Written by: Leanna Cappucci
About 12 months before I went Paleo, my brother started Crossfitting, and I drowned out every word he said about it. But, as a good brother does, he understood my stubborn side better than anyone in the universe, and as such, he let it sink in slowly.
I was by all definitions a “healthy” eater. I ate lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats, and all those heart healthy grains. I would pride myself on the fact that my kids ate their shredded wheat and cheerios as opposed to other sugar-laden cereals. What I also was, though, was gaining weight, unhappy with myself, struggling with depression and aggression, asthmatic, allergy laden and lethargic. I never slept, I was a chronic type-A workaholic, migraine suffering, basket case. My children suffered at the all too “un-ripe” ages of 3,4 and 6 from asthma and allergies and eczema. My husband had consistently gained weight since my first pregnancy and it was no longer cute to call it “sympathy” weight. But, we were healthy, damn it!
When I looked at pictures of myself I realized that the person I thought I was, was no where in sight.
In January of 2012 I decided that after losing weight in yo-yo cycles, years of trying the Jenny Craig’s and Weight Watchers programs, and suffering through endless amounts of cardio, that I would hire a personal trainer and get my butt in gear. I only did 4 session and he was completely obnoxious as many personal trainers are, but he said something that I’d heard before, in those little consistent comments from my brother… the trainer said, “eat like a caveman.”
Eat like a caveman, what a funny thought, all I kept asking him was what I had in my cave to eat!? But it suddenly clicked, and I called my brother and said, “so, this caveman thing you’ve been talking about… what is it?”
My baby brother, like me, had been a chronic migraine sufferer since childhood. I finally listened to his story, to how he had fixed the GI problems he’d suffered incessantly from for years and no longer needed the surgery he’d been recommended to have, and how the migraines were gone, after only 60 days of eating differently. It all sounded way to good to be true.
Like many others, I had every excuse to prevent me from buying into this or even giving it a try. I had too busy of a schedule, I had to feed the kids, it had to be easy, cheap, and not take up too much of my time… my list went on. I thought that as a woman who ran 3 separate companies, was a community philanthropist, had 3 children under 7 who all three played competitive team and individual sports, had a husband with a career who also had a full calendar, and were a family that ate on the run, IF we even remembered to eat at all … we couldn’t possibly be successful with any sort of structure.
My brother said… “give me 3 days, that’s it, read”. Biology, Anthropology and Psychology are my passions, I read quickly and have always read text books as entertainment – I’m a geek. He knew I’d devour “The Paleo Solution” in just days. I did. I read the entire thing in 2 or 3 days, and it made perfect sense to my brain. By this time, it was the end of March 2012.
My husband wasn’t sold, but being my biggest cheerleader he entered into my experiment. We promised each other 30 days, no excuses, no cheats, nothing – no grain, no legumes, no dairy, no sweetener, no alcohol; for a full month. On April 1, 2012 we began Robb’s 30 day challenge. We were going to Bermuda at the end of April on Vacation, and my birthday was also that last week of April. We had nothing to lose, and we had no idea how much we had to gain.
My husband and I have been paleo now for about a year, it has been a remarkable turning point in our lives and in our marriage. In May, not only did we not stop, we put all three of our kids on the plan.
Through our paleo transition the obvious happened… We lost weight. We also, though, gained so much more:
Relief from migraines, allergies and asthma that plagued me for my entire life. I once suffered a continuous headache for nearly 9 weeks and needed hospitalization. Prior to being Paleo, I had struggled with on again off again pre cancerous cells of my cervix, combined with a known genetic predisposition to cancer and an array of uterine and cervical problems and hormonal imbalance. Today, my mood is improved, sleep improved, focus improved and hormones at perfect levels. So much so; our doctors started joining us! We created “converts” everywhere we went.
We transitioned the kids; the schools supported us, their coaches supported us. The kids suddenly were rarely sick any longer. Our pediatrician remarked that we were going to put her out of business. She didn’t understand it, but it was working.
That overwhelming support, however, wasn’t all inclusive. My husbands parents fought us consistently, not understanding it and clinging to the old “food pyramid” as a guide. After all, how could that possibly be wrong?!
The positives have FAR outweighed the negatives, and people have taken notice. Friends, colleagues, strangers have remarked at our amazing transformations – not just with regard to physical appearance, but mental health, energy, and physical overall health. Those remarks are constant reminders that we made the best decisions we could with regard to raising healthy children and being good role models.
Today, I have walked away from my former career to help others deal with the struggles, overcome their excuses, be better parents, or just better people. My children are an active part of my paleo-centric business. On January 1st we launched “Bedrock Eats” an evolutionary based wellness and life coaching company and are in the process of developing a healthy and portable snack alternative for children. My 7 year old lectures as part of my team on what it’s like to be “different” than other children her age, and the advantages and disadvantages of our lifestyle through the eyes of a child. What I want people to know more than anything is that you CAN do this, you CAN feed your families, you CAN fit this into any lifestyle no matter how busy you are. You CAN make it easy, affordable, and you CAN have a better life, just give us a month!