Real People, Real Paleo — Dr. Lise Maltais’ Paleo Testimony (and family struggles too!)

October 2, 2012 in Categories: by

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“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, please contact me using the form on this page.

As far back as I can remember, I always had a problem with my weight.  I remember as a teenager, barely 16, going on my first diet.  Kids called me “the lump”.  The roller coaster of yo-yo dieting became part of my life.  I had fat clothes and skinny clothes.  Going up and down 30-40 pounds.

At the beginning of last year, on January 1st, 2011, I started Weights Watchers, again.  This time, I lost a mere 13 pounds in 3 months.  I felt so discouraged, menopause had started, and I knew too well that it would be difficult to lose weight during that transition.  I quickly gained the 13 pounds back and weighed in at 180lbs.  At the end of my last pregnancy I was 185!!  I was recently diagnosed borderline hypertensive and have been asthmatic since the mid 80’s.  I felt awful, being a Naturopathic Doctor, and having all that extra weight.

That spring, I went to my annual Naturopathic Physicians convention in Vancouver.  There I heard Dr. Griffith’s talk on hCG weight loss and his version of it.  I was very curious, started to study it, and then tried it myself.  I lost 50 lbs in two rounds, I started mid-May, 2011 and was done by the end of September.  I was so happy, but terrified to gain it all back again!  It is while reading hCG forums and reading blogs that I came across the paleo lifestyle.  I realized that phase two of the hCG protocol is very similar to a paleo diet: meat, fruit and veggies.  I decided to give paleo a try.  No calorie counting!

I was going on my first cruise with my daughters, and I thought this would really be a good test!  On the ship, every morning I had a big omelet, with bacon and sausage.  Lunch and supper were meat and veggies.  I passed on all the deserts and our table companions thought I was totally insane.  Returning home, I jumped on the scale and was the exact same weight than when I left!  For the first time in my life, I can eat without gaining weight.  My meals consist of roughly 30% fat, 30% protein and 30% fruits and vegetables.  I have plenty of energy to run a practice, be a mom and do fun activities, such as cycling, hiking and paddle boarding.  I haven’t felt this good in years, and I have a body I am very proud of!

I am a member of the Primal Docs and the Paleo Physician Network.  I am excited to be teaching this lifestyle to my patients.  I am a weight loss coach, and the patients that adhere to paleo have no problems maintaining their goal weight.

I am a mother of 2 girls, 11 and 13. I continued on paleo and cleaned out my pantry in January of this year, and gave my daughters plenty of warning before hand to ease them into it.  I tried my best to get them on board, to do as easy a transition as possible, baking muffins and cookies.  They didn’t like anything that was offered.  The hard part is when they visit their dad.  He eats a SAD diet, so their digestive tracts never have a chance to completely recover.  It is my understanding that there isn’t sufficient evidence that the SAD diet is an addictive diet, but I swear I am observing that fact on a daily basis in my house.

Sadly, after trying to get my teenager and pre-teen on board, I recently had to give up, as the resistance was too much. I take it as a great lesson in letting go and acceptance. I do envy the young paleo parents and I wish I could have known what I know now before they were born.  My 13-year old was recently diagnosed with acid reflux.  I told her that she could either get off gluten, dairy and sugar, or take a drug for it while continuing her current diet.  I also told her that in my practice, patients with GERD (gastro eosophagial reflux disease) recover nearly 100% when they stay away from gluten, dairy and sugar.  She chose the drug.  I can only respect her choice.  My 11-year old suffer from mild asthma, eczema and chronic rhinitis.  On two occasions, she has done a gluten free, dairy free and sugar free diet, and was nearly 80% better after 6 weeks, but she refused to continue with the program.

I will teach by example. I can only wish that my daughters will understand one day, and will be willing to try paleo for themselves.  As for me, my blood pressure has now normalized.  I no longer need to take asthma medication because I do not suffer from asthma symptoms anymore!

I get gratification from happy patients whose lives are turning around once they understand and implement a paleo lifestyle.  My best girlfriend suffers from an autoimmune disease and since starting paleo, she has observed wonderful changes on many levels.  I told her to try it for 30 days only, and she is still eating paleo, several months after.

Finally, I am very grateful for the many paleo blogs and podcasts, filled with great stories and practical information.  I am mostly excited about the new The Paleo View Podcast with Sarah and Stacy! For me, it is a lifeline!

Dr. Lise Maltais is a naturopathic physician based out of Comox, British Columbia, Canada.  You can visit her website at and like her on Facebook!



it is unfortunate that the child of a naturopath physician and walking example of health would chose a pill vs. a natural, dietary solution. this is a glaring example of why it is so hard for people to truly get healthy. it takes a lot of willpower to resist all the outside pressure.

