Why I choose Paleo for my Family

29 Oct

by Rachele J. ♥

By now I’m sure you have heard of the diet craze over eating “Paleo” aka the hunter/gatherer diet, Paleolithic, primal diet, and a few other crazy names on the internet … But do you really know what this means? Simply, it means to eat as close to the primal source as possible and do the best you can to imitate the way our hunter/gatherer ancestors would have ate. It has been proven that our primal ancestors were healthier, had much less incidence of diseases, and lived a higher quality of life than we are experiencing in our modern day, sedentary lives. This style of living removes all inflammatory food such as grain, legumes, dairy and processed sugar that can mess with everything from your digestion to hormones. Paleo focuses on eating high quality, nutrient rich, and unprocessed foods. My good friend Meg wrote a recent post about why she chooses not to follow this way of eating, and she brought up some great points that I urge you to also read. I wanted a chance to express my experience with going Paleo and I how I feel it has been the best lifestyle change for my family.

In my opinion, food crops have been so dramatically altered over the past few decades and our digestion has not evolved fast enough to process these foods.  My friends, I hate to break it to you, but grains and dairy today are not the same foods your grandparents ate! And it just so happens that grains and dairy are the top genetically modified foods to keep costs low and production rampant.

Now, I am not going to get into the science behind this way of eating, as that is much better left to the true experts out there (and there are plenty!). I will give the disclaimer now…. I am not a health professional who is prescribing this as YOUR only answer to health, or claiming this will save all of mankind. I am just a true believer in this way of living and have witnessed it firsthand help A LOT of people battling with health issues, or just running low on energy each day. The science was well written in my go to book “The Paleo Solution”, by Robb Wolf. He is a brainiac chemist, who explains is hilarious detail, why this is an ideal model of health to follow. Robb comes from a chemistry background (Chico State grad, so you know he’s cool), so he can lay out the “why” for all of you who need those fun details. Robb has saved thousands of lives through his book and my husband happens to be one of them!

Which finally brings me around to the point of why I choose Paleo for my family… Just about 2 years ago my very healthy and fit husband and I went on a trip to Mexico celebrating 30th bday. While on the trip, my husband came down with a bug of some sort and became very ill. His illness did not subside upon our return home, so he did what most people would do and saw our doctor. Hearing that we just got back from Mexico, our doctor decided against running any tests and just threw my husband on a slew of antibiotics to take over the next 2 month. In the meantime my husband was getting worse, had millions of tests run and still nothing came up pin pointing the issue…so more antibiotics he got! Long story short; fast forward a few more agonizing months, thousands of dollars on medical bills, countless doctor visits, and more tests run than a lab rat, PLUS the removal of his gallbladder – and we thought we must be in the clear!! But nope, still not better. Once again, he was put on more meds, diagnosed with the ever-so- popular-doctor code for “I have no idea what’s wrong”, IBS, and told he was probably just thinking all of his symptoms up. Not ONCE was he told maybe what he was eating could be affecting his health and believe me, we asked all the time! We played around ourselves with removing dairy from the diet, with taking just gluten out and certain other food groups, but nothing really seemed to help the digestive issues he was experiencing. The digestive issues, then led into arthritis type pain, trouble sleeping, overall fatigue, and a few other strange symptoms we now blame on a “leaky gut”. Leaky gut, in laymen’s terms, is where there is a breach in your digestive system that causes toxins to start leaking into your body and almost start poisoning you. The final straw for us to make a change came when the doctor tried to up his meds again because they were no longer working. We finally said there has to be another way- another way of dealing with this, besides just loading up on antacids and other prescription medicine which all come with terrible side effects. That’s when we found Robb’s book, and our life changed in such a profound way. Within a few days of removing all grains (not just gluten), his arthritis type pain started going away. He could eat without feeling terrible discomfort and sleep was finally happening again. All of this from FOOD! REAL FOOD!! It took a good few months to fully heal, but each day was better than the last. He slowly stopped taking all medicine over the first few weeks and now is 100% off of any medicine, both over the counter and prescription!!

I have always thought of us as” healthy”, but I now realize that low fat chicken breasts, Subway “whole” grain sandwiches, low fat greek yogurt and egg whites aren’t always the best choices. This health debacle all happened while I was pregnant, and instead of eating cheese laden pizza in front my husband, I decided to be a stellar wife and support him with this Paleo thing. I had my misconceptions from the beginning thinking it was just a fad, a CrossFit thing and a diet loaded with bacon and fat. Was I ever wrong! I jumped right in and finished my pregnancy feeling great and energized! I never experienced swelling, heartburn or any other weird pregnancy side effects I’ve seen so many others go through. Since having our daughter, I have continued to feel energized, got right back into teaching fitness, and the baby weight fell right off. The thing that mattered most to me was not losing the weight, but that I had ENERGY to raise my family and have fun doing it! I am so thrilled to raise my daughter to enjoy the taste of real food and learn what works best for her. Even our dog is eating Paleo and thriving! I now enjoy cooking and feel so much accomplishment putting out food that helps us feel great and stay in prime health.

So, I am not telling you that you must be Paleo or you are going to live a miserable life.  But I am saying if you experience any of the following, you may want to give it a try for just 30 days and see how you feel: GI Issues, heart burn, hormonal imbalances, arthritis pain, asthma, skin irritation such as Eczema, acne, anxiety, low energy levels, thyroid issues or are just looking for a change. Eating Paleo means removing all of the inflammatory food in your diet and feasting on healthy fats, lean and wild meats/seafood, nuts, fruit veggies and tubers. Too much inflammation in the body will cause it to not function properly. By removing these inflammatory foods, you are freeing up the body to run as well oiled machine the way nature intended. It also means getting adequate sleep, managing stress, exercising and getting some sun. It is a complete lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You shop the perimeter of the store and do the best you can! You try and eat food that doesn’t need a label, or where you can pronounce and understand what is in it. Don’t tell the Paleo police, but after my husband healed himself, we have been able to incorporate back some high quality organic dairy, organic corn and the occasional serving of sushi rice. We choose to live gluten free all of time and Paleo as much as we can. It is not as black and white as you may think and more about finding the best food to fuel your body and keep you feeling, looking and performing your best.

If you are still reading this, I thank you for giving me a chance to put out the other side of what “Paleo” is to my family. As much pain as we went through over that year battle with health, it was a blessing in disguise. So many people are battling with being sick and just take it as a normal part of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Food can be your most powerful medicine or your strongest form of poison! We have now found optimal health for “us”, and have been able to help so many others save the endless doctor visits and stress of not feeling well. You can find great recipe ideas all over the web or at my Facebook page. Don’t focus on what you can’t have, but rather all the amazing, real food you can now feast on!

-Rachele

Rachele

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