Annabelle "bella" Cameron, RHN
My journey onto the whole foods plate.
When I was young, I was known as a picky eater. I didn’t like vegetables; in fact I didn’t like much of what was offered at meal times. I always ate my meat first unless it was the coagulated hamburger stuff. I remember sitting for hours, yes hours, being told to eat just a few more bites. Now, I know this was partly my inherent stubbornness but partially too that my mother was no Julia Child! I remember that I ate Pablum baby cereal for breakfast even after I started school. My preschool lunch consisted of that little spaghetti in a tin with the pull tab lid. My mother could bake well, however, so I ate as much as I could of the homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, etc. So in a nutshell, a diet that was calorie rich and nutrient deficient. Physically I was a tall stick as a kid but puberty left me short, no longer a stick and drowning in a hormonal soup for years.
I remember when it all changed. My first food romance.... outside of sugar that is. I was sixteen and on my first visit to Calgary. My sister in law arranged for us all to go out for East Indian food. WOW. Can you say flavour! It was exciting enough to be in a big city but to embark on this exotic journey was even more so. Up until this point I hadn’t realized my love for the hot and spicy. Talk about baptism by fire... I can’t say this sparked me into eating better but it did let me know there was life out there. I also tried asparagus on this trip too – fresh asparagus that is now one of my favourite spring foods.
As I moved on into my teenage years and early adult life, I got more and more interested in health and fitness. Mostly fitness with a side order of cheesecake, chocolate, pasta, cheese...you get the picture. Like most people, the bulk of my health knowledge came from magazines like Glamour and Shape or Kellogg’s TV commercials. Not exactly reliable sources but a start just the same.
It wasn’t until my last year of university when I talked my way into a second year nutrition class that the seed was planted for what has become my real passion. It was too late then to switch majors so I carried with me the little I did learn from a fabulous professor and a foundation nutrition course.
Armed with this knowledge, I would have considered myself a healthy eater through my twenties and early thirties (I ate more vegetables) but my body was saying otherwise. Whether it was inconsistent weight, thyroid tumour, continuous skin problems with eczema and acne, frequent colds and flu, depression and anxiety and early signs of menopause. Frankly my body had a lot to say. There is nothing like the gift of depression and anxiety to really convince you to start to listen. The conventional approach of medicines to mask mood with no attempt to cure didn’t sit well with me. This led me to embark on a more holistic approach to healing my body, mind and spirit. I went to a Naturopath and was given supplements to help begin to balance my mind.
As I believe all physical and mental illness has a spiritual root, I began to deepen my study in spirit through reading, many spiritual authors such as Deepak Chopra, and Wayne Dyer. I learned one of the toughest lessons to date. That I am responsible for all that is my life - the good, the bad and the ugly. I moved through the shame of mistakes to the power of change. This laid the foundation to find my true passion and heal my body.
With my interest in nutrition and my ever growing love of food, I came full circle when it came to my approach to food. With loving to eat came a desire, if not an ability at first, to cook. All weaved in with a discovery of a love of gardening. As I learned more and more about my spirit, I wanted more and more for that to be reflected in my actions including what I put on my plate.
A few years back I was introduced to the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I made it my goal to be able to go and in 2011 I met that goal. I went thinking I would learn all about healthy eating which I did but was opened up to a whole new perspective on the ability for food to heal. Whole foods, in their natural form, with nutrients still intact, have so much more to offer than their processed counter parts. It can be a great tool to simply feel stronger, happier, and healthier but it can be more than that. It can be used in specific combination to enhance your body’s ability to heal itself and can support any existing healing protocols from your doctor, your acupuncturist or your naturopath. This is what I have done for myself and what I do with my clients daily.
So this is my journey to whole foods eating, a journey that continues. I am always researching, tasting, growing, cooking and listening to what my body is saying. I am so happy to find myself living a passionate life focused on food and so happy I get to share it and see how it can transform the lives of others.
So if your body is talking to you, I suggest you listen. Give it the tools needed to heal. Learn more about whole foods. Begin your journey to the whole foods plate.