Our latest paleo success story feature is about Erin, the blogger behind Little E’s Kitchen. Erin has a tale of gut inflammation, excruciating pain and a pre-paleo dietary history that consisted of pizza, popcorn and later, Tums and Beano. Paleo reversed all that and as a teacher, she wants to tell the world!
Please share this story so that others can be inspired too! Buttons are to the left and at the bottom of the post. Read all the way to the end to get the very latest, especially if you, or someone you love, is experiencing this kind of problem!
Here is Erin’s summary:
Time on paleo: 6 months
Results: My stomach inflammation has gone. I am finally able to eat without pain!
Essential advice: If there is something that you will truly miss, find a way to re-create the dish so that it works with your new lifestyle.
Erin, tell us a little about yourself.
I live in League City, Texas, with my husband of five years. We are both teachers. I teach 1st grade and my husband is a special education teacher. We have a dog, Jack, who is currently our baby! We love to watch movies and cook/bake.
I grew up in a home where we could eat whatever we wanted. No-one in my family had any special dietary restrictions and I didn’t focus on eating overly healthy. Every Friday was pizza and movie night where I would stuff myself with pizza and popcorn. I was naturally thin growing up and I could eat and eat without gaining any weight.
When I got into college, things changed. I started having chest pain intermittently. One night it got so bad, I had to go to the emergency room. It turned out that I had gallstones. I had my gallbladder removed the next day. After my surgery, I continued eating the same way as before. I wasn’t digesting the food I was eating very well at all. I had constant diarrhea and took imodium ALL the time. I thought it was normal because I didn’t have a gallbladder.
After 7 years of pain, I decided enough was enough. I started the Standard Process cleanse. I wanted to force myself into liking vegetables and eating healthy. Well, the cleanse worked! Kind of….
After the cleanse, I felt great! I was eating better than I ever had before. I started introducing “cheat meals” into my diet a few weeks after my cleanse. Any time I ate grains, or dairy, I would have SEVERE stomach pain. I would get bloated and extremely gassy. I told myself that it was normal and that my body would have to get used to eating that kind of food again.
After 6 months of extreme pain, Tums, and Beano I wasn’t getting any better. My gut was so inflamed that I couldn’t even eat a carrot without having a reaction. I cut out gluten, and dairy but I was so inflamed that it didn’t make a difference.
I went to go see a nutritional consultant/herbalist and he put me on an all natural medical food diet for 4 days. (WORST 4 days ever.) I could only eat the medical food mixed with water. He explained that it was necessary to reset my system so that I can start introducing food back in and not have it hurt. After the 4 days of crazy, I was able to start eating a very strict paleo diet.
Eating paleo has changed my life. I am able to eat without having any pain! I sleep better at night, I have less severe menstrual cramps, and my acne has cleared up. My husband’s eczema has even cleared up!
How did you approach going paleo – gradually or dive right in? How paleo are you? (80/20, 90/10, autoimmune, etc.)
I had to go paleo 100%. My “cheat meals” are paleo desserts. My stomach doesn’t hurt anymore, and I am nervous to go back. The way I felt pre-paleo was too painful.
How did you find the transition? What helped you when you were struggling?
When I started eating paleo, I was so thankful to feel better. The change in food really wasn’t too bad. When I think about family gatherings like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I get a little sad sometimes. But I just remind myself that instead of the homemade pasta that my mom makes, I can use Cappello’s pasta
instead. And rather than eating the cookies and cakes that my family makes, I will make my own paleo treats.
I LOVE creating new recipes, especially desserts, because it helps me through those times that I feel like I am missing out. It is also really exciting when I make paleo treats and people who are not paleo think they are delicious! That is when I realize that I am not really “missing out” on anything!
What, if any, exercise routines do you do?
I do CrossFit at CrossFit Kemah about 4 times a week. I love that it keeps me motivated. The WOD is different every day and that is really important to me. I NEVER get bored! My gym is like a little family.
What has been the reaction to your paleo success from those around you?
