Fairfield woman crusades for healthier food
Published 2:04 pm, Monday, February 4, 2013
You could definitely call Tara Cook-Littman a mom on a mission. As founder of GMO Free CT, the Fairfield resident is working with state legislators to require manufacturers to label any food that is genetically modified. Even though she's not actively practicing, she said her law degree has come in handy during the process.
"It's really about everything that's hiding in our food," she said, explaining her drive behind the movement. "Our food system is completely industrialized and you don't know where anything comes from. GMOs, to me, are the biggest threat, so that's why I've kind of picked that and am trying to fight the good fight."
Her commitment to a healthy lifestyle helped make Cook-Littman, 37, the cover model of this month's edition of Hearst's HealthyLife magazine.
Cook-Littman said she is fortunate to have access to healthy, organic and GMO-free foods for herself and her family, including husband Owen Littman and three children -- Spencer, 9, Ava, 7, and Grace, 5. "What I want is for good food to be accessible to everybody," regardless of income or location, she said. "It would solve a lot of problems and will help our health care system. People just need to start eating better."
We asked her a few more questions about healthy eating and lifestyles.
Q: When did you begin to change the type of food you were eating and how quickly did you notice a difference in the way you felt?
A: Essentially, I was not feeling well at the age of 30. I was a young mom and I had stomach problems and headaches and tingly fingers and a lot of anxiety. The doctors just couldn't help me. I had tons of tests but no diagnosis. Each of them wanted to put me on a different pill to hide a different symptom. So I just started doing tons of research. I stopped thinking about fat, calories, carbs and proteins and started thinking about vitamins and nutrients. Vegetables should be your main dish and everything else should be a side. The results came pretty fast. During my first juice cleanse I felt so incredible. In fact, I felt so incredible that not a day has gone by that I don't drink a green juice. Within a few months I was feeling better. And I have done things to support my health outside of my diet.
Q: So you've always been into fitness?
A: Yes, always. The truth is that my dad had a heart attack when I was little, so the connection between diet, health and exercise was made for me at a young age. For me, I really love running. It clears my mind and really gives me the boost of energy that I need. It also keeps my body in shape the way I want it to be, and the older I get the harder that gets. I do love playing tennis as well. And I try to incorporate yoga for meditation, stretching and toning.
Q: Has it been difficult to get your kids on the healthy-food bandwagon?
A: It depends. Some days they'll eat exactly how I want them to eat and other days not so much. I do feel like it's a process and if you get them young you're in a much better position. When they're older and set in their ways and their taste buds have already been corrupted by processed foods, it's harder. I just keep putting good stuff in front of them.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: I love chocolate! And good chocolate is good for you! Running really relaxes me. I also love to go out for a nice dinner with my husband or with friends. And I love to read to my children. I find that to be very relaxing.
The January issue of Hearst's HealthyLife is now available. For free home delivery, visit www.healthylifect.com.