The Beginning

When I started this blog, I never dreamed it would grow to the size it is now.  Since I get a lot of questions about how we came to be a whole food family, I thought I would share our story.  I had been a vegetarian for 16 years prior to going vegan.  If you had asked me to describe my eating habits at the time, I would have told you I ate healthy.  Healthy to me at that time included Boca Burgers, Skinny Cow ice cream and processed cereals like Kashi.

We fed my daughter a lot of junk as well.  Kraft Mac and Cheese was a staple in our house as were processed granola bars.  I have always liked to bake, but the things I used to make were laden with too much oil and processed sugar.  My husband drank a lot of Gatorade, snacked on chips and candy bars.  His diet was heavy in meat and cheese.  So I guess you could say we were not far off from the typical American diet.  Once thing we never did, was eat fast food.  We did, however, indulge on Starbucks every Saturday.

My husband was taking 2 medications for asthma and using an inhaler on a daily basis.  He was told by his doctor that if he couldn’t get his cholesterol down, he would need to take meds for that as well.  It was I, who was the one that decided to make the change.  To be honest, with all the packaged food I was buying, I saw my grocery bill skyrocket.  I was sick of all the waste it created as well.  So I decided I was going to start making my own things from scratch.  The first thing I made was granola bars and I was amazed at how easy to was.  Much cheaper too.  So from there on, I was doing all our baked goods from scratch.  I would read health blogs like crazy to get ideas on how to eat and live better.  That is when I started to read labels.  THAT was my light bulb moment.  Once I started googling some ingredients I was shocked to find out what kinds of chemicals and additives were in processed foods.

At that time, I was still using processed sugar for baking.  Then one day I cut out sugar from my morning coffee.  I am not going to lie, it was tough the first week, but now I like coffee better with just a bit of almond milk.  Once I kicked sugar out of my morning coffee, I found I didn’t crave sweets as much during the day.  So I set out to get rid of all our processed flours and sugars.  That made a huge difference.  We all found ourselves with more energy.  We also lost weight without even trying!  My husband lost 20 lbs and I lost about 5-7 lbs.  Funny thing is, once we quit sugar and processed foods, we found no need to count calories or fat.  When you eat whole foods, they will keep you full much longer than highly processed foods.

Once we saw the amazing results of eating clean, it kept us motivated to continue down this path.  My husband and I stick to this because both of us want to be around for as much of our girls’ lives as possible.

So that is how we started.  By about September of 2012, we were totally on board with clean eating and I started the blog in October of 2012.  If you are just starting out, here are some links that may help you.

Tips of Quitting Processed Sugar

Baby Steps to a Healthier You

Common Additives in Processed Foods to Avoid

Eating Healthy on a Budget



41 thoughts to “The Beginning”

