6 Year Foodiversary!
February 15th is an important date for me. I think most people remember the day they decided to change their lifestyle. For me, that date is the day after Valentine’s Day. I decided that since Krysten’s Kitchen has been around for a year, it’s time I finally share my story with you….
I grew up eating great food, gourmet meals and not many foods containing preservatives or chemicals. As a kid, I remember my mom making me fresh crab sandwiches, and amazing Greek food. We never went to McDonalds, and only occasionally when we would drive long distance, we would stop for a grilled chicken sandwich at Carl’s Jr. However, it wasn’t a common meal by any means.
My dad has been a strict, organic vegan since I was a little girl, so we always ate organic foods when I was with him. He would feed me meat but he wouldn’t eat it, obviously. We ate lots of organic veggies and fruits and the most amazing corn tortillas made from the freshest masa around.
In high school, I didn’t care as much about what I ate. I still found most junk foods kinda gross and didn’t care for greasy foods too much. I didn’t eat a lot of candy, only around the Holidays. We also never kept those foods in the house. I did enjoy a burger from Carl’s Jr every so often with my youth group, burritos from the Mission in San Francisco, 'cause you know… that’s some tasty Mexican food! I’d also eat normal snacks like cheetos, chips, taquitos, pizza, burgers and all that kind of stuff that the average teen eats. I hated regular soda cause I thought it was way too sweet and had a diet coke every now and then when I was at the movies or out to dinner. (photo from senior year in high school before senior portraits)
When I went to college, the whole freshmen 15 … or 30 definitely happened. I was so used to being so active in high school sports and eating regular meals at home (always a protein, veggie and either a carb like pasta or a piece of garlic bread, etc.) that when I moved into a dorm with a microwave (which I hated using because it’s not good for you) and a fridge, things got difficult.
My boyfriend, Jeff (he’s now my husband) lived off campus and had a full kitchen, so we made pasta a lot cause it was cheap and we could doctor it up with herbs, feta, sometimes spinach and it was also good cold the next day. I didn’t realize I was gaining weight until a few years into college, and even then I only could tell in photos. Living in Arizona where it was so hot, I wore workout pants or basketball shorts a lot because the thought of jeans in 100 degree weather was just so uncomfortable.
My sophomore year in college, Jeff and I moved back to San Francisco for a year to do online school and get away from our college because I had a tough time living on campus… BUT that’s a whole different story. We moved into two separate bedrooms at my grandparents house and spent a ton of time with family which was such a blessing in disguise. Some people gave us crap for moving back home and we didn’t realize how perfect it was that we moved home that year until after the next series of events occurred.
In the Summer of 2006, my dad moved to Amsterdam to work for a year. Jeff and I were going to go with him and continue our online classes there, but it didn’t work out and at this point I don’t remember why, but it doesn’t matter.
October 2006 - I was experiencing terrible cramping due to my period and just thought it was normal. I ended up having my period for about 3 weeks and I was miserable. I just kept thinking it would end and it might have ended for a day but would come right back to torture me.
October 31st, 2006 - Jeff and I were waiting for his brother to fly in that evening to visit us for a few days. I told Jeff that I just wasn’t feeling well and would stay home while he went to the airport. I began crying as I tried to rest in bed because I was just in so much pain. I was just miserable. My grandpa, who is an incredible cardiovascular surgeon, came home around 6pm and came up to see me in bed and as pale as can be. Jeff and my Grampa (yes, that’s how I spell grandpa) John took me the emergency room immediately. They said I had lost almost 70% of the blood in my body due to heavy bleeding for so long. After a few tests, and sonogram they discovered that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries. Oh boy, that was a fun trip to the ER! I was also put on birth control pills to counteract the cysts, iron pills and blood pressure pills to counteract the birth control pills. Definitely a lot of counteracting the counteractions!
November 2006 - I was in the hospital until November 2nd and had a blood transfusion, lots of monitoring and only liquids while I was there. I remember my mom and aunt coming to visit me, and one of them brought a delicious tuna sandwich from one of my favorite bakeries in San Francisco. I remember smelling it and being so jealous that I couldn’t eat it. I was also scared cause Jeff couldn’t stay overnight in the hospital with me for a few reasons, one of them being that my brother-in-law was in town to visit for a few days.
December 2006 through April 2007 - These became normal months again, I missed my daddy who was still in Amsterdam and we spent a lot of time with my newborn cousin who was just one year old. We also spent lots of time with my beloved YiaYia (my mom’s mom) and some time with my great aunt.
May 2007 - I found out that I did need surgery and was terrified. It was also a very sad time in our family because we lost my great-aunt Anna to leukemia. It was the first time I really had lost anyone close to me and was old enough to understand what was going on.
June 2007 - I had my surgery and it went very well. I was scared out of my mind but I did it and my family was by my side. I'm so glad my mom was with me during this time. I got to go home that night and was in bed and had to take it easy for a few days after. Lots of rest, and movies in bed. (photo - the first day I left the house after my surgery to go out to dinner with my mom, husband and YiaYia. This was about 5 days after surgery)
July 2007 - July was a rough month because my beloved YiaYia passed away suddenly. I couldn’t even believe when I got the phone call and was a mess for a long time.
For the time between October and July it was a crazy rollercoaster with my health problems and the loss of family members and the fact that my dad was in Amsterdam for so long.
In August 2007, my daddy came home and we moved back to Arizona to finish the rest of our schooling and things were fine from then on… well, sorta.
