Paleo – New Books, New Thoughts

I got an Amazon gift card a couple of months ago and decided to order some new books.  I got 3 of them, all in Paleo theme.  I wonder what my folks think of all of this Paleo stuff that I post.  I certainly didn’t start my website in 2006 with this in mind.  At the time, I was flaring horribly after the birth of my son and was looking for answers and other moms who had similar things going on.  And I did find those moms, and we had fantastic conversations, and we helped one another, and I think we even came up with a bunch of research ideas, should some doctor/researcher ever go through our forums.  And I felt like I wasn’t alone.

Time has moved on.  Our forums have died off, and Facebook seems to be the new mode of communication.  Still, I don’t think it’s nearly as great as forums (where you can be anonymous, and more discussions are had for sure!)  I have moved on.  Gone is my severe flare that lasted several years.  I’m no longer that “new mom” but rather the mom of a soon-to-be 8 year old!  Agh!

So, I’ve been reading my Paleo books, one of which contains 50 personal stories of Paleo successes.  The stories are rather amazing.  Huge weight loss, MS in remission (OMG, Multiple Sclerosis in REMISSION), tics that stopped, bipolar disorder and ADHD successes, one story that appeared to be improved psoriatic arthritis, and the stories went on and on.  “Gone” seemed to be a big theme.  Acne gone, Type II Diabetes gone, 99 pounds gone, brain fog gone, sleep apnea gone, pains gone, ongoing injuries gone, high blood pressure gone.  New things also seemed consistent: improved sleep, improved thinking and clarity, improved strength (even for those who didn’t exercise), improved energy, improved bowel issues, improved muscle definition, and the list goes on.

In the stories (and another book I was reading), some Paleo followers seemed to get upset by other people’s comments on their diet (You’re gonna die eating all the fat and protein, I could never go without bread, You’re crazy, When are you going to start eating normal food again?  What do you mean you have daily sometimes; that’s not Paleo.)  I’ve heard some of that too, but very little.  Really, when people see me, it’s quite evident how much better I’m doing, how much better I look, and how much easier I’m getting around.  I’ve made some Paleo converts.

A theme seemed to emerge that I really liked among some of the stories.  Paleo is what you make of it.  Some people follow all of the rules all of the time.  Some people follow some of the rules some of the time, and some of the rules all of the time.  Some people follow the rules 80% of the time, etc….  Some people don’t NEED to follow all of the rules, but I was amazed to read how many people did NEED to follow all of the rules all of the time to feel well.  Here is the theme that I liked.  Paleo is almost a way of listening to your body.  For those with chronic health issues which modern medicine is not treating effectively, they get reduced to desperation, doing anything they can to feel better.  Many of the stories people told did not start out as following the Paleo Diet, but rather listening to their bodies, having dietary success, then discovering that they were Paleo or near Paleo.  Then, suddenly there’s a community and science of support behind doing what they’ve done that brings a sense of “I’m not crazy after all.”

Here are also some of the trends I saw in the stories.  Many sick people had been vegan or vegetarian at one time or another before going Paleo and many thought that vegetarianism caused them harm.  Many people had some success going gluten-free before going Paleo.  Many people had some success with Atkins before going Paleo.  A few people cheated after starting Paleo, then discovered how well Paleo had been working for them as a result of the cheat and got back on track.  Reports on doctors seemed to be split with some doctors supporting the elimination of grain, but most not supporting it.  There were many people frustrated with medical advances unable to adequately help their illnesses.  Although weight loss was highlighted pretty extremely, most people seemed to be into Paleo for how they felt, with how they looked being an added bonus.  There are many seriously ill people out there who are attributing their better health to being Paleo.

Although I didn’t see any rheumatoid arthritis stories in the book, I certainly have my own to tell (RA under excellent control with normal inflammation markers).  And I’m still learning.  18 months in, I’m still losing weight (minus 51 pounds and counting).  I now look at the world so differently and wish nearly everybody would give this a try.  At the very least, I wish people would listen more to their bodies and maybe keep some Paleo principles in mind like no grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, or white potatoes, limit sugar, experiment with nightshades (tomatoes, peppers), nuts,and eggs.  The interesting thing is, I tried many of these before, but didn’t see the results until I tried it all together.  Could many health ailments be aided by simply listening to your body?  What did folks do 100 years ago without the medications we have now?

So, why am I tell you all of this?  Well, I get many messages from moms who are flaring horribly.  I’m not a doctor.  I can’t give medical advice, but I can tell about what I’ve done for me.  For several years, I tried meds (limited help) and physical therapy (more help), but what seems to be working the best is Paleo. Paleo is what I’ve done.  And I’m seeing good results that I believe are related to my Paleo dietary changes.

So, as I spout off my blogs to a group called “Moms With RA” (knowing I am a mom with RA who is now a Paleo mom with RA) can you tolerate listening to all of this Paleo stuff?  Cuz I can’t seem to stop talking about it, and the stories in this book seem to only reinforce that there’s a lot of other people out there who can’t stop talking about it either.  Think about it.  Post a comment on the blog if you don’t want to post on Facebook.

Love you gals!

– Lori

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