Happy new year, friends! It’s been about a year since I’ve transitioned to the Paleo lifestyle. So much has changed for the better within the last year, that I wanted to share my personal journey with you.
A little bit about my history
It all started when I came to the realization that I was mentally and physically out of balance. I had worsening symptoms of dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, irritability, cloudy headedness, spinal and joint aches, and increased episodes of petichiae and purpura in my lower extremities. Psychologically and emotionally, I had feelings of insecurity, moodiness, paranoia, and hormonal imbalances. All of these symptoms seemed to progress within a 10-year span, and became more prevalent within the last 2 years.
I finally decided to seek help from several medical professionals. In the summer of 2015 I met with a Rheumatologist who ran blood tests and diagnosed me with several autoimmune disorders: Sjogrens Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Wegener’s Granulomatosis. I was prescribed 2 different types of anti-inflammatory medications, and was instructed to take them twice a day. I followed my doctor’s instructions and took my medication as prescribed. I continued to consume excess amounts of refined sugar, refined starches, alcohol, while exercising inconsistently and traveling very frequently for work. I was living my life in excess: tons of sugar, high stress, little to no exercise, without regard to how I felt.
After six months, I stopped taking my medication as there were no signs of improvement in my health. I knew the medications were just masking the symptoms, rather than resolving the underlying causes. I knew that I needed to change, because I couldn’t ignore the symptoms I was having. Something had to give.
I started conducting research online about autoimmune disorders, and how to heal naturally. I quickly found that the paleo lifestyle, through many different types of paleo protocols, were beneficial to hundreds of people like me who were suffering. Conditions included multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Hashimoto’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, among many others. Many of these individuals were reversing their symptoms and improving their overall quality of life through the paleo lifestyle.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PALEO DIET?
As Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, creator of the blog, The Paleo Mom explains, “the Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense whole foods diet based on eating a variety of quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. It improves health by providing balanced and complete nutrition while avoiding most processed and refined foods and empty calories.” There are several clinical trials conducted in the U.S. that provide evidence that the paleo diet versus other diets, such as the Standard American Diet and the Mediterranean diet, has improved overall health with those living with chronic autoimmune disorders. For more information on paleo diet clinical trials, click here.
For more information on WHAT is a Paleo Diet, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne explains it well here.
WHY THE PALEO DIET?
Based on the evidence from several clinical trials and reports from those that have survived and improved their health through the paleo diet, I became convinced that this could do the same for me. I started following several paleo food blogs and their social media accounts, and became so inspired by the community, that I wanted to give it a try. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and baking and love to be challenged, especially with food. I started with recipes from paleo food blogs and paleo cook books and soon after began experimenting with recipes of my own.
Six months later, I was inspired to share my recipes and how much better I was feeling in such a short time after converting to the paleo lifestyle. I also started exercising regularly, I lost weight and I felt great.
In June 2016, I started this paleo-centric food blog to share my journey back to good health through my recipes. Some of the recipes are inspired by my childhood, many are my favorite recipes reinvented, and some are from other paleo food bloggers. I can’t say that I’ve been 100% strict paleo every step of the way, but I have made a conscious effort to make this a permanent lifestyle change.
For more information on WHY the Paleo Diet, Chris Kresser explains it well in this video here.
OK, I’M SOLD, WHERE DO I START?
Based on what you already know about the Paleo diet, I suggest going through your kitchen pantry and refrigerator and begin replacing or getting rid of the non-paleo friendly food items. This will limit temptation and encourage you to utilize the foods that you already have that fall within the guidelines. Next, compile your paleo grocery list and head to the grocery store. There are a TON of resources online for paleo grocery lists – I’ve listed a few below for your reference.
Grocery Shopping Lists:
- Nom Nom Paleo Whole Foods Shopping List
- Whole 9 Life
- Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution
- Paleo On a Budget
- Paleo Leap