In the Fall of 2009 I started to not feel that great. I couldn’t explain it, but I was just always tired and no matter how much I worked out and ate I just could’t lose weight. I really started to take notice when I would go to school for a few hours and come home and take a nap for about 2-3 hours and then do a little homework and then go back to bed.
We were eating healthy, no fast food, whole wheat pastas, organic foods and lots of fruit and veggies. We were eating very different from our freshmen year in college. I couldn’t stomach greasy foods, fried foods, or fast food. To this day I can only eat In-N-Out without getting sick to my stomach.
January 2010 - I decided to call a naturopathic doctor that my friend recommended and went to see her. I was terrified that I would need all kinds of painful things like shots, blood tests and more. However, she was incredibly kind on the phone and I decided to make an appointment. At my appointment she asked me tons and tons of questions. We talked for about 2 hours. We basically went over the medicine I was taking - just blood pressure pills at that time because my doctor took me off of the birth control pills just months before and the iron pills sometime around when I had my surgery in 2007.
I found out that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and dysinsulinism, meaning my body overreacts to sugar, even natural sugar. I had never heard of those things and it scared me at first. My doc assured me that by changing my diet, things would get better, I would lose the weight, and that while I was eating healthy foods, I wasn't eating healthy foods for ME! PCOS affects many women, and most don’t even know that they have it. It causes infertility and sadly, it goes unnoticed. The symptoms often get misdiagnosed and women are given medication to mask those symptoms. (In another blog I will write about the foods that I do eat and the supplements that I take for my PCOS management as well as some other interesting and fun things about it all.)
EXAMPLE: I love bananas. I would eat one for breakfast every single morning on the way to school and take one with me for a snack when I had to be at school all day for classes. Bananas are not good for ME because of the high sugar content and how my body reacts to sugar, so I was doing harm to my body rather than good.
My doctor told me to pick a date when I would start a huge change in my diet and start a 4 month cleanse followed by a 2 week transitional cleanse. She said it didn’t have to be immediately, but the sooner the better.
February 2010 - I decided to pick a date to start my cleanse. I chose the day after Valentine’s day because that way, I could enjoy a nice yummy meal on Valentine’s Day with Jeff and eat dessert and kind of anything I wanted one more time.
February 15, 2010 - I remember waking up that morning ready to rock this cleanse. I didn’t think it would be that hard, and I also understood that this wasn’t a one-and-done deal... this was a lifestyle change. It didn’t scare me, but I also didn’t really know what was in store for me: good or bad.
The GOOD - I lost a ton of weight. I lost about 60 pounds in a very short time. I didn’t work out, though looking back I wish I did cause I would have lost more weight, I’m sure. I learned about a ton of different foods, like stevia, Ezekiel bread, etc. I threw away all the food in both my apartment and Jeff’s apartment that I could no longer eat. (Jeff didn’t have a ton of food at his place cause we cooked every meal together at my place, but he did have some cereals and snacks that went to the trash). At the end of it all, I got off my blood pressure pills and my cycle was super on schedule simply because I changed the food that I was eating.
The BAD - I didn’t realize how much sugar I was eating. In the beginning I had terrible withdrawals that caused not-so-fun headaches. I was a bit crabby in the beginning of my cleanse, too. I was also not fun seeing other people eat what I couldn’t. Jeff was good about eating what I did at home but when we would go out and get a burger, he would eat the bread and I would just want to smell it and snatch a bite.
The FOODS I cut out for my cleanse:
wheat soy dairy sugar breads pastas potatoes & carrots corn all fruit (except lemons)
The FOODS I ate, but with a limit of 40 grams of carbs per day:
lots of meat (burger, chicken, fish, etc.) bacon veggies eggs unsweetened teas with stevia ezekiel bread / english muffins lots of vegan butter and a gallon of water per day.
THIS IS NOT A DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT - DO NOT TRY THIS WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR FIRST. THIS WAS A DOCTOR MONITORED CLEANSE TO DETOX MY BODY FROM FOODS THAT WERE HUTING ME!
I will tell you this, I didn’t cheat ONCE! I didn’t even consider it. Sure, at times I would see someone eating something that I wanted, but it didn’t even occur to me that I should just have one bite. I did this cleanse wholeheartedly and it was the greatest thing I could have done.
February 15th is a very special day because it’s when I decided to make a change in my life. I had no idea that it would eventually bring me to starting Krysten’s Kitchen. I really didn’t know that changing those foods would do so much. My dad always taught me two things about food:
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food” and
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use and when diet is right, medicine is of no need”
I remember telling people about all the foods that I cut out of my life and all the good that it did. However, they would laugh at me and say I am crazy. I will say, I thought we were eating well before I went to the doctor. I remember making this amazing whole wheat pasta with cherry tomatoes, chicken and parmesan with sautéed spinach and thinking that it was a way healthy meal. I also saw what all my friends were eating and drinking sodas and thought they were crazy!
Meanwhile, I am so proud of my husband for the way he eats now. It took awhile for him to fully jump on board with all of this. He grew up eating fast food quite often and all kinds of processed foods. At one point when he was in high school, he was eating fast foods 2-3 times per day. I was eating fast food 2-3 times a year!
Do you have a FOODIVERSARY? I hope you celebrate it. For whatever reason you chose that date, and for whatever reason you chose to give up certain foods or eliminate them from your life (whether you became a vegan, no sugar, a vegetarian, paleo, keto,) you did it for YOU, your health, your body, your life, etc. Be proud of that decision and be proud of that date!
My special date is February 15, 2010 and this year is my 6 year foodiversary.