The Documentary That Changed My Life


The Documentary That Changed My Life

I grew up on cereal, hot dogs, hamburger helper, and plastic cheese. 

In 2009, I had my first daughter and I started looking into her first foods. I made the choice that all parents have to make: Do I make the food or do I buy it?

That’s when I watched Food, Inc.

I remember sitting on my couch in Port Chester, NY watching it with my jaw to the floor. The wool had been pulled over my eyes for my entire life!

I just had a baby inside of me for 9 months. What had I been eating that she was subjected to?! Cattle..chickens…stuffed into confined space and fed antibiotics and hormones to keep them alive with no light, no movement?! I was horrified. We aren’t only what we eat; we are what we eat eats. It all matters.

Scary statistic: 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes.

Not. My. Children.

My eyes were opened. I became hyper-aware. This is what started it all.

I had to make a decision knowing what I knew now. I could ignore it and pretend it didn’t exist or do something about it. Enough was enough. I needed to make a change, but how?

One step at a time.

I started looking at the food in my kitchen—looking at labels and realizing I was eating ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Chemicals like butylated hydroxytoluene were no longer acceptable in my food.

I had been trained to look at the Nutrition Facts label with % of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and protein. But I was completely ignoring the actual ingredients. I had been trained to look at the front (marketing) of the box instead of looking at the ingredients; we’re all fooled into thinking we’re eating something healthier than we are. 

Most of the bags and boxes in my pantry were chemically processed foods. I started replacing those things with foods that contained ingredients I could pronounce. I started actually reading the labels.

How many decisions do we make out of habit because we have always done it? I wasn’t ok with that anymore. I became obsessed with asking, “Why?” 

I learned some tricks to finding healthy foods:

Find foods with less than 5 ingredients.

The first three ingredients are the most important as they make up the most of what you are eating or drinking. 

Avoid this list of ingredients:

  • Enriched
  • Oil
  • Artificial flavors, sweeteners, dyes
  • Low fat, low carb, natural, low sugar, no sugar, fortified or enriched
  • Chemical ingredients you can’t pronounce

Don’t forget to look at the serving size!

After working with a client, she brought her kids to the grocery store. They wanted to buy a seemingly healthy protein smoothie drink only to find that there were over 25 grams (4 grams = 1 teaspoon) aka 15 teaspoons of sugar in the bottle with 2.5 servings! 

Food is either fuel or the slowest form of poison.

Continue this conversation with Jessi.

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Jessi Culyer
Jessi Culyer is a mamapreneur with three businesses to support moms. A recovering perfectionist, human doing, and control freak, she fully embraces personal growth and development to be the best version of herself. She uses her passion for food choices and transformational life coaching to help you become who you were created to be and live your best life. Jessi moved to RVA from NY by randomly choosing a city close enough to the beach, the lake, the city, the mountains, and a great church. She is married to her best friend with three kids 8 and under. Growing up as an Army brat, she loves to travel and embraces change. She is scuba certified and has jumped out of a perfectly good plane twice. She is a professional foodie and her favorite thing in Richmond is trying all the restaurants. Her favorite way to eat is to try a bunch of small plates. She’s been known to choose four appetizers to share instead of having to choose one entree. Variety is the spice of life!