Sister Act

I’m busy sipping sangria with my Grandmother,

so please enjoy this guest post from my sister.

She’s on a journey to reclaim her health and I asked if she would be kind enough to write about it.

She agreed.

A little over a month ago, I jokingly told my little sister that I was going to start a food blog that refutes everything she said, argues her philosophies, beliefs, and basically whines and complains about food. At first, I wasn’t really joking—-I was in one of those laugh or you’ll cry moods, then I thought it might be kind of funny to do, then I decided my efforts needed to be put into this new mission of mine & I’d be better off blowing up her phone with texts, calls, and photos, with my complaints, successes, frustrations, failures, and more free therapy opportunities for myself. That was nearly six weeks ago, and it’s not stopping! 

If you know my sister, the author of this food blog, you know she doesn’t have a little sister.

That’s right, she invited her older, but still very young looking & wise, older sister to guest blog. I’m happy to do so. Hi, I’m Keri Powell—sister, daughter, wife, mother of 3, 1st grade teacher, blogger, crafter, tech nerd, downhill skiier, and tackling a new journey with food and fitness.

Maybe that makes me a juggler and multi-tasker extraordinaire. I should add that to my Curriculum Vitae. Actually, I think it’s standard on every teacher’s CV.

Although I’m not sure what my platform is or where I fit in here at Food of My Affection, it’s not what I originally thought I wanted to do.

No slander, food smashing, recipe bashing, trash talking business. Nope….I’ve come to realize my LITTLE sister is pretty wise, too.

Probably because I literally beat it into her with one of many physical sibling fights. I was relentless. I’m sorry, dear sister!

Whew.

Good thing we grew up and moved on…..to be closer than ever, even though we are so many, many miles apart. Anyway….I have a new outlook on her “hippie freak” ways, so here’s my story.

PAST: I was young, fit, athletic, and ate all mama’s pre-packaged and homemade (*cough, cough – Gordon Food Service) meals. I had my first child in 2002. I barely gained any weight, and I never even wore maternity clothes! Score. Life was good. Life was normal.

FAST FORWARD: 2006—-TWINS! That’s right, boy/girl twins that have brought so much joy to my life. SO MUCH! They also gave me many challenges that still linger today: spider veins, a giant throbbing vein on the back of my knee (hey—multiple births and the ‘side effects’ are not pretty. Sorry for the mental image!), and some incredibly stretched out skin. Dear Lord. During my year of nursing twins, I was thin….looking back, my face was so thin, I looked ill. As soon as I stopped BAM! Hello weight, good-bye exercise (I was too busy, and too tired, and too much involved with my career to prioritize ‘me time’). I now had a preschooler and infant twins—-and I totally became that mom that finished what the preschooler didn’t eat, ate on the fly, and made meals that my mom had once made me. And, according to  THIS website, hamburger helper wasn’t helping anyone! But, how was I supposed to know?! I ate it, I was fine. And—-I went from single to instant family and a career in the blink of an eye. There was no time to think about or explore my own food preference or choices. I just did the familiar. No offense, Mom. Those Kid Cuisine’s haven’t traumatized me that bad. Life is still good. And there’s a new kind of normal.

FAST FORWARD A BIT MORE: Twins are jogging stroller ready, big kid is riding a bike with training wheels and I have been blessed with a new friend that has twins 4 months younger than mine, and a big kid of her own one year younger than my big kid. Perfect! And, she’s a runner. A distance runner. And she thought I could do it, too! Shit. That sucks. So I give it a whirl for several months and all is well until…..plantar fascitis, inability to walk some days, and incredible back pain. I felt like I was under thirty going on…..dead. Seriously. Then, a million cortizone shots until the docs said I just stumped them. Everything looked normal—no lupus, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc. etc. etc. I was ‘fine’ they say. Oh good! I still can’t walk most days. Nice. Still, life is good, and the normal is now very un-active and focused on anyone but me. I know all you moms out there are nodding your heads.

PRESENT: After about a year or more of feet issues, it suddenly disappeared. Now, it’s joint inflammation and soreness that pops up everywhere. My hands, thumb, wrist, knee cap, and toes. It’s random, it’s incredibly painful, and let’s just put some newfound G.I. issues on top of that. Awesome. So, long story longer—-I did one last round of doc visits with my family doctor, allergist, and bone doctor. After years of searching for an answer – a diagnosis – the orthopedic doc said what I need to hear (what I kind of always knew deep down, but apparently needed a white coat with a pretty degree on the wall to tell me):

“Nothing is physically wrong with you.”

Change.

No more diet coke, no more meat, dairy, eggs. Stick to the the anti-inflammatory food list, stay away from the foods you scored high on at the allergist’s office. In short—go vegan, exercise, drink water like a boss, and do a full cleanse for one month.

Start looking into Eastern Medicine….acupuncture, alternative medicine. There’s great value in it, and it is not widely recognized as much as it should be.

Uhhhhh—-that’s a lot of change.

But I’m pumped, I’m ready, I can do this!

Yeah, that lasted a few hours till I tried to decide what to eat. Enter roller-coaster crazy sister who went through the full grieving process of food, priorities, and a major fitness check.

BUT – here I am 6 weeks later, and I’m not dead or starving.

I’ve been meat/dairy/egg free all this time, I’ve learned to grocery shop in a whole new way, and I’ve been on an intense exercise program for 4 days.

I know it’s not long, but I feel like I’ve come so far already. And, I’ve stuck with it, which is so important!

My family is even on board, and my “meat and taters” husband is not missing those old foods so much. I practically have to hide my plate of roasted veggies from him and the kids. AND – a big milestone for me today was shutting down the guilt when my cute blonde hair, blue eyed daughter tried to pull this on me:

M: Do you have to work out every day?

Me: Yeah, I do.

M: Don’t you get any days off?

Me: Yup – Mondays.

M: Why Mondays? Did they tell you to take Mondays off, or do you get to choose?

Me: I get to choose, so I thought Monday would be a good day to take off of exercise.

M: Well, if I had kids and I got to choose, I would choose Saturday.

Me: Why Saturday?

M: Because then there’s no work and no school, and I’d get to spend more time with my kids.

UGH!

There it is.

Mommy Guilt.

The greatest force behind all this ‘un-me time’. Go ahead.

TEAR. MY. HEART. OUT. NOW.

Caption: Here I am, Day 2 of exercise, ready to be scraped up off the floor.

Me: Well, it’s only 40-50 minutes out of our entire day together on Saturday and Sunday, which actually is better because we are short on time in the weekday evenings. So, that’s what I chose and I’m sticking to it.

And, switch conversation, QUICK!

So, that’s me and where I am.

FUTURE: I hope to stick to all this, see some results the next time I measure and weigh myself, and keep taking the advice of my ever-wise sister to heart.

You are all lucky to have her sharing her yummy, healthy recipes with you.

She knows her stuff, and it’s her passion.

When someone has such a strong belief in something, you know they will bend backwards to put 110% into it. I put my 110% into my family and classroom. I think we’ve both found our niche in this world, and we’ve found our balance with each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister and free therapist!

Thanks Sister!

Wishing healthy thoughts to all those on a similar journey!

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