“This is the 14th anniversary of Katrina. I was living in Bay St. Louis and a slab of concrete was all we had left. My whole neighborhood was wiped out. When I think about 14 years ago today, I was an unhappy single mom pushing 350 pounds with no self-confidence. I never dreamed God would create miracles from the storm that took everything away from us. He moved us to Mobile. I met my husband, Ben, who adopted my kids and changed my life. I wrote a book about my Katrina experience and there is a picture of my kids who were so small at the time looking at the rubble. Today two are in the Navy and the other served in the Navy and now is working and married with a family. The book is called ‘After the Rain’ because storms come but God turns devastation into blessings.
I am a former food addict and was always the chubby kid. If I had a bad day, I ate my feelings. In college, I went to the McDonalds drive-through and ordered six cheeseburgers, all different, so they wouldn’t know they were all for me. My dad had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass. On Nov. 15, 2008, I saw him lying in that hospital bed and knew I had to do something or I would end up like him. I have been in therapy for food addiction for ten years. We got into running and doing half marathons until I shattered my back in an accident and can’t run anymore. I went back to school and studied food and nutrition. I learned what a nightmare our food system is. Our processed, fake food is killing us.
I have four different autoimmune diseases. When I eat clean, my joints don’t hurt. Eating right made me a different person. It has improved my relationships and I think clearer. I started doing talks at schools and hospitals on the dangers of sugar and processed foods. My husband did cooking demos. People said they wished we would cook for them. Preparing healthy food to improve the health of our community was our dream for nine years, but that couldn’t happen while we had kids at home. The boys are now out of the house and God told us it was time. We became a certified nutritionist and qualified nutrition chef, passionate about showing people that real, healthy food can taste amazing. People who come in with autoimmune issues and chronic pain say they eat our food for a few weeks and feel better. We partner with local doctors and get meal plans for their patients. This became a health ministry.
We took our name 1031Meals from 1 Corinthians 10:31, ‘Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’ It is about getting food back to nature, the way God made it. We don’t use man-made toxic oils. No vegetable oil or canola. We don’t use white salt. We use local ingredients as much as we can.
We started 1031Meals in May 2018 in a shared commissary space. We moved into our own building two weeks ago and now have grab and go meals and a cafe. We are here 18 hours a day getting our new location up and running, but it’s not work. The community that comes in has become our family. We are about to start a non-profit with a local physician to teach underprivileged communities how to eat healthy food and change their health, even on assistance and low incomes.
You have to follow your passion for what you love. Don’t settle. Hopefully, people read our story of how far we came and realize they can do it, too.”
1031Meals is located at 744 Museum Drive in Mobile.