InstaFriday

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Every morning, Emily and Everett come into our bed and sleep for another hour or two. I am usually in between Eden and Everett since they both want to be snuggled up next to me. I wish there was a way to be next to Emily too.

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I can’t get this one to keep his clothes on.

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Eden decided that she wanted to nap all by herself and not in her usual spot on my back. She didn’t want to be worn at all. This went on for two days. Today we were back to normal, thank goodness.

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I love the dimples on his little boy hands. They are fading and turning into big boy hands. I am so going to miss this.

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She was smiling at the baby on the screen. She is very much into seeing herself these days. Mirrors are the coolest.

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Eden was napping, Emily was resting in bed for a time-out, so he decided that he wanted to sleep too. On his bedroom floor.

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Sleeping beauty.

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He’s not even two years old yet and he already knows how to drive. And yes, the tractor is rigged to work. It was free :)

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The flowers are blooming. Spring is finally here!

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See? Back to normal.

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My beautiful girl.

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How can she be four months old already?

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Playing in the mud led to an early afternoon bath.

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Big boy underwear! We are slowly introducing him to the potty.

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I never want to forget the way her hands rest on my chest when she is sleeping in a wrap.

The birth of Eden Elizabeth

I went in for my 38 week appointment expecting everything to be just fine. From what I could tell, my baby was head down, face down, and we were just patiently waiting for her to decide when to come. My plan was to try for a VBAC; after having a necessary emergency C-section with Everett, I wanted to try for another natural birth. My doctor was on board and supportive, and I truly thought that everything was going to go as planned. Until the day of my 38 week appointment.

It was December 20th, the Thursday before Christmas. Instead of a regular prenatal appointment, I had a Centering class that day. Normally the classes are led by either the midwife or the nurse practitioner, but being the week before Christmas, both of them were on vacation and so my doctor led the class that day. She listened to the heart tones and they were great. If I remember correctly, Eden’s were always in the 130-140 range. She measured my belly and palpated to check for positioning. Something didn’t feel quite right so she sent me in for an ultrasound. In the weeks before, the midwife had told me that my baby was head down. Judging by the movements I felt, I also thought that she was head down. But when the ultrasound technician put the wand at the very bottom of my belly, there were feet where a head should have been. All this time I thought I had been patting her butt at the top of my belly, but that was her head. I was floored. Completely in shock. If we had found out about it earlier, when she was smaller, it might have been easier to get her to turn. Now, at less than two weeks before go time, my hopes were pretty much non-existent.

Because of the scar on my uterus, my doctor was not comfortable with trying an external version. She referred me to a chiropractor, but like most chiros, his office was closed on Friday. I would have to wait until Monday, which was Christmas Eve. I was panicked but I was determined to try everything that I could to get her to turn. I did the exercises on Spinning Babies Spinning Babies, I did flips in the pool, and on Christmas Eve morning I drove to Savannah to have Webster’s Technique done by Dr. brown. She wouldn’t budge. She did float up out of my pelvis when I was in the pool and it felt like she tried to turn, but she just couldn’t.

My 39 week appointment was on Wednesday, the day after Christmas. We ALL went since Denny was off of work for the week. I saw one of the new doctors in the practice and she also thought that Eden was head down just by feeling my belly, but another ultrasound confirmed that she was still breech. There were some concerns that day with her growth and my doctor offered to do some pretty invasive tests, but I declined, which meant that she needed to come out. if the tests came back ok, she could stay in a little while longer. I also found out that my doctor was leaving the very next day for a ten day vacation, which meant that unless Eden stayed in for at least four days past her due date, I would deliver my baby with a doctor whom I had never met before and had no history with. Denny and I decided to just go ahead and meet our little girl that day. It was an easy decision and a hard decision all rolled into one; easy because it was my baby, and I would have done anything to keep her safe. Hard because I had been preparing for a VBAC for months and I wouldn’t even get a trial of labor. I felt like I was giving up before I ever got started.

