So I started this blog to talk about home improvement – but how about life improvements? In March, Aaron and I decided to join the ranks of the Paleo persuasion. We aren’t as strict as the purists, but we’ve still made significant changes to our eating habits. I’m not going to explain the diet for those who don’t know – there are about a billion articles going over the hows and whys that say it better than I could.
Fat and Weight Loss. I didn’t actually have any intention to lose weight with this change, but it happened naturally. I am eating as much as I want, whenever I’m hungry, and yet I’ve lost about 15lbs and 3% body fat.
Reduced Allergy Symptoms. I’ve suffered from allergies since I was 8 and I’ve been on year-round allergy medicine with a decongestant since 15. I’m basically allergic to the outdoors, with some extra-strength hay fever. This year, I’m on a quarter dose – half a Zyrtec-D once a day – and feel better than I ever did on the full dose. I can even drive with the windows down, leading Aaron to wonder aloud “Who are you and where is my wife?”
Better Skin. I’ve never had a particularly bad complexion, but I’ve always had a small amount of pesky blemishes. When I started getting acupuncture, my provider told me that the blemishes always centered over some stomach points. Aside from my complexion, I’ve always struggled with irritated skin, especially on my calves. No matter what moisturizer I used, I’d get stubborn itchy or rough spots. I knew they got worse when my allergies were worse, but mostly attributed that to the fact it is hard to keep hydrated when you can’t stop sneezing. I now know that it was internal inflammation that caused most of it – several times when I’ve “cheated”, that old familiar itch has broken out on my calves. I’ve also started using coconut oil (which features in the diet) as my primary moisturizer, so that may be having a secondary effect.
Improved Digestion. I promise not to go into TMI details here, but I’ve noticed a real change in my digestion. It is just better all around. One easy to describe (non-gross) change is that my stomach is not generally as uncomfortable after eating. It used to be that I was very sensitive to touch on my stomach after a meal, now that feeling isn’t nearly as frequent.
Real Sinus Relief. OK, I saved the weirdest one for last. About two weeks into our Paleo switch, I started having this very strange nasal drip. As someone who’s had *plenty* of sinus infections in her life, I knew this wasn’t a normal cold or infection. I was a little freaked out, especially because the leak seemed to be positional. After some Googling, and getting over the idea that it might be a CSF leak (yes, I know, Google always tells you that you’re gonna die), I found an interesting case study of someone who’s bursting sinus cyst had been documented through CT scans. I don’t have the “after” documentation, but prior to sinus surgery in 2007, my imaging did show a cyst taking up most of my right maxillary sinus. The dripping was only from the right side and when it had finally stopped, I had a weird “hollow” sensation in my cheek for weeks. I can’t prove it, but I’m certain that cyst burst. After 7 years of that cheek telling me exactly how much sinus pressure I had on a given day, that little throbbing barometer is silent.
So that’s my schtick, my shout out, my promo for the paleo diet. It might not make a difference for everyone, but it helped me in enough ways that I can’t see myself going back to the old ways.
While the piles aren’t completely gone from the other side of the room, having room to store stuff prompted us to actually sort through the collected detritus. We tossed a good bagful out then organized and put away some of the rest. Some of it is still in TBD status.