I seem to know so many people with food sensitivities and allergies. That’s why I was excited to stumbled upon Becca’s Kitchen. Becca and I enjoyed a chat (via email) and she agreed to share a bit of her story. Hopefully you will find her recipes helpful and her testimony encouraging. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new!
It’s Personal: Explain what you are doing in your vlogs.
I‘m trying to reach as many people as possible to show them how easy and relatively inexpensive it can be to adopt a healthier nutritional lifestyle. Our purpose in using the YouTube videos and my blog in tandem is to hopefully reach a wider audience than with just blogging alone.
I have been feeding my family (husband Kirk, sons Kaiden age 9 & Kaleb age 5) in a very nutritious way for 3 years now and yet they don’t feel deprived of delicious food! Now that I feel confident in the ingredients I use and the meals I provide for my family, it just seemed like the right time to start sharing what I’ve learned so other families can benefit as well. Many people are reluctant to try something with alternative healthy ingredients because they don’t know how it will taste, but you can be confident that if we are posting a recipe video, then it has been perfected, taste tested and approved! I had been wanting to start a blog for quite some time, but it was Kirk who encouraged me to have a YouTube channel as well because people like to see, step-by-step, how things are done. The response has been amazing and I have been so encouraged!
It’s Personal: How did this obsession with food substitutes begin?
About 3 years ago I became increasingly aware that I was not going to reach my fitness and weight-loss goals with exercise alone. Most of us get very frustrated when we are regulars at the gym and yet our weight remains the same, or worse. Educating ourselves about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, all in good balance…that is when we start to see results!
The nutritional part of my fitness journey began by cutting calories and portion sizes along with trying to make healthier choices. Then I began to experiment with different ingredients to create lower-calorie meals and treats (My first success was substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugar in cookies) and that’s when it started to get really exciting for me! After cooking and baking started to become enjoyable, I became increasingly interested in making delicious food with healthier ingredients that kids and adults alike would enjoy, but they wouldn’t think of them as “healthy” because they tasted too good! Trial and error is a must because you have to figure out what ingredients are intended to accomplish in a recipe and how to achieve the same texture or taste with a healthier ingredient. This passion has grown so much that I can’t stop talking about it; especially due to research I have been doing in regard to how food can help our bodies heal.
A couple years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with diabetes and this fueled even more my desire to find good sugar substitutions made from natural sources. Also, learning more about the glycemic index has led me to find some really wonderful and natural sugars that can be used in cooking & baking with pretty amazing results! Our family most recently decided to adopt the gluten-free lifestyle to see if it could help alleviate some symptoms with which both Kirk and I have been struggling. This seemed to be a very natural progression in our nutritional journey toward wellness and since we have found some very delicious alternatives (like this pizza crust) we don’t feel like we are missing out on “regular food.”
It’s Personal: Have you noticed any positive changes in your family since they have started eating this way?
Absolutely! We had been leading a fairly healthy lifestyle for the last several years and yet Kirk was continuing to suffer daily with physical & neurological symptoms. And I was was found to be extremely anemic about a year ago which prompted many tests, all of which came back negative for Celiac disease. However, there is no doubt in my mind that I (and others who have had negative testing results) have an intolerance to gluten due to personal experience. I had also been diagnosed with Raynaud’s Disease the year prior and medication has done nothing to alleviate my symptoms. I began to research Raynaud’s along with other autoimmune disorders and their connection to gluten. I have found that following a gluten-free diet has greatly reduced my symptoms. If the weather is cold, chances are I will still have an attack, but the attacks are no longer as severe and the symptoms subside much more quickly.
Both Kirk and I have already noticed a huge change in that we don’t feel bloated anymore. He reminded me recently, that for a long time he would feel sick to his stomach constantly throughout the day…he would eat and feel better for a few minutes and then the sick feeling would quickly return and remain. He has been relieved of that symptom completely since going gluten-free! I am not as tired as I once was and I don’t suffer with migraines on a regular basis anymore. I am still hoping that it will have a positive effect on Kirk’s neurological symptoms, but we are still in the early stages. I have noticed as well that with these latest nutritional changes our entire family doesn’t get sick as much as we used to. If the boys catch a cold at school, it doesn’t last longer than a day or two. The Winter of 2012/13 has seen a terrible flu season, but our household has avoided it…and not because we are avoiding public places and gatherings. I honestly don’t know if our nutritional changes are the primary cause for this positive change, but it sure makes me think there’s something to it.