We had lots to do. In three hours time, we had to drive home, pack our bags, leave Emily & Everett with my mom, then drive back to Savannah to check in two hours prior to my C-section. It was so much different than with Everett. With him, there was only an hour between finding out there was a problem and meeting him. The possibility of a C/S never even crossed my mind and I was not at all mentally prepared for it. This time, however, I knew that a RCS was a possibility. I also knew what to expect and I was much calmer.

We checked in at 3:00 PM. I was taken to the pre/post operation room and got changed into my gown, had blood drawn, got my IV, signed some paperwork, and got to listen to Eden’s heart tones on the monitor. Everything was done in about half an hour and the rest of the time was spent waiting. Just before 5:00, I was wheeled into the operating room and given my spinal anesthesia. Dr. Hamid was my anesthesiologist and he was such a nice man. When I was good and numb, Denny came in. He was a mess! He was so nervous and anxious and I was just as calm as if I was lying in a beach chair instead of an operating table. It felt like it took forever to get her out, but it really only took a few minutes. At 5:12 PM on December 26th, Eden Elizabeth was born, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. A nurse brought her over and gave her to Denny and the funniest thing happened. Dr. Hamid walked over and basically snatched Eden out of Denny’s arms and laid her on my chest. I kind of love him for that.

The nurses wanted to know her name but at the time, we hadn’t yet decided between Eden and Camilla. Everyone in the room voted for Eden, and I kind of already knew in my heart that that is what her name should be. Just like the last time, Denny and the baby went to the recovery room while I was stitched up. I was wheeled in within a few minutes and got to hold and nurse Eden. Other than itching from the morphine all night long, my recovery was better this time. I felt better and I was up and walking around sooner. Eden had some trouble latching on and it took several tries every time, but we got it. She slept on either Denny or me the entire time we were in the hospital. The only time she wasn’t being held was during diaper changes and nurse visits. It was an awesome experience and I can’t wait to do it again ;)

Swing

The last time I wrote about my children, Everett was the same age that Eden is now. I have no idea where the last two years went. I want to feel guilty about it, about not writing here more, but what’s done is done. I can only try to do better now.

A friend told me that I should blog since I am so full of information about natural parenting. Or attachment parenting. Or, as I think it should be called, parenting. I have a lot of opinions so if your panties are easily bunched, you might not want to stick around. Plus, I need to write down all of the funnies my children do. So here goes.

Eating Paleo: The Positives

Before I get into all of the amazing, positive effects that eating Paleo can have on your body, I want to talk first about all of the negative impacts that come from eating non-Paleo foods, especially grains. Grains are the cause of many, many diseases, yet they are on the bottom, and largest section of the food pyramid. Our government recommends that we eat 6-11 servings of grains every day, when we really don’t need any at all.

Here is what we are at risk for simply by eating grains:

- leaky gut syndrome
– irritable bowel syndrome
– crohn’s disease
– celiac disease
– ulcerative colitis
– diverticulitis
– hypertension
– high levels of bad cholesterol
– thyroid disease
– heart disease & heart attack
– stroke
– asthma
– allergies
– autism (women with undiagnosed or untreated gluten intolerance are three times more likely to have a child with autism)
– alzheimer’s
– diabetes
– cancer
– gall bladder disease
– obesity
– degenerative bone diseases – arthritis & osteoporosis
– anemia
– migraines
– depression
– bi-polar disorder
– skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
– heartburn
– gerd – gastroesophageal reflux disease
– joint pain & fibromyalgia
– inflammation
– pcos – polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is one of the main causes of infertility. women who are able to conceive are usually not able to breastfeed because their bodies do no produce enough (or any) milk

There are more, but I didn’t want you to get tired of reading and click away!

But enough of the negative talk. Let’s look at all of the awesome things that happen when you start eating the Paleo way! But be warned; this might get a little TMI.

When I started Paleo, my main goal was to lose weight. Since the beginning of the year, I have lost 17 pounds. I lost 10 pounds in the first seven weeks by cutting out all sugar, white flour, and processed foods and by exercising 5-6 days per week. In the month since I started eating Paleo, I have lost an additional 7 pounds, with doing very little exercise. I actually lose more weight on weeks that I don’t exercise which I think is because I don’t eat enough calories to warrant a work out and so my body holds onto them by going into starvation mode. I’m still trying to find the balance but it’s hard when I’m eating such low-calorie foods and being less hungry than before!

