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Paleo For The Whole Family!

20 Comments
Written by: Andi Cohen
My husband was the first to switch to Paleo- after experiencing a heart attack and heart catheterization….and realizing he’d put on close to 40 pounds. I think his moment was in the ER when his blood pressure was skyrocketing and some 12 year old doctor came in and gave him a blood pressure pill. He asked how long he’d have to be on the pills and the doctor replied, “For the rest of your life.”
So, he started as a New Years resolution and actually stuck to it. Looking back, I had allowed myself- and my family- to fall into the “I’m a busy working mom of 2 so I need fast (meaning quick) dinners” mindset. Lots of pasta. Always white bread, lots of bready meals made with pop-open tube pizza dough, you get the point. My husband started simply grilling steaks. The added bonus to this was: I got to cook less! We got a cast-iron grill pan, so he just grilled on the stove top many cold nights too. We ditched the pop tarts and he started cooking eggs and bacon for breakfast. More steak or chicken for lunch, salads, boiled eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, he kept it really simple.
He quickly started losing weight and started exercising at Crossfit Blackbox.
Meanwhile I was trying to lose a few pounds too; I’m also a Zumba instructor and felt like a hypocrite: how am I supposed to tell people to come take my class to lose weight when I’m pudgy and self conscious? I started trying to go Paleo- and had a couple of failed attempts. I’d eat a paleo breakfast, and then a non Paleo lunch and then the cycle of craving bread and crackers and pizza would overtake me. It finally hit me one night that I was the reluctant spouse- I felt like a sabateur and annoyed that my husband could just “stop” eating crap and I couldn’t. Then I realized- it was an addiction. I wasn’t weak. I started reading up on Paleo and decided to just do it. That first day I ate eggs and bacon with a pile of sauteed mushrooms and onions.  Veggie snacks (I love those bags of sweet mini peppers… like candy) steak for dinner. Some macadamia nuts.  The first night I realized, Now that wasn’t so bad! I took it one day at a time.
I dropped about 6 pounds the first week. Added bonus was sleep: normally I’d be up till midnight playing on the computer. Suddenly at 10 pm I’d hit the wall- fast and hard. I had been sweating at night during my sleep and thought it was hormones- turned out to be wheat and processed crap.  I noticed that eventually my PMS symptoms just vanished. My random joint pains- that I attributed to wearing high heels, poor posture, aging… was from peanuts, of all things. (I cheated one night and ate spoonfuls of regular peanut butter- BAM the next day, joint pains returned like crazy.)
We had tried to get our 15 year old son to try  Paleo but got immediate resistance. I am ashamed as a mother to admit he ate grits on toast for breakfast; PB and J for lunch with goldfish; pasta for dinner…. almost every day. He hated the mouthfeel of chicken and steak and he hated bacon!  I figured I’d pick my battles with him- he is a great kid, never any hassles, good grades. So, he’s a picky eater. He’ll grow out of it, right? I gave up nagging him.
A few months later (October), Clay just randomly came to me and said, ‘I think I want to try that diet that Dad’s on.” I said, Ok son, you gotta eat meat. And vegetables. And fruit.”   Ok, he said. And just like that he changed his eating habits.
I got rid of the crap in the house. Clay started eating eggs and bacon for breakfast. He tried new vegetables and discovered that he loves spaghetti squash. He ate steak; and chicken; lots of salads; homemade trail mix — cashews, almonds, dried fruit, coconut. After that first day he weighed himself and came out and said, Wow, I lost a pound.  So he continued on, and before we knew it, in 17 days he had lost 17 pounds. His skin cleared up in three days- no more teenage acne- he is definitely less grouchy in the morning. He went from 185 to 145 over the course of the next few months.
Clay - before and after paleo

