Wednesday, November 18, 2015


If I didn't believe in the power of food before, I certainly do now...

A few months ago when I was still struggling with mono and catching every virus I crossed paths with, a very smart friend said to me, "Hashimotos." I said "bless you!" and then "what does that even mean?" and then went to my naturopath to test my thyroid antibodies, among other things.

Then I waited. Even though my blood work showed that my mono was inactive, I was still exhausted. Like, I-don't-know-how-to-be-a-mother-through-this-exhaustion (not to mention mood swings, blood sugar crashes, holding onto extra weight and infertility). Which causes a lot of tension when you're parenting a threenager.

I do have Hashimotos, an auto-immune disease that causes varying degrees of hypothyroid symptoms. And, good news, it's very treatable and can be reversed. And I have a Vitamin D deficiency and low iron. And that's it. And all the things I've been struggling with have an end in sight. All very good news to me. Here's the part that's not:

Diet and exercise are part of my treatment. I've been told to avoid gluten and dairy. Anyone who's tried this knows how very, very difficult this can be. One time when I was avoiding gluten a couple years ago some friends shared a pizza in front of me and I cried. Literally cried gluten-less tears of isolation and hunger.

Now I just have to find a palatable way to replace everything I eat now with a gluten-free option (yeah, yeah and dairy-free). So far, I've survived two Thanksgiving luncheons. I began this post with the word "anwers." I'll end it with the word "hope."

I have hope that things will be better in the near future. And, regardless, I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life (especially right now since my doctor has me pumped full of vitamin D!). This is the best time in history to be gluten free with all of the options for food I have. Instead of dwelling on the things that are (hopefully temporarily) off-limits to me, I will choose to be grateful. This will be a much-needed season of discipline in my life.

All this to say, if you see me out and about and I have a donut in my hand, smack it out! No, seriously, I love all of the advice I've already gotten. Please keep sending it to me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Power of Food

I was a picky eater.

Growing up, I didn't eat vegetables — save for the occasional green bean, some corn, baked beans and pickles??? (do any of these even count!?)

You might be wondering what I ate. Let me tell you: chicken, hamburgers, grilled cheese and lots of boxed, processed foods, like macaroni & cheese and hamburger helper. And that was IT.

Sometimes when I'm tempted to point the finger of blame, I look at Nora in her stubborn toddler state and realize my parents did the best they could with what they had — especially if I was half as stubborn as she is.

Learning to cook real food has been quite the process for me. I still remember, as an adult mind you, the moment I realized that even macaroni and cheese could be made from raw materials and not just from a box.

It was in college that my dietary choices caught up with me. I was diagnosed with and suffered from IBS. It was debilitating at times. I experienced a lot of pain and a lot of tears during what should have been the best years of my life. I visited a gastroenterologist to work through it, but I don't ever remember him telling me to put the Pop-tarts down and pick up some spinach.

Flash forward to after college — to my wedding. My digestive tract was flared again. It was messed up enough that I wanted to plan my wedding around the times that I knew my body would give me fits. It would have been preferable for me to skip eating altogether (which I essentially did).

Guys, our food choices matter.

Now, there's nothing more satisfying than making real, nutritious food from scratch for myself and my family. When I watch Nora devouring Brussels sprouts (soon to be straight out of my garden) a baby tear of pride rolls down my cheeks.

Getting married and becoming a mom have given me the drive to cultivate my culinary appetite. I show love through the food I serve. It's my heart on a platter. Nora will not suffer the way I did. I want better for her.

Knowledge is power. 

What can you do? Watch food documentaries. Buy a cookbook that emphasizes real food. Start a garden — no matter how small. Learn to cook a couple of healthy meals from scratch. Replace 1-2 processed foods/snacks/ingredients in your home with real food (homemade potato chips, homemade chicken broth). If you have kids, find a vegetable that you can prepare in a way that they will like it. It's possible, I promise.

As for me, I plan to continue to cultivate my passion for food production and the culinary arts. Sometimes, when you have a God-sized dream, you just need at least one person to come alongside you and tell you you're not crazy. I have been fortunate enough to find encouragement to chase the things that matter most to me.

The Melvilles have a lot of exciting prospects on the horizon in the coming months and years — God-willing. I am not ready to disclose it all here yet since best laid plans and all.... I promise I will bring you all on board when the time is right!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Family Photo Shoot

Finally! We finally carved out time to do a quick, mini-session with our good friends, The Abrahams Photography.

Here are our favorites:

Here are the outtakes, which, let's face it, are usually the best part (and unavoidable when your 2-year-old decides not to nap before the photo shoot):