I knew that by cutting out all grains, legumes, and dairy that I would also be healthier, but I didn’t know exactly what benefits I could expect. What has happened to me has been such a wonderful surprise! I have always heard that the healthier you are on the inside, the better you will look on the inside, and now I know that it is true. Our appearance is a true reflection of our inner health and well-being. In just the past few weeks, have noticed such a difference in my skin. My face, which used to be really oily and broken out, is now softer, smoother, and clearer. The redness is gone, and almost all of the teeny-tiny bumps across my forehead have disappeared. My skin has a glow to it like it did when I was pregnant. Not only is my skin softer on my face, it’s softer on my entire body. Even my husband has noticed this, all on his own, without my asking. I have also noticed that I have less hair falling out. I used to regularly clog the shower drain, but now only a few hairs come out when I’m shampooing. My hair is also less oily. I used to have to wash it at least once a day, but now I can go two or three days without it looking too greasy. I have also noticed that my nails are stronger and no longer have those white spots on them, which could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency (this has not been proven but I have always had them and now I don’t).

Like I already mentioned, I am less hungry now than I was before. I don’t always get hungry three times a day, nor am I starving in between meals. Just a few days ago, I noticed that it was after 2:00 pm and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I just wasn’t hungry. And this morning, I didn’t eat breakfast until almost noon. Again, I just wasn’t hungry. The foods that I am eating are keeping me fuller, longer, and I have even noticed that it takes less food to make me feel full. I am still in the habit of serving myself large portions, but I am usually full after only eating half of the food on my plate. Another benefit of eating this way is that after I eat, I don’t get that bloated, sluggish feeling that so often happens after eating a starchy meal. I have the same amount of energy after a meal as I do before I eat, and I don’t ever feel overly full or miserable.

Until about a week ago, I was having some problems with my energy level though. I had some good days where I felt fine, but I was also having some days where I had almost zero energy. I couldn’t muster up enough energy to go for a short walk, so going for a jog was completely out of the question. And I missed it. I missed my work outs and the rush of endorphins that come from that exercise. I did some reading and discovered that I wasn’t eating nearly enough meat. Now, I have never been a big meat eater. I always used to save the meat on my plate for last, filling up on sides first so that I could eat as little meat as possible. I knew that I needed to eat meat, so I basically forced myself to. But I look at meat differently now, and I am actually starting to enjoy eating it. I see it as the fuel that I need to keep me going. Instead of living to eat, I am eating to live.

Ok, now this is where things might get a little bit too personal, so I will try to keep this short and sweet. I am now going to the bathroom regularly, and those trips to be bathroom go much more smoothly now than before. This has also helped get rid of a problem that I’ve had since Everett was born, something that is common during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Do you get where I’m going with this? I hope so, because that’s all I’m saying about that.

Another change that I’ve noticed, (sorry men, you might want to skip this paragraph) and probably my favorite of all, is the change in my monthly cycle. I’ve had two periods since going Paleo, and while the first one was a lot easier to deal with, the second one was basically symptom free. I had no warning signs that it was coming; no mood swings, no cravings, no breakouts on my face, no cramps, no bloating, and no headaches. My face was a bit more oily than normal for a few days, but other than that, nothing. It was also shorter and lighter, lasting 3 days instead of the usual 5-6. As someone who has always had horrible cramps and migraines, this alone is enough to make me never want to go back to my old eating habits.

If you read my post from Tuesday about how I got started on this, remember how I was afraid that eating Paleo would harm my milk supply? Well, the complete opposite has happened. My body is making more milk than it was before and since my diet is higher in (healthy) fats, my milk is too. Babies’ brains need good fats to grow and develop properly. Everett is doing great and he has even started sleeping through the night, (and sometimes waking up once) which I attribute to the higher fat content of my milk and also the foods that he is eating. My Paleo baby is staying fuller, longer, and he and I are both getting more sleep because of it. (I have no way of proving that, but it makes sense since he has never slept through the night before now.)

