My Story

Thanks go to Corbett Barr of Think Traffic and his post on transparency and self-expression for inspiring the following.

Laughing on the far left with Team Johnson at a recent family wedding. Celebrating life is exhilarating!

I am working towards being an open person. It doesn’t come easy for me, but I realize I may connect with more of you if I share my stories and motivations. Ultimately, my goal is to create a community with my readers where we all brainstorm and share ideas on how to improve our quality of life and enjoy the food we eat together. I want to build a supportive community that uplifts and inspires, removing the negativity commonly associated with climate change and the direction our planet is moving in. I choose to search out the good in life and let the bad fall away, discovering practical and enjoyable ways to integrate a planet-friendly lifestyle through consistent daily action.

A whole foods diet looks, tastes, and makes you feel amazing!

I love helping other people. It is selfish, really, because the feeling I get from helping others is so wonderful that it really comes back and benefits me. I’m on the road to fulfilling my spiritual purpose, which is exciting and scary at the same time. By putting myself out into the internet world, I am embracing vulnerability that I was previously uncomfortable with. So now I’m going to jump right in…This site is a fruition of my decision to take positive action and control over my view on life. I’ve struggled with depression and weight issues since I was 15. I would get depressed about how I looked and depressed about how no one seemed to care about the planet. Shortly after I turned 21, there was one sunny day where all I did was lay in bed, so depressed that I remember thinking, “I don’t care if I live a very long life, because I don’t think I can stand to watch this planet get destroyed.”

That was the worst I’ve ever felt. Part of the reason is that I have a thyroid disorder, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was unintentionally harming my body by eating lots of carbs and sugar, and that created a terrible cycle when combined with depression. I now follow a gluten, dairy, and soy-free diet, and my body is LOVING it. My brother calls it “the side effects of eating healthy”, and it is what motivates me to create awesome food that I don’t feel any shame or guilt about eating. Removing those foods from my diet also alleviated my depression. It created a positive cycle – I felt better, so it was easy to exercise, and exercising motivated me even more to eat healthier. Now some people feel sorry for me because I can’t eat certain foods, but I always say, “Don’t! I feel so much better, mentally and physically, that I am grateful that I found out about my food allergies. Now I can run marathons!”

I hesitated at first to share my specific issues, because I want to share good food with everyone. Just because I have a restricted diet doesn’t mean that it should be restricted to only gluten-free, dairy-free, or soy-free people. It just means that everyone can be included in the meals that I make.

I cringe when I look back at photos and see how big I was. I think what bothers me the most is I associate my heaviness with how depressed I was (I’m sorry, I can’t give specific pounds and sizes yet. That is a little too raw and open right now). My family and friends always loved me no matter what my size, and I knew that all along, but I didn’t love myself. I feel like I lost so many experiences because I stayed shut up in my own world, thinking I was alone in wanting to help the planet  and thinking that I wasn’t good enough to be skinnier. This has been a path to self-love and embracing the joys of life, not just weight loss.

Somehow, with the help of some amazingly supportive friends, I started to make tiny changes. I would eat half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, not the whole thing. I ate really carby things only twice a day, then once a day. I started tap dancing again. I went to the gym once a week, then twice a week, and three, four times a week. I got a personal trainer and worked out on my own. I eliminated processed foods and fast food from my diet. I started making desserts with whole foods, eliminating refined sugars in favor of honey and maple syrup. Then I found out I had food allergies. I embraced gluten-free living. Dairy-free and soy-free followed suit. I noticed how much better I felt if I didn’t have sugar, so I gave up cane sugar entirely. I used only agave nectar and coconut palm sugar. At the moment, I am totally sugar-free, using only stevia or fruit to sweeten desserts.

