Paleo Brought Brandon Out Of His Shell

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Written by: Paul Robinson

Hi guys,

My name is Paul Robinson. I’m an Aussie and a proud husband and father of two awesome boys aged 10 and 8.

My eldest boy, Brandon, has Vitiligo, which in it’s simplest form means he has patches on his skin with no pigmentation. Vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune problem, meaning that Brandon’s immune system attacks some of the cells in his body, killing off the pigmentation and leaving him with little patches of white skin. To date he’s been pretty lucky as his patches aren’t large and it doesn’t seem to phase him at all. When we first noticed the discolouration on his skin we took him to some specialists and they diagnosed him with Vitiligo. To be honest, we weren’t told a lot about the condition except for the obvious “He’ll have white areas of skin and they could spread.” That was about the sum of it. However, what did concern us was that one of the specialists also casually added “And he’ll be more susceptible to Diabetes and Thyroid issues.” Naturally this worried us, so we’ve kept an eye on his sugar intake and had him eating fairly healthy, or as I should say, what we thought was healthy.

In his 10 years, Brandon has had a few issues that have concerned us. For example, he has never, ever slept well. To say he was a restless sleeper would be the understatement of the century. He’s always had dark circles under his eyes which we’d noticed were gradually getting darker. He was often tired and lethargic, but we put this and the dark circles down to his lack of solid sleeps. Then there was the pot-belly he’d always had, no matter how much we monitored his food or all the exercise he did. One of the most socially problematic concerns we’ve had for him though was his ability to utterly destroy the toilet when he needed to do “number two’s”. Seriously, his bathroom stops could have been declared a natural disaster or a weapon of mass destruction. It was unbelievable that someone so small could leave such a large ‘legacy’. We’d burn candles, spray air-freshener (not next to the candles of course), light incense, you name it, we tried it. Needless to say, you could imagine the nervous sweat trickling down our foreheads when we were out and he ducked to the bathroom. The idea of Brandon staying over at a mate’s house was a constant worry as at some stage he’d need to relieve himself.

Now, please understand, we have tried to never make a big fuss out of any of these issues. Brandon has always been quite shy and reserved which as we all know can be seen as a sign of weakness, especially in the playground. Being shy, being overweight (pot belly) and being different (white patches) is not a good combination in any school playground. He has been the brunt of his fair share of bullying at school because of this, so we figured he didn’t need any extra pressure from us. Something needed to change and the constant threat of diabetes and thyroid issues hanging overhead, we needed to act sooner rather than later.

A mate of mine (and an avid Paleo advocate) got me on to your website and gave me some information about the Paleo lifestyle. After some additional research we found that this could really help Brandon out. What really caught our eye was the information about how people with autoimmune problems could benefit from going Paleo. So my wife and I spoke to our boys about the changes we were about to make and got them to read some stuff we printed up off your website. We figured that if they were informed enough, they’d be able to throw themselves into it properly and make the right choices when we weren’t with them. Then we made a game out of it and totally cleaned out our house of all the junk that didn’t fall under the Paleo guidelines. It became a really good family event. We also got the boys to write up what they’d like to eat at school, going off the Paleo foods list. They loved the challenge and came up with some great ideas.

So we’ve been living a Paleo lifestyle now for just over a month and the changes we’ve seen with Brandon have been nothing short of amazing. He is sleeping solidly through the night for the first time in his life and waking up full of energy. Gone are his dark circles and his belly!! We’ve had to adjust all of his pants so he didn’t look like a mini Eminem with his jeans starting half way down his legs. With this new energy and size loss (I won’t say ‘weight’ loss because I don’t agree with scales being your guide) Brandon has really come out of his shell. He is brimming with confidence and much, much happier than we’ve ever seen him. The difference really is remarkable. To top it all off, his bathroom stops have become much more normal. I can’t say it’s roses and picnics, but then again, who’s is? But gone are the days of candles, incense and air-freshener. He’s actually been asking if he can stay at his mate’s houses now too.

As a parent, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your kids happy. I really wish we’d found Paleo earlier. However, we can’t change the past and at least now we have a reference of where we don’t ever want to go back to. I’ve got to thank my mate for introducing us to the Paleo lifestyle and to you Robb for providing such a great source of information and practical advice. The information you’ve provided us on your website and emails has helped our boy so much. Needless to say, we’re happily telling others with autoimmune issues like Vitiligo about you and your site.

Here’s a photo of the new, much happier Brandon.
Happy_Brandon_1

Cheers,

Paul
P.S. In case you’re wondering, my other son, our youngest, is loving the new lifestyle too. He especially loves the fact that his big brother has more energy to play now and isn’t likely to develop Diabetes any time soon. My wife (who has issues with wheat/gluten) is feeling much happier and isn’t suffering from the bloating or the uncomfortable gut anymore. As for me, I’m loving seeing my family so bright and energetic. Long live Paleo!!
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  1. Lynn
    January 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    What a lovely story to read on this first day of 2013! Your boy is beautiful. My he and your family live a long, happy and healthy Paleo life!

  2. pat
    January 3, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Would also be interested in an update on the Vitiligo patchiness.

  3. Paul
    January 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks Lynn & Pat.

    Pat, the patches haven’t changed at all yet, I’m not sure if they will. But I’ll keep you guys posted if any changes do happen.

    Lynn, I’m biased, but yep, I think he’s a little handsome fella too!

    Cheers,
    P

    • Frank
      April 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Any changes in the white patches as of now?

  4. Deb
    January 11, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Awesome story – I’ve shared it around with some of my crunchy mama friends. :-) I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a couple of years ago and maybe a couple years before that I had started getting some of the white patches myself – in retrospect, probably around the same time my thyroid was really starting to implode. It wasn’t until I read that vitiligo was also auto-immune that I really made the connection.

    Since I went Paleo, my Hashimoto’s has been pretty much asymptomatic. I still have the patches – I get plenty of sun in the summer, and when I’m tannest, the patches show more clearly – but I’ll be curious to see what happens this coming summer now that my diet’s been cleaner for longer.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. BW
    February 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Great story and great job Paul. Western medicine never considers these varying symptoms might all have the same root cause. Just treat the symptoms. Thanks for sharing.

  6. James Smith
    July 4, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Hearing about poor 10 Brandon with Vitiligo, makes me sad and thankful that even though I have been through allot I have never had a condition like Vitiligo. It also sadens me he was bullied at school, but I am glad that is getting better now he is felling more confident. While i am not a big fan of Paleo I can see it certainly can have its benefits in certain situations such as this.

    Thanks for the heart warming article Robb.

  7. Vitiligo Symptoms
    July 25, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Vegetables like green leaves, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach broccoli, beetroots have full of nutritious elements that make a person healthy and stronger.

  8. Mike
    October 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    This is a great story. For me like a father of a beautiful daughter, her happiness is one of my priorities.

    Congratulation for you and your children.

  9. Lucy Newberry
    April 10, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Another great article I can utilize the information for my own patients. I always love that you address that it isn’t the type of food but the quality of the food that is important. Paleo is still my eating style, have had to modify to deal with my gout issues.

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