Testimonial written by: Ryan H.
Hi Robb (and team),
My name is Ryan and I am a 35 year old father of two beautiful daughters aged 3 and nearly 2 living in Australia. I am also a loving husband to an amazing wife who has been an amazing support to me over the years.
Ever since I was six weeks old, I have been in and out of hospital with severe, type two, brittle asthma. This form of asthma basically means that I can be fine one minute, and go into a major asthma attack the next without warning. Over the years my asthma progressively got worse. I was hospitalised a few times throughout high school, and after school I have been in hospital between 4-6 weeks a year with Asthma flare ups.
As you can imagine, as I got older with work and family, this gets extremely difficult. Not only does it physically knock you around as it takes months to get back to a so called “normal” lung volume, but it is also extremely hard emotionally.
As a male, (and a person for that matter), there will always be this little thought in the back of your head that you should be the “provider” in the family. If not financially, you should be the strong emotional “rock” that is always there for you wife/ partner and kids to rely on. But with an illness, it adds another level of complexity. You feel like you can’t be the so called “rock” that everyone talks about, as you never know when the next “flare up” is going to happen and when you will be back in hospital and for how long, and as such go through life with that little bit of nervousness of “when will I next be sick?” “will I need to go to hospital?”, ” how long will I be away from my family for?” “Will everything be alright?”…etc…
My most recent hospitalisation was in September last year (2014). I spent two weeks in hospital with 2 days in intensive care with C-pap mask (a mask that sits over you face and nose and forces oxygen into your lungs).
When I came out of hospital I was 115kg. (Whenever you have an asthma flare up the docs put you straight onto steroids which equals instant weight gain).
I had enough of the constant weight gain and also the cycle of hospitalisations and specialist appointments.
I remembered hearing about a diet called Paleo. I asked people on facebook if anyone knew about Paleo and an old school friend messaged me to catch up over coffee and have a chat about it. (Of course I got an amount of people bagging it out saying that its “not sustainable” or not a real diet, or “only a trend” ) but these comments actually gave me a bit of extra fire in my belly to learn more. I had a chat with my old school friend, who has been eating paleo for a few years. He told me why he adapted the lifestyle and approach and the benefits he has had with it. From that initial meeting, I read a few books, and looked at a lot of internet articles and when I discovered a lot of it stopped inflammation (which is what asthma actually is), I was committed.
I started going paleo at the end of Sept/ early Oct and have been at about 80/20. I started the Whole life challenge in Jan and have been 100% paleo since then, with the hope to maintain at about 90/10.
In the last month I have joined a crossfit gym to get some more physical activity to also assist with the asthma and am loving every minute of it.
The Good Stuff:
The benefits that I have noticed since I have been eating paleo (along with many others- especially my wife and kids) are.
1. I have dropped 13 kg and three inches on the waist (although this is not the main reason I have gone paleo, just an added bonus)
2. I have A LOT more energy in the afternoons to play with the girls (even when they get me up at stupid o’clock I the morning!!!)
3. I feel a lot better in myself
4. I have a lot more confidence
5. My Ventolin (reliever puffer) has gone from about 4-6 puffs a day to under 2 puffs a fortnight
6. My lung volume has gone from 47% of my predicted max (when I got out of hospital in Sept) to 104% in my lung tests in January- (my asthma specialist was very surprised and happy about this.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Paleo did all of this (as I am also on a few other medications that could also help), BUT I am convinced that paleo had A LOT to do with it. I have cut out all packaged foods, all dairy, and all wheat and grains, and this has made a HUGE difference)
I am hoping to get my girls to start eating more paleo/ primal in the future when I am 100% all over the paleo lifestyle as I am still learning.
The real test will be to see how my asthma goes over winter (this is the worst time of the year for me) and also next summer when they are looking at taking me off the other medication to see if that has an effect.
In my mind Paleo has had an amazing impact on not only my weight and confidence, but most importantly my quality of life and my asthma. It gives me the opportunity to be a dad, not just a dad that sits down and watches his kids grow up, but a dad who activity plays, participates and runs around with his kids. I am extremely happy that I have started this journey and I am looking forward to every step of it.