Thanks for sharing that story! It reminds me of my own experiences as an asthmatic and a parent. I no longer need my asthma inhalers which I once relied on for breath. My youngest three children are all eager to “eat paleo” like their parents, but my 3 teen boys are a bit more resistant. For now, they eat paleo meals at home, but a SAD diet for their lunches at school. I am working on educating their minds right now hoping that eventually THEY will be motivated to completely change their diets. So glad to know that I am not the only one facing this.

Lise – I can so relate to your envy of parents that came upon this way of eating when their children were small. I have two daughters 12 and 15. My younger daughter and I have been eating this way for 2 and 1/2 years—but good or bad this was out of necessity. We were experimenting with food eliminations to try to find the trigger to her frequent, debilitating headaches. This way of eating eliminated all possible food triggers so we were sold and my 12 yo daughter has thrived since. My 15 yo is another story. She has always been a tough eater and always severely underweight. When I’ve pushed back on food quality in the past, she’s just stopped eating–to the point where for a while she was classified as moderately malnourished. We have finally reached a truce: She eats an “ok” breakfast (yogurt, French toast, cheddar cheese), buys lunch at school (yuck) and eats a healthy dinner along with the rest of us. She is allowed to drink soda only when she would be the only one not having it (eg out to dinner with cousins). Maybe it’s a matter of maturing, or I’m finally rubbing off on her, but her eating and weight has improved dramatically over the past 6 months. I figure that at the very least she is well educated on how to take charge of her health when/if she finally reaches that point.

Sarah—I have to thank you wholeheartedly for your web site. Your focus on the autoimmune protocol fills a valuable niche in this community. Over the past year, my food sensitivities have rapidly increased and your list of foods helped me identify items triggers that eluded me and helped immensely with chronic pain. (And yes, I gave up coffee two weeks ago!!) I was recently treated for h Pylori, parasites and pathogenic bacterial infections. I am waiting to retest and in the meantime have embarked on the GAPS Intro diet in the hopes of reintroducing foods successfully. Please know that you are helping people and changing lives! Thanks for all that you do.

.Lise encouraged me to eat a paleo diet for one month to see if it would improve my health. That was 6 months ago. I’m still eating paleo, loving it & feeling great! Thanks so much for setting me on this amazing path.

THANK YOU for the brave notion of “letting go”. I find it an extreme challenge to make the right choices for myself even though I have the knowledge. When my teens get angry with me because I didn’t buy milk I feel like a terrible mom. When my husband says he wants to make changes but stops to get a giant Coke I feel like all the thoughtful, home-cooked meals are a waste! For now I will do my best with my own paleo lifestyle and hope to lead by example.

Thanks so much for sharing your story – I have two teenagers as well that will not embrace eating this way. In particular, my 14 year old son has high functioning autism, and severe food sensitivities. I have managed to get him gluten and dairy free, but he hates almost all meat, vegetables and fruit, so it is a challenge to get him fed at all. We depend mostly on gluten free processed foods. He will sit at the table for hours rather than eat whole foods. Sigh. I just want to slap everyone that says kids will not starve and to just keep serving the healthy foods, like I haven’t tried that over and over. Mine would choose to starve, and would choose a pill any day rather than eating gluten free. So my partner and I enjoy the paleo lifestyle immensely for the last year, and follow it almost 100%…but the kids will not. I always wonder if I would have never introduced grains and sugar when they were young…but what can you do. I feel like a failure with them, as my health flourishes 🙁 ALl I can do is hope they will make better choices when they are older by setting an example now.

I have a husband, who despite seeing the good effects of eating clean in his wife, will put no credence into anything that is not conventional wisdom. My children eat much as I eat at home, but I know that they partake of crap foods while they are at school. The best I can do is to educate and to hope that when the bodies youthful forgiveness has worn off, that they have the knowledge of healthy roads.

I can’t tell you how encouraging this article & the comments are. My 3.5 year old son has sensory issues & despite doing Baby Led Weaning with him, and living on a property where we grow our own fruit, vegetables, eggs & some
meat, despite involving him in cooking since forever, despite him having his own veggie patch to tend to – which he does lovingly – he will not allow a fruit or vegetable to pass his lips. He also dislikes most meats. It’s not normal “kids stuff”, it actually causes him emotional distress. We are at the point of saying “This is what is for dinner, it’s ok if you don’t eat it but there’s nothing else.” He ALWAYS chooses to not eat at all. Between meals I offer fruit only. He ALWAYS chooses not to eat at all (with many tears, many “I’m hungries” that make me feel awful). I am so glad to know I’m not alone.

Thank you so much for sharing this story. I also suffered from asthma but am medication free and controlling it through Paleo diet and lifestyle. My son, 13, has allergies and went off gluten and dairy for approx a month with a huge improvement, but it was too hard for him to “eat differently” from his friends and he feels he’s loosing out on too much. He eats predominantly healthy at home and I hope setting a good example will persuade himt to make healthy choices as he grows up. Nevertheless, it is comforting to read about others in similar situations. Thanks for sharing!

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