Today I want to take our usual "Wednesday Nutritional" post in a different direction. My friend recently contacted me on Facebook about a mouse/paleo food/trapping problem (a funny story for another day) and we began talking about her Paleo experience. I was inspired by her story and asked her if she would be willing to share. I hope her story will be an inspiration to you and your Paleo journey. Enjoy!
It all started a few months ago when my youngest daughter (14 months old) appeared to have food allergies with dairy and gluten... I always thought those moms who said gluten was bad were crazy, until I took it out of my kid's diet and she miraculously was so much better!
Before all of this, we were pretty close to your typical family, at least eating-wise. I have three small kids, so cooking from scratch was extremely overwhelming and stressful with impatient little ones who were hungry "now." We bought fast food at least a couple times a week, ate a lot of quick microwave, pre-made, or sandwich and chips type of meals. In fact, prior to all of this, I was couponing so we had mass amounts of these types of things filling up our pantry and freezer. I was always tired, but honestly, didn't think much of it... after all, I do have three kids 4 and under... who wouldn't be tired?!
I really wasn't aware at all about the Paleo lifestyle. I had heard the word mentioned, but didn't understand what it was really all about. Yet every time I was searching for things to feed my child who couldn't have dairy or gluten, Paleo kept popping up. I'm a big time researcher and want to know as much as possible about something before I have anything to do with it, so I began reading just about every site I could that explained Paleo to me. Frankly, I'm a Creationist, so I was initially turned off by of the "eat like a caveman" type stuff, but it really did make sense. Our bodies were never meant to eat the junk we've all grown accustomed to eating. There's a reason mac & cheese doesn't grow in gardens!
I soon shared with my husband all I had been learning and, being the wonderful man that he is, he was totally on board to do whatever we needed to in order to make things easier for our baby. Some people would have just changed the baby's diet, but if you've ever been around toddlers, there's just about no way you could keep them from finding a crumb on the floor or mooching off of their big brother or sister for something. Plus, I really didn't want to have to make different meals for everyone, so we just went all in!
As soon as we decided we were going to do this, we emptied everything out of our house that wasn't Paleo... remember me mentioning that I was a couponer? We had bags upon bags full of pantry and freezer food that the baby could no longer eat, and now we were choosing to not eat. We just got it all out of our house so it wouldn't be a temptation. I was worried at first that my 2 year old and 4 year old would rebel against it all, but we just explained how we were going to be eating more healthy foods that were good for our bodies. It worked for the 4 year old; the 2 year old barely ate anything for the first week and I was so worried! But I kept remembering what I'd heard over and over from parents and grandparents: a kid will eat when they're hungry. Finally, my stubborn one gave in and is now an excellent eater who at least tries everything.
We've been doing this for a little over 2 months now, with no intention of changing. I think initially we were doing it for the baby's health, but after the results, we couldn't imagine going back to how we were living before. Ironically enough, it wasn't even food allergies with the baby. After seeing a specialist, we're pretty sure that it is just a temporary toddler issue that she'll hopefully soon grow out of. In the meantime, she's gained more weight than in a large portion of her life being on this "diet" and we couldn't be happier! The older kids now have tremendous amounts of energy (as if a 2 year old and 4 year old really needed any more energy!) And their attitudes have improved, unless they get hungry of course. My 2-year-old son had bumps on his arms that are almost completely gone now.
Now, I, a stay-at-home mom of three little ones, have virtually no need for coffee anymore. I drink it sometimes for the taste of it, but frequently never even finish a whole cup. This from the woman who would drink 3 cups a day just to try to survive my hectic mornings at home! I'm just not tired anymore! And one of the most amazing results to me is my husband's blood pressure going down. He was an active guy in good health, correctional officer, Army reservist, but had high blood pressure at a young age, presumably just a hereditary thing. After less than a month of our new way of eating, his blood pressure went down 20 points and his doctor was so happy to see the change, that she cut his prescription for blood pressure meds in half, and we're hoping that he'll be able to go completely off of it by his next appointment.
Being that it wasn't our initial reason for our eating changes, I haven't mentioned weight loss yet, but YES! we have lost quite a bit of weight. In just over 2 months, my husband and I have each lost over 15 pounds each! And our kids are gaining healthy weight!
It is a lot more work to shop and cook, but it has become a priority to us and an investment in our future health. For the kids, we've been able to find healthier ways for them to still enjoy things like cake and ice cream. We spend many Saturdays going to the local farmer's markets picking out new veggies to try. We are able to do a lot more together being that we have so much more energy. We all feel so much better and are so happy that we changed our lifestyles!
I always suggest to anyone who's even considering eating Paleo, just try it for a month! I promise that the results will make you never want to go back!