Clay – before and after paleo

Clay also became more interested in cooking and reading labels- he is now very in-tune with his hunger and never eats out of boredom or grazes on snacks.  Even while at a summer camp he stayed as close to Paleo as possible when everyone else was subsisting on pop tarts for breakfast. There have been a few cheats; and Clay found out the hard way that sugar, (Mountain Dew) and sweet pastry desserts equals a pimple breakout and sleeping through classes two days later. He discovered the direct correlation between food and body.  He even works at a donut shop- never eats the inventory. How hard-core is THAT!???
Our daughter came home from college this summer and dropped 10 pounds her first two weeks being home. The college meal plan was not paleo. She has her own apartment next year and she and her roommates plan on living a paleo lifestyle.
So, Paleo has been a life-changer for our family. My husband grills steak or chicken most nights, so I DON’T have to cook! That’s a huge burden lifted off my shoulders and any woman can agree that’s damn sexy when you come home from work and your husband has cooked dinner. (less kitchen cleanup too! no more cheesy casseroles) His blood pressure is better than perfect- did I mention his mother has had multiple heart attacks, genetic high cholesterol, and his father unfortunately passed away from …obesity and its many complications. I credit my husband with saving our family. He inspired us all to improve our health- to DO something about it rather than just wishing it would magically happen. We all lost weight; feel better; look better; our grocery bill is lower as we are not buying cartloads of crap- we are shopping locally and supporting our local egg-layers and farmers- and getting awesome physicals.
I am especially thankful to the 12 year old ER doctor who scared the hell out of Pete. That doctor really saved our family.
;-)
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  1. rob
    June 17, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Good stuff

  2. Kendra Peck
    June 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Congrats Andi, Pete, Clay and Tori!! I have to thank you because YOU are the reason I ventured into a Paleo lifestyle on January 13th!! After reading your many posts on FB about the changes you were seeing – I gave it a try. Thanks so much for being my inspiration and changing my life!!!

  3. andi cohen
    June 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Kendra you are awesome! Glad to be part of paying it forward and sharing the love.

  4. Tamara Griffith
    June 17, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I wish we had the same twist after mys husband quintuple bypass, but we found paleo two years after, and now after two years of being paleo, hubby is better, kids all look and feel better, even started convincing extended family, not by talking but being living proof it works. Real food for the win! And love grilling! Texas doesn’t have To many bad weather days lol

  5. Donna Lanting
    June 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

    At first, it’s really hard to convert to paleo diet. I feel like I’m punishing myself. I’m the only one in the family who’s doing it and they keep on teasing me. When my dad was diagnosed to have a heart problem, everyone became interested with my stuff. Now, we are all having a paleo diet! ;-)

  6. Ryan Andrews
    June 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    You seem to have set a chain reaction with Paleo in your family and I am pretty sure it will catch on with your friends. What struck me is the before and after picture of Clay. It would have seemed as 2 different individuals if you had not mentioned that it was “Clay – before and after”.

    Plus, you got the grocery bill down and the health of your family is at its best. Congrats to that.

    Keep going and set an example to others.

    • Andi Cohen
      September 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      thank you everyone! SO far we are all still doing well- now my husband has his sights set to compete in the Crossfit games in a few years to celebrate his 50th birthday. Never in a million years thought we’d be eating like this and doing stuff like this. My daughter is doing well at Bama and she and her roommates are cooking paleo meals- she texts me pics of her food! I just had a complete physical, including a full cardiologic workup and my doctor told me whatever I was doing… to keep it up. Clay is doing well- despite being in marching band now and sweating all afternoon in the blazing Florida sun- his skin is still pretty clear! He is now branching off in the kitchen and just tonight happily offered to peel the shrimp for our paleo jambalaya. The paleo life is good…. cheers and meat hugs to everyone~

  7. Doug McGuff, MD
    June 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I am an emergency physician (though a long way from 12 years old!). I commonly deliver the same verdict to patients, but with one caveat….”the rest of your life UNLESS you change your diet and lifestyle”. I then scribble down robbwolf.com and marksdailyapple.com and ask them to check it out.

