My Real Food Wagon Journey

Hello! My name is Alexis. I LOVE FOOD and inside me there is a fat girl dying to get out. For years I have been trying to tame my ‘inner fat’ girl but recently I have been looking at different diets and healthier ways of living. There are many reasons why for years I have struggled with my weight but I think the main reasons were due to hormonal issues and too much sugar.

When I was about twenty five I had not had a period for nearly a year and my father suggested to me to make an appointment at the doctors. He had listened to a radio programme about Polycystic Overies Symdrome (PCOS) and the effects it has on a woman’s body. The symptoms described in the program were similar to what I had been experiencing. I made an appointment, I was then sent for a scan of my ovaries and later I was diagnosed with PCOS.

PCOS is a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. All women with this condition have little cysts on their ovaries which means they do not ovulate on a regular basis. Some women’s periods are just a few days late but other women may not a period for years. It also makes it harder for a sperm to fertilise an egg, so getting pregnant can in some cases be a mission. Statistically, the doctors are unsure of how many women have PCOS but the numbers are rising. I now believe, for me, this has a lot to do with what I eat and the way I live my life.

After I was diagnosed I spoke with another GP about not having a period. He told me that most women would be jumping for the ceiling if they had not had a period. Also that my womb wouldn’t swell to the size of an elephants if I did not have a period. Something inside of me told me that it wasn’t right if a woman did not ovulate every twenty eight days. To me, it’s like not cleaning the drains of your house or not fixing your broken toilet. They just become blocked. Personally, I just wouldn’t do it! We all look after our cars and our houses but as humans we tend to neglect the most important part of us, our bodies!

After I was told I had PCOS I decided to visit an acupuncturist. When I was a teenager I had acne and my mother took me to see a Chinese Herbalist which worked well for my skin. On this occasion I went to a high street shop. Unfortunately, Chinese medicine is not regulated at the moment in the UK and I found myself spending a fortune for medicines and treatment I didn’t really know a lot about.

However, it did make my periods regular and I knew I was on the right road. After taking medicine from a shop that made me sick, my mum suggested I visit an acupuncturist she had been to see. At first I was very reluctant. To be honest, I felt like a fool and I didn’t want to have to tell anyone what I had done. My mum reassured me that it would be OK and I made the appointment. Later on that day I visited the acupuncturist I had made an appointment with.

Paul, an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, was very sympathic with me and made me feel at ease. Unlike the Chinese Herbalist shops, Paul was British and he studied for his qualification in the UK. When visiting a shop, the doctor who treats you often does not speak English nor is English there first language so they will often have a translator. It was also not made clear where they obtained their qualifications. I very often found myself questioning whether they were translating my words correctly. I also didn’t feel as though Paul was going to sell me anything I didn’t need or want in my body.

After visiting Paul for a few months my periods began to become regular, I was ovulating every 32 -34 days and suddenly I was finding I had a lot more confidence. I got a new job, joined a social club and through this I found my husband Howard. I continued to have acupuncture and I was finding paths that I thought were shut opening up for me. My boyfriend, now husband, proposed and about a year later we got married. It was always in our plans to have a family.

Unfortunately, it took us a while to get there. At the time, I was probably a stone overweight so I decided after a year of trying that I would like to go on a diet. I had already joined a gym but I just wasn’t losing the weight. I made a decision to join Weight Watchers and after six months I lost two stone nine pounds and I have managed to keep the weight off. Then after another year of trying we fell pregnant with our son Ted.

I know it’s brilliant but I am no longer a fan of Weight Watchers nor any other commercial weight loss companies. If this has worked for you then brilliant but I no longer want to support this industry. Most of these commercial diet companies ‘unconsciously’ promote unhealthy eating. As long as it’s within your points you can eat what ever you like. I remember overhearing a conversation between two sales assistants a little while ago. One complimented the other on her weight loss and asked how she had achieved it. She told her work colleague that she had lost weight through Weight Watchers and how easy it was to do. I remember her saying, ‘If I want to eat a chocolate bar for every meal then I can as long as it is within my points for the day.’ So simple, yes but where are your healthy fats coming from?

When I started my commercial diet foods like nuts, dates, avocados and seeds were very high in points so I decided to take these things off my menu. Like many people you want to be able to eat as much as possible for as few points as possible. So I would source foods that did not have many points and live on these types of foods. Weight Watchers looks at food via fats, proteins and carbohydrates. They don not look at the nourishment of the food. Nowadays these items are back on the menu and the weight is staying off but I do believe this is because I have given up sugar and processed food.

My sugar free journey began last year when I visited a homeopath. My son had reflux as a baby and we took him to see a lady who was recommended to me by a friend. It worked wonders for him so I decided to have a go myself. After running some tests Dawn, the Homeopath, told me that it would be a good idea to give up sugar. My sugar levels were high according to the results and she suggested that I try to bring them down. At the time, I didn’t know this but if a person has hormonal problems, sugar will only add to these problems. I enjoy a challenge so thought I would give a ‘sugar free’ diet a try. I did a little bit of research on the topic and I bought a few recipe books to get me started.

Since last year I have tried several diets including Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ and Davina McCall’s ‘Sugar Free’ diets but unfortunately, I found that I put weight on. I think for me they are too heavy in meat and diary products. I went back to the Weight Watchers ‘starve yourself thin’ diet, as one of my friends likes to call it. When I started back on my commercial diet I was still sugar free but I was hungry. I lost weight but I felt tired and grumpy.

Through Facebook I started to read pages such as Food Matters, That Sugar Film and The Truth About Cancer. All of these pages write about different cultures around the world and their diets. In the Eastern hemisphere they eat a lot less processed food, if any at all. Studies have shown that they have less heart and liver disease and there is no obesity crisis.

My New Years resolution is to start learning about these cultures and their diets. I have already found that the Inuit, Japanese, Mediterranean and the Ancestral/Paleoithic diets, live on fresh foods. They have helped people live a long and disease free life. The one thing these diets have in common is that they are plant based diets. They only have meat occasionally and they include plenty of oily fish. They eat foods that are high in omega 3 and antioxidants. These groups rely on seasonal food produced without industrial chemicals. This means they are eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods that results in a good immune system and optimal health. They eat sensible portion sizes and rarely snack between meals.

This year I have decided to kick my Weight Watchers to the curb and touch wood, kiss goodbye to the inner fat girl who has haunted me with mainly chocolate and lots of it for many years. We as a family have decided to eat less meat, more fish and plenty more plant based foods. I have set this blog up to write recipes and review other cooks recipes. As I love food and enjoy cooking I wanted to share it with all of you. Also, I would like this blog to keep us ‘on the real food wagon’. Hopefully, I will be saying a really big hello to an even happier, healthier Alexis and family.