Lots of people have questions about the Paleo Diet. It’s pretty hot right now. In this lens, I will share my experience with it and let you make your own decisions. This is by no means a definitive source, but it will give you an idea of what the day to day experience is. My life has changed dramatically, and I think there are a lot of people out there that could benefit from eating and living this way. This is my lighthearted story of how Paleo has affected me.
Not Sure What Paleo Is?
When I turned 17, I began feeling like crap. Quite literally, actually, but I’ll spare you the gory details. Long story short, I was originally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Feel free to Google it, I’ll wait… Not so much fun. I went to several specialists, spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and it was finally determined that I am allergic to all of the traditional medications they treat this disease with. Tired of feeling worse from the treatment than I did from the disease, I quit going to doctors and kind of gave the entire situation a giant middle finger.
That attitude really doesn’t work when you have a chronic illness. Several years later I ended up back in the hospital quite ill, and got a new diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I found a new doctor and a new medication, Humira. I can gladly say that this doctor was different and so was this drug. I have been in remission for 5 years, which is pretty sweet. However, I became 90 lbs. overweight (the only foods I tolerated even with treatment are high fat and high sugar), had chronic headaches, sinusitis, and worsening allergies. That doesn’t fly very well for an active horse girl like me. I had never been allergic to horses quite as severely as I have been the last few years, and during hay season I live in a perpetual Benedryl Fog. So pretty much, I still felt like crap, but it was metaphorical now. I needed to find a way to change that, and it seemed like diet was a good place to start.
About 3 months ago, I was introduced to the Paleo Diet. I thought “Super, another well marketed eating plan that will have me chained to the bathroom.” However, desperate to feel more like a human being and less like a slug, I decided to give it a go. I called my doctor, told him my plan, and he gave it two thumbs up. I was a little surprised about that because it seemed a little extreme. I’m no stranger to the bathroom, and I had a lot of reading to catch up on so I decided to give it the good ol college try. I bought an economy pack of Quilted Northern Bath Tissue, and a whole bunch of organic food and exotic sounding things like Red Palm Oil.
The first week I was a complete beast to hang around with. No sugar of any kind. Anyone who doesn’t believe that sugar is a drug, try going off of it cold turkey and then we’ll talk. I was getting terrible headaches (worse than usual), and I felt like I was going to die. I have a feeling my friends and family kind of wanted me to at this point as well, I was moody and cranky too. I was breaking out all over the place, and my hair was an absolute oil slick. This was simply my body learning how to live without refined sugar and triple cheese burgers. I should also mention, that it did not trigger my digestive system or cause a Chron’s flare up; this was a huge surprise to me.
After my initial Hell Week, which I now understand just about every one goes through when they start Paleo, I felt really weird for me. Like, “Hey, do you want to go for a hike today?” or “You know what sounds fun? Swimming!” and “Do you think we should remodel the kitchen?” I had energy like I hadn’t experienced since high school. My skin started clearing up, and my hair turned into something better than my normal. In fact, I call this my new normal since it’s been this way for two months now. I haven’t adopted an exercise plan of any sort, but I now do things just because they sound fun. I have also lost 15 lbs in the last two months. I realize that most of that was water weight, but I did it without starving myself or counting calories. In fact, the only reason I know I lost that weight is because the nurse mentioned it at my last Dr. appointment. I had to go home and find a scale to look at and see if it was true.
So far, my experience with this diet has made me want to stay on it. After the initial weirdness of eating foods that I wasn’t necessarily familiar with or fond of, I can’t imagine going back to my old way of eating. There are thousands of good recipes to try, and tons of good information on how to start and stay on this diet. While I don’t try to convert people to it, since everyone has got to find their own way in this world, I don’t mind sharing my experience with others.