There really have been no downsides for me since making the transition to Paleo. I love everything about it and I love the way I feel. I feel good about the foods I’m eating, and I never have any guilt about anything that I eat, not even when I eat Paleo brownies. I feel better mentally, I feel stronger and more energized, and I’ve lowered my risk of developing so numerous major diseases. What’s not to love?

Eating Paleo: What Is Paleo?

So you want to know more about the Paleo diet? First, you have to understand that the Paleo diet is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. It is not simply a means to lose weight. Instead, it is a lifestyle, a diet that you eat all the time, for the rest of your life. The problem with dieting is that once you stop and begin eating all of the bad foods that you used to eat again, you gain all of the weight back, defeating the purpose of ever starting in the first place. In contrast, eating the Paleo way is something that you never stop doing and you never stop reaping the benefits. Well, you can stop, but why would you want to?

Some people are scared to try eating Paleo for the same reasons that I was. When you first look at it, it seems so limiting. It’s hard to see how many food choices that you do have when there is a long list staring you in the face of foods that you can’t have. But once you decide to give it a try, you will see that there are tons of things that you can eat, many that you have probably never even tried before. I have tried so many new things recently and I am loving them! Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and cashews are just a few of my new favorite foods. I’m not even recognizing myself these days; I get genuinely excited to eat things like kale chips and cucumbers dipped in my favorite dressing. Before, I used to get excited about eating chocolate chip cookies. The difference is that now I can eat these things, and eat as much as I want, and not feel guilty about it afterward. It feels so good to know that I am putting such great things into my body and that in turn makes me want to make more healthy choices.

So what exactly can you eat?

Meat: All meat is ok. Want to eat some bacon? That’s fine. Yes, even though it is greasy and fatty and you’ve gone your whole life thinking that eating fat makes you fat (it doesn’t), it’s ok. Eat some bacon. Not every day of course, but all meat is fair game. If you can afford local grass-fed beef, then that is a great choice to make. We rarely buy beef since we have so much deer meat, and deer is great for you. It’s free-range, organic, and a great source of protein and healthy fats. Beef jerky is a great snack but most of it is made with sugar, so be sure to read labels or buy a dehydrator and make your own. I eat a lot of lunch meat for snacks. The brand that i buy is Hormel Naturals – it comes in a brown box. It is nitrate and nitrite free, as are the hot dogs that i buy. To me, there really isn’t much point in eating this way if the foods that I’m eating are full of chemicals. So whether you choose chicken, turkey, fish, pork, or seafood, it’s all good and depending on how active you are, 40-55% of your daily calories should come from meat.

Eggs: Buy local, free-range eggs from a local farm or at your local farmer’s market if you can. And don’t just eat the whites, eat the yolks too! Eggs provide the good cholesterol that our bodies need, as well as folate, which many women don’t get enough of and is vital during pregnancy.

Vegetables: Look up the dirty dozen fruits and veggies (those with the most pesticides) and buy those organic when you can. Statesboro has an awesome farmer’s market so if you are local and haven’t checked it out, you definitely should! With vegetables, not everything that you might think is a vegetable is actually a vegetable. Corn? No. Potatoes? No. Beans and peas? No. Beans and peas are actually legumes and should not be eaten (more on this later), with the exception of green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas. Everything else is ok to have, even sweet potatoes, and try to eat as many different colors of veggies as you can each day.

Fruits: They are great in moderation, but fruit is so sweet for a reason, and that is because it is full of sugar. Some fruits are better than others, and most berries and melons are really low in fructose and are good choices for eating every day. Things like apples, bananas, and grapes have more fructose and should be eaten less, maybe a few times a week. The chart at the bottom of this page lists fruits in order of least to greatest amounts of fructose.

Nuts & seeds: Full of good fats, but it does not take many at all to meet your daily requirement so these should be eaten in moderation.

And of course herbs, vinegars, and cooking oils such as olive oil and coconut oil are allowed.

