Why whole foods? Our journey so far….

When you have a child, it’s only natural that you want the very best for them. When they start to eat, you are suddenly challenged with not only ensuring they are eating enough, but also ensuring they get all the nutrients they need to grow. What a responsibility! Our journey ‘Back to Whole Foods’ began when our little boy suffered repeated asthma attacks in 2013. Initially, we were told it was a viral induced attack. Neither myself or my husband suffer from asthma. When the second followed not long after, I started to question why and looked more closely at his diet and what could have been a trigger. I quickly realised the common denominator in both attacks was dried apricots. As we had been away the weekend prior, dried apricots and other dried fruits had been an easy, portable, and what I considered to be a ‘healthy’ snack. I soon found out that a common additive in dried fruits, sulphites, is linked to asthma (preservative 220 – 228). This rang alarm bells for me, as I know I’m a bit ‘funny’ with sulphites – the preservative found in wine – more than two glasses and I have trouble sleeping and my heart starts racing. I knew I was onto something!

According to the Food Intolerance Network  one dried apricot can contain 16mg of sulphites.

The acceptable daily intake for a 10 year old is 15mg – just ONE dried apricot!

 

My little boy (only 1 1/2yrs at the time) ate an entire packet over a weekend – it was no wonder he ended up in hospital with respiratory distress!

We thought we had chosen a ‘relatively’ healthy snack for our son, but in effect had exposed him to high quantities of an asthma inducing preservative, one he is obviously sensitive to. I was determined to find out more. I downloaded the chemical maze app – an amazing resource to have with you whilst shopping. Initially, what alarmed me the most was the number of toddler foods you can buy in the supermarket (12 + months) that have additives that are prohibited in food for infants. I know a lot of mums who use that age as a rough guide as to how well their child is eating, not even considering the fact their little bodies may not be able to cope with the chemicals in the food itself. Even more disturbing were the amount of additives I came across in our everyday foods that can be detrimental to our health. Now, I thought we were a relatively healthy family, but we had fallen into the trap of buying convenience, processed foods. I found this all quite overwhelming and with a bit more searching, came across the Additive Free pantry guide – a fantastic resource to take shopping with me. Often, finding an additive free alternative is as easy as changing a brand. This was and still is an invaluable guide to inform our additive free purchases.

This is what dried apricots should look like! Suphur free

This is what dried apricots should look like! Suphur free

From there our journey has evolved from additive free foods, to whole foods, cutting out refined sugars and increasing our healthy fat intake, reducing our chemical use in the home and in skin care products. Through some health issues of my own I have discovered I have a dairy, wheat and oats intolerance so that has also become part of my journey, and so a lot of recipes I feature and develop are gluten and dairy free. My son and husband still eat dairy, full fat all the way! An excellent book to read if you are beginning your whole food journey and would like some direction is ‘Changing Habits Changing Lives‘ By Cyndi O’Meara. A brilliant book that helped me tremendously as it can be quite overwhelming when you start to look into things!

My biggest piece of advice to you is to MAKE SMALL, SUSTAINABLE CHANGES. That’s why most diets don’t work – they can’t be sustained long term! You won’t find fad diets here, just REAL, WHOLE FOODS.

With the rates of autoimmune diseases, allergies, Autism, ADHD, cancers, diabetes continuing to rise – I don’t want to become a statistic, and I want more for my son and the next generation. We need to get back to eating whole foods and help turn the tide on the rise of these diseases. I want to be healthy and have energy to run around with my son. I want to know I am nourishing him with real, whole foods. I want to teach my son about foods and how to cook and make healthy choices.

If you too would like more information on additives, learn how to convert your pantry to be additive/preservative free; ideas for meals, school lunches, birthday parties, how-to guides plus plenty more then you must check out ‘Additive Free Made Easy‘ – a four week e-course by SIstermixin’. Next round begins 18 July and Early Bird Pricing closes soon!

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I hope to share information I have discovered along the way so that you too can be empowered to make some healthy, natural changes in your lives. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to change!

Tell me a little about yourself….where are you at in your journey to better health?

