It happened this way: I saw an advertisement for the Healthy Gut Summit. I was considering trying to be a little healthier, so I signed up for it, knowing right away that it would be another of those things that would go into my email box that I would never have time to open and I would inevitably end up deleting it. I have four children and they keep me pretty busy, but I signed up anyway, admitting defeat before I had even begun. Then, one day, low and behold, I had a twenty minute window and I thought, hmm...instead of browsing Facebook, I'll see what this Healthy Gut Summit is all about. I opened it and I haven't been the same since. 

I signed up for Food Matters TV for the 10 day free trial  - and I told my husband (money was tight for us then) that we would cancel our subscription after the 10 days. We never did. He and I both fell so far "down the rabbit hole" as we like to say, that we couldn't look back. We found that the documentaries were incredible and that learning how to be truly healthy was addicting. 

I had no idea that I was living so toxically. I was so incredibly ignorant and it seems that this is the case with most people. We used to eat so much processed food, fast food, sugar and meat. We just didn't know any better - we didn't know a different way to be. Now, thanks to Food Matters, I feel enlightened. I'm healthier than I've ever been in my entire life. Strangers can't believe that I have four kids.

I was at the grocery store with my third-born and a woman commented on how cute he was and asked if he was my first. I said, "No, he's number three of four." And she blinked at me and said, "Honestly? But you look so young and fit!" Like I had defied some law. And my friends constantly tell me that they hate me (they're joking of course) because I look great. They ask me how I lost all the baby weight. I say, "Eating healthy". And they can't accept that. The skepticism just radiates off of them. "Eating healthy, aaaaaaand?" they ask me. So, I lean in close, drop my voice to nearly a whisper, put on a devious face and say in my most scandalous tone, "Yoga. And even exercise."

Disappointment! It’s almost as if they want to hear that I’m paying thousands of dollars for a top-secret pill. They ask me if I count calories or what weight-loss program I'm using. My answer is too simple to be acceptable. I tell them, "I don't count calories, I don't pay for a program, I don't follow a weight-loss regimen. I choose super-healthy food. When I'm hungry, I eat. I eat until I'm not hungry anymore. I don't deprive myself, I don't count anything. I just choose wholesome food. And I exercise for no more than 30 minutes every day. That's it." And then they "hate" me more!

They admire my enthusiasm and outlook on life. They are in awe of how our family lives every day. The sad part is, they act as if the same options are not within their reach. Like I’m an exception to some non-existent law that clean eating and healthy habits don’t work for most people. 

My husband is healthier than he has ever been and my children, as well. We live with this awareness that we never knew existed. Our children are some of the healthiest we know (my oldest son's teacher always likes to see what "wacky health-foods" I put in his lunchbox). Not only has our health been transformed, but our way of thinking, the way we approach life - every single day. 

I've submerged myself into the world of health. For the first time in my life, I'm reading non-fiction books. (I have a degree in English Lit and have always delved deep into fiction, never finding a non-fiction topic interesting enough to forgo a good love story, until now.) I have a vastly growing collection of books on all sorts of topics that I never would have looked twice at before. Topics such as diet, exercise, vaccines, abundance, chemicals, cancer, parenting, yoga, sugar.... 

Living this new, healthy life feels so amazing that I've actually earned my certification as a Health and Wellness coach so that I can help other people the way Food Matters has helped me and my family. 

I love, am passionate about, clean-eating and healthy living. I’ve removed chemicals from my home (no one misses them, not even a little), processed food, sugar and meat from our diets and added exercise, yoga (my six-year old daughter and husband both love to do yoga as well!), gratitude, mindfulness and peace of mind. I tell everyone that I’m going to live to be at least a healthy one hundred. I believe that I can because I’m healthy. Truly healthy.  The best part of it for me, is knowing that I’ll be sending my children into adulthood already knowing how to take care of their bodies and minds. They’ll be conscious of good choices versus poor ones, and armed with the knowledge that they only get this one body in this lifetime, they have to treat it well. As a mother, I can’t imagine a gift greater than health and happiness! I’m healthy, which means that I can be present in body and mind for my children while they’re little now. I can keep up with them and be the best mom I can be because I’m able. And this makes me happy. And this is the example that I set for my kids. 

“If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything”- Creepy Six-Fingered Guy from The Princess Bride

- Meghann Bernard