By Serenity Heegel
Heartburn, anxiety, and insomnia—the story of my life! My well-meaning mother was a vegetarian while pregnant with me. I was born early and got my first of many ear infections/rounds of antibiotics when I was two weeks old. I had colic and cried for most of that first year. Growing up, I had constant stomach problems. I now know that I’m allergic to, or intolerant of most of the foods I grew up eating: dairy, wheat, and even certain vegetables.
Six years ago, I outgrew over-the-counter antacids. When a doctor told me the only solution to my pain was to take a proton pump inhibitor pill every day for the rest of my life, I began desperately looking for other answers. My dad sent me copies of The Primal Blueprint and The Paleo Solution, and I never looked back. Since finding the Paleo diet, my stomach feels great, my anxiety is gone, and I sleep much better. I became such a believer that I left my corporate job to start a Paleo coaching business and became a member of the Paleo f(x) conference team.
My husband, Joe, has autism. He grew up undiagnosed, and faced many social challenges. He was smart and gifted, but couldn’t make friends or sit still and be quiet like school required of him. He faced a lot of bullying and was constantly in trouble. He also suffered from incessant stomach pain, constant burping, skin rashes, and high anxiety. As a picky eater, his diet consisted mostly of canned ravioli and nachos.
At age 7, his mom discovered his passion for performing. He excelled in theatre, music, dance, and public speaking. His childhood experiences blessed him with a passion for making the world more hospitable of all children, especially those with special needs, which led him to a career in youth services. He eventually created his own nonprofit afterschool and summer program called Growin’ Together, where kids got to make the rules and decide how to spend their time. They solved their problems through mediation and talking circles, and engaged in hands-on projects like carpentry, film-making, cooking, and green technology, all of which were led by professional artisans.
Joe and I met when I did a lecture at his company on healthy eating. He tells the story this way: “During her lecture, I realized two things. One, eating Paleo is going to help me conquer the last challenges of my autism, and two, I’m going to marry this woman!” And he was right about both! ;) Now he helps teach the Paleo diet and principles to other autistic adults and their families, and advocates for autistic empowerment through his website www.aspiepower.com.
As we fell in love and started planning to have children, we got excited about how we were going to feed them super healthy foods. But when we started looking at baby foods on the market, we were shocked at how little quality meat and vegetables were available, and how high in sugar the standard fruit purees are. At the same time, we had our entrepreneurial hats on looking for a way to start a business that would help us contribute our unique gifts to the world and also sustain our future family.
And so Serenity Kids was born! It has been quite the journey. Many things were easier than we thought they’d be, and many things were MUCH harder. But it is clear that the universe is on our side because divine providence has been present at every moment! We’re so grateful to everyone who has given us advice and joined our team, and to all our customers who share our passion for feeding babies healthy.
And so the journey continues!