Please disregard the Oompa Loompa! :-)
My life has changed drastically in the last few years. Until four years ago, I had been a vegetarian for 22 years. Well not exactly a vegetarian, I was more like a crapatarian. I stayed sick and my weight steadily increased. I lived from one weight watchers meeting to the next. I read labels and counted calories. I ate those little 100 calories packs and sprayed the margarine spray *insert gag* on everything. There is no way I was eating more than 1200 calories a day.
Apparently, I wasn’t reading the right part of the nutritional label. I had been jumping from one neurologist to the next trying to deal with my daily migraines. I was taking meds to stop the migraines then medicine for the side effects. I also had special “booster” meds for those migraines I couldn’t shake within the typical four days (after I had maxed out all other medication). I desperately wanted off the drugs.
I was miserable in almost all aspects of my health. I felt like I lived in a fog and had to write everything down on notepads. I wasn’t sleeping. My skin was riddled with cystic acne. I seemed to have constant sinus infections and never ending belly issues.
On a mission, I was willing to see every neurologist in New Orleans, if nesseccary. The third neurologist told me that I wasn’t going to like what he had to say, but I was miserable and open to anything! He said that I was my own worst enemy. He said that I probably had a food allergy, but he couldn’t follow me around and watch everything that I ate. He said it especially gets difficult when you eat nothing but processed foods that have so many ingredients. It makes it almost impossible to narrow down to the problematic ingredients.
I honestly didn't believe that I was allergic to anything. How can you discover an allergy in your mid-thirties? I've had these migraines since I was in elementary school. I don't even have seasonal allergies; this man was NUTS!
His suggested I only eat meat, veggies, nuts, seeds and fruit. He even suggested that I give up the flour until I could rule it out. I had nothing to lose and still convinced that I wasn’t allergic to anything! I was determined to prove it to him so I followed his instructions. I still was apprehensive about eating meat but gave in quickly. Without the bread and the pasta, I couldn’t continue for long without eating meat. I honestly thought I was going to starve to death on veggies alone! LOL! The transformation was pretty quick. Within a few days, I noticed my migraine lifted until they were completely gone.
I continued to follow the neurologist's instructions for three week before reintroducing items back into my diet. I didn’t get past the first day before I ended up with a severe migraine. Come to find out, I’m allergic to MSG and most things hydrolyzed, modified, or autolyzed.
Life began to change. My weight fell off. My skin cleared up. My head colds disappeared. I began to sleep deeper and become more satisfied with my food.
I can't imagine ever going back to a SAD (Standard American Diet). Of course, my cravings outweigh my better judgement at times, but I pay the price every time! I need those occassional bad days to realize what I've really given up.
I researched the Paleo diet and decided that was how I was going to live the rest of my life. It was hard at first but got easier and easier over time. The only down side to my new paleo lifestyle was I felt alone in New Orleans. I so badly wanted to connect to other paleo people who understood, who knew I wasn't going to die from lack of those "heart healthy grains".
I joined an inactive group on Meetup and pushed for get-togethers. I then moved the group over the Facebook and it took off! We started with 10 of us and now the
group has over 325 member and steadily climbing.
My new mission is to push the Paleo movement as far as I can in New Orleans! I want people to know that with the right support, this lifestyle can be easy. And if we join together we will be a force that local restaurants won't be able to ingore. They will have to acknowledge our paleo, primal, and gluten free lifestyles.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Tamara Warren, founder of NOLA Paleo
(please join us!)