Guest writer, Elissa Garr, talks about getting back to basics and healing our society through conscious efforts related to food and lifestyle choices.

I have always considered myself educated.  I have been learning since I was a baby and have never stopped.  I am by trade a teacher and counselor.  I have always been extremely observant to the actions, words, and deeds of others and the motivations behind them.

Like many, I have started to notice a terrifying trend; the vast obesity of Americans.  Not just the obesity of adults but the obesity of children, the children I teach every day.

If you are a member of this blog, you are not a stranger to the dangers of wheat, sugars, processed and man-made foods.  My questions is……..


The information is out there, yet people blatantly ignore it.  I have searched for research that supports the healthy benefits of wheat, I can find very few and it is obvious that the risks out weigh the benefits.  Yet people still continue to gorge themselves with numerous servings of wheat daily. Our own government boasts at the benefits and daily recommendations of whole wheat and in the same breath conduct dangerous genetically modifying experiments and we the people are it’s test subjects. People see the negative effects of these ‘foods’ and yet fail to blame them or accept responsibly for their choices.









It’s a new year, filled with resolutions that most of us will only feel guilty over not keeping, so to prevent from putting myself in a situation that will only make me feel crappy, I gave up resolutions long ago. Along with resolutions, there are lots of sites sharing cheerleading-type messages of support, encouragement and cliché tips on how you can change your life. While I don’t do resolutions  or cheerleading rah-rah type tips, I do believe in helping you along your journey by sharing a raw and honest account of how I overcame health issues through diet and lifestyle changes.

Three years ago I was too sick to get out of bed. I lost my job (which was really more of a career that defined my life), my 5 year old son was crying by my bed asking when I would stop being sick and I was on the verge of some very serious health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

I was overweight, riddled with fatigue, had adrenal fatigue, was on the verge of depression and had a raging case of brain fog.  I was a moody mess and I had a rampant case of Candida. Here’s what I knew: I had gluten and dairy allergies, I was intolerant to almost all grains, and my hormones and vitamin levels were all out of whack. I had been taking thyroid meds for 12 years, since being diagnosed as hypothyroid in 1998. What I didn’t know then was that I have Hashimoto’s, which is an auto-immune condition causing the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid gland. With the help of a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist, we would correctly diagnose the Hashimoto’s and help get my health on track with food and supplement changes. The big concern was quieting my immune system so I stopped attacking my thyroid gland, which was causing many of the issues I was dealing with.

Over the last three years, I’ve worked hard to get my life back on track. I made some changes to the way I viewed life: I no longer value myself by my career path, but rather, by the person I am to the ones I love. I have a healthier outlook on life, and my stress levels are far less than I can ever remember then being. I’m taking supplements to address glandular issues and ensure my genetic deficiencies are in balance (read my post on KPU here).

Today I’ve lost weight, I’m sleeping better, my adrenals are more balanced, my hormones are better regulated, I have energy, and I’ve finally started reading again since the brain fog is (mostly) gone. I show no signs of having an auto-immune condition on my latest labs, which means I’m doing a good job of regulating my immune system flare ups. I avoid all grains, except the occasional rice and corn, and have been free of all food allergies for the last year. I’ve successfully completed a Candida cleanse which cleared up the candida and the mood swings are gone.

I share some personal stories here so that you can know that you’re not alone. I’m just a regular girl who was dealing with some very real health issues and had to look outside the typical Western medicine field to heal. I would love to help you along your healing journey, and hope my stories help you to know you’re not alone.

Remember that you can browse a ton of information on food allergies here, read my product reviews here and check out hundreds of allergy-free friendly recipes here.

I have so many resources that I love to browse, especially Facebook pages including 100 Days of Real Food, Paleo Belle,  Just Eat Real Food, Against All Grains,  Deliciously Organic and Civilized Caveman. There are tons of other great Paleo resources, including Robb Wolf and Mark’s Daily Apple and if you’re looking for help on transition to a gluten-free life, is a fantastic resource, as is Kids With Food Allergies for tips on raising allergic kids.

And here are 3 quick tips that I try to keep in mind every day to help give me the discipline and drive to stay my Paleo course:

1. Be kind to yourself

2. Be aware of your limits

3. Believe in yourself


I stumbled upon the Paleo/Primal lifestyle when I tested positive for allergies to sugar, grains, gluten, dairy and some nuts. I gave up eggs and nightshades for the Auto Immune Protocol Diet, and I cheat occasionally on those to keep me sane. I never cheat on an allergic food – it’s not worth the risk of an auto-immune flare up, nor the crappy way I feel for a week afterwards.

