Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conversations That Help

I have recently decided to embark on a project. I'm not sure exactly how it will work, but my aim is to increase our knowledge base by interviewing regular old folks who can share some practical experiences and advise for trying to live healthier.

The following is from a conversation with my friend, Whitney. Here is her lovely family:

Whitney is a first time mom and a full time career woman, caregiver and wife. Here she shares her experiences while on the road to better living!

(My questions are in bold, her responses in regular type)

1. What was the motivation or inspiration for you wanting to change your families eating habits?

I think first, going to see a health-care professional who was a wellness professional- that really opened my mind to what health could really be. Also, wanting to not eat so much processed food- like we did growing up. Little Debbie® Swiss Cake Rolls were a staple in our home! No one really knew any better back then.

Right, it’s not like our parents didn’t really care about us, but those options were cheaper and seemed like a decent “treat” choice at the time. I remember eating those Little Debbie® honey buns all the time!

Also, beginning to read food labels was a really huge motivator to make better decisions. I became aware of how manufacturing companies like to mislead the consumer so reading food labels has become really important to me.

What was the first step(s) you made for your families health?

The first and easiest thing I did was replace all highly processed oils with grapeseed oil. This is by far the easiest thing anyone can do to increase the quality of how they cook. Grapeseed oil is so much better for you than highly processed, hydrogenated ones. And it doesn't oxidize when used in baked goods. I can’t even taste the difference!

I also decided to expand how many fresh fruits and vegetables I ate, instead of canned. I made myself try new things I had never had before.

One more thing we first did was cut down our microwave usage a good deal.

We all know the journey can have, shall we say, little bumps (or mountains!) along the way. What has been the hardest thing for you and your family?

Cow's Milk! Giving it up is something that has been really hard. Actually I'm trying So Delicious Brand Creamer (coconut based) right now. It's definitely not my regular creamer- which I miss! That taste that dairy has can't really be replicated. Growing up we probably went through a couple of gallons a week in my house. I grew up loving the taste of cow's milk. Waiting for my taste buds to change is probably the hardest thing. I think now, I am at about 75-80 % making healthy decisions for me and my family. I have noticed my taste buds change over the last year or two, and after that happens you start to want less and less of the "bad" stuff. Just not there yet with milk alternatives :)

My note: I actually saw a VIDEO recently of a Medical Doctor in California who treats children who are obese. He has done extensive research at UCSF about the toxicity of sugar (milk has a decent amount), but specifically fructose. One of the first things he tells parents to do, if their child is obese, is to cut out milk, coke and juice as beverage options. Just found that interesting that he included milk...If you have time, take a look at the video.

What have been the greatest benefits from the changes you have made?

1. Better digestion

2. Increased energy

3. Just simple peace of mind

Like knowing you actually know what you have just put into your body?


Anything more... advice?

Change has to be gradual. If you try to drastically change your life right away, you will get burnt out- fast!

I know! We experienced that when we first started our journey. We would be doing so well- crazy well...then get overwhelmed... then head to Chick-fil-A for a milkshake because we couldn’t keep up with ourselves.

Right! There is so much out there that you can learn all at once so you want to change everything! But it won’t work unless you just take it a step at a time.

Great advice!

I also feel that since I have not given my son hardly any opportunities for highly processed, sugary foods- he likes all sorts of fruits and veggies! His favorites are avocado, fresh green beans (steamed for lack of teeth :), and strawberries.

I bet most moms would love for their kids to like green beans :)

Thanks Whitney!

If you would like to join in the Conversations, shoot me an email (pumpkinspantry at gmail dot com). I may just feature your health journey on here as well. Also, if there are things you want to know- let me know and I will include them in more questions.


  1. Wonderful interview! I love that she pointed out that you can make small changes and not try to do everything at once.

  2. I love this Eryn! I would love to see more of these feature stories! Esp seeing how regular families try to make their lives healthier. I could really use the "one step at a time" advice! I def need to focus on how much I've improved our family's eating habits and not beat myself up when we aren't perfect.


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