My Goal Update

May 8, 2012 in Categories: , by

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I find reflection comes naturally to me on anniversaries of all kinds.  And I think that my 6 month blogiversary is an important one to celebrate! (I’m also celebrating 8 months of eating paleo!)  It is amazing to me to think not only of how much my blog has grown in such a short period of time, but also to appreciate the incredible positive feedback and comments I have been receiving.  Thank you!  This blog has been my outlet for my excitement, my frustration, and my geek-out moments as I continue to learn and delve into the intricate details of how our health is directly linked to diet.  But in many ways, this blog has also become my job.  I have put deep pressure on myself to continue to produce high quality recipes, informative posts about many aspects of a paleolithic lifestyle, suggestions for dealing with various challenges associated with this way of eating, and candid stories about what is working (or not!) for me and my family in our home.  I find myself unable to take a day off, even though sometimes I should.  I spend all of my free time researching for upcoming posts, perfecting recipes, writing, editing, sketching, and coding.  But, even though my job currently nets me about $1.50 per hour in limited advertising revenue (because I only advertise products I use and don’t use any third-party advertising), I have found that I do truly love it!  I have tried as best I can to reply to every question and every email that I have been sent (and I will continue to do so for as long as I can keep up with it) and to engage with my followers daily on facebook and twitter.  I have had the deep privilege to communicate one-on-one by email with some of you, trying to help you figure out solutions to your individual challenges.  And I find this aspect of my blog even more rewarding than watching my own health improve.

But, I am still amazed to reflect on how much my implementation of paleo has evolved and how much I have learned about food, stress, sunlight, sleep, hormones, autoimmunity, and myself.  You can read about my various diet changes aimed at dealing with lichen planus, a form of psoriasis, by reading these posts:

Nothing much has changed in my diet.  I find 100% compliance with the autoimmune protocol very difficult and would probably see faster improvement if I could avoid those occasional bites of paleo baking, handfuls of nuts, and other paleo treats that my body rebels against.  My psoriasis has improved to the point where it is an excellent litmus for foods I am sensitive to, but I do still battle with temptation. 

I also still feel like I am battling those last 10-15 pounds.  You can also read about changes I’ve made to my exercise routine aimed at tricking my body into shedding those pounds by reading these posts:

I have not lost any more weight.  I have decreased my sprinting workouts to twice per week because the strain on my joints was so great.  But, I have continued to see improvements in my speed and strength and continue to feel great afterward.  And even though I have not lost any more weight, I have gained some muscle mass and slightly decreased my body fat.  I am sleeping better and my mood is good.  And, I’m pretty happy with that! 

My main short-term goal as far as my own health is concerned is renewed focus on sleep.  My children are still up sporadically overnight (and much more often than I’d like), so I really don’t have control over my own sleep quality.  But, I do have control over what time I go to bed.  I have let my bedtime slide later and later as I find the child-free time after my kids go to bed to be so short to accomplish everything I want to do and find time to spend with my husband.  A little prioritizing is all it will take, to get my bedtime back to the 9pm it needs to be.  Beyond that, I will endeavor to be patient with my weight as it is not likely to change until my sleep is better and my hormones are better regulated (my hormones are still adjusting after weaning my youngest at Christmas).  I will continue to challenge myself physically without going overboard.  And just as importantly as sleep, I will try to be as close to 100% compliant with the autoimmune protocol as I can.

As I reflect back over the last 6 months,I also find myself thinking toward the future.  I had always thought that, when my daughters were school aged, I would go back to a career in medical research.  There is a research group here in Atlanta that interests me immensely.  Their research is a perfect blend of what I did before having children (innate inflammation in the context of critical care medicine) and my new interests in the effect of diet and lifestyle on health.  I would fit in well.  But, I have always worried about the impact that going from being a full-time stay-at-home-mom to being a full-time working mom would have on my family.  This is especially true in the context of academic research, where the pressure is high, the grant funds are extremely limited, and the job market is ridiculously competitive.  It is still an idea on the backburner, because I am good at research and I do enjoy it.  But, a new idea is starting to emerge.  Perhaps, just perhaps, this blog will become my career.  Perhaps, it will grow to the point that I just can’t give it up.  Perhaps helping people to understand science will be more important than contributing to it.  Perhaps my health and the health of all those who read my blog will be take precedent over being at the forefront of medical research.  I find this idea enticing.  I have three years before my youngest is school aged and I need to decide.  So, right now, I don’t have any “career” goals.  I intend to just keep learning, keep tweaking, and keep blogging and see where this adventure takes me.   

Comments

This hit me: “I have let my bedtime slide later and later as I find the child-free time after my kids go to bed to be so short to accomplish everything I want to do and find time to spend with my husband.” Me too, I feel like I just manage to get our little ones to bed (they are 4 and 3) and the big ones to read in their rooms, and I’m crashing! My husband and I hardly have a minute to talk, and I want to have time to read, have to prep work lunches, etc. It’s really hard to figure out what changes to make.

Yeah, I really have to find the balance between making time for some things earlier in the day (which means a more hectic day) and letting other things slide (which I feel like I eventually pay for). I just keep trying to remind myself that I absolutely have to look after my health (otherwise nothing will get done!). :)

Good timing! My entire post this Thursday is going to be dedicated to the autoimmune protocol. In the mean time, the most important part is no eggs, no nuts, no seeds, no nightshades and no alcohol. There’s also some information in The Paleo Solution (scattered throughout the book) and short chapter on autoimmunity in The Paleo Answer (both great books). I hope this helps!

