I decided to do this blog because I wanted to tell my story. Do you know someone who has auto immune diseases, migraines, tired all the time…. and can’t figure it out? Well, that was me for a whole 38 years, feeling bad to worse. When I tell my story most people are shocked and think it is an incredible story. I don’t think so; I just think I got lucky to put together all the pieces of the puzzle, when they seemed so unrelated. I saw many different doctors and none of them put me on the right track. It turns out that it was all related to food. Unfortunately, we have not been taught that food changes our cells, our chemistry. We have been taught to run to the doctor and ask for a magic pill. That is what I did until a very reputable doctor was concerned that my uveitis (auto immune disease located in the eye) could not be controlled anymore by the steroids. I then decided to take charge of my health. All of my health complaints were actually diseases: 6 auto-immune diseases from celiac to psoriatic arthritis that the conventional medicine had failed to diagnose. I was unhealthy and it was time for me to do something about it. So here is my story….
So why “Paleoui”? Well, because I am French but I have lived in the US since 1997 so I still have the influences of my country of origin but I have of course Americanized myself and I can’t imagine not living here. My food influences are of course French and American.
Already from being a newborn, I could not keep any food down so I spent my first three weeks in a NICU until I was able to be fed. I was really colicky up until 1 year old. But you know, it is somewhat commun…(My kids were colicky and well since I was, I did not pay attention either.) I did outgrew it and nobody never thought anything of it. Around 7-8 years old, I was already starting my first migraines. I had them very often, on the dot around 2pm, on Mondays and Thursdays because the school was serving the same menu each week. I can still remember the smell of the cafeteria every Monday when we were served pasta with cheese and hamburger meat. Just the odor would make me want to “barf”. I tried to tell my mother and the doctors but they told me it was psychological, well every Monday it would eventually happen, I would throw up and wish for death as the migraines were so severe. At that time, physicians never linked the migraines, constipation and exhaustion to food or the digestive system. They could not find anything wrong, so I accepted them as part of my life. So migraines, constipation and lack of energy are the main health issues that I remember from growing up. During the college years, it was also very hard to study because I was so fatigued. Somehow, I thought it was normal. It was my normal. When you don’t feel good for a long time, you don’t realize how sick/bad you feel. You accept it and just think that is how everybody feels.
After delivering my first child: Chloe, my vision started to give me troubles. This was my first round of uveitis. Steroids were helping.
After the birth of my second child, it even got worse. The migraines, the uveitis, IBS, arthritis were making it so hard to go to work, be a mom and happy for what I had accomplished in my life. When my son was 5 months old, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. I did not get better after its removal, which I was really hoping for.
I had now acid reflux constantly, back pain, acne, fatigue, constipation issues, IBS, migraines, arthritis, depressed…and my husband had started to believe I was hypochondriac.
During that same period, my husband developed a passion for pizza, french bread and pastas which accelerated all my symptoms. The honeymoon with the steroids was over, uveitis was not controlled any longer. Verdict: in July 2012: I was probably going to loose my eyesight within the next 2 months. Yikes!
I started to research seriously for the first time uveitis and learned that it was often associated with celiac disease. In fact, auto immune diseases are the result of gut permeability or “leaky gut”. I followed the traditional gluten free diet and felt a huge difference within few days, especially on the energy level.
I found some resources on http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/ which brought me to the wonderful Dr. Peter Osborne. He helped me with healing my body, guided me, and tracked down all other food and environmental allergies that were still giving me troubles. For instance, I had replaced the wheat by the corn and rice which had also some level of “gluten”. I was DNA tested and the results confirmed that I had all genes for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity: I have to be 100% grain free and legumes free.
I have been following the paleo diet, or made my own diet which mostly includes: organic grass-fed beef, organic free range chickens, wild fish, organic fruits, vegetables and nuts. I eat more fruits and vegetables than meat (probably 80/20). I would love to eat only a plant based diet but I was not successful in that transition so that is why I am still eating animal products (I don’t think that my family would be opened to that yet, Jonathan?) My challenge here is to help people transitioning to a healthier lifestyle so I will be working on some French and American recipes using only paleo ingredients. So no worry, we are not going fully raw yet.
I used to have 6 auto immune diseases: psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, migraines, asthma, celiac, …. And 14 vitamin deficiencies, a miracle I did not have a cancer yet. And now my vitamins deficiencies are almost gone and my immune diseases are in remission. I feel good, happy and am very thankful to have turn this around. Funny how the way we feel affect so much our outlook on life! However, this journey to achieve optimal health has just began for me and I am so excited to see what the future holds! I am embracing life and I know that it is due to all the vibrant and healthy fruits and vegetables I eat.
We are responsible for our health and it is time to take control of it! No one else will!
Big thanks to my functional doctor: Dr. Peter Osborne and to my family (for supporting me in this new lifestyle)!!!!