Today’s testimonial comes from a local Paleo friend, Cindy Young. We are both part of the NOLA Paleo group, and she has begun to write a wonderful blog as well. Read to find out how she came to find food as a form of healing.
Two years ago my Grandfather passed away from pancreatic cancer, my friend passed away from breast cancer, and another was diagnosed with a brain tumor. All of these health tragedies made me step back and examine my life and the way I lived. I thought there must be something causing all of these health issues in people younger than ever before. As I researched I came upon a whole different realm of medicine called holistic or functional medicine. It intrigued me to think of the body as one whole system working together. Instead of masking symptoms with medicines I started to look at the root cause of some of my own health issues including: chronic allergies, gastric reflux, dermatitis, and headaches. I decided to start with my diet.
At that time, I ate a low fat “healthy” diet, but was never satisfied with my food. I ate pre-packaged, convenience foods regularly. I worked out, but never had the energy I wanted. I took allergy shots for ten years and medicines, but I was only masking the symptoms. I started with a real food challenge from 100daysofrealfood.com. I worked my way through the weekly challenges and started noticing changes in my energy. After removing processed foods from my diet for three months I no longer suffered with allergies. I was amazed I could feel so well. I no longer needed to take any prescription medicines.
I kept researching and learning all I could about where our food comes from and where to find quality, nutrient dense food for me and my family. I decreased my sugar intake and increased my good fats. Eating high quality fats was a game changer for me. After changing over to a whole foods diet, I read Wheat Belly. This book convinced me to take gluten out of my diet for a period of time to see how it affected my health. My energy soared; I quickly lost weight without ever being hungry, and no more headaches, reflux, or dermatitis. When one decides to go gluten free it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to learn where gluten is hiding, and to adjust to the lifestyle.
I stumbled onto the paleo movement because I’m a real “foodie, “ and I was looking for yummy, gluten free recipes. The paleo/primal community is a great place to find recipes that are more satisfying than what you ate before. I followed a strict paleo diet for 3 months to allow my gut to heal. The paleo diet is a great way to help your body return to a state of balance. Once you have found that balance, you then need to play around with the diet to see what works for you. Strict paleo may be too low carb for you on a long term basis. Maybe you need occasional potato, rice, an extra sweet potato, or fruit. Only you know your body, and if you listen it will tell you the nutrition it needs. Paleo is a great place for people with food sensitivities to find recipes that don’t make you feel deprived in any way.
If going paleo seems to extreme for you, I would suggest following these small steps: give up all processed foods (anything that has ingredients listed that you can’t pronounce), no vegetable or hydrogenated oils, sleep 7-8 hours every night, move your body on most days (walking, yoga, weight lifting), drink plenty of water, practice deep breathing, and make time for spiritual practice. Eat quality foods 80% of the time, and your body will be able to handle 20% of not being perfect. These small changes can make a huge impact on your health. Don’t try and do it all at once, take baby steps and each week you will see improvements. Start today, don’t wait for your next “Monday” this is a lifestyle not a diet. Try it for a month and see if it works for you, your body will thank you.
If you would like more information on these baby steps and where to find local, nutrient dense foods please check out my blog at www.youngandnourished.com.