Now, here is what you can NOT eat and why:

Dairy: Cavemen did not milk cows. Nor goats, or any other mammals. Those animals were not domesticated at that time and it would have been nearly impossible, not to mention dangerous, for them to try to milk a wild animal. Other than breastmilk in infancy, Paleolithic people did not consume any dairy products. Although some people argue that since dairy comes from animals and we eat animals, dairy is ok. But there are several problems with this assumption. First, our bodies were not made to digest milk from any other mammals, which is why so many people today are lactose-intolerant. Even though most of us have evolved to be able to digest it, that still doesn’t make it ok. Second, no other mammals drink milk from other species’ so why should we? Third, milk contains lactose, as I’ve already touched on, and lactose is a form of sugar. Drinking milk causes your insulin levels to spike, which signal your cells to store the sugar as fat, which is not at all what we want, unless we are bodybuilders who are trying to add body mass. Also, milk in grocery stores today (as well as butter and cheese) comes from cows that have most likely been fed with corn or other grains, confined in tight spaces, and treated with hormones. That does not make for healthy milk. If you cannot go without milk, try to get raw milk, or try a substitute such as almond milk or coconut milk. Unless you can find cheese made from raw milk, it is also going to be just as bad for you as conventional milk. But surprise! Butter is ok as long as you buy organic from grass-fed cows. You can easily clarify it, turning it into ghee, which is basically just fat from which the lactose has been removed. Same thing goes for heavy cream and also sour cream, so these things can be eaten occasionally if you want. (There is a diet which is very similar to the Paleo diet, known as the Primal diet, and one of the main differences is that it allows dairy.)

Sugar: Do I really even need to discuss why sugar is off limits? When sugar enters our bodies, our pancreas secretes insulin, and sugar is then stored as energy and fat. While storing energy for future use is good, our bodies can only store so much of it. The leftovers get stored as fat and there are no limits as to how much fat our bodies can store. If our fat cells get full, our bodies just make more. Not good. Plus, when we do exercise, our bodies pull from our energy stores first and only begin to burn fat when those energy stores are depleted. The more fat that you have stored in your body, the longer it takes to lose (obviously). Having excess fat is not the only problem though. When you are regularly eating sugar (or any food that turns into sugar) your body constantly has higher levels of insulin present than it needs. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and to combat that, your body will just produce more and more insulin, and we all know what that leads to – diabetes.

Legumes: Beans, peas, soy and soy products, and peanuts are all part of the legume family and all should be avoided. I personally always thought that beans and peas were vegetables and that peanuts were nuts but that is not the case. Beans and peas are actually seeds, and their goal in life is to spread and grow. To be successful, they have to have some kind of defense mechanism that prevents them from being eaten, and it’s called lectin. To be able to eat legumes, you must cook them; eating them raw will make you sick immediately. But eating them cooked can also make you sick, you just might not notice it right away. The lectins inside of legumes can actually cause your body to go into attack mode against itself, causing diseases such as vitiligo (which is something that I have. It’s a patch of skin on my stomach that is pure white due to loss of pigmentation. I cannot wait to see if it will reverse itself this summer with some exposure to the sun), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and even multiple sclerosis. Not only that (as if that isn’t bad enough), but legumes also contain anti-nutrients which prevent our bodies from absorbing vital nutrients that we need, such as calcium, copper, iron, vitamin B, and zinc.
*Green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are an exception since they are “more green than bean” and do not contain enough lectin to be harmful. It’s your choice whether you eat them or not, but I don’t have a problem with them.

Grains: Simply put, grains contain harmful lectins, anti-nutrients, and other harmful proteins, (the most common being gluten) which wreak havoc on our bodies. When we eat grains or foods made from grains, (rice, wheat, oats, corn, rye, bread, pasta, etc.) our bodies turn those foods into sugar, and we already know what happens next. Sugar -> insulin spike -> fat storage. Even the so-called healthy whole grains do much more harm than good. Sure, we do get some nutrients from grains, but our bodies were not designed to ingest nor digest grains (nor were cows, yet most on them live on nothing but corn). Modern agriculture and the cultivation of grains has only been around for 10,000 years or so. Humans have been around for much, much longer and grains were not a part of our diet for 97% of our existence. If we, as a race, made it for that long without them, surely we can do so again now.

