The thing that most impacted me in 2011….

It’s 2012. Man, 2011 flew by for me. I wanted to share the most impactful thing that happened to me in 2011. I got healthy. It’s funny to put it that way, because a lot of my friends have always believed I was a REALLY healthy woman. I am “skinny”, a yoga instructor (on hiatus), was a vegetarian for 5 years, ate a lot of fiber, tried to eat organic, cooked my own meals….well, you get the point.

But, the truth is I wasn’t healthy. Not really. In 2011, I started a journey to try to gain weight in an attempt to “prepare” my body for another possible HG-pregnancy. I started meeting with a great trainer, and shared with him my goals and fears. The first thing he told me was that food was going to make the biggest difference in my goals, my health, and my life. Boy was he right! I had been eating vegetarian, and then basically a Standard American Diet all my life. I was a carb-addict. A sugar-addict. A junk-food junkie. I would eat tostitos and salsa every night, in large quantities. I had a superpretzel with mustard EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for a snack. I was always told (and believed) that I could get away with eating whatever I wanted. Since I never saw weight gain from my eating habits, I believed that they weren’t harmful to me.

My trainer at the time, Justin, filled me up with information about the way humans are designed to eat. He told me about the Paleo/Primal way of eating and excercising. (*A disclaimer: I believe in Creation, and I don’t think that the paleolithic era existed. However, I do believe God didn’t create us to eat Doritos.)However, Paleo living just makes so much sense to me! The basic premise of the diet is to “Eat real, unprocessed food, as close to nature as possible and listen to your body. Pretend the modern supermarket doesn’t exist. Choose foods that could be grown, hunted, or gathered-nothing packaged or processed….Eat animals, marine life, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Eat plenty of healthy fats from pastured animals, fish, coconut, avocado, olives, and cold-pressed oils. Drink water….” (Quote taken from an insert I recieved from Steves Orginal.)

Needless to say…I was totally not into it. I wanted to be happy, and enjoy my life and I LOVE FOOD and ENJOYED what I was eating. I wasn’t ready for such a “huge change”. I believed also, that I felt healthy and well even though I did have a few “weird” physical issues I had been dealing with for years. I pushed that aside as “something my body has going on, just a part of life” and kept eating what I wanted. I didn’t think I could “pull off” changing my diet SO DRASTICALLY—by cutting out all gluten/grains/processed foods. That was my favorite! Ha!

After debate, and feeling defensive (on my part) while talking it out with my husband….I decided I didn’t have anything to lose. I would “try” this new way of eating temporarily if only in an effort to reach my main goal: weight gain. So, it begun. My husband was already on board-so we threw out all the junk food we had in our cabinets and pantry, and started buying even more fresh meats/eggs from our local farm, and even joined the vegetable CSA for the Spring/Summer season too. We started cooking even more then we ever had. It was different….

I didn’t notice an immediate change in my body. There were ups and downs, and at times it was hard to cook and clean just to make another meal and clean up again to start cooking! I frequently got discouraged. The thing I realize (most days) is….that’s life! We still have it way easier then most people in the world. I have a dishwasher to help me, thank the LORD! Anyway, the changes did come….and are still coming….

First, I should tell you that I was diagnosed many years back by a Rheumatologist with “myalgia” (which is basically muscle pain). This doctor told me I probably had fibromyalgia. I woke up every morning with stiff joints, and pain in my body. For years I had random joints that hurt me and were stiff….for seemingly no reason at all. I also suffered from migraines. Though i still get headaches, they are much less frequent, and severe. However, my “fibromyalgia”—well, that I learned, was a CROCK! Since I cut out the crap food from my diet, it is COMPLETELY¬† GONE!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how amazing that is. I would wake up and cry some days and just wonder why my body was like this! Now, I am FREE!!!!

That’s not the only change I have experienced. *We’re about to get personal*. Constipation was an unwelcome friend when I was a vegetarian. Nothing crazy–but it was something I dealt with. NO MORE. I am a regular gal now, with no problems in the poop department! Hooray! Also, the most awesome thing….I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY. I used to feel so wiped out all the time. I thought it was just the way my body was. I would go to the mall, shop for an hour and then be EXHAUSTED–unable to do much the rest of the day! Those days are over. I take care of my 2 year old daughter everyday, I lift heavy weights twice a week, and I love to walk and spend time with my family. I FEEL GREAT!

My husband, Jamey has experienced several dramatic changes also. We both are SO HAPPY that we learned the truth about food and are finally experiencing the benefits. We thought we “knew it all” when we were vegetarian—but we didn’t FEEL GOOD. We had issues and didn’t understand why. Well, now we do. We were created to eat -as I like to call it-like we live in the woods! Sure, eating all that processed crap is “convenient” and “fast”….but it isn’t worth it to me anymore because I can’t SURVIVE and THRIVE on that food. It didn’t help me, it harmed me.

So, you’re probably wondering, did I gain the weight I wanted? Sadly, no. (Not yet!) But, that is most likely because I’m still nursing my daughter. However, I’ve started a new training regimen, and am getting MUCH stronger and feeling wonderful! (Thanks Geoff Blake!)

I still don’t know if another pregnancy is a good idea for me. The jury is still out on that one. As for me and my family, we are looking forward to a healthy and strong 2012, filled with fun times in the kitchen and happy bellies. I want to thank some people who have really helped me in my journey so far. The first is my wonderful husband. He really helped me to start this journey with him by my side, and he’s been a real encouragement to me. Another is my trainer Justin Scott. He has since moved and now works at Norcal Strength and Conditioning in California. Bless you, Justin for helping me discover the truth about food and excercise! Also, Geoff Blake my current trainer; thank you for continuing to help me discover my strength and to love my workouts! The others, I don’t know personally, but I am inspired by you and your focus, creativity, and love for food! Thank you! (Links below to more of those I appreciate and continue to learn from.)

Sarah Fragoso-Everyday Paleo

Mark’s Daily Apple

Nom Nom Paleo

Robb Wolf

The Food Lover’s Primal Palate