My husband has been my biggest cheerleader. He has always been very health conscious and has jumped on the paleo bandwagon with me. He loves to cook and grill so we work together in the kitchen. My family, friends, and co-workers were concerned at first with the drastic change in my eating habits. I dropped a lot of weight very quickly due to my illness and having to be on a medical food diet for 4 days. Now they are fully supportive of my new lifestyle. They even reference my blog for recipes!
What books/blogs/support groups did you use to help you?
- It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig of Whole9. The first half of It Starts With Food was really informative for me when I first started. It helped me understand the WHY. It gave me the information to be able to explain to people why I needed to change the way I was eating.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. This book gives a lot of detail about where our food comes from. Michael Pollan does a great job following food from the farm to the table. It was super informative and gave me a lot to think about when it comes to organic food.
I follow so many different paleo/gluten-free/dairy-free blogs!! ….
Besides weight-loss and/or “losing” your health problems, have you lost anything else (good or bad?)
I lost the guilt that I used to feel after eating. I would feel guilty after eating cookies, pizza, pasta, etc. Now I don’t feel guilty at all, because I know I am eating food that is all natural and good for my body.
Have you experienced anything negative as a result of your changes? (Earlier success stories mentioned having to lose certain “friends”, others have said there are restaurants they now avoid because they can’t eat their former favorites.) How have you dealt with those negatives?
I can still go to most of my favorite restaurants. I just have to know how to order and look at the menu a head of time. I do have to avoid some of my old favorites like Steak n’ Shake and Nothing Bundt Cakes. I’ve created my own cakes that I LOVE so really it’s not so bad.
What practical tips would you give based on your experience?
- When eating out…plan ahead! Look at the menu ahead of time. Call ahead if you have to. It makes eating out much easier. If we are going to eat Mexican food, I bring coconut flour tortillas. If I am going to eat a salad, I bring my homemade dressing.
- Cook what you love. Just because you start eating paleo doesn’t mean that you have to forget all about the foods that you love. I will still eat a pizza every once in a while, but I make it myself with almond flour.
- Eat dessert sometimes! Either try a recipe that you think looks amazing or create your own. I think it really helps to know you can have something sweet now and then.
- Do what you need to do to make this lifestyle work for you. I used to love going to Sprinkles Cupcakes for dessert so I learned to bake gf/df/paleo cupcakes. Coming up with different flavor combinations has made the transition to paleo fun and tasty!
What advice would you give people who are struggling with health or weight issues right now?
If you are struggling with health or weight issues I suggest you go see a nutritional consultant/herbalist. I went to numerous doctors and I never got any better. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong. My whole situation changed when I went to see a nutritional consultant/herbalist. I struggled with the mental aspect of weight issues. I have always been thin but I was not in a good place mentally for a long time. I ended up going to talk with a Christian nutritional consultant/therapist to help me work through my body/self image issues.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I am excited to share my story with more people. I know that everyone has a personalized view of paleo and I know that it varies. I am constantly learning new things and deciding for myself what paleo means for me.
As a teacher, I love sharing my story with the people that I work with. They are always interested in what I am eating and they ask me tons of questions about the different ingredients and the benefits of eating the way I do. One of my close friends suggested that I start a blog
so the people I work with and meet have a place to go to learn about my story and my new lifestyle.
It is amazing how many people struggle with gut inflammation but don’t realize that is what is going on. The biggest question that I get is “why did you have a problem/reaction all of a sudden? You’ve never had a problem before?!” But, when I look back on my eating habits and “stomach problems,” I realize that I had a problem ALL ALONG!
Hopefully my story will encourage others who are struggling with “stomach problems” to take control of their gut! Eating paleo is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle change. It’s like a medicine! I also want to encourage people who want to do a cleanse to go see a nutritional consultant/herbalist first. I would have developed an inflamed gut eventually no matter what, but the cleanse was a trigger that set it off sooner.
Me again. Personally, I’ve only experienced this kind of pain during pregnancy and it is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It is so inspiring to read Erin’s story. If you know of anyone going through this kind of pain, please share this post with them.
I am looking for success stories to feature on the blog. If you have had major health gains or inch/weight loss with paleo, or paleo and T-Tapp, and would like to tell your story to inspire and help others, please email me. Thank you!
Are you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.