If you’ve followed my posts even once, you know that my Paleo journey has not been an easy going, smooth-running river. There have been many tears, many moments of frustration and exhaustion at trying to figure out yet another issue going on within, and there have been many times when I’ve kind of wanted to just give it all up.
I’m sure you can relate. Even if you’ve never changed your diet in your life, you can probably relate to my those same feelings about something. Because it’s life. There will always be things we will have to champion; those are the things that make life worth living. What have we prized that we got without effort? Anything? No, I believe we cherish those things most that we work hard to overcome.
For me, that’s Paleo. It’s also my journalism studies. It’s my devotion to my faith. It was a recovery from an eating disorder.
For many, turning back often seems a liable option when the road gets tough. But really, can you go back? I know I can’t. There was no road before this Paleo road.
It seems like everyday, I uncover a new problem on Paleo. An autoimmune disease, a need to go low FODMAP with perhaps a yeast or SIBO overgrowth, hair loss, hormonal problems, and the list goes on. But when I think back, I know that all of these problems were not the result of Paleo — they were simply uncovered by Paleo. I had all of these problems from the time I was a child to the moment before I read Robb Wolf’s book in college. You see? There is no turning back. There’s only moving forward.
And there are some things I’ve learned that have really helped me on my Paleo journey and path to healing.
Carbs really help. They’re not inherently evil.
I remember reading Primal Body, Primal Mind and just being BLOWN AWAY by the fact that we don’t need carbs to survive. It was like a lightening bolt struck my face because it seemed so obvious to me that we didn’t need them. Really, we might not, except for the small amount of glucose that some of our cells need to function. Robb Wolf seconds the opinion.
But Robb Wolf also points to the fact that we typically need carbs to feel our best.
Story time: I went really low carb when I thought I was insulin resistant. I cut out potatoes, bananas, all fruits, etc. I thought, okay, this is it. I’m going to feel amazing.
Of course, you already know I felt horrible. I was probably between 0-30 carbs a day for a while. Not only was it unsustainable, it was miserable. I mean, I was crying every day or two because I was having nervous meltdowns. My hair was falling out by the clumps because my hormones were so negatively effected. I snapped at everyone. I was ready to quit every job and class I had.
But just a few months previously? I was happy, felt better than I ever had in my entire life, and was looking forward to my hectic school year! What changed??
Recently, I decided enough was enough. If FODMAPs were or were not my problem, it did not matter; I was going to eat low FODMAP fruits since they were really the only source of carbs I could get and didn’t bloat my stomach. (I wouldn’t eat white potatoes because of my autoimmune disease.) The first day, I had two bananas and an orange (obviously with my other foods), which felt so wrong to me because all summer I’d told myself that fruit was evil, and I should never eat it. But that day, I felt amazing. And the next day, the same thing happened! I felt absolutely wonderful with my added carbs. So remember this whenever you change a diet: Eating carbs can really help your mood and your turn from processed sugar. My body simply can’t survive normally without it. Maybe yours can’t either. And that’s okay!
Probiotics are not something to write-off.
I have read SO MANY blogs and books about paleo and primal skin care. I can’t even tell you. SO MANY. So in each, there are a select few things that they recommend in terms of skin care, gut-healing, etc. But remember, they always recommend real, whole foods.
Great. So, they all suggest probiotics. That’s one of those things that they really tell you to do. I usually wrote it off because I can’t have yogurt or the kombucha at the store next to my school has high-FODMAP ingredients that bloat me like a blow fish.
But really, when I actually decided to give probiotic supplements a try because not much else was working, a lot of positive things started to happen. My bowel movements were instantly more solid and easier to push through. I was less cranky. My stomach bloat wasn’t as effected by certain foods. All in all, things have gotten a LOT better since I’ve started to take a probiotic. And mind you, I’m not even taking a powerful one. In fact, mine is probably one of lower quality with very little good bacteria. Imagine what a better probiotic could do!?!?! I can’t wait to try!
Stick to the backbone of Paleo, and you’ll be pretty okay.
I had the most success on my Paleo diet in my first few weeks. I followed Robb Wolf’s eating plan, didn’t snack, tried the autoimmune protocol, and I felt so good. I reintroduced foods too quickly, though, and since then, haven’t been able to tell what really bothers my stomach.
Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that if you do the autoimmune protocol, don’t look forward to reintroducing foods. Just stick to the backbone Paleo and don’t over think it. Have fruits you enjoy. If they upset your stomach, stop eating them. Stay away from nuts and seeds most of the time because most people overeat them, anyway. Remember that it’s okay to give yourself treats once in a while, too. This isn’t a 100%-do-it-all-the-time situation. You can eat a GF chocolate brownie again one day if you decide to do so. It won’t kill you. But doing it everyday certainly won’t help you heal.
The temptation mantra
When I feel like I’d rather stuff my face with anything other than eat Paleo, I try to remember to tell myself this:
- I can eat whatever I want. I have no actual limitations (except gluten and lactose). If I want something, I have the power to eat it.
- I can eat for my body. In other words, I can eat the foods that I know will help — rather than hinder or hurt — me.
- Or, I can do nothing.
In times of temptation, this mantra has saved me. I recommend giving it a try, and if it doesn’t work at first, give it a real chance and keep practicing!
Have you done anything to help improve your health?