This is the mantra in our home right now. I’m not much of a “diet” kind of person. I wasted most of my teenage years buying into fad diets. First it was “Low fat; high carb.” Then it was “Low carb; high protein.” It seems even experts have a hard time determining the best way to eat for health.
So I spent my 20’s eating what I wanted, within reason. I just tried to stay balanced, but the truth is that pizza, chips and junk food comprised the majority of my diet. Still- I felt okay, and I wasn’t overweight. So, I wasn’t worried.
Then, in my late 20’s, I had a mini-stroke. I’m not exaggerating when I say this was the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. I truly thought I was dying. What was most alarming to me was that the doctors couldn’t give me any reason for what happened. They chalked it up to my migraines, said it was a migraine “side effect,” and they sent me home. It wasn’t until I met with my OB/GYN that I discovered what had truly happened.
When he asked me if my health had changed, I said, “Well, I had this weird episode, but..” He stopped me and asked for details. As soon as I told him what happened he knew what had caused it: birth control.
Yup. The pill had estrogen in it and- lo, and behold- strokes are side effects of any pill with estrogen. A few years later, medical studies were released stating that women who have migraines and take estrogen are more likely to have a stroke. Studies have also shown that women who have migraines with an aura (I get spots in my vision at the beginning of a migraine) are TWICE as likely to have a stroke.
Since all of this came to light, I’ve also had some other health problems, Micah (my son) has developed severe migraines that come at least twice per month and have him vomiting for 10-12 hours, Jaraan (my son) developed encopresis, stemming from an allergy to wheat and dairy, and the general health in our home has deteriorated. We have exhausted our medical resources, and I’m thankful for my doctor who simply told us to examine our family diet.
After a LOT of research, we decided a move toward the Paleo diet is the way to go. Jaraan was already eating no gluten or dairy, and eating more natural foods (organic meats, fruits, veggies and nuts) seemed to be the general recommendation for people with our kind of health issues. We are 3 weeks in, and I can’t believe how easy it has been. Don’t get me wrong- there have been some battles over veggies and cutting all sugar from our diets, but in general the kids have been amazed at the great foods they CAN eat.
We invested in an awesome cookbook, discovered some great websites, and have determined small steps to take toward eating healthy: 1- No grains, no sugar 2- No grains, no sugar, light dairy 3- No grains, no sugar, go all organic.
I’ll be sure to update how this goes for all of us. Aaron and I are already losing weight (I’m not actually tracking so I can focus on health, but my clothes fit differently), and the kids are actually excited about making their lunches each day with one fruit, one or two veggies and two proteins. I was STUNNED when they all freaked out over “ants on a log.” That’s CELERY, folks!!
If you have health issues or would like more information about our family’s journey, let me know. I’d love to share resources and information to help you take steps toward family health.