Sometimes, the words of your college-aged baby sitter can spark your creativity—and change your life.
That was the case for local nutrition practitioner–turned–author Niki Driscoll, 36, a single mother of two whose recently released book “The Food Baby Detox,” was inspired in part by her babysitter’s words.
“What put the book in my brain was one day one of my babysitters said ‘I have a food baby. I can’t believe I have a food baby,’” Driscoll said. “I asked what she meant and she explained it to me, and I said ‘Yeah that’s what I deal with for a living as a nutrition practitioner.’ I have to say the inspiration started with her.”
Not only did the sitter inspire the premise, but she also inspired the demographic Driscoll wanted to reach with the book.
“I’m mostly talking to young women,” Driscoll said. “I’m speaking to them with the book, and it’s easy to read — it’s fun and it’s sassy.”
Driscoll, who has been a nutrition practitioner for more than 15 years, realized that the “food baby” was a subject she knew all too well. With so much insight to offer on the topic, she realized it would work as a book, and “The Food Baby Detox” was born.
For people unfamiliar with what a “food baby” is, Driscoll explains it as “abdominal bloating caused by inflammation on the inside of the gut as a result of eating the wrong foods for your body.”
She emphasizes that this doesn’t necessarily mean “unhealthy” foods, but rather foods that simply may not agree with one’s body chemistry.
The book is a self-help process written to help readers learn how to listen to their bodies and discover the foods creating the distress.
“It’s a step-by-step process for how to discover which foods work for you and which ones don’t,” Driscoll said. “It’s also a very laidback approach to nutrition. I want people to not freak out and think they have to eliminate these foods forever.”
“The Food Baby Detox” touches on a range of topics, from cravings to food psychology.
Though Driscoll’s nutritional knowledge does come into play, she has drawn on her own unpleasant experience to write much of the book.
Driscoll decided to go into the nutrition field because she had a chronic food baby that made her very sick for years. Besides the visible abdominal inflammation, the food baby can cause many other problems, including headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain and skin issues.
“I struggled with a lot of those things and I doctor hopped for a long time,” Driscoll said. “When I had it, I was in college in the ‘90s, and this stuff wasn’t known yet.”
She ran track when she attended college at LSU, which made her desperately want to get rid of her food baby and feel better. Eventually, she was able to solve her food baby by doing food experiments, eliminating foods one by one and then reincorporating them into her diet to see which ones made her sick.
It was a long, arduous process, and one she wouldn’t wish on anyone. With her book, Driscoll is trying to help prevent others from suffering a lack of knowledge of their own body as she did.
One way she’s empowering young women with this knowledge is by hammering home the point that the food baby is not “normal,” despite a prevailing line of thought that it naturally occurs after eating.
“You’re supposed to be the same size jeans before and after eating,” Driscoll said. “It’s a sign that your body was irritated. The body gives us lots of signs while we’re eating, most of which we ignore, because maybe they’ve always happened and we didn’t know that it wasn’t OK. If it’s been happening since you were a kid, how would you know any different?”
Driscoll feels it’s her duty to educate young women about their bodies, but without all the nutritional jargon. She said she wants “The Food Baby Detox” to feel like a conversation between girlfriends.
The book is not full of medical terminology and words readers can’t pronounce. Instead, it’s charming and full of the sassy Southern speak we’re all fond of. In addition to nutrition, Driscoll also discusses emotional eating and our relationship with food relative to our mental health. She’s even included a few helpful recipes to prevent food babies—with Southern flair, of course.
Her passion for nutrition and education has allowed her to write the book, and now, she said, she’s excited to give that passion to people everywhere.
Readers can find “The Food Baby Detox” on Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Niki Driscoll.