This is the first installment of a three part series on the popular Paleo way of eating and lifestyle from a mama’s perspective. Although Kate is not a medical professional or nutritionist, she’ll share her thoughts and experiences of implementing Paleo in her household.
Paleo: a simple, whole foods way of eating that focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. It is also a lifestyle that places importance upon restful sleep, functional movement exercise, and interacting with and enjoying the outdoors.
Four years ago, if you would have told me that my life would mostly follow the above definition, I would have laughed. And perhaps protectively grabbed my energy drink and skittles. I thought regular exercise was for fanatics, and I assured myself that climbing the stairs to my apartment and walking my dogs was enough. Four years ago, I was newly married, in my early twenties, and totally unhealthy.
In 2009, while undergoing a battery of tests to figure out why I had no period and was nauseous/dizzy all the time (and no, definitely not pregnant), my husband kindly suggested we change some eating habits. He had heard of this “new” way of eating that looked back to our paleolithic ancestors who were relatively free of the modern diseases and ailments (such as Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and PCOS) that commonly plague many people today. I just laughed.
Soon after, I realized I had a soy intolerance which totally ruined my grocery and eating habits because, well, it’s in EVERYTHING. At least everything in a package or box. I started reading labels. Reading labels led to reading nutrition books and research articles. As the soy disappeared from my diet, so did many of the refined foods I was accustomed to eating, as well as the chronic stomach problems that had plagued me my entire life. Around the same time, my doctor diagnosed me with a prolactinoma, a benign hormone secreting tumor on my pituitary gland.
In early 2009, my husband and I began experimenting with eating Paleo and exercising regularly. I started having real energy again, no energy drink needed. I started feeling fully satiated by my food rather than having raging hunger on a sugar binging roller coaster of glucose levels. The chronic sinus infections went away, and I quit catching every illness that passed my way. My hormones levels balanced out from the medication. For probably the first time in my life, I actually felt healthy.
By January 2010, we challenged ourselves to eating 100% paleo for 6 months and even tried out Crossfit, that “are you crazy!?” high-intensity, competitive group workout that I swore never to do. I did it and loved it. When we found out we were expecting, we were elated. After years of messed up periods, fluctuating hormones and moods, I thought I would never get pregnant. It still seems like yesterday that I was sobbing in my car outside of 7/11 because the doctor said I would probably never be able to get pregnant naturally. She was wrong.
Today, my daughter is 16 months old, eats mostly Paleo and is thriving. As a family, we still focus on simple meals with tons of greens, some meat, and fat. Our daughter eats everything we eat, and I don’t make her special meals. Although Paleo and gluten-free eating are becoming more mainstream, we still get plenty of weird looks and questions. Regardless of what people think, we have eaten this way for 3 years and will continue to do so indefinitely. After years of feeling sick all the time, I finally feeling in control of my health and my life. I’m happy to say that it’s been over two years since I’ve needed to take medication for the prolactinoma, and we rarely, if ever, need to see a doctor.
Disease, sickness, and ailments plague so many of our family and friends that it seems commonplace to need medication, doctor visits, to be exhausted, and to never see an end in sight. This telling of my journey to better health was not for bragging rights, but as encouragement. It’s easy to feel helpless and unable to change aspects about your health and diet. But I can say, from experience, that the hard work does pay off in the end.
I hope you’ll continue with me in this series about eating Paleo. In my next post, I’ll focus on how to implement a Paleo way of eating with children, and answer some common concerns and questions. My final post will contain a few Boomerang Mama family favorite recipes as well as resources for getting started yourself. And please let me know if you have any specific questions!
Kate is a total foodie and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with her hubby Kirk and their little helper, Vivi. You can read more about their pre-baby adventures in Paleo-land on their first (and sadly, now defunct) blog Paleo Prerogative.