My life has revolved around the health of myself and those around me.
At the age of 8, I lost my mother in to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She had slowly deteriorated to a point where the most communication she could get to us were small movements and moans. She had been diagnosed with it years earlier and we saw her health waste away to a sad point. The only way that we saw much improvement on her from day to day is when she would go see a local chiropractor to help with some of her pain. This was our first example of how the body can heal when given the proper stimuli without putting foreign substances in.
Years later, after my father re-married, my step-mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. This was hard on all of us around her as she went through rounds of chemo for her illness. When given a max of 18 months to live, she tried the conventional method, but then seeked out other methods to try and make a difference in her health. She moved more toward natural methods and saw great gains in her health and cancer markers. She primarily followed the Hallelujah Diet, as did my father who saw his health and vitality increase without any major issues, (I even tried it for a period of time and lost around 30 pounds in a little over a month), but finally succumbed to external stress that her body could not recover from. During this time, I got married to an amazing woman that I love dearly, and we tried to look at our health and what we ate as my step-mother’s journey influenced our lifestyle. Over 10 years from the time she was diagnosed, my step-mother’s body gave up and she finally went to be the Lord.
During that same year, my family had a great surprise as we had our first child, a baby girl who, we found later that year, had food allergies. We found that she was allergic to Eggs, peanuts, and milk product after my wife gave her a small amount of eggs one day, only to be surprised when she got hives almost immediately after ingestion. We then went on to find many food options that would be beneficial to her without the allergens we knew we had to avoid. In trying to find a way to get the best nutrition we could for her, we found a nutritionist who could help us along the way. We were then introduced to things like the Westin A. Price Foundation and Nourishing Traditions as we tried to get away from some of the toxins in her little body, and ours, that might have created these allergies in the first place.
We saw great success in her ability to thrive and progress, and started to move more toward a holistic approach that might help our health as well.
The following year, I read a book by Tim Ferriss, called “The 4-Hour Body” that talked about how our bodies are amazing things and a lot of the conventional wisdom that has been accepted for years, is false because of money, media, and various other reasons. This also pushed me into the quantified self movement where I bought a Jawbone UP to track my steps and sleep. I tried his Slow Carb Diet with great success as I lost around 30 pounds in just 6 weeks. This was my first forray into a ketogenic diet that helped me feel better and lose the weight I knew wasn’t healthy for me.
I found the Slow Carb Diet was too restrictive for me and eventually stopped doing it, while keeping an eye on what I ate and how my body reacted to different inputs, both nutritionally and externally, and finding the best way to quantify and track those things without too much effort. A year and a half later, I read more about this character named Ron Paul who was running for president and how he was challenging conventional wisdom in what was acceptable with facts and clear thinking that was not swayed by money or power, but simply by the need to allow individuals to make their own decisions without bias from the media. All of his points were right on with the way I think, and was another example of how our media conflates facts for their own ratings and because of monetary powers that sway them in a direction. My second example of conventional wisdom being challenged for the good.
In that year, we had our second child, a boy, who, we found a few months later, also had some of the same allergies as my daughter in dairy products and eggs.
Later that year, Tim Ferriss put out his third book, “The 4-Hour Chef” as a followup and additional information that fed into his “4-Hour Body” effort. When reading through this, it rekindled my thoughts on health and helped me focus back in on how my body was reacting to the things I put in and where I focused my time. I went through many of the recipes in the book and found they were very interesting, and found that I really enjoyed cooking once I got past the basics of how to do basic prep work, which is book showed me. I started looking for more information and more recipes that were similar to his mold created in his text. That summer, Facebook suggested a product called Athletic Greens as a result of me being a follower of Tim Ferriss online and with their introductory offer being pretty low cost and minimally intrusive, I tried it and was happy with the results and what I knew my body was getting. I tried out Athletic Greens for a few months, and did not see as many health benefits as I was hoping, like increased energy and less sore joints, and began reading the founder‘s blog to see what other changes I could make for a healthier body. I started having back issues, fatigue, I have had knee issues since high school, and had lots of smaller things like seasonal allergies, and creeping weight gain, that, while nothing to write home about, made me feel worse about the way I looked, and feel worse overall. I wasn’t happy with where I was, and though my pictures don’t show me as obese, I had more fluff than I would like if I took off my shirt, but could hide it well depending on what I wore. I weighed a, not so high, 222 pounds earlier in the year, and had taken off about 15 pounds in 8 months by workout out regularly and watching a little of what I ate to get me to 207 pounds.
At the same time, my wife and I began looking at other ways to supplement our nutrition, and found a product called Juice Plus+, which we still take today, which is less impressive when compared to the nutrition box on Athletic Greens, but more impressive when looking at the clinical studies associated with it.
When looking on the internet for similar food options and more information on the way that Chris, from Athletic Greens, suggested eating, I came across multiple recipes that were tagged as something called “Paleo”. I started following a few recipe pages on Facebook and saw more and more options and testimonials coming through that talked about the health benefits of eating real, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods using a paleo diet.
I began researching paleo and trying to digest all of the information out there through blogs, podcasts, and Facebook pages. In August of 2013, my family began our paleo journey and I went from 207 to 187 pounds in 3 months and felt so much better about where my health was as I knew I was putting the right things into my body that would benefit me down the road. I have begun seeing some of the other benefits as well, such as less joint and back pain, less seasonal allergies, more energy, and more self-awareness of what I put into my body will help, not breakdown this body I have been given to take care of for the next 70 years or so.
We are not perfect, nor do we try to be. My children still have food allergies, so eating can be restrictive, and my wife and I try our best to not break the bank each week while eating the best we can for our bodies. It is a fine line, and not something that is the same for every person.
We have our favorite foods, and things we eat on a regular basis that aren’t necessarily paleo, but that we find helpful in getting us from today until tomorrow and that are less detrimental than the standard american diet.
My plan for this blog is to create a place where I can post information that I have found useful, create posts about trial and error through our journey, and answer questions that I can research and gather to help others.
I hope it helps.