Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paleo out of curiosity. Gluten free out of necessity.

Funny how things happen sometimes.  You see a video, read a post or hear a conversation and something about it catches your interest.  You might think it is coincidence, but more often than not, if you really really think about it, you would realize that it's not.  It resonates with you for a reason, even if you are not completely aware of it at the time.

A few months ago a friend of a friend overheard me talking about the book Sex at Dawn.
Hi.  You may think I am a nut...but I'm not!
He stated that he was interested in the book and went on to explain how he had started this new way of eating called Paleo.  Hmmmm..being somewhat interested in diets and the way we choose to eat I was intrigued....especially in how it related to Sex at Dawn.  He went on the explain that basically the Paleo Diet is one in which you only eat what our paleolithic ancestors did.  This means no processed food, no dairy, no legumes and no grains.  You can eat meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts.  But not peanuts because they aren't really nuts, they are actually legumes...who knew?  The theory behind this diet being that we are not biologically meant to eat the way we do.

Shortly thereafter, another friend was praising the Paleo Diet, saying she has never felt better now that she has cut all the engineered stuff out of her diet.  My interest was peaked again so I started to research this Paleo Diet.  And..whoaa..turns out there is a whole Paleo lifestyle which includes an exercise "cult" called Cross Fit.  So this is pretty cool now....a back to the basics diet paired with a fitness regime guessed it....focuses on moves from back in the day (the paleolithic day I'm talking about).  Squats, rings, rope climbing, pushing, pulling....all bundled into a WOD (Workout of the Day) that is posted on the website.  Wait...this is just to perfect!!  Check out this funny video about it... really. 

So I figured...let me try this diet out for a few days....and maybe I will even try to do some WODs.  I think I lasted two weeks trying to eat like our ancestors....and I did not give up my yogurt and I ate a handful of pretzels every night...and wine...I definitely did not give up the wine.  This is called the 80/20 rule.  Yes it is a real rule...honest it is...which says you can follow the diet 80% of the time and still say you are "Paleo".   The WODs on the other hand....well I didn't even try, because let's be honest...they're kind of scary.

Not for nothing though.....I probably lost a few pounds due to cutting out a lot of carbs during that time but I really didn't feel any better....I actually felt pretty drained and ucky.  I guess I just need my carbs and grains.

Fast forward a couple of weeks....I get a call from my son's doctor.  We had taken him to CHOP for short stature...he is but a weeee little boy....with a very big presence...but that is another post all together.

Turns out he has Celiac Disease.  For those who aren't in the know, Celiac is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys the villi in the small intestine in order to protect itself from gluten which is perceived to be a foreign substance.  With little to no villi, the small intestines are unable to absorb the nutrients we need to survive.  Why does this happen?  Well....maybe because for some of us...our bodies just haven't evolved enough to handle engineered food.

Although the main symptom of Celiac Disease was once thought to be gastrointestinal, they now know that is shows up in all forms, one of which is short stature. Hopefully within a few months the one who is little will be a bit bigger....maybe I will finally be able to pass on his 2T clothes to his 2 year old cousin who is probably taller than he is.

Treatment?  Easy...remove gluten from the diet.  Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye which means no bread, no pasta, no cake, no cookies...well you get the bagels.  Luckily going gluten free seems to be a trend these days, and the options are endless.  This does make things easier for the little guy and for us.  But it does take some foresight and more quick drive thrus or stopping at random pizza places for a pie on the way home.  Not that we did either of those things often...but not having it as an option anymore kind of stinks.

Thankfully my little guy has a lot of HEART.  He didn't even blink when I informed him, on the way to Trader Joe's to buy up all of their gluten free food, that he would have to change the way he eats.  As a matter of fact, he told everyone in the store that he can only eat gluten free food now.  That was three weeks ago and he is still a trooper, even when all of the other kids are making their own pizza at Pizzaria Uno and when I told him he couldn't play with the raw dough.  "Okay Mommy" he says..."because it isn't gluten free?"

The only thing he is asked of me throughout this whole thing is that I go gluten free with him.

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