“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]
My name is Tricia Arieta, I am a 45 year old mother of 2 young and wonderful children. The thing is without radically shifting my lifestyle, diet and way of thinking my tagline would look a LOT different and I mean a LOT different…
You see, throughout our 20’s and 30’s my husband and I were busy building careers, traveling and were always “that couple” without kids. Sure, we wanted kids, but the answer was always…in a couple years…well, at 36 we moved to Down East Maine to do just that, start a family. I quit my corporate job, got certified as a yoga instructor and bam! at 38 years old I delivered my beautiful baby girl. We continued with our crunchy lifestyle but felt isolated from family so we moved back to Massachusetts and I went back into corporate world. When our baby girl turned 2 we really were thinking about expanding our family. Then, when baby girl entered kindergarten, I turned 43, we knew time was getting short, maternal clock ticking, the whole thing. I was concerned about my ability to conceive and so, I went in to get my “girly” levels checked to see whether it was possible for me to carry another baby……”very unlikely” was the answer….and not only that, but my tests came back, December 2011, and I was diagnosed with not 1, but 2 autoimmune conditions; type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, along with a thyroid level that was also out of whack! My health, in that very instance, became my priority, period.
The prior year 2010 my younger sister unexpectedly passed away and the fragility of life was very close in my mind. I went through yet another grieving process with my own health and life at stake. The year 2012 was filled with fear, anxiety, research and willingness to learn. Ultimately, it was the support of my husband and faith in life that got me through some scary months… I ended up taking a leave of absence from my job so I could figure some things out and take a break…. my mobility was waning…walking was incredibly painful, my hands stopped working normally, the joint pain left me in tears after my husband and daughter were off to work and school. One day I just found myself sobbing on the couch wondering if this is how my life was going to be. At this time, we took a trip back to Maine; I ended up connecting with a dear friend and former yoga student. I confided in her my health issues, as she had herself experienced an MS diagnosis a few years back….she suggested that I look at a video from a Ted Conference by Terry Wahls, all about “Food as thy medicine”; this video then fostered all kinds of other questions and I found that there were other ways of dealing and possibly healing with autoimmune conditions, then somehow, the stars aligned and I found the Ultra Wellness Center in western Massachusetts and as fate would have it, they had a cancellation and could get me in the following Monday. I had the whole workup done on my body, found out that I had SIBO, leaky gut and 18 foods that were triggering an autoimmune response.
The approach was to seal up the gut and get rid of the 18 foods my body didn’t like. Unfortunately, for me, some of the 18 foods happened to be “staples” of life food; wheat, oatmeal, eggs, cheese, milk, pasta, chocolate, beans, soy, quinoa, tapioca, whey, etc. At the time, I was pretty much not eating meat so this new lifestyle was no small task and after researching many approaches from vegan, juicing, GAPs, The Paleo Approach (AIP, autoimmune protocol) was the method that resonated the most for me. Two months after following the advice of this functional medicine approach and incorporating a Paleo Lifestyle, I jogged in a 5k Turkey Trot and in April I participated in a “Ruckus”. My hands and feet were at 90%. I started going to acupuncture and about a month later was not getting the clicking and sticking as I articulated hands and feet—incredible.
With my health coming under control, around Christmas 2012 we started discussing that second baby and decided that adoption was our best bet, provided things continued to go well. In August of 2013, I discovered that we were pregnant. Immediately, I was thrilled at the news and discussed my new found miracle with my functional doctor. With the exception of my husband and myself, I got a lot of resistance from doctors about my approach to eating during pregnancy. I was following The Paleo Approach/AIP (autoimmune protocol) and never felt better. I had learned the prior year, that I really needed to trust myself with my body. I was skeptical at the advice of the Endocrinologist dietician to add processed foods into my diet, isn’t that what got me in trouble in the first place? The rationale was that I was diabetic and pregnant and the baby needed crackers, pasta, potatoes to develop properly, huh? Again, I took that leap of faith and stayed the course, I used The Paleo Approach and Primal Moms as nutritional guides during pregnancy. Physically, I walked in nature and practiced yoga. I connected with friends and spent time with my family. My nourishment requirements changed as I experienced insulin resistance, and increased insulin usage. I ate a lot of bone broths and chicken soup. I gained a total of 35 pounds, down from the 55 pounds I gained with my daughter. I opted for a csection, as my daughter was emergency csection and I did not want to chance going through that again, not fun! During my hospital stay, the nurses really thought I was crazy as I brought in a cooler packed with chicken bone broth soup and rice (one grain that I do well with and did not end up my forbidden list). I did request gluten-free meals, but often they came with a roll, so I was glad that I brought some from home. My recipe for pre-natal healing the body was minimal processed foods, and a modified AIP/Paleo Approach. At this stage I still have not tried re-introducing any of the forbidden 18 foods. On March 21, 2014 our precious son was born. At six weeks post partum, I lost 30 pounds, almost back to pre-pregnancy weight. But most importantly our baby is thriving, happy and gorgeous.
Our family was blessed with two miracles and we could not be more grateful. At this moment, I am 3 months post partum, and contemplating how to transition my newborn to solid foods using the Paleo Approach/AIP (autoimmune protocol). Food has been a passion of mine throughout life and learning how to unlock its potential has been the most fascinating walk I have taken. My goal is twofold, to continue learning how to stay on my path of healing and second, to share my story with others so that they too, can feel the hope and support that got me through this amazing journey. I recently finished my certification course as a Holistic Health Consultant, so who knows where my path will lead, but, for now, I will continue to write about my post partum experience and connect with others that are doing Paleo with their families and young children. Ghandi says “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and am thrilled to be actualizing this in my own life, I do wish to see healing, one person at a time. Blessings and be a rock star in your own life!!
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.