It’s Personal: How long have you been doing this?
I have been researching and experimenting with healthy ingredient substitutions for about 3 years now, but the blog and videos have been a more recent outlet only started this year. We have been following the gluten-free lifestyle now for about a month. Our sons are not 100% gluten-free, but they do eat any of the gluten-free meals I make for them and they love the desserts (even though they are well aware that they contain good-for-you ingredients)!
It’s Personal: Do you have any education related to the nutritional field?
I have no formal education in nutrition…only what I have gleaned from my years of continuing research. But, I am looking into some classes to get some training in order to understand more the scientific side of nutrition and how it effects our bodies. When I do hear new information, I am always careful to check with several different reputable sources before deciding whether or not it is something worth incorporating into our family’s nutritional plan. It’s so easy to just jump on the bandwagon of every new “superfood” or sugar substitute, but it’s important to get the facts straight first before I recommend an ingredient to others.
It’s Personal: Is this a new career direction for you?
I would not be opposed to making it more of a career, due to the fact that it benefits my family and so many others who need to make dietary changes due to diseases and disorders. My first priority and “job” is being the best wife and mother that I can be and this is a large part of why I have become so passionate about feeding them well. My University degree is in Broadcast Communications which led me to work in Animation Production for several years while living in California and now, for the past 10 years, I have been a Graphic Designer on a freelance basis out of my home. This has allowed me to be home for my family as well as discover my new passion. I still enjoy the design work and will continue with it, but do hope that in the future I am able to pursue different avenues related to the field of nutrition and possibly personal training. So, stay tuned!
It’s Personal: Does your faith play a role?
It most certainly does! For this reason, I chose to include a scripture reference in my “Not Deprived” logo…1 Corinthians 6:19-20. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I do believe that we have a responsibility to fuel our bodies in the best possible way that honors God. Of course we are all only on this earth for a short time, but we are called to be stewards of what has been entrusted to us by God and that includes how we treat our bodies.
It’s Personal: Tell me why this is important.
We are never too old to learn! I was never a scholarly person…I did well in school, but could not wait to graduate and move on. I have found, however, that being passionate about something drives you to educate yourself in the best possible ways. It’s important to know how food and other environmental elements affect us so we can thrive rather than just “get by” in our daily lives. There are so many people who suffer with various conditions and so many of their symptoms could be alleviated simply by a change in nutritional habits, but very few of us are willing to make those changes. I have SO much more to learn! I’ve only scratched the surface and I am certainly not implying that ALL disorders can be fully cured with food alone, but like Kirk says, “the proof is in the pudding.” When you make the difficult decision to change your habits and you experience your own personal results, there is no turning back and you want to share with others.
It’s Personal: What is the one thing you want people to know about their health?
You have the power to make good, informed decisions for yourself and your family. Don’t settle for what certain doctors or “experts” say. Be your own advocate…do your own research…understand how food and nutrients (or lack thereof) effect your body in particular. Don’t settle for poor health…do something about it and treat yourself well!
It’s Personal: What are your favorite recipes?
I like simple recipes that have few ingredients, can be put together quickly, can be adapted for use in several different meals and that my family will enjoy. I also like treats that curb cravings, but provide good nutrients as well. All of my recipes meet these criteria! I invite everyone to subscribe to my “NotDeprived” YouTube channel. We will be continually uploading how-to videos of recipes and ‘Healthy Hints.’ I have so many favorite recipes that I can’t share them quickly enough! My current favorites: Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (subscriber fave!), Gluten-free Pizza Crust, Chicken & Gluten-free Oat Crepes, Raw Vegan Fudge, Zucchini Hamburgers/Meatballs, and Zucchini Brownies. Some of the recipes to be released soon include Homemade Almond Milk, Pasta Sauce (along with several meals in which to use the sauce!) as well as some videos featuring guest chefs providing excellent recipes for healthy and gluten-free international fare!
I would like to thank Stacey once again for allowing me to share with her readers and subscribers. I have greatly enjoyed connecting with people, hearing their stories and getting their feedback on recipes. I invite you to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as well as subscribe to my Blog at NotDeprived.com.
Becca and her family.