Seven Steps to Regaining My Health (by Jodi Stewart, wwwKnowGluten.me)
October 25, 2013
This is a collaborative blog
and each post is the opinion of the person submitting it.
Not everyone will agree with every post,but our individuality is
one of the things that makes our group great!
The last four years of my life have been tough on my health. My daughter was born in August of 2009. That Christmas we moved to Canada. Then in April 2010 I became a "grass widow" for a year and a half while my husband worked in Pittsburgh. Then we moved to Thailand.
When we left for Thailand I was a healthy, very toned146lb P90X grad. When we came home a year later, I was a 172lb ball of mush that could barely climb the stairs, fully equipped with a newly diagnosed Auto-immune thyroid disorder, and a stomach so big it took up it's own space in bed.I was retaining so much water I couldn't even see my ankle bones. It's amazing what just one year can do to your health. It was a stressful year, full of financial and family worries, I existed mainly on rice, fruit and popcorn in order to avoid gluten in products with ingredients I couldn't read and in restaurants where I couldn't communicate. Wow. Stress and sugar will ruin your life.
It's been a year since we've moved back to the US, but I've finally gotten a handle on my life and my health. I've been gluten free for a decade, but I've needed to make even more, very drastic changes to turn things around. I needed to take a totally different approach to diet and health. Here are a few things that helped, they're not in any particular of usefulness, they all made a pretty fantastic difference. This isn't medical advice, but if you're in really bad shape like I was, some of these suggestions may help you too.
Following a Paleo Diet:
Already being gluten free, I realize the huge effect diet can have on health. When I returned to the US, I started to cut out more and more of the foods that trouble me. I'm not the strictest at maintaining a Paleo diet, but I've found that drastically reducing my intake of grains, dairy, sugar and legumes has been life changing. I have more energy (as in, I only need 6.5 hours of sleep to totally rock my day), I have less pain, and way more flexibility. (Hey toes!! How's it been! Long time no see!) I notice a huge difference when I cheat. I can maybe get by with one Ghirardelli square, but a bowl of ice cream or a slice of gluten free bread causes fatigue, pain and stomach problems for a couple of days.
Seeing a Doctor who is also a Naturopath:
I found an MD who is also a naturopath. She's amazing. She ran tests I didn't know existed. It turns out that in addition to hyperthyroidism, I have a couple of other things going on including some pretty severe vitamin deficiencies. She's working with me to manage my autoimmune problems and heal the damage I've done to my gut.
Instead of giving me medicine to fix my symptoms, my doctor prescribed supplements to help heal the problems. She's focusing on repairing my gut, boosting my immune system, and replacing all those lost vitamins. I actually didn't realize how much intestinal distress I was having until I started taking supplements to fix it. And I can honestly say that my stress level has gone down since upping my vitamin intake.
When I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism I remembered an article I had read about a woman who caused hypothyroidism by eating too many cruciferous vegetables, in her case, bok choy. I decided to try it with broccoli. Honestly, t's hard to eat that much broccoli so I started juicing it. I drank broccoli juice every single day. It's not nice. Not even when disguised with a bunch of other vegetables. But it got my thyroid numbers back down to normal! My last test, after months of drinking broccoli juice, showed that my thyroid is no longer hyper. I've been juicing for my thyroid for a year now, and I can tell when I need to add more or less broccoli in order to deal with my symptoms.
I'm really not sure why adding 3 tablespoons of fat in the form of coconut oil and grass fed butter to my coffee every morning made such a difference, but it did. I was finally able to eat a meal with out the immediate ten pound weight gain, my water retention started to go away. But even more amazing than that, my brain became super charged. It's fantastic. Ideas never stop. Writer's block doesn't exist. I can help my kids with math like never before. I think it might be that my brain was so sugar-logged that it rejoiced at the chance to use ketones instead.
Losing Weight Gradually:
In the past when I've gained a lot of weight in a short time, it's been because of a pregnancy. And when I wanted to lose weight, I just hit the gym, exercised way too hard and ate nothing (literally) for a couple of weeks. Easy Peasy. This time has been different. The fasting thing isn't working (probably because the fasting thing ruined my metabolism). I'll get down ten pounds, but when I eat, I gain it all back. In one meal. No joke. It frustrates me to tears. I've had to take another approach. I have twenty pounds left to lose. I'm aiming for a pound a week for the next five months. Slowly, gradually. No heavy exercising, no fasting. I've been doing half of a workout video and walking a mile a day while following a paleo diet. Fingers crossed. I'm not sure how it will work, but I know that a gradual approach has changed my perspective and my expectations (and reduced the tears!). It's also made me committed to sticking with it instead of expecting instant results.
I haven't done any of this alone. I've found support through groups and blogs. I'm so thankful to have found NOLA Paleo. I love that it's such an active community and offers support and advice so willingly. NOLA Paleohas been so helpful as I've changed my approach to health and diet and regained my life.
How about You?
How has Paleo and a natural approach to health helped you? Do you have any tips to offer that could help me on my own journey?
Originally from Canada, Jodi is a former nomad and humanitarian worker, living all over Canada, the US and in Africa and Asia before finally settling down in Denham Springs just outside Baton Rouge. She began blogging in 2009 to chronicle her adventures, but when she discovered that many of her readers were interested in her gluten free recipes, and wanted more information on going gluten free, she started Know Gluten - A gluten free beginner's guideto share her ten years of gluten free experience.
Jodi is married to her high school sweetheart Scott, homeschools her four amazing kids ages 4-16, slides down the slides at Kidz Korner Playland, and puts Tabasco Chipotle Sauce on everything. In her spare time, (or when she's avoiding housework) you'll find her reading Sci-Fi on her Kindle and drinking a bullet-proof coffee.