Birthday Reflections

November 17, 2011 in Categories: by

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Today is my 35th birthday.  It has become a bit of a non-event.  Not that my original plans were that exciting:  celebrating with a delicious paleo dinner followed by paleo molten lava chocolate cake for dessert.  Instead, my kitchen floor is completely torn up (due to a leak behind the dishwasher that went straight into the subfloor and destroyed most of the hardwood flooring).  I won’t have an oven for 5 or 6 more days and won’t have a dishwasher until at least a day after that (we still don’t know if we need a new one).  And while I find this all quite stressful, what really upsets me is that my youngest daughter is turning 2 tomorrow and I had to cancel both of her birthday parties due to the chaos in our home.

I spent the day before demolition cooking up a storm.  I baked Elena Amsterdam’s paleo bread.  I baked two different paleo muffins (see Coconut Macadamia Banana Muffins).  I boiled eggs.  I made a big pot of potatoless potato leek soup.  I baked a paleo chocolate cake for my daughter and stuck it in the freezer to be frosted (hopefully) tonight.  I am determined that not having a kitchen will not completely derail my efforts to be healthy and improve my family’s health.
I don’t know if this havoc helps or hinders the usual birthday reflections… maybe it just alters the perspective slightly.  Health has been a tough road for me.  I was overweight as a teenager and worked REALLY HARD to lose 100lbs in my early twenties.  I still wasn’t as lean as I wanted to be, but I was fit.  I ran two marathons, did karate, worked out.  But, I was on a “low-carb” diet that included lots of dairy and legumes, some grains, lots of salt and no thought to omega-3 intake.  So even though I had lost weight, I hadn’t addressed gut irritation, systemic inflammation, insulin sensitivity or cortisol disregulation.  After a year of enjoying what I thought was good health, I got sick.  REALLY SICK.  I was apartment-bound and on super high doses of steroids, which led to rapid weight gain and depression.  With my ability to exercise suddenly gone, I gained back all of the 100lbs, plus ten more for good measure, in less than a year.  I felt horrified but helpless when I had to buy a size 28 wedding dress (I had been a size 8 before becoming ill).  I felt robbed.  It took me most of the TEN YEARS since to fully recover, to lose all that weight, and to get into good shape again.  In retrospect, I think a paleolithic diet would have been a godsend.  Certainly, it would have given me better coping strategies and helped me recover faster.  But more than that, I believe that I would not have gotten ill in the first place if I had been eating a paleolithic diet.

I try not to dwell on the past, but rather use it as a context to appreciate the present.  Now, I am following a paleolithic lifestyle.  I am ten pounds lighter than the thinnest I got in my early twenties.  I am fit.  All those autoimmune-related diseases are in remission.  Even my ability to cope with stress (uh, like having your kitchen floor demolished on your birthday) is so so so much better.  Really, I feel very lucky to be where I am today.  I am loved and supported by my husband.  I have two beautiful, healthy, crazy-smart daughters.  I have good friends and a great family.  I have finally gotten a good hold on my health.  I feel happy.  And I worked hard to get to this wonderful, happy place.  And I will continue to work hard to stay here.  

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