Meet Sarah

                        Sarah's Roots

Sarah & Family

Hello!  I can't tell you how excited I am to have this website up and running.  Laurel and I have talked for several years about a website to share our journey and help others find the tasty side gluten free living.  I am not one to put my personal story out there, but Laurel said there was no getting out of it!  (ha!)   So kicking and screaming’ here is a little about me and why I am here..... :)

The Facts...

  • I am married to my best friend.  So cliche, but still true.  I can't  imagine anyone else I'd rather be with on this crazy adventure!
  • I have three amazing children (twin girls and their younger brother) who challenge me daily but whose laughter and hugs make my world go round.
  • I love to explore. My happy place is in nature, preferably on the water somewhere.
  • I am always trying to find balance.
  • I love food.  Especially a good red wine with cheese. :)

My purpose here.....

I am excited to be a part of this website, sharing our experiments of wellness and cooking.   It really does feel like a daily experiment.  Seeing what works and what doesn't work.  Like all parents, I am faced with the daunting task of looking after the well-being of not only myself but my little people each and every day.  Each and every meal.  I am a firm believer in “you are what you eat!”  Sometimes we see/feel the effects of our food choices immediately.  However, many of the effects go unacknowledged and I feel like there is much to be learned about the effects of our compounded choices over time.

While I still have the opportunity, I am trying to impress upon our kids the importance of what they put in their mouths.  I do not claim to have it all figured out. I am constantly reading and testing new things.  I am not here to change anyone’s opinion or prove anything right or wrong.  Rather I am here to my adventures (the successes and mishaps) in planting the seeds of healthy traditions in my family and dispel any notions that gluten free can't taste great. 

My family does not eat perfectly; far from it!  But we do:

    • try to make the positives, outweigh the negatives.
    • focus on eating to feel good long term not just in the moment.
    • acknowledge the foods that make us feel good and give us sustained energy.
    • recognize foods that make us feel lousy and try to avoid them.

In many ways, as a family, we are simply trying to be more aware.  This transcends food obviously, but no doubt food is a cornerstone.

I feel like I am learning to cook all over again.  I love the time in the kitchen with my family and hope to encourage others to bring the heart of their home back to the kitchen.  As our kids are growing, I am aware my time with them lessens each day.  I cherish the time to talk while we cook.  Dinner prep has become a time of decompression for all of us.  We catch up on each other’s day.  We vent our frustrations and share our triumphs.  It is very cathartic.

Discovering your optimal path to wellness takes experimenting, especially since we are all dealing with a different make-up.  What is right for our family, may not be right for you and your family.  However, if any of this strikes a chord with you, perhaps your journey down a similar path will be a little easier (and tastier!) by joining us.

Still reading?  How I started on my path...

(if you wondered!)

Looking back I would say I have been experimenting with nutrition since I was young.  You could even argue as young as 5 or 6!   I was a competitive swimmer and soccer player early on; Carbo-loading before swim meets and soccer games was common.  I distinctly remember the teams getting together for big pasta dinners with the idea that the food would deliver the energy we needed the coming day. I would then follow it up with a chocolate doughnut right before the race for a quick boost.   As I got older, I embraced a vegetarian diet.  I was easily one of the unhealthiest vegetarian to ever exist – living on a diet of cheese and bread with little veggies, legumes or fruits mixed in.  Needless to say, I did not feel great!  In college, I got over eating animal protein and went the other direction, trying to build lean muscle and strength for the demands of running and lacrosse.  However, it was not until helping my husband (then fiancé) through an interesting period of anxiety/panic attacks that I truly began to appreciate how much the food we put in our bodies affects the quality of our lives.

Until this time food was simply a means to build muscle or lose weight.  Being young and in fairly good health, I was not terribly concerned with the internal effects.  It never crossed my mind how my hormones, my organs, my brain function, or my mood was being affected.  All and all I was healthy and had no reason to wonder.

My husband however, had dealt with anxiety and panic attacks since being a young kid.  Certainly a traumatic experience had some bearing but there were also some strong genetic factors working here.   Doctors had slapped on many labels with just as many medications to match.  None of them worked great.  Fast forward to a particularly non-fabulous medication that had zombie-like effects and we (read:I)  started researching treatments that did not involve medications.  Immediately, we came across quite a bit of research about links to caffeine, gluten and corn.  This was before gluten free was in the media everywhere you looked.  The idea of cutting out gluten/wheat  and corn was overwhelming, so we started with caffeine.  With doctor supervision, the meds were cut and so was the pot-of-coffee a day.  It was only days before a dramatic difference was obvious.  He felt great.   And I had my love back, full of his personality and quirky ways; no more zombie.  Over the years we have discovered the issue is beyond caffeine and includes stimulants including sugar.  Amazingly, during the 15+ years before this little experiment, not one of the doctors had really looked into his diet.  (I will save that rant for another day.) I am not saying that meds don’t have a place or that it is ever this simple, but in this one case the saying “Food is the highest form of medicine or most potent form of poison” was very true.

Exactly how we came to incorporating gluten free into our lives is a bit less clear.  A definite progression over time. Mostly triggered by major hormone swings, stubborn weight and overall lack of energy. We experiment with a mix of gluten free, dairy free and grain free ways of eating.  We didn't know it at the time but a few years ago we had adopted a Paleo diet with the addition of legumes.  When we are strict about adhering to it, everyone in the family feels great! Stomachaches that have plagued me for years (and now my daughter) go away completely!  Moods throughout the house are stable.  And our bodies settle in at a very healthy weight that feels good topped with great energy and great sleep.  But as I have mentioned we are human. :) The cravings sometimes get the best of us.  Sometimes it’s just hard to say no.  However, the repercussions are usually hard to ignore.  The worst is having your nine year old say “mom, you know you aren't going to feel well.” with a disapproving look (by the way, she is the most self-aware, disciplined person I know when it comes to food!).  And she is usually right.  Nothing like being parented by your child!

So that is the short-version of a very long story.  We continue to play with different modes of eating.  Looking for ways to optimize our well being and stay healthy for what we hope to be a long and active life.

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Meet Laurel

A wonderful talent in the kitchen and an amazing mama!

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