I spent most of my childhood on the giant couch in the family room, under that heavy brown and orange afghan, watching videos on MTV. I was always on that couch because I was always sick. Everyone at the doctor’s office knew me because every three weeks I’d be back, showing symptoms of something. I was the sick kid and bubble gum flavored amoxicillin was my drug of choice.
My family ate dinner together every night, and every night I was the pickiest of picky eaters. No vegetable—fresh, frozen or canned—would pass my lips. No way. Even the Flintstone Vitamin that my mother would beg me to take ended up at the bottom of my almost empty milk glass or wrapped in a used napkin.
So I continued being the sick kid through elementary school, high school and even college, and as I got older, the symptoms got worse. I developed terrible anxiety and depression, achy joints and allergies. I was a mess. Eventually I started taking anxiety medication, and I moved on-campus for my second year of college in New York. Suddenly, I was a kid in a candy store. I bought my own groceries—the kind mom would never buy. I bowed to the holy vending machines that would give me anything I wanted with the swipe of a card…I was in heaven. But physically and mentally, I was in hell.
I’ll never forget that moment my roommate called me out on it. “I have never seen anyone put more crap into their body.” That caught me off guard. “What are you talking about?” I asked, as I dumped half a bottle of ranch dressing onto my "salad" —all iceberg lettuce, no other veggies. “I’ve never seen you eat anything that doesn’t come out of a box, bag, bottle or can. How you’re still functioning is beyond me.” What could I say to that? It was all I’d ever eaten. I knew no other way.
Fast forward a year. I moved to Minneapolis and began working in a co-op. Over time, I forced myself to try some of everything they had. At the age of 21, I tried my first strawberry.
I was working a lot and trying to save money, so I naturally began consuming made-from-scratch and un-processed foods—stuff that usually had five ingredients or less. Before long, I realized I had never felt better in my life. I had broken out of my cycle of perpetual sickness, and my anxiety and depression were improving daily.
I had an epiphany: Real food equals feel good.
Well I had to tell everyone what I discovered. After living in Minnesota for a year, I flew home to visit my family and they were shocked to see the change in me. “You have color in your face!” “You look alive!” “You look so healthy!” I had never expected anyone to say that to me. I was a new person because I had changed the food I was eating. I was proof of what real food can do.
After this, I decided to go back to school to study nutrition. My family still laughs about it. "Least. Likely. Candidate."
But, that’s exactly what happened, and that's why I am so thankful to have found Cassie and Healthy Simple Life. As part of this team, I’m able to spread the word about how healthy, simple foods really can change your life. They changed mine 100%!