Food affects all of us on many levels. We need it to survive, sometimes it makes us sick, and other times it helps us heal. Sometimes we turn to food for comfort. Food can be a powerful tool. Growing up my awareness around food and health began when I was about six years old. My younger brother, Hendrik, was our family’s teacher in this realm.
When Hendrik was between the ages of 6 months – 3 years old, he had one ear infection after another. To treat it, he was given antibiotics each time he got an infection. This cycle went on for a few years. With the intake of antibiotics, my mother noticed Hendrik’s personality change. He was subdued and listless when on the antibiotics. At that point she decided it was time to try something new. She was determined to get to the root of the problem and find out why Hendrik was getting ear infections in the first place.
She started out by gathering information. She asked questions and talked with various friends and doctors. A nurse she knew recommended a doctor who tested for allergies. These tests revealed that Hendrik was having allergic reactions to a number of things from dust and mold to sugar. The biggest problem for him was the sugar. His whole system had become out of balance, a part of which was severe Candida (yeast) overgrowth. The Candida was being fed by any sugar he ate, including fruits. This information not only changed his life, it also changed the lives of our whole family.
Once she learned about his allergies, my mother was able to support Hendrik and help him start his healing process. A big part of this was shifting his diet. He had to be on a diet very low in sugar (basically no sugar). To support him and make things easier, the rest of our family also shifted the way we ate. We ate more whole foods, which included colorful vegetables and whole grains. Fruit juice and soda were off limits, so we drank lots more water. This was the start of my own awareness around food and the power it can have on our lives.
The results of this diet change were incredible and very visible. Not only did Hendrik stop having ear infections, but he also shifted from being a wild, hyperactive, out of control kid to being a much more centered, calm and balanced child. Over time we were able to have a small sweet treat once a week. I remember how much we looked forward to eating that treat. That’s why they are called “treats” right?
Each person is unique in their health needs, which means that each family is also unique in their needs. It is extremely helpful to experiment, observe the results of those experiments, and learn to listen to your intuition. Doing this, can help you connect with what is right for you and for your family. Over the next few weeks I will be posting some general Health Tips for bringing a healthier diet to you and your family’s lives.