Monday, March 4, 2013

"How a Caveman Saved This 21st Century Woman"

This is a story I asked my cousin-in-law to share with the world via my wildly popular blog.  I feel stories like these are the real reason for the success of paleo and/or primal.  People are sick, people try paleo, people get drastically better, people make their success story available to the world via the internet, and doctors are dumbfounded.  I have to thank Bridget for taking the time to write this and for being so open about what she has worked very hard to overcome.  Anyways, here it is, feel free to pass it on:

Chuck has asked me to share my story of how eating like a caveman has changed my life.  I have put it off because I didn’t think I could fully encapsulate my transformation into a single post.  I can’t even say it’s a totally new me, but a return to the old me I thought was all but lost.

About six years ago, I remember Chuck talking about some websites he had read and how he thought thet could really make a difference in my particular situation. He knew I was struggling with infertility due to PCOS. He mentioned something about eating like our ancestors ate and how grains were actually bad for our bodies. He cited research, to which I remember quickly dismissing and throwing out the line, “Well if they’re so bad for us, why do they make up the base of our food pyramid?”  Chuck just smiled and didn’t say another word. However, I do recall him pulling out a glucometer and checking my blood glucose level one morning (which happened to be over 200 before I ate breakfast).

Well, the years passed and my list of anomalies grew.  I had Hashimoto’s (for which half of my thyroid was removed), I went through unsuccessful infertility treatments that resulted in an ectopic pregnancy and the loss of one of my fallopian tubes, severe eczema, uterine polyps (that had to be surgically removed twice) and I was hospitalized for hemiplegic migraines.  These migraines caused me to have all the symptoms of a stroke. I was 35, I felt like I was 70 and I thought I might be going insane.  I hardly had enough energy to work.  I was taking multiple medications daily and worse than anything was how different my mind felt. Due to the type of migraines I had, I felt like I was losing myself…losing who I was. My lowest point was the day I had taken 11 pills and 2 shots for my migraines, and still did not feel relief.  To say I was a train wreck was putting it mildly.

I contacted Chuck and let him know that I was going to finally give this Paleo thing a try.  But, I wasn’t giving up my multi-grain toast with peanut butter for breakfast.  I would do it my way.  Again, my dear cousin-in-law smiled and sent me The Paleo Solution and that Blood Glucose Monitoring System we had played around with six years ago. 

Well, I devoured the book.  I couldn’t read it fast enough.  It was as though Robb Wolf had personally written it for me.  I felt as though he were literally speaking to me. (Who knows, I was on so many meds at that time, it could have been a hallucination, but I swear he called me by name.)

On July 1, 2012, I dove head first into the Paleo life-style and haven’t looked back since.  Within two weeks (yes, 14 days), I immediately felt a difference.  I hadn’t had to take my reactionary migraine medication one time. And, energy, by God I had energy again.  It was almost as though I were on speed!  I felt almost super-human.  Also, my blood glucose level was staying between 90-100 all day long.   And, most importantly, I felt like the true Bridget was coming back.  For the first time in years, I felt like I was finally beginning to be me again.

I used all the resources I could get and Chuck was definitely my number one resource.  I would text him specific foods with a question mark and he would respond yes or no. I asked about grocery shopping, recipes, ways to cut costs, anything and everything that came to my mind and he would answer all of my questions and more.  I think having him as my support system made all of the difference in the world.

A few weeks ago I went to my endocrinologist for my yearly check-up (she handles my PCOS and thyroid issues).  She couldn’t get over the weight I had lost (over 20 pounds), how amazing my thyroid numbers were and how energetic I was.  I told her I owed it all to my Paleo life-style.  She said I was doing so well I no longer needed to see her.  My family doctor could handle my synthroid prescription and she wished me well.  I hope I didn’t offend her for giving so much credit to this diet.  Regardless of the reason, that is one less doctor I need to see now.

