Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crazy, Maybe? Time Will Tell.

Okay, so I've told you all about my trip(s) to the chiropractor and that is still going well.  I've still not had anything to drink besides water in weeks now.  These are all good things, but there's a lot about my health and body that needs fixing, so when Dr. Brad invited me to his upcoming seminar last night (free), I thought I might as well check it out.

C was planning to come with me, but had a ferocious headache, so I took H, instead.  I told him if he sat through the seminar with me and learned something he could tell me back, I'd let him get out of book basket the next day (today).  Book basket is an assigned daily reading time out of a set basket of books that mostly deal with the topic we're learning in school currently.  The kids think it's my way of torturing them.

Anyway, the seminar was packed.  H and I couldn't even sit together because there were so many people.

First, let me tell you that I loved the way Dr. Brad used his expertise in health and wellness to sprinkle in messages from God's Word.  He might not know the beliefs of all the attendees, but it doesn't matter.  He's a man of God who talks and shares about the Lord in any circumstance.  I dig that!  So his health presentation was a little like a bonus sermon for this week, while also providing a lot of good information about nutrition.

So this is the next step.  My nutrition.

I am a mama who has tried a variety of eating styles over the years.  As a teen, I tried starving myself for three months at a time, twice.  I was on a big exercise kick -- jogging every morning, sit-ups and push-ups every morning and night -- and I was not eating any more than milk and multivitamins.  I lied a lot to my parents, which was easy to do since they were at work during the day and in the evenings, I had work or youth group or other activities so I could tell them I ate earlier or that I'd eat afterwards (when they'd be in bed) and they really didn't know.  (Sorry, Mom and Dad.)  I lost a lot of weight, but as you might expect, I put a lot more back on each time.

A couple years later, I gave up eating red meat for a long time (but not eating my paper napkins, which is another story that my sisters love to giggle about even now -- I don't do this anymore, by the way).  I'm not really sure how this affected my health, but I felt good about what I was doing -- though I'm sure it drove my dad crazy to have to make me a separate meal on burger night.  He did it anyway and never complained, that I recall.

About six years into our marriage, C and I went vegetarian.  We still ate eggs and dairy, but no more meat of any kind.  We did this for five years.  During this time, I put on more weight than ever.  Without meat to fill me up, we were stuffing ourselves with carbohydrates, which we now know is the absolute worst thing we could do to our bodies.  But, when the kids came, we realized it would be a lot easier to return to our omnivorous ways, so gradually, we reintroduced meat into our diet.  (It did take me a long time to get over the texture of meat while eating it and looking at raw meat -- especially raw chicken.  It still grosses me out sometimes if I think too much about it.)

After putting on so much weight as vegetarians, ha, we tried the South Beach diet at the urging of my dad, who had tried this with my mom and had great success.  We did lose some weight -- especially in the early phases -- but it was all I could do to feed the kids regularly, let alone, thoughtfully plan out my own meal.  Eventually, I succumbed to nibbling crumbs from their sandwiches as I was making them and tossing back a couple chips or 20 as I was adding them to their lunch plates.

So my chiropractor's big push for overall health comes in the form of a diet called the Paleo Diet.  Maybe you've heard of it -- "Live like a caveman and eat like a king"?  It's central focus is about eating like a hunter-gatherer.  Lots of meat, seeds, nuts and veggies.  No flour, legumes, pasta, rice (and the like) or dairy.  (Google it for more information.)

Right out of the gate, I'm thinking this is crazy!  How can I go with no major carbs or dairy (I loooove ice cream)?

But then I heard some testimonies of some of the people in attendance and while the science behind this diet makes a lot of good sense, it was these stories that convinced me that giving this a try might actually have some positive health benefits.

I'm not talking about just losing weight.  I have more than a hundred pounds that my doctor's been nagging me to lose for years.  But I also struggle with a lot of other health conditions that would be greatly reduced and stabilized if I focused a little more on weight loss, eating a nutritionally sound diet and exercising more.

Here's the thing.  I love our kids.  They may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love them to pieces.  I don't want to die in the next year or ten, I want to be able to see them grow into responsible, godly adults.  I want to someday (no time soon) be a grandmother to their children.  I want to be able to feel better when I wake each the morning and go to sleep without turmoil and guilt over how I ate and didn't exercise all day.  I want our kids not to have to worry about my health so much.

