After several years of fighting with my gluten intolerance and other health issues, I have finally decided to buckle down when it comes to my diet and my health. This summer, I have had the worst flare ups with my back and fibromyalgia that I have ever had. I had a horrible flare up that lasted over a month (no exaggeration) and I was MISERABLE! After that, I decided I need to make some serious lifestyle changes, mainly involving what I eat.
In today's world, people have more ailments then ever. Chronic illness is widespread, ranging from autoimmune diseases, sleep disorders, chronic heartburn, migraines, sinus problems, etc. I honestly don't know of many people who I would consider 100% "healthy." Four years ago, I was told that I was "gluten intolerant," meaning that my digestive system could not break down any form of gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. I did not know much about gluten at the time, but over the years, I have become much more aware of it due to my dietary changes and the fact that I have a habit of paying attention to it. 10 years ago, you did not see "Gluten-free" sections in the grocery store or cereals labeled as such. Now, you can hardly go down a single aisle without seeing "gluten-free" being advertised.
My sophomore year in college, we were able to pick a topic of our choice and write an informative essay on it. Considering gluten was something that was constantly on my mind, I decided to write a paper on that. I am known to go through "phases" in which I am extremely conscious of what I am eating and I make sure I am taking care of myself, but then I have periods of time where I don't pay that much attention to it. After writing the paper, I was extremely aware of my eating habits and very careful as to what I put into my mouth. Although I was being extremely conscious of everything, I was still feeling "crappy." I still had stomach problems, headaches, flare-ups, and so on. Here it is, a year and a half later, and I still have these problems. Yes, I do have gluten on occasion, along with dairy, and I know that it causes havoc on my system.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been doing research on different "diets." When I say "diet," I don't mean the "losing weight and making a quick fix" kind; I mean different ways to eat, what to eat, and why. I have an extremely hard year coming up and I want to make sure I can feel as good as I possibly can so I can be successful. After some research, I decided the "Paleo Diet" sounded like the perfect plan for me. It is a grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free diet. Vegetables, fruits, and meat all play a very large role in this food plan; whole foods are key!
I bought "Practical Paleo" by Diane Sanfilippo and I have to say, this is the best "diet"/health book I have ever purchased, and trust me, I have SEVERAL! She not only explains the purpose of this eating plan, but she gives her experiences and what caused her to change her eating habits. She doesn't pretend to be perfect and doesn't expect us to be either. I love that there are a ton of easy recipes, along with different 30-day meal plans for people with different problems, such as those with high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and more. There is even a meal plan for athletes, which is perfect for my mom who is training for a marathon.
My mom and I both are starting this eating plan tomorrow in order to better ourselves and to get rid of all the processed, toxic foods in our system. I have to say that I am extremely excited for this and I can't wait to see how much better it makes us feel. I will keep you posted! If you have any chronic issues or just want to better your eating habits, I highly recommend the Paleo lifestyle! If you are looking for a quick overview online, Sanfilippo also has a blog, Balanced Bites, that is wonderful.
Sorry for the long post, I am just really excited and hopeful! Have any of y'all tried the Paleo plan? If so, did you/do you like it?? I would love to hear what y'all think about it!