If you recall, I made a commitment to myself to do the WTF Plan. Short story results: I’ve lost 10lbs and feel much better. If you’re up for the long version, and my gushing review of Practical Paleo, I dare you to read the rest of this wordy post.
When I started my WTF Plan, I said I was going to eat eggs. And I did, for 3 days. But after a process of elimination, I realized on day 3 that I was having a reaction to them. I argued in my head that the new farmer I’d gotten them from at the Farmer’s Market must’ve been lying and really feeding the chickens soy or wheat, because I’d always maintained I only had a problem with eggs that weren’t of high quality.
On the third day, coincidentally, we received Diane of BalancedBites.com new book Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle.
I skimmed through, looking at the GORGEOUS cookbook section, and got a little disenchanted with the apparent lack of items I could eat because of the WTF Plan. Since my plan included eliminating nightshades, nuts, seeds, chocolate, fruit and any sweeteners – quite a few of the delicious looking recipes would have to wait. So, I then flipped to the 30 Day Meal Plan sections to see what I could eat.
And here’s where it gets interesting. As someone who’s been actively involved in this community for years, as someone who’s attended seminars (even the Practical Paleo seminar), someone who wrote a paleo(ish) book… I was LEARNING NEW STUFF in Diane’s book. There’s SO much information – I’ve had the book for weeks and still finding new things.
Celiac Disease (autoimmune) “An overt allergy to gluten (found primarily in wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, and tritcale) and other grain proteins resulting in the autoimmune, self-cell attacking of the small intestine lining.” Practical Paleo, p. 151
I’ve said before that I “think” I have Celiac disease. But now I’m officially positive of my diagnosis, without needing expensive testing or exposure to a protein I know is toxic to my system. The explanation of it being “self-cell attacking” made me realize that the ever increasing high white blood cell count I had pre-paleo was just that. My body was attacking itself. That is Celiac Disease.
Diane’s poignant and practical definition of this complicated concept, was so very clear to me – a skill she has a knack for unlike anyone I know of in our community. The entire book takes all the ideas you just can’t quite figure out, and makes it easily digestible, easy to understand, and absolutely practical to implement.
Tailoring My Plan, per the Autoimmune protocol
Back to the food.
As I continued to read the autoimmune section, I realized that there were foods on the Autoimmune and Digestive Health protocols which she suggested I not eat (eggs) which I wasn’t following at all. I wanted to cry. I really felt like it was just too much to remove eggs. I LOVE eggs. But I trust Diane and the book’s foundation was solid, so I made a commitment to tailor my diet further to the book’s defined plan. It meant I also removed raspberries, strawberries, and greens with high insoluble fiber from my diet as well as eggs. *hrmph*
I began to flip through the book and use it like the reference book it was intended to be to find out more about why. From the tailored information on specific conditions (in my case, Autoimmune) to the reference points on leaky gut, carbs and blood sugar regulation. I read, absorbed and planned with my new best friend (the book) that night. I directly messaged Diane about my discoveries and how much I was loving the book, and she kindly directed me to other sections of the book, to help me focus on stress reduction and self care.
As I removed sugars, caffeine and other stimulants as a result of the WTF Plan, my natural bedtime hour kept creeping forward. Before I knew it I was averaging a 9:30pm bedtime. The result was the feeling of waking up renewed, refreshed and determined.
I was so pumped, and refreshed by my getting my Paleo mojo back that one morning I listened to the Paleo for Women episode of the Balanced Bites podcast. Minutes in, I was crying buckets. I realized I had some serious emotional issues to battle. From daily struggles with avoiding the treats the boys are able to indulge in, to dealing with Facebook followers saying, If I had this affliction I’d put a gun to my head, the stress can pile up and become overwhelming. Which has been a large part of my problem for many months now.
As you can probably imagine, there’s a bit of pressure when you’re looked at as a “figure” in any sort of community. We’ve written about some of the obscene comments we’ve received, and how we’re working on ignoring them in order to happily continue the blog. But as I listened to Stefani from PaleoForWomen.com talk about how much harder it is to maintain health, weight loss and a guilt-free mentality – I started sobbing.
Each time one of you tells me I’m an inspiration or that I’m changing lives, I get overwhelmed. First, by your kindness and how this lifestyle has changed our lives as well as being grateful for the opportunity to change yours. Second, because there’s a LOT of pressure to be someone’s inspiration. If I dive face first into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s after a long day and hormonal swings, I feel like I’ve not just let myself down – but all of you, too.
I took seriously Diane’s personal challenge to de-stress and followed, exactly, her defined protocol in Practical Paleo.
I added the supplements and nutrient dense foods.
I stuck to the defined foods to avoid and to add.
I left work earlier every day.
I went to bed sooner.
After some serious hair pulling, temper tantrums and screaming about how limited I sometimes felt… the results are in:
- My skin is clearing up! Admittedly, the massive break-outs on the lower half of my face are one of the main contributors for my commitment to eating more cleanly. I found this link which validated for me that it was caused by too much sugar (hormones) and stress. I’m so glad to be getting perfect skin back again!
- No longer bloated or retaining water. I lost 7lbs, SEVEN POUNDS, in the first week. Yes, that’s water weight; which is just as awful to carry around! My wedding rings went from being tight to loose in 2 weeks.
- Joint pain is reduced massively – I used to crack my knuckles, neck and back by the quarter-hour. My knees were a bit crackly – although not nearly as much as before I went paleo 2 years ago. Now, all of that is disappearing (several hours before I want to crack joints).
- Painful or loose eliminations after breakfast are gone. Uh.. yeah. Eggs. I’m gonna have to miss them for a while. I’m hopeful that the reintroduction of pastured soy- and wheat-free egg yolks will go well. We’ll see.