When people hear that I’ve let go of sugar, they immediately think I am some terribly self-disciplined fiend. No way! Please please believe me when I say I am still working on self-control issues. The reason I let go of sugar is because I wanted to be free of the cravings, irritability, and crashes that came when I ate sugar. Two years ago my brain said “Never! I need sugar.” My body, however, let me know that it wasn’t good for me to eat it, and now I can’t imagine going back. I believe that we think too much and consequently don’t feel enough. We think we need sugar, rather than noticing how we crash after having it or have mood swings, increased irritability, and just feel terrible. We think life without bread and pasta must be barren and hopeless, without realizing that feeling healthy and alive is worth more than any baked good. In the rare moments I do have a craving for something, I first consider how it will make me feel after I eat it. Usually that nips any unhealthy craving in the bud. Most of my cravings come from being tired or out of sorts, not a genuine hunger-driven need anyway. When we overthink – and lord am I guilty of this one – we can’t tune in to what our body is feeling and our intuitive response to food.

Sweet potato pudding spread – totally addictive and sugar-free

Now I care most about being healthy rather than being a specific dress size or weight. I still struggle with sadness over some things that happen on this Earth, but now I choose to take control over my feelings by taking action to improve our environment and create a supportive place to encourage others. I choose to look for the joy and good rather than dwell in fear and antipathy. I believe in small, positive actions. It has an impact. Small actions are what brought me to my (almost) ideal body today, and I keep making little steps each day to improve even further. I started running again in 2008, first by running  around the block every week. Then I ran 2 miles every week. That was a celebration. We don’t celebrate the little victories often enough. Then I ran 3, 4, 5 miles. I was committed week in and week out, and because it was only small incremental changes, it wasn’t so daunting or overwhelming. Sometimes it was scary, like the night before I did my 18 mile training run last spring. But I worked through the fear, or rather I just stopped thinking so much and jumped right into doing, and then I ran a marathon. It was exhilarating; I felt like I was living my life to the fullest. I’ve got my sights set on a triathalon in 2013.

So, I believe in small changes, small daily actions to improve personal health and the health of our environment. Examples? Paying a little more for sustainably farmed salmon. It improves water quality, reduces the amount of mercury in our water and our bodies, and ensures that there will be salmon to eat in 20 years. Commercially farmed salmon is extremely toxic for water health and mercury levels, requires multiple times its weight in feed, and is so overfished that we may not have any left in the near future. I choose to buy fair trade cocoa and chocolate because it eliminates the possibility that child labor is used in the harvest of raw cacao. I simply can not enjoy food if I know that people suffer in its creation or it pollutes the planet in the way it is harvested. Also, there is a personal benefit, because when we make small investments in wholesome food, we ensure it will be around for generations AND prevent harmful toxins and pesticides from entering our food system and bodies. My friend calls it “symbiotic groceries”.

Sustainable seafood – saving our oceans and eating like a queen

I see this site promoting a mutually beneficial relationship with the planet and giving people sustainable ways to regain their health and happiness, all while experiencing great food and friendship. When we give a little to the universe, we are rewarded with healthy bodies and happy minds. I’m dedicated to bringing you ideas on how to live healthily and LOVE it, and to provide a platform for you to share your own ideas, recipes, tips, questions, comments, and voices. Thank you for taking the time to come and visit this site and read my story. I hope to hear from you soon.
Much love,
Kate

Sweet potatoes, how I love thee, let me count they ways…

17 thoughts on “My Story

  1. thanks for sharing, I came to your site because i read a comment of yours ion Joys the bakers site. Will come back! hola! from costa rica!

  2. Hi Kate-You have always been an amazing person and reading this just solidifies just how amazaing! May the small things in life give you great joy because it truly is those small moments in time that make a difference.

  3. My doctor recommended your site and I plan to follow it and anxiously await your recipes! I too have hashimoto’s and found I had enormous allergies to foods I thought were good for me. How could that be? The statement you made about people feeling sorry for you resonated with me too. I tell them I simply feel so much better and my health is so improved and they can see the weight loss. Nice to meet you!

    • Wow! Thank you so much for all the kind words. It really makes my heart sing. If you have any recipe requests please let me know! Also, I have some great sites in my blog roll for other recipe ideas. Real Sustenance has a lot of posts on Hashimoto’s disease and many many recipes that fit the specialized diet it requires. Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is another great one. And I’ll keep posting away! Great to hear from you, and wonderful to meet you as well!