They see how many prescriptions get packed up before we travel anywhere, they know how my CPAP limits where I can stay or sleep at nights because I'll suffocate without it, they have been with me during asthmatic coughing fits that ended with me running home to change my pants because I jarred my body so much that I had an accident -- in public.  It's humiliating telling you this stuff, but think about how humiliating it is for me to have to explain this stuff to our own children when it happens.  I feel like I'm letting them down by not being more proactive about my health.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So after learning about Dr. Brad's 30-day challenge with the Paleo lifestyle I made up my mind to commit to 30 days of this.  I'm not sure what will happen after 30 days -- I guess it all depends on how these first 30 go.

As I reconnected with H after the seminar and we headed out to the car, he was excited to tell me the stuff he'd learned at the seminar.  He listened!  Awesome.

And then he said, "Hey mom, I think I'd like to try doing the Paleo challenge if that's okay."

If you know H, his absolute favorite foods are 1) carbohydrates and 2) dairy foods.  So I said to him, "I don't think it's impossible, but are you sure you're ready to give up the foods you love for a whole month?"

He said, "Well, I know it'll be hard, but did you hear about all the health issues this way of eating can help me?  Maybe my asthma will get better.  Maybe I'll finally sleep at night.  Maybe I can do better in school.  Maybe my muscles won't ache every day.  I think it's worth trying."

I hugged him and told him I was thinking about it, too.  We can do it together.

Then I got a text message from C who wanted me to bring home a burger from Carl's Jr. if I didn't mind.  Uhhhhh....  It's really hard to attend that seminar and then promptly go to fast food.  H said, "We can get that for Daddy, but do you mind if we don't get it?"

So we did bring C his burger, but I went home and made eggs with broccoli for H and me.  I didn't even miss the cheese I'd normally cover that stuff in.

Today was our first full day of Paleo life and I am feeling good so far.  I feel like I'm making a good choice for myself.  I'm proud of H for trying this out with me.  Certainly, the other kids in the family aren't making it easy for him as they taunt him with toasted bagels and leftover pizza.  I know they mean it in fun, but hopefully we can be strong and set a good example for them about self-control.

Will you follow this journey with me?  I'll post as I go along during this month.  And if I bail in a week (C is skeptical about my ability to live like this), you'll hear about that, too.  I'm laying myself out here.  Hopefully, it's not all for nothing.

And P.S. This website offers a free 30-page PDF download of their new Paleo cookbook.  The pictures are great.  Just downloaded it myself.


  1. Oh yeah paleo is all the rage right now. I'm not sure I believe in cavemen though. :P

  2. Yeah, there's that aspect for sure. Kind of doesn't jive with my whole faith. But I do believe in hunters and gatherers. :)

  3. Well, even some of the Native Americans, who lived in caves in the mountains, could be concidered "cavemen". It doesn"t have to mean they lived millions of years ago! I'm a little worried about the lack of calcium. (especially for H) Will you have to take supplements for that? I'll be praying for you. Maybe this will be a good thing.

  4. True, Mom. I was concerned about that as well, but as most vegans probably already know, there are a lot of ways to get calcium from non-dairy sources. I just had to research the ones that also cross-balance with the Paleo lists.

    Some of the easy ones to incorporate are sardines, spinach, other leafy greens (kale, turnip greens, collard greens, etc.), bok choy and almonds.

    For non-Paleo vegans, firm tofu is loaded with calcium and C and I used to eat a lot of that when we were vegetarians so we like it. However, it doesn't appear to be on the Paleo list because soy beans are in the legume family, I guess, which are unacceptable in this circumstance. No beans in Paleo.

    H is willing to try sardines even! But he never drank milk anyway, so this is a good excuse to help him learn other ways of increasing his calcium intake.

    If all else fails, we can do a supplement, but I really don't want another pill in my day if I don't have to.

  5. By the way, I've already lost 3 lbs. Good start.

  6. I know a LOT of people who are doing Paleo right now, and it's been great for them. I admire you for trying - I think it would make me incredibly depressed! But I don't have the good motivators that you do. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.