I think it all started with "the Biggest Loser" really. I know it is a weird way to start. We started watching it and I started wanting to lose weight. So it all began for a very selfish reason. I gained a lot of weight since I came to the United States. Oh yes, I am Italian ( as in born in Italy, not as in my great-great-grandparents were Italian ) and I moved to Illinois in 2008, to be with my husband who is 100% American. I was never super skinny, but I did gain a lot of weight when I got here. And I gained even more when I got pregnant. So I decided to lose weight and exercise more and be healthier. I realized that in Italy I could stay away from the gym because I would walk everyday anywhere, for pleasure or because I had to a lot of the times. And I didn't even think of it as exercise at the time, I just walked to get to places. Towns in Italy, especially smaller ones, like the one where I grew in, are built in a way that didn't take account of cars, so there are very few parking spaces and the roads are narrow, so in the end you are much better off walking or on a bike then with a car. We have public transportation too, but I have to say sometimes it took longer to wait for the bus than it took for me to walk to the place I wanted to get to, so I mostly walked. In Illinois I live in the suburbs. In other words I have to drive to get anywhere as spaces are wide and sidewalks are rare. So I joined the gym, started dieting and lost some weight. As you diet and exercise you start looking into what you are eating in enormous detail. How many calories, how much sugar, how much fat. And then you start reading the ingredients and you realize that you don't understand what most of the things you are eating are, and you start thinking.
I guess another thing that started it was my sister. She has been diagnosed with MS 7 years ago. She went the traditional highly medicated phase to try and stop from having other attacks. The medicine only made her feel worse and stopped her from having a normal healthy life. Then she researched into using nutrition to control her immune system, for example by controlling the amount and the kind of fatty acids she was ingesting. She really started to watch what she was eating realizing that what we eat influences the way your body works as much as a medicine would. She got better, she lost weight, she got even more beautiful and she hasn't had another attack since ( fingers crossed). I am not saying she cured her MS, but she is managing it with food. And that makes you think. What am I eating ? What should I eat? What am I doing to myself when I eat junk food? There are more consequences to it than just packing pounds and not being ready for the beach.
Having a son also changes the way you look at food. You want him to have the best. You dissect every label, every single ingredient to make sure there are no hormones, no pesticides, no heavy metals, no added sugar, no added salt. You do it for the first few years of his life, what about afterwards? And why do you apply that logic for him and not for yourself? Besides, no matter how careful you are in keeping soda and candy away from him, he is going to learn mostly from your example, so what you are eating and how you eat has an enormous impact on his future.
And then the final push came from watching a documentary called "Food inc". If you haven't watched it you should. It's about the food industry in the United States. It's about how what we eat is the product of an industry that is mostly unfair to its workers, cruel to the animals, unsafe for the consumers, bad for the environment....and the list goes on. At the end of the movie I had been crying and I was disgusted and I didn't know what to eat anymore. It seemed like I had no power of choice, that someone was trying to poison me and my family no matter how hard I tried. So I decided to start a quest, a personal quest and a quest for my family. I decided to take steps to become more sustainable, healthier, more conscious and fairer to the world and to the environment. In this blog I will report about the steps I take, the mistakes, the doubts and the hard choices we have to make. We are not going to be a "No impact family" we are just going to try to live a normal life, this is not going to be a "social experiment" but an everyday journey to a better average family.