So I started this post because I got an email from AppleGate Farms telling me I have been selected as one of 15 bloggers to review their products in July, taste test the food they send me and then blog about it. I realized there is so much on my mind about how I got to eating AppleGate Farms I should start at the beginning.
So why has this ice-cream addict been reading labels, watching what and how much I put in my mouth and staying up at night pondering the state of our nation's eating habits? This is incredibly long and may not make sense but hang in there..you've been warned :)
It's no surprise to you all who love me that most things now days have roots and begin with my dear Hope. After battling cancer 4 times over she "got on this bandwagon" and begged me to watch what meat I bought. She warned me of antibiotics, growth hormones and other toxins that were added to our chicken/beef/lord don't even whisper hot dogs! I knew she had just had the battle of her life with (at the time only) breast cancer, I heard her...but I didn't really listen. That was now 6 years ago. I have since lost not only Hope to cancer, but my father and as of this date, am watching another dear high school friend battle stage 4 melanoma.
Right now you are thinking...this can't be Ann-Marie and this is not her blog! Is she really about to blame meat for cancer and if so she needs to get on psychotropic drugs.... quickly! Let me be clear, I am not saying that at all, I am saying that as I watch those I love die/suffer, specifically 2 women under the age of 30 when first diagnosed with rare and uncharacteristic cancers, I have to wonder...as mankind...what are we doing to ourselves and what are we doing to the food we eat? We all know America runs on the almighty dollar and when push comes to shove, things that may be safer for Americans may not be the most lucrative way to do business. Years and years of that way of thinking, has exposed American's to more toxins/growth hormones/antibiotics/environmental hazards then ever...and it's just getting worse. So it's those thoughts, mixed with Hope and other's cancers that got me asking the question: Are we really damaging our body chemistry and make up so much over the years that our own body can't defend itself when something bad triggers it?
I have worked in sales and marketing for the past 10 years and I was an English Major in college...the answer to all those questions I have in my head at night that I just rambled about here on my blog: I have no flippin' idea! But I know we sell and market things to people by expanding on the good things people want to hear and ignore or exclude the negative things..yes in a way..we lie.
Here's what I do know: I know that Cooper and I have been sick every 4-6 weeks almost to date for just shy of 1 full year.
I know that I have not been taking care of my health at all and I have been living under a lot of stress. (ie: a loved one dying every 6 months consistently for the past 3 years, giving birth to an amazing son in that time but dealing with mental illness and ultimately divorce from his father, being laid off, hired, fired and now hired again). Can I get an AMEN on the stress level I have been living under? My coping mechanism....ice cream, chocolate, and diet cherry coke to name a few.
Cooper lately has been having asthma-like attacks and just two months ago, the Dr. put him on daily breathing treatments in addition to the cough related breathing treatments. Plus I can't tell you how many cycles of antibiotics we both have been on! In addition to all this a few months ago we had our roof leak which led water damage in the house (including Cooper's room) and now months later I feared black mold spores in our walls/AC vents and drywall. You are now thinking I need meds for psychosis...I know...it's ok I would to if I read all this so far!
Here's what I did: I sat up at night...pondering why my perfectly healthy kid was on daily breathing medications and was told to take allergy medication daily. I thought a lot about how the current school of thought with physicians was to treat symptoms, not the find the root cause of the symptoms but to throw out medications at us. My gut was telling me...I don't think this is right. So....because of the water damage, I had the AC vents cleaned, put a HEPA filter for air purity in Cooper's room and have my friend Kevin coming out to change out the dry wall and check for mold. But I also changed our eating habits to reduce preservatives, some glutens and increased our fruit and veggie intake. I researched how to keep Cooper (and myself) eating the things we love (yes....hot dogs) yet pay attention to the amount of nitrates etc we were getting in our foods. If our sickness (specifically Cooper's) were due to an allergy...I wanted to get rid of it...not treat it!
Here's what happened: We haven't been sick...well....YET. Cooper has gone weeks now without one of those "night attacks". We sleep better, we have a very solid schedule at home and we just...I don't know...feel better and think clearer. We have been medication free for the most part. I did make an ENT appointment for myself and have an allergy test coming up just to see if anything comes up I should know about, and I had a CT scan to make sure there is nothing blocking my sinus cavity. Cooper has a follow up with his Dr in 2 weeks and this (knock on wood) has been the longest so far we have gone without getting a cough/cold/sinusitis issues.
So back to AppleGate. I am not sure how much food, what kind or what it means that I will be a taste tester. I know I love whatever I have bought from them so far and I love what they say about their products which you can read HERE.
I love that Cooper eats his all natural yogurt now at night for his "dessert" and I love that cookie dough is now not one of my major food groups.
I also love you if you read all the way to the end of this post :) I will keep you posted as far as our health, the dry wall demolition and maybe remodel that comes with it and of course back to regularly scheduled Cooper's photos/videos and updates.