My interest in cooking started early, so I’m told. I would stand on my mom’s stool and help bake cookies, every Christmas we would bake up a storm and deliver to our neighbors. Each encounter with baking seeming somewhat therapeutic. My family was what you might consider the standard American diet, but by no means “picky” eaters. We were introduced to vegetables, encouraged to eat plenty of them, etc…
As a kid it seems that your primary goal is to simply eat whatever tastes the best, and avoid the bitter, unpleasant tastes that you so dislike, but one day something changed for me. I remember I was only about 8 years old, but a very simple explanation of healthy eating was presented to me in my home school science class. The description simply stated that when we eat unhealthy foods, they go to our brain and create waste and we don’t feel as well as we should. If we eat healthy food, it goes to our brain and nourishes our bodies and we feel great! This changed my little-kid life! Suddenly I was interested in eating healthy (in my brain this equaled canned chilli on a potato, salads with tons of croutons and cheese with ranch dressing, etc…) and began even preparing my own meals in order to ensure that what was putting the “good food” into my brain.
This interest began in an uneducated, but very inspired little mind and grew into more research mostly motivated (once I reached my teen years) by how I looked. I tried low-calorie, low carb (Atkins), working out, etc… All of these never getting me the dramatic results I was looking for because I just never fell OUT OF LOVE with food. And to me, there were just things I was not willing to give up. Be it emotional safety-blanket, addiction or any combo of the two, I continued to bake and get really good at it too.
Pretty soon I was looked to as somewhat of an authority on the subject of baking in my home and eventually among my friends. I was asked to make almost every birthday cake, called for troubleshooting and asked about substitutions. I was raised a good cook, not just a good baker, but baking certainly is what turns me on. What I loved just as much as baking was eating. The feeling of warm, moist, sweet muffins or gooey chocolate, the smell of the vanilla extract bottle (which I still sniff looking somewhat like a druggie I’m sure lol), I couldn’t get enough!
Well, my perfect metabolism began to fail. I began to retain a little extra around the waist, definitely around the thighs, but this was only a tell-tale sign of something much more deadly underlying. We were blessed with a surprise pregnancy with our daughter, we were scared to death and thrilled to welcome her into the world. About 6 months after her birth we were introduced to the Paleo diet.
Looking to feel and look better after having the baby, we went full throttle into Paleo. I felt great, lost weight, began getting into HIIT workouts where I felt energized and empowered! Something happened though, I am not sure we felt we had a real “reason” to continue the lifestyle, or so we thought. I missed regular baking, I did not really have a support system surrounding me with extended family (you can’t expect everyone to change just because you do!), so it started with excuses like “it’s Christmas, we’ll start back eating healthy after the new year.” So Paleo DID in fact change our education on what healthy can be, but the determination to adopt it as a lifestyle didn’t come until later.
After my daughter was born, we were so happy to be parents we decided we wanted to have another little munchkin and decided to see the doctor to try to get as healthy as possible before trying to get pregnant. Through some blood tests, we discovered that even though there had never been any indicators before, I had developed PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), an insulin resistant disease which can make fertility go bye-bye. I was shocked. Where did this come from? How can we “fix” it? So I began taking medication, but didn’t feel right about it. Eventually I did get pregnant, but ended up losing that sweet baby just before Christmas 2014. Long story short, I realized my body was not healthy. I tend to believe that God made the earth to heal our bodies and that there are answers to our health in the food we eat. I turned to essential oils and healthy eating and soon we welcomed my son into the world.
After the birth of my son, I became anemic, developed leaky gut hard-core and was very near death until we figured it out and started down the road I am now traveling to healing. I spent days at first with panic attacks and depression due to my body’s inability to get enough oxygen. Doctors told me there was nothing wrong with me. I was “dealing with postpartum and it would subside.” My stomach was not absorbing nutrients, my kidneys were failing, my intestine was leaky creating all kinds of autoimmune responses which left me tired….really really tired, gave me bad skin, hair loss, among other things too numerous to mention here. I literally was just trying to make it day-to-day. Until one day through much prayer I cried out to God “just please….show me there is hope of me making it out of this!!” Then the phone rang…it still gives me chills to think of how it happened. It was my OBGYN nurse on the other end telling me there had been a mistake and she had read me OLD blood results and that I needed to follow up on my results with a regular physician. Not consequently, I had scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor who dabbled in NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique). He actually listened to me, began treating me for the numerous food sensitivities I had developed.
Now eating healthy was not an option. I was determined to enjoy my new baby, live normally and feel good again. My old theory was about to be put to the test. I was about to be required to practice what I preach in order to preserve my life.
My husband and I moved for the first time across country and away from our families, found an expert NAET practitioner and went to work getting our bodies healthy. It has been an incredibly educational experience, getting to know my body and its individual needs and sensitivities, retraining it not to reject the healthy foods I was eating. Working with my doctor, he told me he was happy with our choice to pursue, once again, the Paleo lifestyle.
So, the new year came around and we were through most of our treatments and about to start supplements for healing leaky gut, we made a 5-month resolution to eat strict Paleo to the end that we would heal our bodies, gain energy, and once again (or maybe for the first time) enjoy optimum health.
This big commitment looks something like, Organic grass-fed meat, cruciferous veggies + some potatoes, nuts, seeds, fruit and limited organic dairy (I should add here dairy on Paleo is usually a big no-no, but my body responds very well with dairy so I use it in my coffee, but mostly use nut-milks in any other capacity). Oils are coconut and EVOO for our family.
I will be sharing pictures, ideas and chronicling some of that journey here. Go with me, enjoy good food and educate yourself.