Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday!  No, not that birthday, it’s my Paleo (or Pauleo™) birthday and I’m two!  I’ve got this walking thing down!  In all seriousness, two years ago today I completed a Whole30 which changed my life.  Little did I realize when I went down this path that it would become one that I have stayed on and have really enjoyed everything that it has taught me.

At the end of those 30 days I was shocked at what I saw.  My arthritis became a whisper, gout disappeared, blood pressure started to come down, I lost several pant and jacket sizes and I felt wonderful.  It would take another eight months before I completely lost all the medications I was on and eliminated the final amounts of weight I wanted to shed but more importantly I relearned my relationship to food.

For those that have followed you know that I LOVE to cook.  I am happiest when I am in my kitchen surrounded by friends and family cooking up a storm for them.  I have to say when I completed that Whole30 I was worried.  Would others eat what I eat, would they like it, could I afford to continue to eat this way, what about my kids is this the best choice for them?  The answer to all those questions is a resounding yes!  Any food you enjoyed under the standard American diet (SAD) can be reinvented in a more healthy way.  It just takes some research and experimentation but it can be done.  Yes, really!

The other interesting fact is I have had complete blood work done several times throughout this process and everything (except total cholesterol) has moved to that of a teenager, it’s like I got to reverse time.  In fact, it’s one of the compliments my lovely wife and I receive frequently; how did you un-age or people will guess we’re a decade younger than we really are.  And that total cholesterol thing, it’s simply because my HDL or “good cholesterol” is off the charts highs bringing the overall number up.

These two years have seen me re-introduce exercise and weight training (although I don’t do it nearly enough) and all of the things holding me back simply disappeared.  Now today I am fighting a couple skeletomuscular challenges but in this case unlike my rheumatoid arthritis, food won’t solve them so I am working on the conventional medical approach but also very wary of any offered drugs to help treat the symptoms and look to blend physical, traditional and holistic approaches together to help solve it.

We’ve also come to realize during this grand experiment that you can’t hold on too tightly, otherwise, you will burn out.  You can’t approach this lifestyle with the “I can’t eat “y” because it will hurt me.”  Allergies aside, when you view life that way your brain starts saying “I want y, give me y, I’m dying without y!”  For me, “y” is pizza and martinis.  The right thinking for me has been, invert the classic food pyramid – tons of veggies in quantity and variety, good sources of protein (wild, pastured), good fats (saturated animal, olive, avocado, etc.) and the occasional bit of dairy and very little pseudo-grains and grains (we’ll occasionally do paleo baked goods, white rice, some legumes and once in a blue moon – a tiny amount of wheat).  I know you’re saying “Whoa, you hated wheat and even found out you’re allergic to it (or the gluten in it).”  You’re right, I am, but two years of healing my gut has allowed me to partake in small small amounts without lasting ill-effect.  So I am still a pit-bull avoiding that grain when I am out and never have it in the house but when my kids ask for calamari upon occasion, I might pop one of those in my mouth!  As for alcohol, it is a poison, there is no other name for it but occasional use is not necessarily a bad thing.  For me, I’ve kicked it for the current Lenten season and we’ll see how it gets reintroduced later.  It’s truly a drug and I need to look at it that way and ask if it is the right thing for me.

I’m convinced that the medical establishment is more concerned with repeat business than actually curing what ails you.  It isn’t that there is necessarily any sinister intent there it’s just that’s what they are trained to do; provide comfort, relieve the symptoms, allow the patient to resume their life.  I would argue that many in our society wouldn’t really like to have the mirror shoved in their face and have someone tell us the brutal and honest truth.  You’re unhealthy, overweight (really overweight, not BMI), you’re on your way to a heart attack, stroke or debilitating pain and you have to fix those things otherwise the medicine I can prescribe will just help you limp along but you’re on a slide to more pain, more medicine and reduced quality of life.  Medicine and health needs to start from tough love and it really does mean hard work for you!  Get over it and get into it!  Nutrition also needs to stop taking their cues from their sponsors (e.g. big Ag) and focus really on what IS healthy.  I was encouraged this week when our government backed off on dietary cholesterol, caffeine and salt but they still got it wrong on red meat and saturated fat and the whole grain thing. So progress but we still have a long way to go.

So, happy birthday to me!  I truly feel as if I have been granted a second chance and it’s why Paul L. and I are so passionate about our journey here.  We also recognize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and you have to tweak and experiment on you to find what works.  Ignore the “news” about the Paleo diet and simply start eating whole fresh unprocessed foods.  Make your base of your pyramid vegetables, add good protein choices, add good fats, reduce or eliminate sugar and go easy or better, remove those sources of simple refined carbohydrates.  Consider an elimination protocol like Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox they will teach you so much.  Need help, just ask. Want support, we can help you there too!  Now what kind of cake do I want to make for my birthday?  Just kidding, but I might have a really good piece of 98% cacao tonight!

Cheers!

Paul A.

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