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13 Comments

  1. kristy

    Hello,
    Amazing stuff, my daughter is asthmatic and the doctors said the same thing viral induced but I new it was something else so I started my journey about a year ago I try to buy organic when I can and make as much from scratch as possible. I’m not where I want to be but I will strive until I get there, not only for my health but my daughters I want the best for her.

    Reply
    1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

      That sounds great Kristy. It definitely has helped my boy, that’s for sure. We haven’t had any hospital trips since I cut out the sulphites. It’s a great journey to be on! We still have work to do, changes to make, but are getting there. It does take time. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  2. Olivia Bolton

    Very inspiring!

    Reply
    1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

      Thanks Olivia! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Amy

    I’m a mother of two small boys. I know that my boys are just being kids, but their behaviour is driving me up the wall. After reading your blog it has just made me want to try even harder to go organic and healthy for my kids. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Reply
    1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

      Hi Amy, thanks so much for stopping by. I know that kids will be kids, but I honestly believe a lot of behaviour is triggered by preservatives and colours etc in food. Of course, my son will still have tantrums etc if he’s overtired, or hungry, sick etc but I can always pinpoint a reason now. I think things will get easier for you if you try eliminating some things from their diet. Start small, and see how you go. 🙂 Let me know if I can help in any way. Thanks again for your comment- really appreciate it!

      Reply
  4. Robyn Stewart

    Wow, I am actually allergic to sulphites and needed a nebuliser several years ago. I had a cold at the time and ate a packet of dried fruit, not even thinking about my allergy. I could barely breathe and luckily my son had asthma and I used his nebuliser. I can only imagine what it does to small children, so terrible that our foods need to be treated like this 🙁

    Reply
    1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

      Sorry to hear Robyn, unfortunately sulphites are snuck into a lot nowadays! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Reply
  5. Pingback: What?! Back to school...already?! Healthy School lunchbox ideas for you. - Healthy Natural Changes

  6. Sharon

    Hi Lee, I have been quite down on myself all afternoon since a meeting I had with my daughters school teachers (her 3rd day of school). I knew she had behaviour problems and after spending everyday over the last 6 weeks of holidays with her I realized how they have escalated rather than declined after and year of kindergarten. Through the her whole year of kinder I questioned her teacher weekly, if not daily ‘how was she today?’ Her response every time ‘good, just listening occasionally’ which to me was no reason for alarm. I started to feel like her behaviour was my fault, that if she is ‘good’ at kinder then it must be me and my parenting why she is acting up for me. Well after 3 days at school I thought I would ask her school teachers the same question, and they painted me a whole different picture, she is disruptive, defiant and although they see the gorgeous girl she is they have identified behaviour issues and can’t believe this wasn’t picked up at kinder. After an afternoon of questioning my ability as a parent, and researching behavioural reasons/causes i have decided to take the natural approach first as a trial and as of tomorrow have eliminated gluten, preservatives, and refined sugar from her diet. I am hopeful this will allow everyone to see the wonderful, kind, generous little girl that is often overlooked due to her acting out. Thankyou again for your page and all the information you share. Cheers Sharon

    Reply
    1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

      Hi Sharon. I wouldn’t be questioning your ability as a parent, in fact – far from it! Sounds like you are doing an amazing job. I think by the sounds of it you are totally on the right track. I honestly believe (and through experience with my son) cutting out the refined sugar and preservatives will help immensely! If I can help with anything in particular, please let me know. Have you seen my post on being additive free? There are some tips there (the chemical maze app is great) and also my school lunchbox post should help. So many awesome pages out there – send me an email if you need a hand, and please let me know how you go! 🙂

      Reply
      1. sharon

        Thankyou Lee, I am feeling much better today after reading all your posts and I am looking forward to my weekly shop instead of feeling overwhelmed now with the chemical maze app. Keep up the great work. I will let you know how we go. X

        Reply
        1. Lee @ Healthy Natural Changes (Post author)

          That’s great Sharon, hope it’s all going well. 🙂

          Reply

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