Simply put, grains, dairy, sugar and calorie dense/nutritionally lacking processed food cause inflammation in your body. This happens in your joints, muscles, and your organs. Unfortunately, that means it also leads to an autoimmune response causing some of the following fun disorders:
diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, obesity, lupus, hypothyroidism…
Do those sound like a party or what?!
Why should YOU try paleo? Why not? Give it 30 days. Here’s my accidental paleo story:
I have arthritis in my knees. At 27 years old, my doctor told me I had the knees of a 55 year old and then I paid him $35. Do you know how much that sucks?
There were days that I would get out of bed and my knees were burning so bad that I would try to get through a day of work while in tears the whole time. (I was a pastry chef at the time, on my feet for 10+ hours every day.) I got some steroid injections in my knees to help soothe the insane burning feeling and pretty much just had to depend on medication to get through the daily minor pain. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to do anything fun at the gym. Only “non-impact” activities like the elliptical machine, lots of yoga and swimming. Bo-ring.
My husband wanted to start eating paleo to increase his athletic performance at the gym. Since I was the resident grocery shopper/cook, I started eating paleo too, by default. (And as most women tend to think, I hoped I could lose few pounds.) I hadn’t even done much research on it, I just stopped buying bread, tortillas, and dairy and we incorporated more meat, good fats, and vegetables into every meal. I also started taking fish oil.
A couple of months later, I decided to try CrossFit, out of absolute going-crazy-out-of-my-mind-boredom at the gym. I spoke with my husband’s coach, a fellow botched-knee athlete, about my knees and he was certain I should give it a shot.
I signed up for the introductory course scared.to.death but ready to give it a shot. But squats? Lunges? This are the forbidden no-no’s that I’m not supposed to do! I left my first class after what felt like seemingly endless squats, afraid of the knee pain I would feel in the morning. That’s the thing about arthritis: I always felt it after the fact- usually first thing in the morning. But when I woke up the next day, I felt fine. Save for the soreness in my muscles, I felt like I hadn’t done anything at all to my knees. Weird.
My coach asked me the next day how my knees felt. Fine, I told him.
Day 2: Same.
Day 3. Same.
Day 4: Same?
Day 5: Same!?
Day 6: SAME!
Wait a minute. Could this be true? Am I really not feeling any arthritic pain even though I’ve done dead lifts, back squats, sprints, lunges, and everything else that I’ve avoided because it used to hurt so bad?
My coach consistently asked me about my knees and I finally told him in shock, “ I don’t understand it. I have no knee pain. I think it might be because I’ve been eating paleo for a couple of months. What do you think?”
I’ll never forget the following sentence: “I wish I could act surprised about this, but I hear it so often that I can’t. Good for you, Tricia.”
After a decade of cooking professionally, my relationship with food changed that day. And subsequently, after investing more time and effort into educating myself on what all consists of a paleo regimen, my outlook about my overall physical health changed that day.
As another un-plannned bonus, my cholesterol rocks. I have had high cholesterol since my early 20’s. Even when I was almost vegan, my cholesterol was high. I was told this was genetic. Then after 4 months of eating paleo, I had blood work done, and my cholesterol change was nothing short of amazing. My HDL (the “good” cholesterol, the one that keeps your arteries clear and open) is 4 times healthier than “normal” levels.
Is paleo right for you? I’m not here to say that everyone needs to commit to this 100% of every day and that you can never eat dessert again. But it feels like a big health “secret” that I was lucky enough to be let in on and I hope to share it with as many people as possible. I am also here to make it a little easier on you in the kitchen and prove that eating like a caveman can be a very tasty part of your life.