Eating Paleo – One Family’s Journey to Health

It has been a little quiet here on the blog this week as I have been busy sewing and spending some time with the kids. Recently my sister sent me a link to a website about why we should avoid eating grains. My mother has coeliac disease and both my sister and I have suffered from both gluten and lactose intolerance and been given the rather vague diagnosis of “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS). I loved reading this article and found some great Paleo recipes so I asked the page owner Shanti to share a little about her journey and some of her fabulous recipes!

Linda

First, I want to say thank you to Linda for having me here to do a guest post! I am so excited to share a piece of our journey to health with you all!

Let me introduce myself. I’m Shanti, and I’ve been married to Chris (who I lovingly refer to as Superman) for almost 14 years. I adore him more and more each year and can’t say enough wonderful things about him. As a matter of fact, I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve often wished I had grown up with him as my dad as he is seriously the best father in the world. We have 5 children–our oldest is almost 9 and is our biological son. The other four are adopted through foster care (another wonderful story!), and their ages are: 8, 7, 5, and 3. Yes, it’s always loud at our house, in case you were wondering. =) Superman is an 8th grade math teacher, and I stay home with our kids and home school them.

Our story started about 12 years ago, when Superman started having seasonal allergies. It started with a stuffy nose, then progressed to sneezing, headaches, and tonsil stones. After a few years, he developed intestinal pain, bleeding and diarrhea. He experienced significant weight loss, and at his lowest was 130 pounds (at 6 feet tall!) He went to numerous doctors, and was always told that he just needed to eat more fiber, exercise and drink plenty of water. That was it. That was the extent of the advice we received. That lasted for a solid 10 years. Over the course of this time, Superman began to experience anxiety over his health, and would constantly research online trying to find out what could possibly be wrong with him. He had a hard time sleeping, would wake up at the slightest of noises, and was constantly drained. He felt like he was going crazy. In January, 2010, he was talking with a co-worker, and after hearing her describe her symptoms, he knew he had stumbled onto something: she had Celiac Disease, and he was sure that he had it.

He made an appointment with his doctor, told her he would like the test, and she said, “Oh, you don’t have that. Only 1% of the population has it, so it’s pretty much impossible.” After he pressed her repeatedly, she grudgingly agreed to “allow” him to have the test done. I have to interject here that just a few nights before, Superman had told me he felt he was close to death. He had the “what to do if I die” talk with me, showed me all our insurance info, etc. and was setting me up to take over “when” he died. That’s how bad he felt.

A few days later, he got the results: Celiac Disease! We were ecstatic. Just having a diagnosis made Superman realize he wasn’t crazy after all. He gained 20 pounds in 3 months, and was eating lots of gluten-free goodies. His energy levels increased, but unfortunately his diarrhea and intestinal pain continued. In the fall of 2010, we started seeking advice from people outside of “conventional” medical practices. After a series of tests through a Naturopath, he found out he was allergic to nearly everything–except meat, some fruits and most veggies. Everything else was causing his body to go into hyper-mode and basically attack itself. He realized he was suffering from “Leaky Gut Syndrome“. In order to heal himself, he needed to go on an extremely restricted diet to allow his intestines (which had holes in them as a result of his disease) to heal.

I was originally cooking two separate meals, one for him, and one for the kids and I. It was just too much, so after being inspired by the book “The Paleo Solution,” I decided to switch us all over. The results were amazing. Our son, who had suffered from severe allergies, asthma and eczema his entire life was for the first time medicine-free. The joint pain that I had for over 15 years disappeared. My mental fog was gone. And Superman was improving.

It has been a long few years to healing, but we are getting closer and closer each day. His health is like a puzzle, and it seems that we constantly stumble upon more pieces of this puzzle.

The Paleo diet has been incredible for our family. The kids and I now eat a diet free of sugar, dairy, grains and legumes about 80% of the time. Superman, however, is pretty much 100%.

I went through a period of mourning after realizing I wasn’t going to enjoy french bread or donuts anymore (or at least rarely), and wondering what in the heck I was going to feed our kids if I couldn’t give them mac n’ cheese or sandwiches at lunch. But now I can’t imagine going back to the way we ate. Our quality of life has improved a hundredfold since we began this journey.

There is so much more I would love to share, but I’m afraid I may have already bored you! So, I’ll move on to the good stuff. I have really learned to love experimenting in the kitchen, coming up with new combinations and flavors. I especially love baking, and so a lot of my blog is devoted to yummy desserts. I have lots of great recipes we enjoy, but these are some of my favorites!

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

Coconut-Chili Fried Chicken

Balsamic Marinated London Broil Steak with Pan-Fried Zucchini Noodles

Bacon Cheeseburgers Like You’ve Never Had ‘Em

And some awesome sweet treats!

Chocolate Cashew Caramel Bars

Mocha Coconut Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake for the Clean Eater

Maple Coconut Cookies

Feel free to stop by my blog at: http://cleaneatsinthezoo.com and my Facebook Page!

Thanks again for the opportunity to share with you!

Shanti

Comments

  1. I’ve also been given the IBS diagnosis, which I think is a synonym for “the doc doesn’t know.” You might be interested in a blog called Fructose Free Me which talks about a syndrome known as fructose malabsorption. Some of the foods involved bother me…and I’ve never known why. 🙂

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