I remember my first restaurant job at Zolo Grill in Boulder, CO in 2004. With amazing upscale southwestern fare, Zolo also provided a "gluten-free" menu. I was always a health nut like many of you and stayed away from white grains of any kind, only eating whole grains because I always found through my own health research that they contained the most fiber and vitamins. Aside from those who were clinically diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I figured this was another Boulder diet gimmick.
I attended the Paleo certification with Robb Wolf in 2009 and as I sat eating my yogurt and granola, he explained the premise of this CrossFit eating lifestyle was to avoid the very "poison" I was noshing on. WHAT?!? I mean, I had owned a small granola business in Boulder through College called, 15th Street Granola. A business I put tons of hours towards to create the perfect, low sugar granola to sell to my friends and professors. Robb himself is a celiac statistic and because I never actually thought about how food really made me feel, I was convinced he was selling me on a cultish gimmick like folks I encountered in Boulder.
Diagnosed with Hypothyroid at the age of 20 was the most devastating period of my life. Prior to the diagnosis, I went from being full of life, super fit and confident in all things I approached, to depressed, exhausted, suffering memory loss. Not knowing what else to do, I basically took a liking to all of the foods I had no problems avoiding before: pizza, ice cream, cookies. This low point for me lead me to seek therapy.
The way out of this dark hole was through Thyroid research. Physiology of the human body was not only my major, but a huge passion and another reason I decided to look into it. In order to gain control of this new addition to my life, I read and read and read, realizing that many people, especially women, suffer from this easily controlled disease via a small daily pill. However, a pill to make slug-like symptoms disappear was only the beginning.
I knew through all of this research on Thyroid treatments that weight gain was common and for me seemed to happen overnight, putting on all of this weight that I had been so adamant to keep off. I know many people who have hypothyroid and have managed to stay lean, but for me, I tried to maintain my religious diet and exercise plan (obsessive in itself) and still gained weight. This was the recipe for me to fall into my eating hole. I became hopeless and self loathing.
Over the next few years, I struggled to maintain my eating problems and control my thyroid issues and all the while wishing I was as fit as pre-diagnosis. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful a solution to the problem exists because my body and mind felt like a geriatric patient's. I truly felt ninety.
I put my granola down and picked up my pen and started writing like a mad woman. Robb Wolf was trying to tell me something or at least lead me to a facet of research I never knew existed. All of these new studies on grain based diets that up until a couple of years ago were really hard to find, were suddenly popping up. I went home and started reading recommended articles and books Robb had suggested and then read the opposing sides to conclude that a grain/gluten free diet may not be a gimmick after all.
I was still trying to gain control of my weight and body image issues and was nervous that this way of eating could throw me back into an obsessive frame of mind that I had finally had control of. However, I could not overlook the writing on the wall and so I turned my body into an ancestral (primal) experiment and never looked back.
I am on my way to a new version of my old self through 80:20 primal eating. Not forgetting exercise, as a cycling guide, I have also found my confidence and competitive edge again. I know that some of you hear Paleo and think, "blah blah, I love bread, I don't feel bad eating cheese" and that may be the case for you (If I did not have hypothyroid, I may have overlooked this whole lifestyle too). I am not here to preach to the choir, but be a guide for those who come to me with issues that you are ready to tackle.
My boss is a recent case; dealing with signs of skin irritation clearly showing some sort of an allergic reaction, has decided to try without gluten and dairy for a few weeks to see if he notices any difference. This guy LOVES LOVES LOVES bread. He already eats well, but when he approached me, I was delighted to share my knowledge. My hopes are that he will notice the difference without it even if it is a trial and error to the original problem.
Eating is love, pure happiness! (I can finally agree with that).
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "Wheat Belly"
TRAILER ON BOOK:
Stay tuned for review in the next couple of weeks and more recipes too!