Lifestyle Nutrition :: Kasey
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kasey Damery for the latest in our Lifestyle Nutrition series. She has an optimistic, excited attitude about nutrition and I especially loved hearing about the ways that she helps her family eat well, too ::
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live?
I’m Kasey! I was born and raised in Springfield, IL, where I met my husband, Josiah, at age sixteen and we quickly fell in love and got married at nineteen. Four years ago we moved to Nashville, TN, for Josiah to pursue an audio engineering education. We’ve been blessed with his job as an audio engineer/musician and after five years of full time nannying, I have the great pleasure of staying home with our six-month-old baby boy! I love all things outdoors, photography, arts, and cooking! I have an ever growing passion for true health and natural living and I’m loving this journey learning new things every day!
What do you eat for breakfast?
Mmmm, my favorite meal! For breakfast we always have some variation of eggs! Whether it be scrambled (plain or with any leftover veggies from last nights dinner), sunny side up with bacon, sweet potato/sausage quiche, breakfast burritos, omelets, etc. We also usually have bulletproof coffee or tea mid-morning to give us an energy boost for the day and it curbs the cravings and keeps us full longer!
What are some good snack foods to keep around?
Fruit! I’m always snacking on bananas or apple with almond butter, all kinds of berries & watermelon (when in season), nuts, and homemade paleo cookies or muffins are common in our house. I enjoy baking and I have a sweet tooth so I make a lot of paleo goodies of my own. We also like plantain chips with hummus or guacamole. Our favorite store bought snack is Larabars! Their simple and yummy ingredients are a win-win!
Have you always been a healthy eater? Was there a moment in your life when you decided to prioritize nutrition? If so, what caused it?
Growing up, my parents did their best serving my siblings and I healthy meals and made us eat our veggies at dinner. But we also naively ate SAD (standard American diet) of excess gluten, sugar, and processed foods. I loved candy, donuts, ice cream and pizza like most Americans and I believe all those years of eating “foods” detrimental to our health and void of nutrients lead to the destruction of my digestive tract. Three years ago I found myself in the hospital with an extremely painful bowel obstruction, which is when food is unable to pass through the clogged intestine because of inflammation. I had all kinds of tests, scans, X-rays, and procedures done and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I was put on multiple medications and steroids as “maintenance” for the disease. Six months later I wasn’t any better and made a second trip to the ER for the same reason. My GI doctor told me this was a lifelong disease with no cure and I needed to start expensive Humira injections (for the rest of my life) and that diet has no affect on the Crohn’s disease. I refused to believe that and met an incredible chiropractor/holistic doctor who changed my life and gave me hope of health! He opened my eyes to a whole new realm of healthy living and taught me about harmful foods such as gluten and how to heal my body! I put my faith in God that He would heal me and that I wouldn’t have to live with this disease the rest of my life. I got off all medications and have been gluten/grain free and eaten Paleo/Maker’s diet for 2.5 years. I’m loving my abundant life and enjoying a healthy body! I have still had flare ups along my journey of restoring my health but never as painful and have never been back to the hospital!
I’ve found that when I start eating more healthfully, it’s often for a certain amount of time (e.g. no sugar or caffeine for a month, Whole30, etc.). How were you able to shift your mindset from dieting to making nutrition a lifestyle?
For me, there was no other choice. I didn’t want to live a miserable life on immunosuppressants indefinitely. So I HAD to view food differently, food became my medicine. I decided to eat (real food) to live instead of live to eat. I saw first hand the pain and destruction junk “food” does to a body and I didn’t want to experience that pain again! So I changed my whole lifestyle and thankfully my husband graciously joined me on the journey. We viewed it as a permanent lifestyle that keeps us alive and our bodies not only functioning, but thriving! I began researching and learning all I could about nutrition and became so passionate about giving my body what it needs and enjoyed actually seeing the positive (and sometimes negative) affects different foods had on our bodies. My future children were also a big motivator. I don’t want to ever see my kids go through pain, sickness, and diseases that can be preventable through food and lifestyle. I’m hoping these changes I’ve made and live by will bring true health and impact generations to come!
