Since beginning our Paleo journey this summer, Erin and I have been asked any number of questions that range, if I’m being honest, from philosophical to far too personal; so, in the interest of getting to know you better, Lovelies, we thought we’d answer a few of the in-betweeners for you.
Ah, but there’s a catch! (You know I’m an educator, right? There’s always a catch–I can’t help it). We’d L-O-V-E love you, yes YOU, to answer the same questions for us in our “Comments” section. It’s there, so why not use it?!?!
Here we go.
Actually, sorry, before we start, please imagine either an incredibly handsome man or an insanely beautiful woman interviewing us, whichever you prefer. (Why, you ask? Because it will undoubtedly take your attention off of us!) Oh, and give him or her an accent–whatever makes your ears sing is just fine! Decided? Okay….
Here we really go!
Imaginary Interviewer of Your Choosing: Sisters, deciding to follow a primal diet is a controversial topic in some circles. What initially attracted you to the Paleo Lifestyle? And, how did you explain your decision to your families?
Sister #1: Oh, controversial isn’t the word! My family put me through the ringer on this one–lovingly, but still. Under the advice of a medical professional, I had been following a whole-foods, plant-based diet for nearly a year when my health started to deteriorate. I was exhausted to the point of having difficulty waking in the morning. I would sleep through my husband rising and showering in the morning, and then he would have to call me four or five times to make sure that I didn’t sleep through all three of my alarms. I was irritable, moody, and my hair was thinning at an alarming rate. I hadn’t had my period in quite some time (not abnormal with PCOS), and I was gaining weight almost as quickly as I was breaking-out in cystic, jaw-line acne. When I finally had blood work done, I discovered that my triglycerides were over 700, my total cholesterol was 205, my fasting blood sugar was 105, and that I had slipped into hypothyroidism. I decided that it was time for a change.
I spoke with a new doctor (Dr. Mc) who asked me to reflect on when I had felt the best in my life. My own answer shocked me: I had felt my best consuming a low-carb diet recommended to me by an endocrinologist while trying to conceive my children. A high-fat, meat-eating, low-carb diet, with plenty of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits, as well. Dr. Mc encouraged me to follow a similar pattern of eating to once again control my PCOS and triglycerides and to boost my thyroid function; however, I did not want to add dairy back into my diet. And meat. I had grown sympathetic to the images of horrible slaughterhouses and sick animals being cruelly treated; I was crusading to save innocent animals’ lives by eating rice, soy, wheat, corn, quinoa, millet, and oats–the very foods that were sky-rocketing my triglycerides with their high carb content and threatening my well-being and longevity. I was certainly conflicted about making what I felt was a hypocritical decision to eat meat again. I did some research, though, and then recalled that a high school friend had posted about her family’s wonderful successes eating “The Paleo Diet” on Facebook.
When I quickly scanned her Facebook page, she and her family looked absolutely radiant. Health poured out of them like sunshine, which was so unlike what I saw when I looked in the mirror after an entire year of eating whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, green juice, nuts, seeds, & legumes. (Healthy stuff, right!?!?!?! Who knew it was not the right diet for me?!?!?!?) I was immediately attracted to the obvious benefits of Paleo, so I reached out to her, and she graciously shared her knowledge with me–which I immediately passed on (because I wouldn’t shut-up about it for two seconds) to Erin…who, luckily, was equally excited by the possibilities!
Once I had Erin on board, the rest of my family fell-into Paleo-mode quite easily and without much convincing, but they let loose their fair share of ribbing (they are happy to be enjoying those again) to be sure! And, now, I am happy to say that my children (ages 6 and 8) will freely articulate the benefits that they feel by living grain- and dairy-free and mostly sugar-free.
Sister #2: Ok…. How to tell you about me without writing a 300 page biography…Ever since I was about thirteen I have suffered with Vaccine-Induced Systemic Lupus.
“Vaccine Induced?” you ask.
Yes, it is exactly that.
Without naming names, I was part of a pharmaceutical study and my lucky end-result was Lupus. So, instead of throwing my hands up in the air and waving the white flag after I’ve had several vials of blood sucked out of my body every six months for the past 15 years, been examined repeatedly by seven medical specialists, filled innumerable prescriptions, and endured multiple other health issues spawned from Lupus, I have decided that I want to be the healthiest I can be.
Nikki shared with me The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf which explains in great detail how autoimmune deficiencies and diseases can be healed and/or controlled by following a primal diet. That is important to me, especially now that I have a baby girl whom I was told I would NEVER HAVE (due to Lupus, of course)!
