My first pregnancy was tough and I had many complications within those 10 months. You name it, I had it - the traditional ligament and tendon issues, massive swelling in my legs and feet, incredibly painful acid reflux, and at the end I was placed on bed rest for hypertension. The day before they induced me (for hypertension), I had gained 65 + pounds and felt that every bit of energy had been sucked from my core.
Fast forward one year, and I was more in-love with my son than I knew to be humanly possible. He brought brilliant joy to my life - yet my life was certainly not short on stress. I was commuting over a mountain pass to work each day, working 60 hours/week as a middle school teacher (which I loved, but did not know how to set boundaries), and was feeding my son anything he could eat because he had infant reflux and would throw-up eating most foods. The doctors suggested he go on a "reflux friendly" infant formula made by Nestle, and while it seemed to help, other symptoms in his body began showing up.
Within the first year and a half of his life my baby boy had contracted: infant reflux, 9+ ear infections, tonsil inflections, adenoid infections, Chicken Pox (from the live vaccine), Rotavirus (from the live vaccine), an abscess in this throat that nearly killed him, high fevers with a resistance to antibiotics, and a severe case of RSV that landed us in the ICU of a major children's hospital 5 hours from home. We spent three and a half weeks in the Salt Lake City Children's Hospital while Tosh recovered from the removal of his tonsils, bladder infections and the severe case of RSV. Prior to this, we had spent weeks in and out of our local hospital because Tosh was so sick he had to be on intravenous antibiotics and fluid in order to survive. Words cannot express how terrifying this experience was for us.
Once we came back from Salt Lake City and our time in the ICU, the depth of my son's health hit me and I went into a deep depression. I felt that I had failed as a mom and began to hate myself. I hit an all time low in my life and began experiencing consistent symptoms of REALLY low energy (going to bed at 5pm at night), constant nausea, frequent colds, pain in my abdomen, huge hormonal imbalance, etc. The doctors drew blood work and they began looking at cancer. Thankfully, I came back clear from cancer, but was told that I was getting an auto-immune condition. I had literally turned the cells in my body against myself.
One step lead to another and my mom shared her experience of healing her body from Lyme Disease through eating an anti-inflammatory diet. I decided to give it a try and began healing my body as well. The depression went away. The nausea, lack of energy, frequent colds, and pain in my abdomen went away. I was HAPPY and VIBRANT. Life was good. I had just been taught the most valuable lesson: food is medicine. It can destroy us or heal us, depending on how we use it.
As Tosh got older, we realized that he had a sensory and speech condition that was impairing his daily life. The speech impairment made sense since he didn't hear so well the first year of his life due to the many ear infections. However we were a bit puzzled by the sensory condition. It got to the point that if a drop of water was accidentally dripped onto Tosh's clothing, he would scream and want to rip his clothes off because he said, "It hurt."
We intervened with a Special Education team to help with this condition and while it did begin to improve, the most incredible results came from changing up his diet.
Now that I had seen the changes in myself, I decided it was time to make changes in my son's diet. I packed all of his food each and every day ensuring that it was free of inflammatory ingredients. And sure enough, within months we saw his sensory condition improve by nearly 90%. Once again, I was given the opportunity to see how powerful food is and I knew it was my calling to educate, inspire and motivate others to follow a path of eating an anti-inflammatory diet and living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
And so the new chapter in my life began and The Clean Eating Kid was born.