  4. I love the honesty of this post (I can relate). Since I have meet you, I only ever saw the beauty in the person you are and never your size. (I never thought of you as “overweight”) Your passion and willingness to explore life around you are what sets you apart! Even at your young age, you inspire me! Take care Kate and keep the desert items coming, I have a sweet tooth I need to curb.

    • Thank you so much! It is comments like these that made me happy that I went ahead and posted, despite my reservations. And thank you for the beautiful compliments! I’m so thankful that you are in my life 🙂 I’ll work on some more dessert posts for you!

  5. Hello 🙂

    Found your blog through andloveittoo (attracted by your sweet potato & coconut spread – which sounds delicious!)

    By the looks of it we share more than the love for wholefood treats: I used to suffer from depression and Hashimoto’s desease, too. It took me years to get healthy again – I’ve started a blog over at candidadietplan.com with recipes and things that have helped me. Inspired by Corbett Barr – sound familiar? 😉 Lots of parallels…

    I’m glad that you’ ve overcome the challenges and are fighting fit now! Well done!

    All my best,
    Sandra

    • The sweet potato pudding spread is definitely one of my favorites. We do indeed have lots of parallels – I’m happy to have connected with you and that you have overcome many challenges as well! Your site is wonderful ~ I think you might be a little further on the Corbett train than I am, but I’ll get there 😉 Here’s to creating happier, healthier communities and enjoying fabulous food.
      Take care,
      Kate

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  8. I just read your comment at Nourishing Meals where you were wondering if kids who are fed healthy foods will run out and binge on unhealthy foods once they can. We feed our daughter (4.5 years old) a diet based on whole foods and while she does like sweet treats, I don’t feel as if I need to set limits for her on the rare occassions she encounters “junk” food. She usually self-limits and doesn’t indulge. I don’t make a big deal about food…well, most of the time I don’t :-). She has intolerances to gluten and eggs, so she just can’t eat lots of the stereotypical junk foods that are offered to kids. I do not feel as if cereals add anything useful to anyone’s diet, so I play around in the store sometimes reading labels in exaggerated ways–“This one has 15 grams of sugar!! That’s more than 3 whole teaspoons!” And then we go on to daydream about a yummier thing we could make if we wanted to indulge in 3 teaspoons of sweet at once–and it wouldn’t be for breakfast. We read lots of store labels together and if we can’t pronounce it or if if it has otherwise weird ingredients we don’t eat it. She *knows* this. We ask questions–“Did it grow? Was it once alive? Can you still recognize it?” If it didn’t come from something that was once living, it likely won’t give us much life energy (plants/animals). I can always do my part to provide healthy meals at home, model good eating behaviors, and model making sustainable choices. At some point, she’ll have to make her own choices. I see a lot of parents wanting their children to eat better, but cannot seem to set the limits for themselves. They enforce dinner rules that include 5 bites of broccoli before dessert and so forth. That, I think, is a problem that might lead to kids feeling unfairly restricted and that might cause them to binge when set free. Who is the judge of how many bites of food we need to “deserve” dessert? That does not teach a person to listen to his/her own body.

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  11. I love your blog! I feel like I found a kindred spirit. I can identify with the challenges of putting yourself out there. I do feel like the more I open up, the more encouragement I receive to keep going. Love your categories and nutrition information (vegan, egg-free, etc.). Thanks for the lovely squash complements!

    • Thank you Amanda! I’m glad we’ve found each other. I was visiting your site yesterday and I loved your perspective and yes, the cute squash ideas! Those hot dog buns were adorable. And delicious looking.
      I’m glad you appreciate the categorizing – I feel like I am aware of all the potential allergens because I have such a large family and we all have different allergies and intolerances, not to mention likes and dislikes! I also want to make as many people feel included in the whole foods love as possible, no matter what their dietary or lifestyle choices. I prefer an ancestral approach, but since I’m intolerant to dairy I get a lot of great whole foods ideas from vegans too! Looking forward to chatting more – Kate

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