Stay with me here. What does the Hallmark Channel have to do with health and wellness you say? Well, for me it’s were it all began. Years ago when I was dealing with tendon and nerve pain from the prescription drug interaction (see My Story) some of the doctors I was seeing were still unconvinced that the side effects of the drugs could be the ONLY source of my pain and were continuing to do blood tests to check for other causes. I only had one doctor during this time who truly understood, because he had seen this reaction in others. I did not stop seeing the other doctors (for a time) because my blood work showed I actually did have markers for a couple of autoimmune diseases. So, I was given more drugs. Fairly strong drugs to treat these diseases. At the time, I knew I had a marker for Sjogrens but now it was showing Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis as well. But, logically, with the timing and how it all happened, I knew this was not the cause of my pain and so did my orthopedist. In my search to find someone to help me I saw a chiropractor for a little while who first spoke to me about leaky gut. Even though I ended up leaving that practice to see a surgeon (I have not and did not have any surgeries) regarding my neck and back (see My Story), my appointments there stayed with me. Especially what he said about leaky gut. He explained to me that the Cipro I was given killed EVERYTHING in my gut and that I would need to heal my gut to help with the pain I was experiencing. He did not explain how this actually happen, I learned later that when we eat inflammatory foods and take anti inflammatory medications (like Advil), the lining of our gut becomes broken down and leaky, which leads to food particles being released into our bloodstream, which then our body treats as an invader and creates an inflammatory response.
I was sent to yet another practitioner in this practice who explained best she could about the foods that I could have an intolerance with, not necessarily an allergy to these foods. I was sort of listening. I was SO overwhelmed with pain that I couldn’t really absorb what they were telling me. I didn’t think about it again. A typical day during this time was get up, feel the pain, try to get comfortable, have my mom drive me to my appointments, come home, chat with my mom, have her take care of me, try and get comfortable, go to bed. I was NOT living at all. Like I said in my story, I wasn’t living my life, I was just surviving.
During this time, if I watched TV it was something very low stress. No news or dramas. The Hallmark Channel was a big fav. Happy endings, low stress. So I’m watching their morning show and on comes this woman, Diane Sanfilippo cooking and talking about her book, Practical Paleo. I hear words that sound familiar.. leaky gut, anti-inflammatory, no sugar, etc. My ears perk up. This is what the people at the chiropractors office were trying to explain, but Diane was doing a MUCH better job. As soon as it was over, I grabbed my phone and ordered her book. Within a few days I had finished reading it and immediately made the changes suggested. A lightening bolt moment for sure! It all made perfect sense to me! I changed my diet right then and haven’t looked back. That was three years ago.
If you aren’t familiar with a Paleo diet, for the most part you are to eliminate all processed foods, dairy, sugar, legumes, gluten, grains, soy and unhealthy fats. You then eat whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, eggs, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. So that’s what I did. And boy did I see a change! Most notably, no more stomach pain. I cannot believe how much I tolerated for so long… gas pain, diarrhea (all the time), rashes, acne and thinking it was just “my normal”. No, we can ALL do so much better, and be living so much better. All of those aliments went away completely when I changed my diet. Also, I wasn’t so foggy anymore which I attribute to eliminating gluten. For so many years of my life I was so focused on “low fat”. Everything I ate had to be low fat. I wouldn’t even eat olives in my 20’s because I thought they had too much fat! That is a crazy, warped way of thinking about food. But, it was the 90’s and we were all eating Snackwells thinking we were doing the right thing. Now that I was eating healthy fat and more protein I was no longer starving and reaching for snacks all day. What a great feeling that was! Wow! Eat and be satisfied! And as for my auto immune markers, the last time I saw my Rheumatologist, I was feeling so much better that she did not bother checking my levels because she said “it’s more about how you feel than the numbers we see in your blood work”. And I stopped the medications she gave me LONG ago. So, I haven’t been back in three years. I don’t feel the need to. Especially, since my time there I have learned so much about how diet effects autoimmunity.
I’m not here to tell you Paleo is the only way to go. But a whole foods diet and eliminating processed foods certainly is. Inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases. So, removing inflammatory foods and foods you have a sensitivity to is extremely important. Have you considered changing your diet? Are you looking to make a change for yourself and/or your family? Some of us are Abstainers and some of us are Moderators according to Gretchen Rubin (here she is again! I love her work, so you will see that I mention her often here). I’m an Abstainer. I can’t have “just a little”. That would just make it worse. I need to eat it ALL if I have any of whatever it may be. Abstaining is much easier. Others are Moderators and feel more in control having a little and taking it slow. So think about what would work better for you, jumping right in, or making progressive changes over time. Would you like to make any changes in your diet to improve your overall health? Would would those changes be? And why? It’s so important to know your why. That’s what will keep you on track if you start to struggle with the changes. Keep a post it note in your car, on your bathroom mirror, in the kitchen. Wherever you will see it to remind yourself the reason you’re doing this! My why is I simply don’t ever want to deal with the stomach pain, acne and brain fog again. In addition, because of my possible autoimmune issues, eating anti inflammatory diet will be a way of life for me as to never “kick off” those symptoms. For this week, consider the following:
- Decide what changes you would like to make in your diet.
- Commit to eliminating processed foods and eat only real food. I will be here to cheer you on and give support!
- Know your “why” and place post-it reminders around your house/car to help keep you on track.
- Comment below on how it’s going for you and ask questions! I can’t wait to hear from you!
Have a great week!