Hi Everyone! So, first the disclaimer…I have a lot to write about! So, here’s about me 🙂 My name is Allison. I have an amazing supportive husband, Scott, and two beautiful children, Emma & Kyle. Oh…and I can’t forget my adorable little furbabies, Zoe & Jasper. I’ve always been a bit crazy about health. My father passed away when I was 12 of colon cancer, and since then you can say I’ve been a bit of a hypochondriac about cancer and getting sick in general. I’ve always done my best in what I thought was a healthy lifestyle. I exercised and ate fairly decent. In 2007, I ended up having a benign schwanoma removed from my back. It was a large nerve tumor that had grown behind my muscles and was attached to my ribs. Unfortunately, my surgeon had no idea what it was until she went in and the surgery didn’t go as planned. She screwed me up to say the least. Recovery was awful. The year following my surgery, I continued to have nerve issues and about a year after my surgery, I woke up one morning with an awful headache and neck pain that would not go away. I lived with this neck pain for 2 years straight, trying everything from massage, to acupuncture, PT, and seeing many specialists. These all would make me feel better for about a day or two, but the pain always returned. Most people told me I was “stressed” (that really pissed me off…and stressed me out LOL!). One specialist told me the only way to ease the pain was to get cortisone shots in my spine. Ummm…no, thank you! That’s when I decided to take my health into my own hands.
After doing a ton of online research, I decided to see a naturopath. She was amazing! She got me going in the right direction of starting to figure out the causes for my pain. Shorty after that, I decided to see a chiropractor…something I said I would NEVER do. Between the two of them, I decided it was time I start trying to eliminate foods. Over the next year, I first eliminated gluten, then I tried dairy, and I also did sugar (all at different times). I always felt “better”, but not perfect. My chiropractor then mentioned Paleo to me. I had never heard of it. So, on I went with more research. It sounded horrible. Paleo eliminates grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes. You eat, fruits, veggies, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. I love food. No, seriously. I LOVE food. I’ve been collecting cookbooks since college. I loved to watch Food Network. I LOVE to cook. And with Paleo, I had to eliminate everything I loved. But, I had now been in pain for almost 3 years. I had to do something. I was on and off trying to do it. I would feel good, then “cheat”. I just couldn’t stick with it for a long period of time.
Then, I came across Diane Sanfillipo’s website and the 21-day sugar detox and decided to give it a try. It was now fall of 2011. I started it November 1st…perfect timing so I wouldn’t eat all of my kids Halloween candy!! My findings??? After a week of detoxing, no pain for the rest of the 21 days. It was the first time in almost 3 years I was fully pain free. It felt sooooo good! But, I was still in denial. After 21 days, I ate all the food again and immediately I was in pain. This was it…it was the damn food!! As saddened as I was and as hard as it was to admit to this, I knew this was now the path I had to take in order to get my life back. But, I wasn’t perfect. I’d be good for a while, then cheat and be in pain, then get back on track. Again, I couldn’t stick with it.
In May of 2012, I did something else I said I’d never do…I joined Crossfit. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life, by the way. And what do you know? Crossfitters eat Paleo! Ok, maybe not ALL of them…but a lot do and they understood me. They don’t think I was crazy for eliminating all these foods that we’ve all grown up on and been told are “healthy”. When I first joined, they were starting a Whole 30 Challenge. Another new thing for me, but it was just the push I needed to stay on track with my Paleo eating. But this time, I had a support group. Each day, we shared pictures of our yummy meals, shared recipes, laughed together, and complained about what we missed. But, it was this 30 days that I realized I could do this. I can still love food. I can still cook amazing, delicious meals and be happy! And I was getting good at it! And here I am now…… Oh….did I mention how much I LOVE Crossfit?
So, there you have it. Since May 2012 I’ve been pain-free. Ok, ok…I’ll admit…I’m not perfect. Who is? I have my moments. I spend 2 weeks eating crappy, but deliciously yummy food during the holidays. I go on vacation and I indulge. We’re all human and I in no way will ever pretend to be perfect. But I do the best I can and for the most part eat Paleo. I no longer call is “cheating”. When I eat “off-paleo”, it’s a “choice”. And when I made a choice to eat something I know will bother me, I pay for it and know what I’m in for. I enjoy the hell out it and move on.
All these years of experimenting with food, this is what I’ve learned. Overload of gluten/grains and sugar, cause severe neck pain for me. Diary makes me bloated and gassy (gross…who wants that? No one likes a stinky girl). All of these things combined make me a grumpy bitch…lol! I don’t sleep well, I’m tired and have no energy. I also get sick more often. Alcohol also makes me feel like crap. I don’t drink as much as I used to..but I do enjoy a cocktail now and then…I love the taste of a good wine or I drink hard cider since its gluten free. When I’m eating Paleo, I’m happy, I’m energetic, I sleep like a baby, there’s no neck pain and I’m in a state of general well being…I’m in my HAPPY PLACE!!! Why would I want to be anywhere else? In addition, when I’m eating Paleo, I’m so much stronger and faster when I Crossfit. Another added bonus to Paleo…I’ve become a strong mama. I’m lifting weights I never thought possible and doing things I never I imagined. I am so happy! Life is good.
I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be one. I didn’t go to school for this. I’m no doctor. I’m a foodie who has been very in tune with my own health. I’m someone who found out that sometimes you have to be your own doctor. You have to really dial in on how you feel. I research and I read…a lot! I want to be as healthy and strong as I can possibly be. I want to feel good….a natural high. And I want to share that with friends. Life is all about balance and figuring out what works for you. It’s not as hard as you think it is. You just have to commit. And if you want it that bad, you will commit. I healed myself with food…and I believe a lot of other people can, too. Food, health, being organized, staying happy, healthy and energetic during the crazy lives we all live, meal planning, cooking, testing recipes…this is what I’m passionate about. And I’m so excited to now be able to share it with individuals. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be fun…not stressful! I didn’t choose the path I’m on now. The path chose me. I’m a real person with real life experiences and want to use those experiences to help others. This is not what I thought I wanted to do “when I grew up”. But I landed here for a reason. And I’m so happy with where I am now.