“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 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 email my team at [email protected]
Although I have never gotten a specific diagnosis I have had health issues my entire adult life. For the most part I have been able to function normally. I have become highly adept at hiding my health problems. Perhaps if I knew what I had it would have been easier to share with others. But I never had the language, or perhaps the courage to tell people what I was really going through.
I had a very sensitive stomach growing up. In my family it was called a “Jewish stomach” and it was just accepted that there was nothing to be done about it. Many people in my family have digestive issues (in addition to mental health problems) so it wasn’t unusual for me. It got worse and worse through high school and my mother expressed concern about my taking so much Pepto-Bismol but there was never a mention about getting medical help.
My digestive issues got severe in college. I assume it was the easy access to unhealthy food in addition to being on birth control pills. Looking back I realize I needed medical intervention. I also started experiencing deep levels of depression and anxiety. I started over sleeping during this time—one time sleeping 22 hours straight.
My twenties were a happy time for me. I met my husband, became a Reiki Master and had a rewarding job in child welfare. I started exercising for the first time in my life—belly dancing and doing yoga. At the same time I was hungry all the time (a sign of gluten sensitivity) and was gaining a lot of weight. Too much for my small frame. In addition, I was a lot more tired than a twenty something should be. My future husband was very understanding, as I would need to sleep as soon as Friday night came.
By my early thirties I was happily married and pregnant. My pregnancy was awful and I knew by my second trimester I would not be having more children. After I had my daughter I suffered severe post-partum depression. I was deeply suicidal and was close to checking myself into a hospital. I so clearly remember the night that I almost threw myself in front of a car. I am not exaggerating how bad it was. One can’t know the depths of depression until you go through it. It was at this time that I lost my faith in God and in my ability to help myself with Reiki. I finally went on an anti-depressant and was okay enough not to be hospitalized. I now realize all these years later that if I was on the Paleo Approach/AIP (autoimmune protocol) most of this could have been avoided.
When my daughter was three I came down with a bad flu. A flu so bad that I would collapse on my way to the bathroom. This illness lasted a year. I was pretty much bedridden and I’m not sure how I managed to take care of my daughter with no family around and very limited daycare. When I managed to drag myself to the doctor she told me she found nothing wrong in my blood work and to go home and rest. (Not the first or only time I heard this!)
I started functioning a lot better by the time my daughter was four. It was at this time that I connected with an Intuitive that told me I had a gluten, dairy, peanut, yeast and mold sensitivity. This had never occurred to me. I started feeling better within a few days. But better is relative. I was still exhausted, had digestive issues, had depression, anxiety and was getting sick all the time.
It was also around this time a Rabbi and his wife reached out to me. Their love, non-judgment and quiet understanding pulled me out of the darkest period of my life. I will never forget the time my dear friend Miryum brought chicken soup to me when I was watching my daughter on the playground. I didn’t realize how isolated I was and how much I needed someone to take care of me. My husband was working so hard and also taking care of my daughter all weekend so I could rest. The way they took me in was very healing to me. I started having faith again.
Although I was exhausted and often ill I started developing intense psychic abilities. It felt ungrounding at times but also very exciting for me. I began to see my purpose in life and was learning how to help others in deep and lasting ways. I started a practice as an Intuitive. As I helped others I was also learning how to better take care of myself.
On my 40th birthday I saw a naturopath for the first time. It was an excellent gift to give myself, husband and daughter. It was enormously helpful and continues to be.
Although the naturopath was incredibly supportive, I was still not well. I started having big hormonal fluctuations and felt exhausted often. I was still getting sick a lot although I would recover more quickly.
I never imagined myself as someone with autoimmune issues but as soon as I read about Paleo Approach/AIP (autoimmune protocol) I knew it would help me. Around the time I started reading the book I got a severe intestinal illness. It was incredibly painful and I was miserable. I was so ill that I told my husband that we had better not make any future plans for the foreseeable future.
After about a month of that illness I went on the Paleo Approach/AIP (autoimmune protocol) in addition to a low FODMAP diet. It was pretty extreme but I was willing to do whatever it took. I started feeling better rapidly and after a couple of weeks I felt healthier than I have been since I was a young child.
I continue to have so much energy, amazing digestion and feel so happy! I no longer have any of the health issues that plagued me. Instead of sleeping all weekend I am able to spend time with my husband and daughter. I now plan activities and actually do these activities! I joined a laughter club and am belly dancing, doing Pilates, yoga and rebounding on my trampoline.
I was able to incorporate many foods back into my diet but still need to be very careful. I sometimes do wish I could go out and have drinks with my friends but it’s not worth it for me. Instead I am finding other outlets –and I have a great time with my friends anyway.
We learned this past year that my daughter is sensitive to gluten as well. I am incredibly grateful we discovered it at a young age. I cried when I read the dedication in The Paleo Approach book: “…may my knowledge compensate for my genetics to break the cycle”.
That is why I feel to passionate about sharing my story-may our knowledge break the cycle.
Could you use some expert 1-on-1 support to get your health back on track?
ThePaleoMom Consulting is a mechanism for you to get the support and customization that you need to be successful in your health journey. My nutrition and health consultants see clients from anywhere in the world, and services range from a simple single session (for you to ask questions that don’t require a complete review of your history) all the way to a Six-Month Transitions package geared to support you every step of the way. ThePaleoMom Consulting also offers functional medicine evaluations. If you’ve hit a roadblock and are doing everything right, this can be a very powerful way to figure out what the missing piece is.
For more information or to book a FREE 10-minute informational consult with any consultant, see the bios section of ThePaleoMom Consulting website. Can’t figure out who you want to talk to? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you figure that out.