If you could cut one thing from everyone’s diet, what would it be?
Oh, that’s a tough one! It’s a tie between modern wheat (gluten) and sugar. Today’s wheat has been hybridized, modified to resist environmental conditions, bleached for color, and stripped of all nutrients and is in almost everything (even salad dressing and deodorant)! It is absolutely destructive to almost every part of the body! It not only keeps the fat on us, but it causes stomach cramps, bloating, eczema, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, disrupts hormones, irritates the gut lining, and causes inflammation, to name a few! Most Americans live with symptoms and discomforts that they have accepted as “normal”, but that’s not normal! I’ve witnessed so many times when people eliminate gluten, their symptoms disappear. I believe God put all the foods our bodies need to function properly, on the earth; plants & animals, and our modern wheat and refined sugar are not in their natural forms and therefore do major harm in our bodies!
Any tips for encouraging your family to eat well, too?
The biggest motivator I’ve used to encourage my family to eat healthy is showing them how certain foods make them feel, good or bad. I teach them to listen to their body and recognize symptoms with the food they previously ate. For example: my husband always gets bloated and an upset stomach after eating bread, pasta, or pizza (gluten), he doesn’t have much energy when he doesn’t eat good fats, we get headaches when we don’t drink enough water, and I’ve learned that if I have an upset stomach I drink ginger tea and it takes it away within 10 minutes every time! So our motivation is based on our experience with foods. We want to feel great so we actually want to eat foods that help us and have a positive effect on our bodies!
What do you find most challenging about maintaining a lifestyle of good nutrition?
The most challenging thing I’ve noticed with maintaining a lifestyle of good nutrition for myself and when encouraging my family and friends is that, it’s not always convenient! Our culture has taught us that food should be large portions, fast, and cheap. But when you live a healthy lifestyle you have to take the TIME to clean, cut, and cook your real food. We’ve had to just change our mindset of “easy microwavable boxed dinners” to real food just takes time to prepare and that’s okay! It is what it is and we just accept that as our new normal. We’ve made real food a priority both in our schedule and budget. It’s an investment we’re willing to make. We’ve decided to pay for real food now instead of paying a doctor later.
What do you find most rewarding about maintaining a lifestyle of good nutrition?
The most rewarding thing for me is just being able to live life with a truly healthy and thriving body! Seeing my family overcome symptoms and sicknesses and being able to get off medications just makes me so happy! Once you get healthy you kind of forget all the symptoms your body once had. My husband used to have bad allergies and sinus issues every other month and he hasn’t experienced those symptoms in over 2 years! Plus we rarely (if ever) get sick, even with minor colds or bugs that go around. I also have another family member who dealt with bad allergies, drainage, asthma, and depression which was all cured through diet and she no longer takes medications and lost 40 pounds! Seeing the physical evidence in my loved one’s lives is the most rewarding part about living this beautiful lifestyle of health, as God designed for us!
Any other comments or tips you’d like to share?
I would just encourage everyone to KEEP GOING! Whether it’s for weight loss or just for health reasons, it takes time! After a lifetime of destroying our bodies with chemicals, synthetic flavors, added colors, pesticides, antibiotics, etc. we have to be patient when trying to heal it. It’s not an over night phenomenon, theres no magic pill. It takes dedication and strength, and it’s never to late to start! Give your body what it needs and it will thank you! Also, if you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it! My husband always tells me if I don’t buy him chips then he will have to snack on an apple. It’s pretty simple really. Because no matter how strong you think you are, anyone would choose Oreos in their cabinet over a banana! So if you only buy good food, you’ll only eat good food. When at the grocery store, try to stick to the perimeter of the store, that’s where the real fresh food is! Stay out of the packaged food isles! You can do it and you can be healthy!