- Sleeping better. Because I’m not consuming caffeine (eliminated coffee and chocolate) my body naturally fell in a rhythm of getting tired around and waking up naturally.
Obviously, I’m thrilled with the results and have the motivation to keep these items out of my diet for a bit longer. I’ve actually since reintroduced a few things (ghee, no problem – almonds, sadly an obvious problem – pastured egg yolks in small amounts, so far so good). According to Practical Paleo there’s a lot of benefits and nutrients in butter that my body could use to heal. Because I’m still not OK with introducing casein into the house for the kids, we’ll use ghee at home and see if we notice a reaction in their skin or behavior.
I’ve also happily reintroduced some sweeteners – these being fruit based and small amounts of honey or maple syrup. No more gluten-free bakery extravaganzas! Small amounts of fruit and natural sweeteners will make Matt’s life less difficult, as it adds quite a bit of marinade options and side dishes to Matt’s cooking options.
But that means I’m still avoiding alcohol, nuts, seeds, nightshades, raspberries, strawberries, some greens and egg whites for at least 2 more weeks. And I’m going to get back to being very strict about always eliminating grains, legumes, diary, and refined sugar since it destroyed my body in the short amount of time I loosened up a little.
Ultimately, I’m focusing on Diane’s food quality guide (one of many awesome easy to understand graphic guides made to be torn out of the book!). No matter how obvious, sometimes we need reminders about these things.
Recipes & Recommendations
We’ll be doing a Part 2 review of Practical Paleo because the cookbook section is just as awesome and impressive as the material in the parts I’ve mentioned above. But, if you too want to feel better too and are inspired by my success on the plan, check out the Pinterest board I created for just Paleo Autoimmune-friendly recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Always add kelp or sea vegetable sea salt, iodine is great!
When you’re craving sugar, drink herbal tea (licorice or peppermint are my favorite).
Eat more fat – natural, uncured bacon often solves problems when chocolate and nuts being gone make you sad.
BREAKFAST (probably the hardest meal – make the day before!)
- Stir fry vegetables with bacon ends & pieces (We recommend US Wellness Meats!)
- Saute cabbage in duck fat with ground lamb
- Cinnamon parsnips with sausage or bacon
- Pork with Squishy Squashy Apples in ELaD
- Overnight apple breakfast cobbler with bacon
- Bratwurst or sausage links with sauerkraut and sauteed onions, zucchini & yellow squash
- Garlic ginger chicken over pureed carrots with coconut oil
- Apple, butternut squash and bacon breakfast hash
- Leftover dinner from night before
- Salads with anchovies, shredded chicken breast or canned wild salmon and homemade dressing
- Butternut squash soup (with homemade bone broth) from Practical Paleo
- Bunny (carrot) soup (with homemade bone broth) from ELaD
- Curried chicken coconut soup (with homemade bone broth)
- We’ve taken to eating a lot of bone broth and using it for stews and soups
- Sage pork chops with roasted apples
- Steak topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions
- Prosciutto wrapped salmon and roasted vegetables
- Lamb Lettuce Boats with Avo-Ziki Sauce from Practical Paleo
- Licorice root tea satisfies sweet cravings
- Homemade beef jerky (add equal parts beef heart to london broil and chuck for a good mix)
- Meat sticks from USWM
- Fresh blueberries or other fruit (don’t go crazy with sugar!)
- Coconut cream & blueberry bark
- Veggie sticks (carrots, cucumbers and zucchini are my faves) with dips (ELaD‘s black olive tapenade)
- Sugar-free bacon from USWM (often fat is a good craving deterrent)
- Fruit in coconut milk
- Caramelized Coconut Chips
- Pumpkin Cheesecake (haven’t tried yet)
- Bottomless Key Lime Pie (haven’t tried yet)
- Orange Cream and Mint Melt-Aways from Practical Paleo
And make sure you’re eating enough carbs & fat for your energy and stress levels – reading Diane’s info on this was very helpful for me. Now that I’m on proper supplements for my gallbladder-less digestion, I’ve been able to realize what level of carbs and fat percentage my body ideally runs on.
Not surprisingly, after severe metabolic derangement, the lower I keep my carbs the more weight I lose. But the other end of that is that with an active, stressful lifestyle I can’t go too low carb or my cortisol and hormones go haywire. Keep an eye out and think about this for yourself!
This book is released today, have yours?
This is the most informative and comprehensive nutritional guide we’ve ever read. Diane has nutritional plans for whatever ails you: from autoimmune, celiac and thyroid conditions, to heart health, athletic performance and cancer survivors. And each one of these plans includes a full thirty day meal plan, nutritional supplements, supportive nutrients (my favorite) as well as diet & lifestyle just for that condition. Honestly, this kind of tailored in-depth nutritional counseling would run you thousands of dollars and Diane is only charging you two Andrew Jacksons (and only one if you order from Amazon).
Not only that, but it’s completely accessible for non-paleo types who just want relief for whatever health issue they are dealing with, explaining in easy to understand and scientifically sound terms. In fact, this book is doing so well in sales it might have a chance to do what no other Paleo book has done since The Paleo Solution – let’s help Diane make the New York Times Bestseller list.
If you think this book may be interesting to you, or if you’re planning on buying it all – PLEASE BUY IT THIS WEEK. Not only will you get the best Amazon price (it will go up soon) but all first week sales count towards the NYTB tally. And if you buy multiple, buy them one at a time because NYTB only counts it per transaction – not per book. Obviously, if we can get Practical Paleo on the NYTB list, it will reach and help people who otherwise wouldn’t find it.
We truly believe this book can heal the world; they just have to find out it’s possible with Diane’s practical approach to paleo.
Image stolen from the fabulous Liz Wolfe of CaveGirlEats