Testimonial written by: Erica Blackmon
Hi, I’m Erica, a 24 year old South Carolina native. I was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis based on two MRI’s and symptoms-but I feel better than ever now. If it hadn’t been for the Paleo diet I would have never understood my gluten intolerance.
A few years ago my first neurological symptoms appeared along with extreme anxiety. I had been given the run around as well as several medications from all of my doctors. When my first brain scan came back normal I was told to ignore the fact that my body parts were going numb because it would probably just go away. I was also told that I had an anxiety disorder.
At this time I did a little research on my own and found a few websites that encouraged me to drop bread, beer, dairy, and sugar. This approach worked for a while but I really had no idea why or how it worked. I began cooking and baking a lot healthier and found that I loved doing it. I wanted to go back to school to learn the basics of baking so that I could provide healthy desserts for people with dietary restrictions. However, once I started pastry school and took a job in a bakery part time, I began indulging in the traditionally made baked goods.
It was not long before I lost all sensation in my fingertips. I felt like I was wearing gloves all the time. Then, the numbness in my abdomen and lower back that I had previously experienced returned. Next was the manifestation of the notorious MS hug. This is when you feel as if a tight elastic band is hugging you right below the ribs. The most severe symptoms came last and caused me to be unable to keep my part time job. I continued my classes with a chair near my work station while I was being taken care of by my loving classmates and Chef. I had paralyzing electric shock pains shooting through both arms and muscle spasms throughout my body. I felt as if my bladder wanted to burst out of me at all times. I even lost the ability to lift my right leg at the most inconvenient times. This is when I jumped into the Paleo diet full fledged.
I had an uncaring neurologist who explained little about the disease and wanted to prescribe me medication right away. I never went back to see him. At this time I have successfully completed 5 months of the Autoimmune Paleo Approach and I have gone off of all the medications that were prescribed for pain, muscle spasms, and anxiety. I Have no pain now. I can even take hot showers (anyone with MS may understand this luxury). I feel lucky that I did not jump on immune suppressing drugs out of fear. I still have a little ways to go and hopefully the numbness in my big toe will eventually disappear as everything else has. I have confidence that as long as I continue this Paleo lifestyle I will be healed from the inside out. In my mind I am already healed and I feel that is what has aided my speedy recovery.
My mission now has become raising awareness in my community about autoimmune disease and the Paleo lifestyle. I am working hard to open a bakery cafe that will act as a healing center in Greenville, SC. I would like to provide safe, organic, gluten free food and desserts that will make eating healthy convenient for those who truly would like to try it. I also want to make it possible for Paleo brides to order gorgeous gluten free wedding cakes or for Paleo moms to order safe gluten free cakes for their children’s birthdays. I also want to provide nutritious meals for my employees at little to no cost because they deserve to have access to real food in the work place.
The only doctor I have seen for the last 4 months is my nutrition counselor and herbalist who provides me with my vitamins, minerals, and herbs and checks my progress every two weeks. These services are not covered by insurance, therefore I would like to start a program through my business that would sponsor people in need so that they can receive alternative treatments at reduced costs. For this I would like to say thank you so much for being a part of the Paleo revolution. You are changing lives and inspiring others to do so as well.