Finding my new normal

Please help me welcome a guest blogger who is full of special for me. Gretchen came into my life a year ago, our connection continues today and I know you will love her as much as I do. Make sure to visit her at, her words are the definition of inspiration. ~~~

Before connecting with Hannah, my relationship with food was unconscious and very emotional.  I had special foods I craved for every occasion, situation and time of day.  I knew I didn't feel right but I blamed it on all sorts of external stresses or thought something was intrinsically wrong with my body.  I decided to join the cleanse but with some hesitation.

You see, I used to get panicky if I thought there wasn't going to be enough food around.  I also hated being in the kitchen.  I avoided cooking at all costs or cooked with such bitterness that nothing tasted good.  I thought cooking and preparing food was just not my thing.  I thought a cleanse was a period of time where I could only eat soup or juice or barely eat.  I was SO WRONG!

One of Hannah's biggest gifts is that she is incredibly compassionate and gentle while giving you everything you need to be successful and grow in your awareness of your body.  Before the cleanse, she provided a shopping list with lots of familiar items and some new, exciting things to try.  This was a huge sense of relief for me.  Then she connected all these wonderful women together via email so we were able to start sharing our process with each other as well as more ideas.  It was so comforting throughout the day to check my email and find the real experiences of other women mirroring my own experience.  What we were concerned about, what we were excited about, how our bodies were feeling at the beginning and how we hoped the cleanse would help us.  I learned quickly to create a filter in my email because these messages I did not want to miss amongst the other business emails.

Throughout the cleanse, Hannah provided recipes for all that food in the refrigerator.  Yummy, simple, fantastic recipes.  I had to print mine out because I got tired of trying to find them.  They have become some of my "go to" recipes.  Hannah completely understands what it takes for a Mama to make herself a priority and make different food for 10 days that the other family members probably won't eat.  She supports the recipes with inspiration and tools to keep the momentum going.  After the first couple of days of my body adjusting, I felt so good, it was easy to stick with it.  I started realizing that I could feel nourished and empowered in a very visceral way.  My brain felt light and clear, my body slimmed and moved with ease and those weird little skin and body symptoms that I had almost forgot were happening, cleared up.  I had been looking for these results in so many other places while eating foods that completely countered this desire.

I am so grateful for this cleanse opportunity.  I now view it as a sort of re-boot.  I look forward to connecting with the other women and learning more from their discoveries and ideas.  Each time I make myself and my food a priority with these cleanses, my relationship with food becomes stronger and less intimidating.  I am a different woman from the one I was before.

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The discovery of a gluten intolerance and its link to her chronic depression acted as motivation for writer, educator, and urban farmer Gretchen O'Byrne to make Self a priority among the responsibilities of family.  She has found motherhood to be a constant inspiration for living more simply and sustainably.  Gretchen reflects on self discovery after motherhood, living with her family's food intolerances, and the family's transition to growing much of their own food at