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My doctor said, “every day for the REST OF YOUR LIFE”. That was how long I would need a prescription for acid reflux, which had gotten intolerable after a round of antibiotics. Taking any medicine every day until I die was NOT AN OPTION- I was only 33 years old! I ditched the meds and started trying to heal rather than mask the symptoms. Deciding to make a bigger change in my health was the best decision I ever made.

It wasn’t easy or fast. I couldn’t figure out why my stomach hurt so bad and didn’t like paying attention to how I felt after eating a particular food. Desperate, I called my dad for advice. He suggested I read Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, which he had given me as a gift the previous year. Oops!

Soo… I have a confession: when I first heard about Paleo from my dad, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard.  Eat like a caveman? Really?!?

I was surprised as anyone to be starting my own Paleo journey 1 year later. Dad also sent me The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. After reading Robb’s story & chapter 1, I was convinced. The part that sold me was how our bodies have genetically evolved eating Paleo for 2 million years. To the ex-anthropology major in me, that just made sense.

Though the gourmet food-lover part of me hated the idea, my gluten free diet began immediately, and I started feeling better. Then I tested my stomach acid production and realized that I didn’t have enough- probably because I had taken handfulls of antacids since I was a teenager. I started taking digestive enzymes with protein-rich meals and felt even better.

Then a pleasant surprise happened: I lost 20 pounds! I was shocked at first and thought maybe I was veerrryyyy sick. All the diets I had ever tried required measuring portions, eating boring food, and tolerating hunger. Surely I couldn’t be ACCIDENTALLY losing weight? But yes! And I’m happy to report that the pounds haven’t reappeared. I had never been obese, but going from a size 10 to a size 2 was great. Now I love the sexy body I see when I look in the mirror!

The next year, I tried a month of strict Paleo (no grains, legumes, dairy, or sugar), and my pain lessened even more. Finally (and VERY reluctantly) I admitted that dairy had been causing my recurring sinus infections, so I cut the cheese once and for all. I discovered FODMAPS and learned that some Paleo-friendly vegetables contained sugars, fibers, and starches that some people can’t digest. So I nixed the potential offending vegetables.

At this point, there were only several dozen foods on my approved list. I was a mess- physically and mentally. My stomach still hurt, I was terrified to eat, and melancholy settled in. The huge turning point was -ironically- thanks to fast food. I had been eating Jimmy Johns’ lettuce wraps on occasion and noticed that the ones without tomatoes did NOT hurt my stomach. After eliminating nightshades (tomatoes, peppers & eggplant), my pain lessened dramatically.

It’s been a 4-year journey so far, and I’ve never been healthier! 

My stomach has healed enough to reintroduce FODMAP foods like onions, cauliflower and sweet potatoes- though grains, corn, beans, and dairy are out forever. I’ve been antibiotic-free for 4 years and maintain my health with diet, exercise, fermented foods, probiotics, vitamin D, and digestive enzymes. I’ve done 2 Paleo Resets and plan to do them regularly. I sleep great, feel energized, and my chronic wrist pain has decreased. I’m willing to admit my sugar addiction and am still learning what that really means for me emotionally. A cleaner diet means cleaner energy, so I’ve been able to deepen my connection with my desires, with others, with the Earth, and with Spirit.

I’m starting to understand that there isn’t a finish line on the path towards optimum health. 

My body is not a robot, so it will change. Scientists are learning more and more about how organisms like bacteria and viruses affect our health. The relationship between physical and mental health is still being explored.

I’m angry that the standard diet of processed foods and healthcare system couldn’t heal my stomach. I know it isn’t helping many of you who also suffer, but your journey doesn’t have to be long and arduous, like mine. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned through Joy of Paleo!