We're off and running with our 2015-2016 school year. This is an exciting time for our family as we transition to a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling for our younger two using the Ambleside Online Curriculum. I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason and her methods as I read Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson about a year prior to beginning our homeschooling adventures. I connected with the ideas of learning through living books rather than dry textbooks, spreading a feast of ideas before children and letting them take what they will, and leaving afternoons free for "masterly inactivity". I've got a lot to learn about the ins and outs of a CM education, but we're off to a great start!
Several years ago I found myself facing the possibility of a colonoscopy as my doctor and I searched for the reason behind my recently discovered iron-deficiency anemia.
At that point, I had been on medication for high blood pressure since the birth of my first child (12 years) and Prilosec for chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease since my 2nd pregnancy (8 years). I had a family history of cancer with my dad having passed away at the age of 39. We had also watched family members suffer the devastating effects of strokes, heart attacks, emphysema and other lifestyle related diseases.
My gastroenterologist casually mentioned studies showing that long-term use of Prilosec could inhibit the body's ability to absorb iron properly. Yet, even with this knowledge, he did not suggest that I stop taking the medication. He suggested a colonoscopy.
I asked if it would be reasonable to postpone the colonoscopy until I had done a trial off of the Prilosec. He agreed and instructed me to return in 3 months to recheck my iron levels. And guess what? It worked.
I knew from that point it was up to me to educate myself, to stop taking medications that were simply masking symptoms and get to the real root of the problem. This led me to take a look at what I was eating, what it was doing to my body, and what I could do better.
I read books, studies, articles, listened to audiobooks and watched documentaries. The documentary Forks Over Knives, which promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet, really rang true to me. This led me to many other resources including the Happy Herbivore website and Meal Mentor meal plans (getmealplans.com) to which I currently subscribe.
It has been a long, slow journey learning a new way to eat and a new relationship with food. There have been plenty of times where I have veered way off course and I've had to truly hold on to the mantra "progress not perfection". But I'm both proud of and surprised by the progress that I have made, the small changes that over time have become new habits.
I’m not a nutritionist, a chef or an athlete … I’m a wife and mom with a family to feed EVERY DAY, a recovering fast food addict who is learning a new way! My hope is that by sharing my journey you might find inspiration for yours.