Nicole’s Whole Foods Journey

On December 16, 2012 by Robin Z

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

In November of 2011, I started my whole foods journey.  My initial reason was to deal with migraines and chronic headaches.  I had recently read, Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz.  He emphasized ridding your diet of migraine trigger foods especially artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate in all its various forms.  It was an extreme change for me, but one that was necessary.  I cut all the trigger foods he listed and started shopping with a list of hidden MSG ingredients.  This was an eye-opening experience as I started shopping for whole foods and investigating the foods I had previously eaten.

One of the biggest moments of clarity was looking at the ingredients in margarine compared to butter.  My mom had always used margarine, so that’s what I used.  When I saw the ingredients for what they truly were for the first time, I was horrified.  Why hadn’t I registered this before?  Why had I gone along willing?  What are these “artificial and natural flavorings” in processed foods?  I began researching on the internet about flavorings, free glutamates, and numerous other chemical additives.  It was hard to accept that our food industry was allowing these additives.  I kept finding more research on the correlation between chemical additives and poor health.  It became a healthy obsession.
After switching to whole foods, I started looking into the difference between conventional and organic foods.  What were the differences?  Should I be using organic?  I started looking at the local options for organic items and even online availability.  It became more important as I started reading information about genetically modified organisms.  I had heard about GMOs in the past, but wasn’t too concerned about them.  Now I felt I needed to educate myself as much as possible.
I had tumbled down the rabbit hole and was discovering all these new avenues of information.  I shared some information with friends and family, but they mostly thought it was a temporary diet.  They were not prepared for the transition to whole foods.  Processed foods are addicting, and the food industry is doing their job well. As the months progressed, I stayed with my diet.  I slowly added back the trigger foods.  I found that eliminating processed foods did help my headaches.  Now this whole foods diet wasn’t a temporary fix for me, but a new way of eating and living.  It has become a passion for real food and for creating meals with meaningful elements, not lab created substances.
My journey extended beyond food into the cleaning products I use in the house and even the beauty and hygiene items I use.  I transitioned to green cleaning products despite the fact my husband thinks the chemical smell equals cleanliness.  I found new beauty and hygiene products without parabens, sulfates, the mysterious “fragrance,” and other shady chemicals.
When I started my whole foods journey, I had no idea where it would lead me.  It’s been a learning experience that has changed my life, and I’m thankful that my eyes were opened to the truths about the food industry.  I’ve learned so much about processed foods and discovered many new whole foods.  It’s an exciting adventure that I plan to continue.
Bio –  Nicole lives in southern Indiana with her husband (also her high school sweetheart), her litter girl who was born December 2011, the their best, furry friend Gus (their golden retriever), and a cranky cat named Smokey.  She loves reading, baking, and spending time with family.  

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