Because I want to live the best life I can…

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Two years ago this May, I was given a positive diagnosis for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. No, it’s not cancer-level frightening. But it was definitely a life-altering moment for me. The reality of me having this auto-immune condition meant that I was at a higher risk of infertility, heart disease, cancer & early mortality if I had carried on ‘as normal’ without ever finding out about this condition I had.

Those are the facts that many people choose to ignore – you WILL increase your chances of early death if you continue to consume gluten if you are intolerant to it. Even if you only eat it “once in a while.” It takes 10-15 days for the gut lining to heal after an assault of an offending food like gluten – in those 15 days, you’ll be at increased risk for immune compromise & you will set off a reaction in your body that sends your immune system to attack your own cells in your heart, pancreas, intestines, ovaries…anywhere that has cells that those little gluten molecules copy themselves to look like.

Before receiving the positive test, I knew deep down that even though I am a health professional, there were some things that were keeping me from being as healthy & well as I could be, I just didn’t know what they were. Removing gluten from my life was the 1st answer to optimal health I’d ever gotten that took care of so many of my issues. And let me tell you, I had ISS-UES. I’ll outline the full of it someday, but suffice to say, I looked healthy but had major opportunities for improvement internally. So I made the changes, saw major improvements, and settled into my new gluten free life & all that comes with that… (If I had a dime for every time I heard, “no bread?? I could never do that!” I’d be a millionaire already. btw, you can do it.)

My mission for helping others is the same as it is for myself – to live the best, most optimally healthy & fit life I (& my clients) can. Which has brought me to the next challenge I’m going to undertake, and I have begun teaching others about. When this first came to me via Drew, here is exactly what I said,

“pfft, have fun with that.
To which I promptly pulled up a few internet searches on why you don’t need to eat that way (because the internet is super for backing any argument you care to make. sky is green? I can back it up with my sources from the internet…yes, that totally proves how in-valid my research was.)

Let me preface by saying, I will post plenty more info as we go through May, so if you’re thinking “whatever, this isn’t for me”, or more likely, “Kate’s an idiot” 😉 I’ve read the research, I’ve reconciled it with what I learned in college to get that fancy piece of paper called a degree, it matches up. It’s just science. So nobody freak out just yet, ok? Stick around for May & I promise you’ll be smarter & maybe even healthier if you try it out too.

Here’s the skinny on this not-so-new way of eating:
– A way of eating, known as “Paleo”, has been getting more mainstream as dozens of high-profile athletes add this type of eating to their training regimen & seeing performance success from it; athletes in the fields of MMA, endurance sports, the NFL & more are seeing great success with this simple nutrition profile.

-I’m super hesitant about calling it ‘Paleo’, although that is exactly what it is – a way of eating that ensures the nutrients you take in are equal to that which our earliest ancestors did, when heart disease, ill-health & obesity did not exist. People tend to freak out (like I did) when someone brings up a new diet/eating plan. Let me be clear: this is not  a diet. It is scientifically-backed truth about how early humans ate and functioned VERY well while doing so. Look at any culture in the world that adopted a Western Diet & you’ll see a proliferation of heart disease, diabetes, stroke & cancer. Prior to adding Western foods, these cultures had very low incidence of these diseases.

– Paleo eating looks at the scientific truths about nutrients & the human body. This is not made up by some doctor in South Beach, nor is it pushed by some veggie-licious woman with no degree to speak of (Kathy Freston) – it is simply the study of what nutrients we absorb really well, which ones we do not, and how the bad ones absolutely are linked to disease & breakdown.

– Not only do we tend to lean toward the same 10-12 foods again & again (seriously, how many different kinds of protein do you eat? veg? I bet you can count each of those categories on 1 hand, 2 if you’re adventurous) but even those of us gung-ho healthy types rely too much on inflammatory foods, the top 3 offenders being : grains, dairy & legumes (beans, peanuts, lentils). When you consume the same few foods repeatedly, you miss out on nutrients that the rest of the edible things on planet earth offer. When you consume inflammatory foods on a regular basis, you create stress & breakdown in the lining of your gut. Did you read my articles on what’s going on in your gut? A whole heckuva lot actually – the majority of your immune system & 70+% of your serotonin creation is kickin’ it out in your gut. Want to be healthy & happy? Fix your gut. For those articles in full, go here & here.

So what do you eat when you go “PALEO”?
 – Protein (many sources, even bacon!, well, uncured bacon and not too much of it – all things in moderation, right?)

– Vegetables (duh…just lots more of them than you’re probably used to. I had jicama slices today for dipping in my guacamole, yum)

– Plenty of fat (I think I just heard a few gasps…much to mainstream media’s dismay, fat is not the enemy – guacamole? ok!)

– No grains, dairy or legumes- which includes lentils, peanuts & beans-(again, much to mainstream media’s dismay, a diet “rich in whole grains, dairy & beans is NOT the healthiest way to go, there’s plenty of science to prove it)

– No refined sugars (duh…if we took out grains & dairy, we sure as hell are taking out unnecessary sugars! you’ll see fruit in my diet rotation, but again, all things in moderation)

That’s the basic jist of it – all the foods that were present in the Paleolithic era are in the mix – we’re going hunter-gatherer style, Neolithic era foods are not – clearly not any packaged foods here. Once I read a few books about Paleo & listened to a whole bunch of podcasts about this stuff, it became clear to  me that there was a benefit to be gained by trying out this further cleaning up my food choices. So I’m going to do this for 30 days with Drew & we’ll blog about it.

I can tell you right now, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. But it’s not like it’s that difficult….building a space shuttle – that’s difficult. Remembering to buy enough swiss chard & sweet potatoes so I’m not starving at breakfast? That’s not difficult. I am confident I have some foods that are inflaming me, and the only way to know what they are, and to heal my gut from that inflammation is to quit them for 30 days. We’ll post the science behind this, some of our menus & thoughts on how we think it’s going here on the blog & on Twitter ( @kgalliett  & @DW431 ). We hope you’ll follow along as we embark on this little 30 day challenge!

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