A Life Changing Journey

Shelley and Patrick Rogers have lived in Plano for more than 12 years. With professional careers and two active daughters, many might consider them a prototypical Plano family. A medical incident six years ago, and their life-changing journey since, have been atypical, yet offer great lessons for all who seek to lead healthier lives.

In March 2013, the Rogers’ seven-year-old daughter Sofia was taking a bath one night. When Shelley checked on Sofia, she noticed a lot of loose hair in the tub and a bald spot on the back of Sofia’s head. A few days later, a dermatologist diagnosed Sofia’s condition as Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. There is no specific cause for Alopecia, nor is there a known cure. Over the next three months Sofia would lose 90 percent of her hair.

“The doctors investigated potential causes, such as Celiac or blood disease, but came up empty. And, they recommended various creams and treatments, including Rogaine and steroids,” said Shelley. “I was completely freaked out by my beautiful daughter becoming bald, but there was no way I wanted her taking steroids. I just knew there had to be some better options, so I began an exhaustive search for other solutions.”

In her research, Shelley learned that environmental and dietary conditions sometimes cause Alopecia. In response, the Rogers began transforming their diet as well as what they used in their house. “In July of 2013, we began eating only natural, non-processed and organic foods and meats, and eliminated white sugar and white flour. In November of 2013, we also removed all chemical cleaners, soaps and lotions and began using only natural products. It was a challenge, especially since we were so used to the convenience of certain items, but we were determined to help our daughter.”

The Rogers’ clean eating and living regimen worked. In September of that year, Sofia’s hair started re-growing. By March of the following year, she had nearly a full head of hair, and in just a few more months one would never know that she had once been nearly bald. “The dermatologist and pediatrician encouraged us to just keep doing what we were doing.”

In addition to the amazing regrowth of Sofia’s hair, the Rogers’ realized other dramatic benefits from their clean living lifestyle. Due to having to be creative in the kitchen, a strong family bond has developed over food where everyone helps cook and is inspired to try new recipes. In addition, the common cold, sinus infections, and other illnesses have been virtually eliminated from their house. “The improvement in our immune systems has been amazing. I can’t remember the last time one of us was sick. Patrick, who previously got three or four severe sinus infections a year has had at most one the past several years,” said Shelley.

What insights do the Rogers have to share about their clean living journey?
● Follow the “80/20 rule.” You can enjoy a cupcake at a birthday party or a nice bottle of wine with dinner. Just stick to a healthy eating plan 80 percent of the time, which will allow you to enjoy special treats now and then.
● Spend more, but save more. Buying fresh, organic, locally-sourced food is more expensive than traditional, packaged and processed groceries. However, by cooking more at home and not eating out nearly as often in restaurants you will save a lot of money.
● Eating healthy is easier, and much tastier, than you imagine. Can’t get kids to eat veggies? Sprinkle them with some extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, sea salt and pepper, then bake a few minutes in the oven…they’ll love the roasted flavor.
● Even small changes can make a difference. Can’t imagine giving up cookies? You don’t have to. Just use almond flour and organic honey instead of processed white flour and sugar. Eat baked sweet potato chips instead of Cheetos. Quickly blend your own hummus instead of buying prepackaged with lots of preservatives.
● When you do eat out, seek healthier options. Zoe’s, Grub Burger Bar, Whiskey Cake, and even the salad bar at Whole Foods offer good, healthy choices in Plano.
● Healthy cleaning can save money. The Rogers have found that the chemical-free cleaning products, soaps and oils they now use cost the same or less than traditional, big brand items. YoungLiving.com is a good source for such products, and Shelley can help you get started.

“Our experience shows that with just a little dedication any family can adopt a clean eating and living lifestyle that pays big dividends long-term,” Shelley concludes.

See below for a couple of Shelley’s easy recipes and visit her blog, www.sparkleallover.com, for more information and to view her recipe books.

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