Blog of the Month: The Mullies

Blog Of The Month: The Mullies

Thu 25 Apr 2013

Story by Lindsey Shifley

The mullies entered into blog land on September 8, 2012. It was the day after I had decided to take a complete U-turn with our diet to help our middle child, Abbie. She had been struggling with paying attention, sitting still and interacting appropriately with her classmates.

All of my training as a speech and language pathologist came to the surface; the symptoms were virtually text book - it was classic ADHD with sensory processing issues. A team of teachers and specialists had been meeting with my husband Chris and I for over a year to help Abbie, she was a grade level behind in school and failing, it was time for action.

I had called the doctor's office the day before and it was closed. I couldn't wait until Monday - I had energy zapping out of my fingers and toes so I initiated a bold family food change. I decided that had nothing to lose and if we tried it for 6-8 weeks and failed to see a difference in Abbie we'd be off to the doctor's office. If I succeeded… I’d be swinging to the mullies and yelling like Tarzan!

Our new motto began - no artificial colors, no artificial additives or preservatives, no artificial sweeteners and no gluten or dairy.

I immediately worked to change my shopping habits, my cooking habits and my children and husband's eating habits. I dug in for some hard work. There have been ups and downs and a lot of bombed recipes. However, I found the sunshine and if there weren't clouds in the way at times, well... how would I ever appreciate that lovely warmth on my face?

My generation of women and men work our little tails off both inside and outside of the home to make ends meet. The food companies have answered the demand for cheap and faster food preparation. It used to be that a home cooked meal tasted better than food from a box. Well, science and technology have figured out how to use specially formulated salt mixtures, additives and sugars to make us and especially our children love and crave processed foods. Finishing your plate has never been easier, more please!

When Abbie became symptom free within a few weeks of the food change two things became very clear, 1) our food change was now permanent, and 2) she could no longer eat school food until it improved.

Becoming A Food Revolution Ambassador

I applied to be a Food Revolution Ambassador because I knew there were more Abbie's out there. I knew our story could help other families understand how our food has been sabotaged.

These breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners in a box contain things our bodies and brains rebel against. Seven months ago I didn't think twice about it. I hardly ever read a label. I thought we were protected. Our bodies are not meant to eat artificial colors, they are not meant to eat preservatives, chemicals, refined sugars and fats developed in labs.

It's not about perfection. It's about the big picture ratio.

My previous ratio of processed foods (no label looking) to cooked-from-scratch meals was around 90:10. The bottom line is that if Abbie did not have her issues I would have kept on going like that forever. I'd be doing it today, yesterday and tomorrow. Open a box, unwrap it, heat it up and eat it... or go to the drive thru and get take-out, or better yet, let's just eat out.

I flipped that ratio on its head and we're all healthier for it; Chris and I are slimmer, Abbie is symptom free and exceeding grade level expectations, Mac's classroom teacher has reported positive changes and little Tommy is eating everything we eat. Booo-ya!

The more I cook the more I learn and the more I look forward to it. I have found loads of great advice along the way and here are some of my best tips:

1. Have a family meeting to educate and get everyone on board.
2. Cook with your kids. This one had me at hello (once I let go of the mess).
3. Don’t give in - fortify yourself in the trenches and fire the short-order cook, kids eat what the adults eat.
4. Everyone must try one bite - including the picky husband - up the ante as you progress.
5. Make a tried and true side dish they love to get them to eat more bites of the colorful stuff.
6. Cook 2-3 meals per week that are themed and tweaked to be healthier
7. Believe it - kids won't starve themselves. Have plenty of fresh organic (if you can afford it) fruit and veggies available to eat at will.
8. Dessert is usually fruit. I love to bake and we do that often as a family.
9. Put yourself on a cash diet. Quality food is my #1 priority and this has helped me cut back on frivolous spending.
10. Keep a journal... it'll really keep you going.

And remember to have fun! Add new foods, throw a party and cook with your friends.

Food Revolution Day is coming!

We’re celebrating Food Revolution Day on May 17 with our ‘Real Food Waterfall – Mundelein Community Picnic’. Join the Food Revolution and host your own activity or find one near you to attend at

Hello from me, it's lovely to meet you... to the mullies we go!

The mullies is a synonym for my life, your life. The life we are building, creating and living in everyday. It's what we hope and want it to be. The name comes from my childhood with my sister when we'd yell, "to the mullies!" as we jumped off swings, ropes and high places.

About the author: Lindsey Shifley is a wife, mom of three, blogger and softball coach in Illinois. Lindsey’s Food Revolution started as personal goal to cook cleaner foods for her middle daughter who was having sensory processing issues in school. Having found huge success, she is having a ball learning and inspiring others to cook real food with their kids.


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