On the Paleo diet, you can choose to be as strict or as lenient with it as you like. Some people allow themselves one non-Paleo meal each week, and some are very strict and rarely or never cheat. I personally do allow myself cheese on some of my salads. And I haven’t yet made a Paleo pizza, but when I do, there will be cheese on it. If I go to a birthday party, I’ll have cake. It’s not all or nothing for me although I do try to eat Paleo 100% of the time on a typical day and reserve non-Paleo foods for special occasions.

Eating Paleo: My Beginning

Before I made the switch over to Paleo, this is what a typical day of eating looked like for me.

Breakfast: cereal/toast/pancakes

Lunch: pasta/sandwich/leftovers

Snack: cookies/brownies/cake/granola bar/fruit

Dinner: meat with a “vegetable” and a starch. My “vegetables” were not always truly vegetables but I was not yet aware that everything that grows in the ground is not a vegetable.

Do you see the problem with that? It’s almost all grains! Where are my 5-6 servings each of fruits and veggies? Where are my 3 servings of meat? And this is how I was eating every single day. To see it written out like that, I am so, so thankful for having what must be the highest metabolism ever because without that, I would have been obese from eating that way.

I remember the first time I ever heard about the Paleo diet. I read about it on this blog and it really, really made a lot of sense to me. I mean, if you think about it, can you really picture a cavewoman baking bread? Where would she get her yeast? And did she have a pestle for grinding wheat into flour? No, probably not, and yet here we are. Civilization survived for all of that time without sandwiches and spaghetti, surely I can too. But later. Not now. I’m breastfeeding now, and it won’t be healthy for Everett or all of my milk might dry up.

Wait. What? Was I even hearing myself? Cave mamas didn’t worry about things like that. They ate what was available to them and their bodies made milk and their babies thrived. So there went that excuse.

But if I don’t eat bread all day long, what will I possibly eat? I’m supposed to eat mostly meat but I don’t even really like meat. Like, not at all. I could totally be a vegetarian. And give up cheese? Forget it. Not gonna happen.

So I did forget about it. A few months went by and I kept eating the same things I had been eating, I was still as fat as ever, and I still felt as bad as usual. Then one day, a friend shared her Paleo success story on Facebook (thank you Jackie!) and the wheels started spinning once again. I could not believe how much healthier she and her husband were, just by changing up the way they were eating. I got so excited about it. I told Denny about it as soon as he got home from work and he got excited about it. He loves meat and doesn’t like bread anyway, so this was an easy change for him. I started googling and reading and researching and taking in everything about the Paleo lifestyle that I possibly could. And even though I was scared, I decided that it was worth a try. I would give it a week and go from there. I could do anything for a week.

But that first week was hard. The first two days were great, since I was so pumped up about it and so excited about eating healthy. But then on day three, I got a craving for something, anything, and I gave in. That bowl of chocolate cheerios tasted amazing, but afterward, I felt like a huge failure. I was so disappointed in myself and I was ashamed of what I’d done. But that didn’t stop me from cooking pasta for dinner the next night. And you know what? It really didn’t taste that good. With every bite I ate, the guilt outweighed the pleasure and I didn’t even want it anymore.

That was the last time I cooked a non-Paleo meal. The days went by and it got easier and easier for me to eat the right things and say no to the wrong things. I knew ahead of time that the first week was going to be a detoxification period for my body. I expected to be tired and have headaches and no energy and feel like crap. And all of those things happened. I felt horrible. I didn’t work out at all that week. But by the end of the week I was feeling better and to my surprise, I lost four pounds. I was sold. I decided to give it a full thirty days and see how I felt then.

The last of those thirty days was last week. I am so glad that I stuck with this and didn’t quit in the beginning when it got hard. There are so many health benefits to this that I had no idea about (which I will get into later) and I feel so amazing. I want to share this with everyone that I know because I want them to feel just as good as I do.

I linked to this video on Facebook, but if you haven’t watched it yet, you should. It never actually says anything about eating Paleo, but it does talk about all of the reasons why you should cut out everything that isn’t considered Paleo food. It’s free to watch through the end of the month and I highly recommend you take 90 minutes to watch it.

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/