I was recently contacted by Tamar Henry and I was touched by her story. In her new book, titled 'Nourish', Tamar tells the traumatic story of the health challenge that rocked her young son's life.
The story made me reflect on my own childhood and perhaps how different things were then. The endless supply of liver and bacon seems to spring to mind. Not that this was particularly bad for us, I don't recall eating alot of fruit, instead focusing more on wheat crunchies and sesame snaps.
With Christmas holidays around the corner, there is no doubt it will be a time to indulge in food, and why not? Quality Street tins at the ready. However, I suppose we just have a duty to explain to children that there are some foods we eat “every day” because they make us strong and give us energy for the day ahead. Other foods are not for every day as even though they taste good, they can be low energy foods which can end up making us feel more lethargic.
I haven't written this blog because I regard myself as a health and wellbeing expert. It's actually the opposite. I was tested for a number of food intolerances a year ago, which in the end, helped me to identify certain foods which were connected to my severe headaches, which often left me with blurred vision. Doing a food intolerance test was the best things I ever did. But what if our children have intolerances too? This hadn't crossed my mind until I picked up a copy of Tamar's book. I was interested to learn more about how Tamar's son Jul lives with an antibody deficiency. In the end, a dramatic nutrition and lifestyle change, played a significant part in Jul's recovery from his sickness.
Tamar's message is that by making a few easy changes, we can all improve the choices we make for our family and our health. I interviewed Tamar to find about more...
Tamar, please tell me a little about yourself and your family?
I’m a mother to three young sons (aged 10, almost 6 and 3), a certified health and nutrition counsellor, and founder of Henrys Health – a wellness counselling practice and online forum dedicated to helping others become more health aware. I adore time spent with my family and close friends, my boys, but also feel it’s important to have a little time to myself (when I can get it). I love reading, I practice yoga and I bake a lot.
What was it that triggered your desire to become a health professional?
My story is that I was studying to become a teacher when my first child, Jul, was born. I took to motherhood right away and Jul was everything you could imagine an adorable baby to be, but in a very short space of time Jul showed obvious signs of illness. In many ways he was thriving but the constant barrage of symptoms and sickness lead me to believe I had to better advocate for him. I changed my major to health and wellness and nutrition science and began helping Jul to recover through knowledge, medical support and a dramatic nutrition and lifestyle change. We learned that Jul had and continues to have and live with an antibody deficiency but through management is like most active boys of his age.
At this point I realised that for me, the challenges I faced with in my own family would effectively help the lives of others. I began to see that certain nutrition and lifestyle principles could offer families the best opportunity to achieve health.
Congratulations on the release of your new book, 'Nourish'. What do you hope your readers really get from the book?
NOURISH is dedicated to all mothers, it is the story of my own family’s personal health struggle and even as a health professional I convey how difficult it can be to suddenly be responsible for the welfare and wellness of your entire family. I really hope that although I am advising mothers through my work and experience that they hear and feel me as a mother firstly. I offer very simple proven tips and tricks to helping the whole family thrive.
In my work and experience, mothers of all different ages, and from a diversity of backgrounds told me that health and nutrition information was often confusing, too medical or scientific and lacked clarity and a clear direction to support them. It is my very real hope therefore that NOURISH provides the modern mother and family with just the right amount of current (vital) information to be able to make real changes right away.
What small things do you think parents around the world can do to easily encourage healthy eating in their children? We often make our meals into funny faces with fruit, so I wondered what you suggest to make healthy food fun?
My work in schools and my experiences with my own family has led me very much to believe that education is key. If children are taught a solid foundation for health and nutrition (in schools and at home) from a very young age they quickly learn how to make their own healthy choices. In my own home my husband and I try to be the best role models we can, allow our boys to help with food choices and preparation grants them their much needed autonomy, and having fun around meal times and sharing foods is encouraged. For my youngest son we tell stories of how his favourite super hero fills up on all sorts of nutritious deliciousness to fight crime, this helps :-)
Parenting can be hard at times. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges you see in motherhood today?
As a mother myself, and from watching and working alongside lots of other mums and parents, I believe the hardest part of motherhood is maintaining a healthy balance in all aspects of your family’s life. Life is busy, parenting is demanding and it is all too easy to cut corners, but that can come with consequences, as we all know. Society has lead us to believe, for example, that eating all foods in moderation is OK (processed, nutrient-deficient food like products as well) however balance is about a variety of healthy options, those that add to your life and not take away. Eating healthy can be simple, time efficient and affordable, and the benefits for you and your family will be noticeable and rewarding.
As Guilty Mother myself, I have to ask, do you ever suffer from mum guilt and if so, what do you do to try and let it go!
Of course, I think it comes with the territory! I try to offer all of my boys as much time, love and enjoyment as I can but inevitably it will never be enough. Seeing them happy is when I feel my best but have also learned that through their challenging times will be the life lessons we all have to go through, and they will be all the more stronger for it. I try to let my mum guilt go by putting them to bed on time each night (because adult time is important to) and being grateful for all that we have, rather than thinking of al the things that we don’t.
In summary, it was a pleasure to interview fellow mother, Tamar Henry. Where possible, I really enjoy supporting other women and I hope you enjoy Tamar's story. Nourish is a great book to help identify how we can all take care of our child's nutrition. For more information, visit the website or to buy a copy of the book, please click here.