“Real People, Real Paleo” is a series of posts written by real people who were inspired to share their paleo story with you. There is such diversity in the challenges that bring us to a paleo diet and lifestyle and in what we hope to achieve by adopting them. These stories are intended to be a place of inspiration, written by real people, showing the diversity of our needs and our approaches to this way of eating and living, and explaining how each individual’s implementation of paleo meets their needs. By sharing these people’s stories with you on my blog, I hope to redefine what paleo success is. I do not believe that eating paleo is purely about losing weight, gaining muscle, and having 6-pack abs. I believe that paleo is about being healthy enough to thoroughly enjoy life, whatever that means for you, and about sustainability for our entire lives. If you are interested in writing up your story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I am Kimmy, from Germany, but living in the UK with my English boyfriend. I am 28 years old and my son Jamie is now 3 years 4 months old.
Before I got pregnant with Jamie, I could eat whatever I wanted and never got ill. I had absolutely no digestive problems, always had good energy, and rarely got ill. I didn’t eat the healthiest of diets back then, although to the standard view of what is healthy, I did. Lots of wholegrain bread, vegetables, fruit, meat, and lots and lots of wheat.
I would have never thought that once I delivered Jamie my digestion would be terrible.
Jamie’s birth was a very complicated one; he was back to back, I had contractions for 36 hours and then a cord prolapse, which led to an emergency caesarian.
We are thankful he is alive. It was a life and death operation as his heartbeat had stopped.
I breastfed him for the first 3 weeks; but sadly, he had terrible reflux and also reacted to milk proteins in my breastmilk. I desperately wanted to continue breastfeeding, but the birth experience and Jamie’s severe vomiting left me exhausted.
When we tried him with normal formula, it became clear very quickly that he was reacting to this even worse than my breastmilk (by then my milk had dried up though) – he would stop breathing, his skin broke out in a terrible rash and he would vomit even worse.
So he ended up on medication for reflux and a special formula called Neocate, which he tolerated really well.
At this point, I was still eating normally but started to feel progressively worse. I would get panic attacks at night and would always get trapped wind that was impossible to get out. Constipation and diarrhea would take turns and I had acid reflux too.
I could not shift my weight. I was always pretty slim before having had Jamie and this was a bit of a shock to me.
I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease in March 2010 – after a lot of different tests. Going gluten free made a really big difference. I lost 1st [14 pounds] of weight and the panic attacks went away. My digestion, though, was still nowhere near normal. I would still get terrible trapped wind and some days were ok, some weren’t.
I had no joy eating anymore.
The day I discovered Paleo, it just clicked inside me. Even though I was not consuming gluten, I still ate a lot of grains like millet, corn and rice. I always ate wholegrain versions as well. I read as much as I could and stumbled across the whole30 program. On November 4th 2011, I started the whole30 and after just a couple of days I felt awesome. I suddenly had energy and I lost weight rapidly! My skin started to glow! The trapped wind almost disappeared overnight and, after 3 weeks, I didn’t have to worry going the toilet anymore.
After 4 weeks of doing the whole30, it dawned to me that I had to do something about Jamie’s diet too. He was having healthy home-cooked meals every day, prepared to Weston A. Price standards. As he is allergic to wheat and dairy he never had those. Legumes gave him trapped wind so I left those out. He never had any sugar and he loved vegetables and fruit and meat. So changing him over wasn’t really that hard. I don’t think he ever really noticed. Very occasionally he will ask for “spelt biscuits”, but I just tell him that his belly likes his almond cookies better.
He had a range of little problems; he had eczema and little bumps on his arms and legs. He also had a condition called hypotonia (low muscle tone), so all his gross motor skills were delayed. He never sat up until he was 13 months old, crawled at 17 months and walked at 23 months.
Now, after 5 months on a paleo diet, his muscles are completely normal! He has grown 11cm – before he hadn’t grown in 6 months. His eczema is still there but it is a lot better and I am working on having him eat more omega 3 – he is starting to enjoy salmon a lot now. I still have to watch closely what gets into his system. He is very sensitive to tomatoes and spices. He also cannot tolerate coconut milk. Eggs make his stomach hurt also so it is quite a challenge to cook for him.
When he transitioned, I found it easier to concentrate on lunch and dinner first. He continued to have rice porridge with fruit in the morning. I made sure it was made of white rice and not wholegrain. Now he will still occasionally ask for porridge and, as he tolerates it very well, he sometimes does get to eat it. Mostly though he will ask for sweet potato and burger in the mornings!!
This is not a diet to me anymore. This way of eating has brought back the joy to my life. I can eat as much as I want of steak and vegetables and fat – how awesome is that! People around me cannot believe that I am eating tons of beef tallow, lard and coconut oil and still lose weight (2st5lb in total [33 pounds]).
I don’t think I would ever go back to eating grains at all, it just is not worth it to me at all!”