    • Robb Wolf
      June 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks doc!!

    • Andi Cohen
      September 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      on behalf of a “former” cardiac patient… I thank you, Doc.

  8. Sarah Tobias
    June 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I love your story. I have been paleo over over a year and don’t ever want to look back. I dream of the day that my husband comes to the realization that he will feel better if he switches too.

  9. Ron
    June 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

    This is a great story about how your husband has transformed the health of your family. I agree with Ryan that is an amazing change in your son Clay. I wish I could see the same change in our family. This story will help me keep going knowing it is possible. Thanks.

  10. Cody Honeycutt
    June 24, 2013 at 3:46 am

    It’s awesome to read stories like this. I am currently deployed to the Middle East and eating as clean/Paleo as I can. I CrossFit 5 days a week and I feel better than I have ever. I fully intend on helping my wife make the same changes you all did and I know full well that she will see similar results. Stories like these open her eyes and help her to see that it is possible and the results do come with a bit of hard work and determination. Thank you again.

    • Andi Cohen
      September 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      no… thank YOU.

  11. Tammi
    June 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for this post – I have a question… I have been eating along these lines for some time now and have lost considerable weight with a lovely clear skin. I would like my family to eat this way as well – however, I have a 2.5 year old and a 14 month old – I have been told that too many eggs for children is not good – your thoughts and comments? What are your suggestions when it comes to toddlers?

    • Robb Wolf
      June 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Stick mainly with yolks and just have some variety! No one seems to be concerned about constant breakfast cereal for their kids. Interesting!

  12. Barb
    August 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I am so happy for your son. What a transformation! You have to be so proud of him for achieving this enlightenment and success at such a young age. Kudos to you and the Mr. too!

  13. Gordon
    August 24, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Awesome stuff!
    To the doc that “scripts” MDA and RobbWolf.com, congratulations and thanks for being an innovator! I wish more doctors would be willing to think outside of the box and make these kinds of recommendations!

  14. Gordon
    August 24, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Andi,

    Thanks for the motivation. Your family story was awesome! I assume from your comment about your son sweating under the Florida Sun in band, that you are fellow Floridian. As a native here, and a former band member as well (drummer-way back in the day-LOL), I can relate to long days and evenings on the parade field, parades, etc., and the heat!! Florida’s heat, more so the humidity, can be a killer! It’s good to hear him toughing it out, and I’m sure the Paleo and it’s associated weight loss and health benefits have been a real bonus for him.

    I have been paleo (about 80/20 most of the time, but decided to go more strict as of late), for about 1.5 years. In the first 4-6 months, I lost a total of 52#, most of that due to taking the Paleo viewpoint on food. Crossfit helped “define” and add muscle, but more so, endurance and stamina.

    After 6 months of crossfit and paleo, I was in better shape internally and externally at 56, than I was at 36 and a full time cop! It definitely works!

    To our soldier on board. I realize this is an old post, but I just came aboard here and started reading the comments. Most I won’t comment on because of the age, but I wanted to say thank you for your service as well. Good to see our service folks doing something outside the box to stay “healthy”, more than just “in shape.” if you’re still in the sandbox (or the rocks), stay safe. If not, then thanks again for your service there.

    Finally,
    To Robb Wolf (and Mark Sisson)…a HUGE THANK YOU!!
    You both have done so much to promote good health and proper nutrition it’s unbelievable. By being willing to stand up to conventional thought, take the hammering the SAD people will always want to throw at you, and continue to do what you do with such fervor, and proving your points with physical evidence (literally), you both have (IMO) set a standard for others to follow. Thank again for all you do.

    Is there a more recent update to this story?

    Keep posting people. You never know when your words are going to hit someone square between the eyes when they need it most.

    • Robb Wolf
      August 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

      No recent updates, but def begging for a part 2. Let’s do it!

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