  1. You are in inspiration to me!! My husband and I have always been very health conscience, believed in organic foods, etc... However until I stumbled upon your blog I never really realized what we were putting in our bodies. I am coming off a hectic year of volunteer work (PTA, Girl Scout, Class mom, etc.. ) but this summer I vowed to myself and my family that we are changing our eating habits which translates into our lifestyle and overall health because like you, my husband and I want to be around to watch are three kids grow up and be able to enjoy our grandkids!! THANK YOU for your informative post and (so far - as I've only tried a couple of them, more to come!) delicious recipes!!!!!
    1. You are very welcome. Thank you for your kind words. I felt it was important to show that we were not that far off from the standard American diet when we started. :)
  2. Wow! I would never have guessed you had only been doing this for a year! I have learned a lot from reading your blog. Yours is one of the first places I look when I need a new recipe. And while we are nowhere near "there" yet we read labels and have cut out some things already. I am a sugar and carb addict and my kids (6 and 3) can be VERY picky eaters so it is a daily challenge. But I appreciate having some place to look for inspiration like you and your family!
    1. Thank you. Some changes take time. Even if you are making small changes, that is a good thing. I always say that baby steps are better than no steps!
    1. Yes it has! No more asthma and he only uses the allergy meds about once a month! It has been amazing to see!
  3. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I'm really starting to read labels more and am finding out that even though I thought I was eating healthy- I'm really not. My goal is to transition all the bad stuff out of my house and replace it with more natural products and eliminate processed foods. I love what you share about weight loss (I just can't lose those 5 lbs. that keep hanging on) and would love to hear more about changes you have seen in your energy and reducing illness. Thanks so much!
    1. You are very welcome! I had trouble losing those 5lbs as well. Quitting sugar is huge. Once you quit, you eat less. Sugar is like a drug that makes you want more and more.
  4. A friend recommended your blog, so I checked it out today. I love it and can’t wait to try your recipes. Our family can totally relate to ‘The Beginning’. We always thought we were eating healthy; we were watching calories and eating low-fat foods. Our son has had asthma and allergy issues all his life, my husband was experiencing high blood pressure, my cholesterol was too high, I had migraine headaches, and I was continually dieting to lose a few pounds. Two years ago, we began our whole foods journey and we are truly amazed at the results. Our son has no issues with asthma or allergies, my husband’s blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol dropped to 189, I haven’t had a migraine for 15 months and I easily lost the weight I had been struggling with for so many years. Our bodies become wonderful healers when we provide them with whole foods and eliminate chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. Living healthy is like knowing a secret that you want to share with everyone, so thank you for sharing – there is always more to learn!
  5. Hi Melissa, I love your blog. Just a quick question: Did your husband's cholesterol lower and does he take any supplements for it along with the diet change? Thanks!
  6. Hi Melissa, I absolutely love your blog, I visit it daily. I am always excited for prep day on the weekend deciding which recipes I want to try next. I just want to say thanks for the time and effort you have put into sharing your story. Reading about your journey and how you worked through the hurdles is so inspiring. :) Savanna
  7. Hi Melissa! I just found your blog this week through Facebook. I'm so glad I did! My husband and I also eat a whole foods, plant based diet. Our inspiration was Forks Over Knives, and we've been eating this way for about two years. We've both lost weight, and I especially feel so much better! I have more energy, almost no aches or pains, less hay fever, less PMS and I haven't gotten sick since eating this way. I'm convinced that our bodies were designed to thrive on plant foods and that eating animal products, lots of refined sugar and processed foods is just really hard on them. I look forward to being a regular reader of your blog! Blessings to you and your family!
  8. I am just starting out and love all your advice and recipes. It is so much fun starting out and entering the food blog world. I'd love any thoughts you have as I enter my second week of this ride. Thanks!
      1. Sorry about that. I am just starting my own food blog on healthy recipes using as many real ingredients as I can. I just wanted to say I love your recipes and welcome any blogging advice you have. Thanks :)
        1. Okay. Sure! I wrote this post that may help you.
  9. Exactly my experience, although I can't seem to get my husband on board, unfortunately. I can officially say that I really no longer crave the junk food binges I used to. I'm actually in the middle of writing yet another blog post on the topic. I can't seem to shut up about it, actually. LOL. I started out because I had become just barely overweight. Now I've lost 45 lbs, and am in better shape than I was in high school. In fact I'm currently having a hard time trying to keep from losing any more! ;)
    1. That is fantastic! Good for you! It's amazing how the cravings just disappear. Sugar is like a drug that keeps you wanting more and more.
  10. Thank you so much for an amazing blog and recipes! Do your girls just eat what you and your husband eat for dinner? Do you guys buy nothing processes whatsoever? Like pasta or bread ever? We are very healthy and vegan but still have work to go.
    1. My girls mostly eat what we eat. My 2 year old will eat just about anything. My 4 year old is a little more picky, but does love almost all raw veggies. We do buy pasta on occasion. I like buckwheat soba noodles and rice noodles. We are not really big bread people, but I do buy it on occasion. If I do I only buy Food for Life sprouted 7 grain bread. My kids love it.
  11. I am LOVIN' your site! I am new to staying at home (not by choice) healing and making my health priority (for the first time in A LONG TIME) :) Your recipes and tips are golden and I thank you for sharing so very much! I will be back OFTEN and will be taking steps to follow clean eating for myself and our family from now on ~
  12. Melissa- this website and your facebook sites have been so amazingly helpful for me! my facebook is filled with great comments from your other followers, new recipes and tips from you, and i LOVE IT! it makes it so much easier to stay on track and get inspired! your recipes are easy, healthy and delicious!! you have really changed how i feel about foods. i'm so much more adventurous now and love trying new things! YOU ROCK!
    1. I have never eaten veggies in my life. Hiding veggies is def the way to go. I can't really "hide" them from myself....LOL, but I still cannot stand the taste of the green stuff that is so good for you. I use the grater to make pieces really small (like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, etc). Plus if you add them in food that is already really flavorful and spiced well it is difficult to not like them.
  13. What a great transformation you have had with your family! It's amazing how unhealthy we can still be when we think we are eating so well. I'm happy your girls are doing so well now. How scary that must have been. As the saying goes you are only as happy as your unhappiest (or unwell) child. I've never heard of a breast milk allergy... very interesting. I've got three kids, the youngest being eighteen, with two of them having many allergies, so, I have a slight idea of what you must go through. I'm looking forward to checking out your baking recipes! I try to eat vegan as much as possible and one of my kids can't eat any dairy at all, so, vegan baking fits him to a tee!
  14. What an inspiration you are! Similarly to you, I forced the lifestyle change on my husband and kids but it's been amazing to see how they've embraced it. Our house is a much happier place to be, we have energy to enjoy family activities and more importantly my oldest (6) son is starting to talk about GMO's, sugar and organic foods. Our lifestyle hasn't been accepted by everyone as we were born and raised (and still reside) in Houston, TX. As you know, the typical southern diet is about as far from clean eating as you can get. LOL. So glad I found your blog. Made your chocolate coffee cookies and they were to die for! I love baking and haven't been doing as much since we started this journey 2 months ago. Felt so good to bake and not feel guilty about eating it! ;)
    1. Thank you so much Christina! I am close by to you in Dallas, and we definitely don't know a lot of people that eat similarly to us. Glad you liked the cookies! :)
  15. Thank you for this. I have just discovered I am autoimmune and need to eat a diet with no gluten, very low sugar and as close to nature as possible. I feel completely overwhelmed and just dont know where to start. But its a journey and I know that with time anything is possible.
    1. You are so welcome Hazel! It can be totally overwhelming. My best suggestion is to take baby steps and make little changes at a time so it doesn't seem so scary/overwhelming. Good luck to you. :)

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