My Paleo Journey
Written by: Mike
It all started out with taking Levaquin for an infection I had (well actually before that – I had to take heavy doses of antibiotics when I was 7 months old). Shortly after taking the antibiotic, I noticed my stomach was becoming more irritable. I brought this up to my ‘integrated medicine’ doctor and he diagnosed me with IBD (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and suggested I go on the candida diet. Which I did, before my wedding (hey, I gotta look good naked!) — I did feel somewhat better, but there were still issues with my stomach.
Around that time a co-worker of mine died at 36 years of age, heart attack. Whoa! He wasn’t even fat! I’m 32 and feeling some tension (probably wedding stuff?) on the other side of the heart and thought I’d just get a quick check. I took a carotid artery scan and they noticed I had buildup, nothing serious. But what the hell? I’ve been active most of my life and stayed away from the fatty foods most of the time — however my body was telling me I was on the wrong track. They wanted to put me on a low fat, statin diet. I had 2 problems with that, 1) I don’t’ eat that much fat (other than the monthly dose of krispy kreme) and was not fat and 2) I really don’t believe statin drugs are the answer. Hmm, more detective work needed.
A couple years later, my stomach is not feeling much better and got occasional flare ups — so I’ve had every stomach test known to man: blood work, scope, biopsy. The diagnosis: “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, you have just a little inflammation in your stomach, but we can prescribe some anti-acid meds if you’d like”. (you paleo folk’s wheels are turning now aren’t they? ). So at that time, my chiropractor suggested I do the OPPOSITE and take a dose of HCl (Hydrochloric Acid) — the same stuff your stomach makes. This was thanksgiving and BOOM! I instantly felt better! I could actually eat! Hmm, strange, I wasn’t expecting that but it didn’t address the core problem. MORE detective work needed.
Then I read *drumroll please* The Paleo Solution, followed it and got 100% better!!!
I wish. Let’s do the ‘scooby-doo’ rewind.
I followed the paleo diet for a couple months and ‘kinda sorta’ felt better. Tummy flare-ups were still there a number of times. I noticed my sugar cravings were INTENSE — sure was hard to resist honey, maple syrup, raisins and um oh figs! Next thing I know I was eating paleo sugar – and was feeling worse.
Looking back I screwed up a couple things:
- I didn’t factor exercise and sleep in the equation
- Too much freakin’ sugar! (I did have a fasting blood sugar of 100, not diabetic but not on the right path either)
- Too many nuts! (I later realized there’s peanut oil in costco cashews! wtf?)
- While the paleo diet was a grand experiment, I didn’t offer enough yummy paleo options for my wife.
- On the same lines as the last bullet: I didn’t eat enough BACON! (I was still in quasi-low-fat mode). Hint: we LOVE bacon!
I KNEW paleo was the answer so I did even more detective work — some more clues came from additional reading such as Everyday Paleo (books/blog) and The Paleo Coach book and this info-graphic: http://robbwolf.com/2012/10/05/introducing-free-paleo-diet-troubleshooting-guides/
So fast forward to the present day. I’ve been eating, sleeping and moving paleo with MUCH more success the last 4+ months, and know this is now a permanent part of my lifestyle. While I still do get some flare-ups, overall it’s been much less. I’m still in the process of figuring out what works best and cooking far ‘tastier’ foods for the missus and myself. So, the paleo journey continues.