Well, at the beginning of this post I said I wanted to be succinct.  And believe it or not, this is succinct for me.  Thanks to our ancestors and the diet they started well over 10,000 years ago, I have found myself again.  Actually, I’m even better than that woman I had longed to be again for so many years. Who would have thought that a caveman would be the key to finding myself in the 21st century?


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's Consider "Essential Nutrient Density"

Mathieu Lalonde is a charismatic and intelligent chemist studying and teaching at Harvard.  He decided to analyze almost 8,000 foods based on their essential nutrients.  Let's go to the trusty Wiki for a definition:  
An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that either cannot be synthesized by the body at all, or cannot be synthesized in amounts adequate for good health (e.g. niacin, choline), and thus must be obtained from a dietary source.
So basically he set out to measure what foods are really important for us to be eating on a frequent basis.  Our bodies are amazing and we have many mechanisms for survival.  But we cannot survive let alone thrive without these nutrients only available to us via food.  So this talk can get very sciencey but he has an engaging way of presenting.  Enjoy.

I understand if you don't want to or have the time to watch the full presentation.  Skip to here for the "surprise" ending.  Bottom line is when food nutrition is analyzed in an intelligent and methodical manner, it appears that maybe we've been duped about nturient values for a long time.  It would be really interesting to see the result  of analyzing pasture raised animal products.  I seriously doubt the USDA data included that.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Eating for Optimal Performance

I frequently post stories on athletes eating to optimize their performance.  I wonder, why is fuel for daily performance only important for athlete's?  Most of us are professional's at something.  We have personal lives that also need to be considered.  We all perform in different ways all day, every day.  Why shouldn't everyone optimize their diet for optimal performance?  Is your diet optimized?  Is your health optimized?  Is your performance optimized?


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It is Amazing....

I have been reading about this stuff for almost 7 years now.  I am amazed to see the tide turning.  I didn't think it would happen so soon but this sort of information is now popping up everywhere.  It certainly isn't because we are hearing it from our doctors.  The internet has spread this information and made many take it seriously a lot faster than I thought possible.


A New Way to Explain Healthy Eating....

I kinda like this presentation.  Nice, easy analogies.  Over the years, I have seen many ways to describe how to eat healthy.  Many are redundant but this seemed new to me.  Oh well, you never which message is going to resonate with someone.  


Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Do They Make It So Difficult?

Slow-Carb Menu: Power Sustaining EnergySlow-Carb Menu: Power Sustaining Energy

Even before I stopped eating bread, I wasn't a huge fan of Panera Bread's food.  Sure, their bagels that are so popular seemed to be freshly made.  Their lunch and dinner menus just seemed to be pre-made and shipped from some warehouse.  They may not have been but that is how it seemed to me.  I literally have not eaten at one of those places in years.  

Panera has added some pretty decent options to their offereings.  I think one of two things have happened at the braintrust at Panera.  Someone in corporate realized the bread and pasta they are selling really isn't all that healthy.  Or they realized there is a growing population of consumers who have learned that bread and pasta is not the panacea of a healthy diet.  I strongly suspect it is the latter.  The low carb, paleo, Wheat Belly diets have cut into their bottom line and they needed to react to boost revenue.

The weird part is they are keeping quite about these new offerings:
"Panera's "off-the-menu" dishes offer nourishing options that make sticking to New Year's resolutions simple. All of these meal selections are an excellent source of protein and contain limited processed carbs. But you won't find these items on banners in our cafes, or even on the menu board.
Here's how you get the dishes -- just tell one of our associates that you're ordering from the "Hidden Menu", and they'll take care of it from there."
As I look at the new dishes, they appear to be pretty damn good options for a place with the word "bread" in it's name.  I suspect this is why they are being so secretive about it.  I think their marketing gurus know this is contradictory to the core of their business.   I wonder how this conversation went.  "Sure, we now have these great options but they are low margin.  We cannot distract our customer's from the high margin items that they are so addicted to.  Besides, we don't want people asking us questions about whether bread is healthy or not."  

Oh well, baby steps I guess.


Thursday, January 10, 2013