my head was spinning. When it first started it was painful and debilitating, I had no idea what was going on but I would find myself in a bathroom quite often from the nausea. There were days where I couldn’t get through my work as a graphic designer and I would be found curled up under my desk with my eyes closed trying to get it to subside. It got really dangerous when it would click on while I was driving at 70+ mph down the highway. It felt like a light switch in my head most days, I could feel it “click” on, one moment I was mostly ok, usually a constant light headed feeling and then the next moment it was like I had been drinking for 24hrs straight and the world would just spin and spin and spin. Just writing about it now makes my head hurt from the memory of it all. Let’s just call that what it was… it sucked!
In those 4 years I went to 11 doctors. I had MRI’s, CT Scans, bloodwork, poking, prodding, everything and they had all sorts of ideas about what was going on to scare the heck out of me. It may be the early signs of a brain tumor, possibly multiple sclerosis, might be an inner ear problem. I was prescribed medication that had a side effect of dizziness, DIZZINESS! Yeah so my trust in the medical profession was a little bit broken but anyway it wasn’t until a friend of mine asked me a very important, life changing question. “Do you drink a lot of diet soda”? YES! I drank a ton of the stuff, i worked in front of a computer all day, that’s what you did, you drank diet soda. It’s what I grew up on and it’s what I learned to love, I even preferred it over the sugar stuff and I figured it might just help me keep those pounds off, HA! So yeah I was drinking a (insert air quotes here) “few” cans a day.
Turns out that it was the aspartame that was causing my vertigo. I got rid of everything with chemical sweeteners and after about 3 months of detoxing my body I was free from the daily onslaught of dizziness. Well mostly anyway. There are some residual side effects from it that I still deal with to this day. After about 12 years without chemical sweeteners I still get light headed and dizzy more easily than others especially when something sneaks its way into my food, usually at a restaurant or somewhere where I cannot control the ingredients.
Now, when I finally got a handle on this I started to think about some things and it upset me that this whole thing was caused by something that I purchased off the shelf at my local grocery store. Something that was approved by the government agencies put in place to protect us from things that are harmful to us. I understand that not everyone has the reaction I do to the stuff but as we are finding out more and more it is something we were never meant to consume and there is plenty of harm happening that can be attributed to modern food. We shouldn’t be messing with the most important life sustaining part of this whole life equation, food! In the end it made me realize that I needed to be responsible for my own choices and to do that I needed to better educate myself about food.
Weight is another issue I have struggled with for a lot of my life. When I grew up there was no internet, no one really knew the things we know today or at least not on this massive a scale. We are beginning to break down and peak in on a lot of the corporate processes that run our daily lives and we’re beginning to learn more about what and how things affect us. Food is a big part of that. We need it to survive, it’s what gives us life and keeps us running day in and day out. If we don’t have nutrition we wither away and die. Stop feeding and watering a plant for a week and you see what happens. We are not much different from the plant. When we’re fed and watered properly with the nutrients we need we are strong, we stave off disease, we are active and we give our bodies what it needs. When we don’t give our bodies the basic nutrition it needs to survive we grow weak and sick. I was weak and sick and no way was I going to willingly let that happen to the people I loved so I started on this mission to learn what I needed to learn and put it into practice.
Learning is one thing, putting that knowledge into practice is a completely different thing. I should know, I’ve learned a lot over the years and am just now really putting it all to work for me. We have been offered an easier way to live on a silver platter and we make choices every day but nothing comes cheap and with our health there is a real and true price to pay for convenience and ignorance. Whether you know it or not you are choosing something overtime you put your hand to your mouth, it’s one of the last things we truly have full and complete control over, each and every one of us. Just remember that you not only control those choices for yourself but you also control those choices for your children. What you do today is building a foundation for the future, what kind of a future do you want for your kids?
When my daughter was born I worried about being able to teach her about such an important part of life. How to keep herself healthy, and how was I suppose to instill good healthy habits in her if I didn’t practice what I wanted to teach. I figured if I was going to get healthy I needed to first teach myself about food, something I knew very little about. I began researching, reading and watching all I could from many different sources and I have learned a lot over the years. I’ve had some successes and i’ve come across some road blocks but I wanted to start this blog to join in on the conversation and be a participant and not just a spectator.
I want this to be a place of complete openness and honesty, I don’t think I could create this blog any other way and I want to put myself out there as I am and invite you to join me in this quest to a healthier lifestyle. At present I weigh 340lbs and i’m 6’4″ tall. I am a type 2 diabetic now and am on medication to control my blood sugar. I have sleep apnea and will be prescribed a CPAP machine to help me sleep better. My testosterone is extremely low and my hormones are all out of whack. My body is at war with itself and it’s time to call for a peace treaty. I’ve done a number on myself over the years and for as much as people told me to exercise more or eat less, cut out the fast food and the soda, etc, etc, etc I didn’t listen. Mostly because I didn’t know why, I knew people said it was bad but I didn’t understand why it was bad and i’m one who likes to know why. I was making choices with no information. Now I’m tired, I’m weak and I’m sick and I want a different life so i’m making different choices. Not because everyone told me to but because I understand those choices now and that reality will make all the difference in the world when it comes not only to losing the weight but to keeping it off forever.
We’re going to have a lot of conversations on this website, it is my hope that I can do my part to help educate a little bit about food while also making it a little fun and easy to make your own delicious healthy food at home. I look forward to having you all along for the ride!
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Don’t worry – its not all about carrots! We like variety, and while this blog is not solely dedicated to one food group or food topic it is ABSOLUTELY all about fresh, wholesome cooking. It’s our promise never to let any artificial, highly processed or easy shortcut ingredients make their way into our words, stories or recipes. That Darn Carrot is dedicated to making cooking fun again and keep top of mind its importance to our everyday lives. It’s time to love food again without faking it!