In fact, I often think back to the old Weight Watcher’s mantra that my mom used to quote when she was forever dieting in the 80s: ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’.

My version?   Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!


So remember, there will always be moments when you doubt yourself. When you question if you can do it – do I have the willpower to give up my sweets, booze and favorite treats? My advice is to take it all, a day at a time. Get through the first day, and then get a good nights sleep. Wake up the next day, and get through that day too. It’s easier to tackle when you break it down into manageable sizes. And remember, you’re probably going to cheat here and there, and thats ok. Don’t beat yourself up  – that’s far worse than the effects of the cheating, I promise you that!

So feel free to use my mantra, which is adapted from WW anyway. Put it up on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, your desk at work… generally anywhere you need to be reminded that no food tastes better than healthy feels.

xo, Jen

It’s our motto around here, but what does it mean?

Well, to start it addresses the power of food, and its incredible effect on our ability to heal the damage most of us are facing due to the popular American diet we’ve all grown accustomed to. Who hasn’t stopped in for a quick bite at a local fast food joint when you just didn’t have the time to cook dinner after a long day of work, knowing you’re coming home to face a gaggle of hungry faces clamoring for dinner?

I know I did, and I know all too well that I’m not alone on this one. And while I only ate out in moderation, many of you probably find yourself at the drive thru more often than you would care to admit. And if you’re dealing with food sensitivities, or suspect you might be, and are eating out, you might be aggravating your allergies with cross contaminated foods and highly GM foods and oils often used in restaurants and fast food joints.  I’m a big fan of the experience of eating out. I love spending time out with friends and family, enjoying a tasty meal that I didn’t have to prepare, or worrying about cleaning afterwards. The social aspect of being out appeals to me, and I appreciate it every time. 

But I also recognize that it’s hard to find a restaurant with a social conscience. That is to say, that they’re using meats farmed from socially responsible farmers, locally raised produce free of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms. In fact, I’m willing to bet that every time you eat out, you’re consuming a vast amount of GM soy, corn or wheat. And we know that these foods are slowly poisoning us. 

So it’s time to ask yourself – am I happy? Do I feel like crap more often than not? Am I overweight? Am I avoiding my annual checkup because I dread the results of the blood tests? Does the blood pressure machine at your local drug store call to you but you run and hide like a child playing hide and seek?

I can tell you that if you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re in very good and well numbered company. The fact is, most Americans would answer yes to those questions. So now that you’ve brought your state of  health to mind, let’s see what we can do to improve it!

Whether you’re just embarking on a journey to understand what this movement with our food supply means, or if you’re well invested in the cause already, you most likely have had that “Ah Ha” moment that made you stop and wonder whether it’s possible for food to actually heal, or hurt us.  Sadly, the answer is simple. Yes, the foods we eat can either help us heal, or harm our ability to live a happy healthy life. 

And to be clear, I don’t think food in its natural state causes us harm. It’s the way we’ve changed our food to handle mass consumption and appeal to the Fat and Happy mainstream that has caused us harm.  We have modified our food supplies to create ‘food’ that lacks all aspects of nutrition, and are instead made up of genetically modified sources so that we can enjoy brightly colored cereal with a glass of hormone-laden cow’s milk before sending our kids off to school. And that brightly colored cereal which is rich in sugar, food colorings, processed and genetically modified wheat or corn, causes a sugar spike that will give your child a sugar rush bigger than any that even an adult’s body should/could handle, and then a devastating crash  that leaves them unable to concentrate and in need of some other sugary drink to retain a balance. 

If this sounds like your typical breakfast, don’t worry because you’re not alone. And if you’re here, you’re probably realizing that this typical American breakfast might not be the best choice for you or your child. This is where the idea of food healing us comes in.

Food in its natural, real state is powerful. It was designed to provide naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need for fuel. Food in its natural state fuels our bodies, mind and soul. Real and powerful food can reverse toxic damage caused by the dangerous processed foods that are so readily available today. It can help you to lose weight, reverse auto immune conditions, prevent dangerously high levels of blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol. I know, because I’ve experienced it first hand.

Processed food caused me devastating health issues, and real/whole foods helped save me. It’s that simple. Eat real food, heal your body, and thrive.

Has food changed your life? Share your stories below so others can be inspired by the power of food, and its ability to heal!