My husband may think I am crazy for changing my diet yet again (and that’s fine with me, after all we are all a little ‘mad’), but he is supportive and will join me in this second major dietary change in my life’s adventure. Going gluten-free when we learned I was celiac was hard….so, going Paleo should be a cinch!
Imaginary Interviewer (don’t forget to add the sexy accent): So, it sounds like you both are primarily drawn to the Paleo Lifestyle for the health benefits. Do you have any goals concerning your health, such as improvements that you’d like to see?
Sister #2: Aside from the obvious, here is my lovely list of medical drama that I hope to dismiss from my life by going Paleo:
- Chronic Migraines
- Celiac (at least heal my insides)
Plus, I would love to not have to spend over 3k on blood work every 6 months. AND I would love to never have to see the pharmacy again! I would also like to lose a little excess weight (who wouldn’t?) and just feel better!
You know, my family is my life. I am a Mother and a Wife; I love my Great Dane, Astro, who is like a small pony, and my fat cat ,Yoda; I’m a photographer; I run two Direct Sales businesses–Thirty-One Gifts & Origami Owl; I love philanthropy. I plan on Paleo helping me keep myself as healthy as possible so that I don’t leave this world before I am ready to, like so many people with Lupus do.
Sister #1: My first goal is to just be a good example for my children. I want to be healthy for them. I want them to see me making healthy choices, being active, participating in family adventures without physical ailments or limitations. Right now they are learning how to navigate this crazy world, and there are so many unhealthy options out there. I want to see them grow into individuals who are strong enough to think for themselves when it comes to health and nutrition and not confuse the SAD’s colorful boxes and appealing characters with what will actually best serve their bodies and minds.
For myself, I’ve already seen an improvement in my weight, my skin, my PCOS symptoms, and my energy levels, so I’ll be happy to have the benefits I’m already experiencing continue. I will be having some blood work done in the near future to check my triglycerides, total cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, etc. I look forward to marked improvement in all areas!
Imaginary Interviewer: Is there anything else either of you would like to add about yourselves or your Paleo journeys?
Sister #2: There are some things I think we both hope Paleo helps us avoid….. following in our father’s footsteps, for sure! He has suffered a heart attack, endured quintuple bypass surgery, had a stroke, has type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism (used to be hyper), and a bunch of other health issues.
Also, my daughter is only 5 months old and starting to venture into foods, which is a fun, messy experience! Will I have her eat the Paleo way? OF COURSE! Why wouldn’t I want to give her the best and healthiest start to life?! Right now we do the organic baby foods, and I will be getting the Baby Bullet to provide her with her first meats when she is ready. (The meat in a jar thing just doesn’t sit well. Where does that stuff even come from–ew!) Also, she has a chance of having an auto-immune disorder just like me, and that is one feature of mine I hope she doesn’t get!
So, look for adventures in Bebe Paleo from me!
Sister #1: I totally agree with Erin. Our Dad has joined us in eating whole, organic vegetables, fruits, grass-fed, wild-caught, or pasture raised foods, and has already noticed a difference in his blood sugar levels. If he had discovered this way of eating sooner, perhaps he could have minimized or avoided so many of his health concerns. I’m proud of him for taking control of his health through diet. It is a major accomplishment for anyone to just begin reclaiming that power.
I also feel it necessary to say that finding what works for your body is important and, sometimes, difficult. Choosing the Paleo Lifestyle is a very emotionally charged decision, downright polarizing, really. I have vegan friends who feel very strongly for the animals I have once again started eating, and probably harbor some disdain for my return to the knife. I understand that. However, this was not a decision made lightly after little consideration. It was a decision based on what dietary choices were correct for my own health and the health of my family. I accept and respect that this lifestyle may not be for everyone.
Although, a common misconception is that the Paleo Lifestyle is only meat-focused. Vegetables are eaten in abundance! I love vegetables! Fruits are eaten in moderation according to an individual’s own tolerance. Gorgeous berries! Apples! Citrus! Paleo also welcomes healthy fats–avocados, nuts, seeds, and unrefined oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. And, yes, there is grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, & organic, free-range fowl.To be clear, though, the vast majority of people who live a strict Paleo Lifestyle do not support the slaughterhouses with which our US meat supply is so closely associated. Most of us source it from local farmers or stores who sell those farmers’ products. So, please, my dear vegan friends, don’t hassle me about that. I’m on your side about factory farming. Promise.
Phew! That’s a lot of info!
Now, help us learn a little bit more about you! In the “Comments” section, feel free to answer the same questions about your own Paleo journeys!