So glad to hear you will be writing about this. I went Paleo last fall due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (thought to be autoimmune in nature but unproven: actually they know very little about it). I had some immediate relief of some of the symptoms and gradual relief of others. After a month I switched over to Primal diet because I like dairy and raw dairy in particular helps ease some symptoms. Long story short I seem to need the animal fats in my diet and the easiest method for me is to eat/drink dairy. I’m off nightshades and most grains since they make me worse.

Anyway, I’m very curious what you have to say about this topic and I’m looking forward to your post.

I’m planning on eventually writing a post just about CFS (I’m really interested in the idea of intermittent fasting to treat it). From what I’ve read, the case for it being autoimmune is getting pretty strong.

Thank you so much for the information and I’m really looking forward to Thursday’s post! I have read the Paleo Solution and there is some information about autoimmunity and paleo but it’s all been kind of confusing for me. I haven’t read the Paleo Answer.

I kind of have a different situation as far as autoimmunity goes. I have had Crohn’s disease for 17 years and have had 4 surgeries, with my last two being in July 2011 and February 2012. I became really sick last year–was down to 82 lbs. and had numerous fistulas and a couple of abcesses. I was on numerous medications and had three drain tubes in for 3 months plus I was on a feeding tube–all to help me get well enough to withstand the surgery I needed to remove the parts of my small and large intestine that were severely damaged. I needed a colostomy after my surgery in July of 2011 in order to let my colon heal.

My goal after my colostomy was to get well enough to have reversal surgery this last February. That’s when I started researching what I should eat to be as well as I could be and when I found paleo, primal, etc.

Currently, my Crohn’s is in remission and I am on Humira to help it stay that way. However, I have the goal of eventually getting off of it as I truly believe that I can control this with diet. Since I don’t have any symptoms right now, I am wondering if I need to follow the autoimmune protocol or not. I DO NOT want what happened to me last year to ever happen again. Do you think the autoimmune protocol is something I should follow for life or can I try eggs, nightshades, nut flour, etc. when my disease is in remission?
Thanks again for your help–I really appreciate it. :)

Thank you for sharing your story! I believe that paleo is absolutely the best diet and you should be able to get your Crohn’s into permanent remission. However, you will probably have to follow the autoimmune protocol for life, especially if your goal is to get off medications. You may be able to get to the point that the very occasional treat of eggs or nuts (like once every 1-3 months) is tolerated, but I would plan to leave them out of your day-to-day diet permanently (and since I’m facing the same choice albeit for a more minor autoimmune condition, I can commiserate on how hard that is!). You might also be interested in Dr. Terry Wahls’ books, but the one that most relevant is the one that hasn’t been published yet (I think it’s going to be called The Wahls Protocol).

Not happy about eliminating nuts, eggs and nightshades(of course they’re my favorite veggies) but I would much rather eliminate them now than repeat last year. I’m pretty sure I would end up where I was last year if I don’t make these changes as nothing else has worked, except eventually, surgery and there is not a whole lot more they can remove of my small intestine and I really really do not want a permanent colostomy.

I have not heard of Dr. Terry Wahl–I’ll have to do some research! :)

I saw that you posted the autoimmune protocol. Will read it on my lunch break! Thanks again for your help.

I am so thankful for your blog. I started my paleo lifestyle in the middle of January after having my first baby in September, and I found your blog while looking for advice on how to raise a baby paleo. I visit your blog often looking for tips. Love it! Thanks again!

i just wrote on your facebook page and am so excited after reading this posting. I hope your able to make this your job forever! My heart stopped for no reason 4 years ago.. after three days in a coma… i awoke…now they tell me i have the Big A… i cant remember anything, hardly…. with no insurance and no answeres after three years of chasing medical rabbits i gave up… i just stopped my own race. I have been on paleo for only three weeks but have noticed i feel better… Im excited, challenged, hopeful and having great fun at being excited over something.. anything.. feeling better makes life so much better! So, i hope you stay here… and help people… just help people now so that they can help their ownselves with your help and not rely on medical insurances, and other falsehoods to help them on their own journey!
YOUr awesome… and thanks so much!

I love your blog. You are able to explain the paleo diet better than anyone else I’ve read. All this caveman stuff and emphasis on meats leave me cold. I’m coming at paleo from the beans, nuts, veggies, fruits side and trying to substitute meat and fish for beans and nuts because of autoimmune issues.

In my former life, I was a consulting environmental chemist. After my daughter was born, I became a freelance book indexer so I could stay at home (environmental cleanup politics had also changed away from actual cleanup). After you’re away from the fray for awhile, it’s hard to go back, things change, hard to be someone’s employee after being your own, and the science and regulations change as well. It’s a big decision to make. And the finances are quite different between the two paths. It’s fun being part of the scientific community. Perhaps there’s a public health position that would involve both of your skill areas.

I think you’re very good at your current path and selfishly hope you continue. I do still worry about eating all this greasy meat (sorry) and am concerned that it’s not a sustainable path for the population to take. But so far, it seems to be helping my joint pain, even that persistent sacral pain. I have good meds at the moment (plaquenil and cellcept) and my goal is to avoid having to increase them or change them with time.

Thank you for all your good work!

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