Paleo VS Plant Based Diet

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Well, what an interesting journey I've had here. Ketogenic, Paleo, and now....Plant Based. I hate that I have to disclaimer this but, this is my personal experience I have had with the "diets", the only way you can really tell if a "diet" is truly for you is to get loads of tests done, before, during and after and compare and contrast to see exactly what is healthy for YOU. Yes, I am a Nutritional Therapist but I cannot speak for you personally since I haven't done a full evaluation on you. So come along my journey as I compare both Paleo and Plant Based lifestyles.

Let's dive right in.

I started off as you can see from my lengthy blog here super excited about the ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet. The romanticized information I received about it was so left field yet so wild that I had to try it. I tried it all right, I tried it, dove into it, and had results. Short term results. I dropped the weight, I was so pumped on that being lost so fast. Of course, this was a confirmation that it worked! The concept of low carb high fat worked! Everything they taught us was a lie! They were wrong, right. Right?

What is the definition of Health?
Answer: The state of being free from illness or injury. A persons mental or physical condition. It's of Germanic origin related to "whole". The condition of being well or free from disease.

In February 2018 it would have been a solid 6 years of this lifestyle. (it's now currently August 2017) So 5.5 years to be exact of trying to make this diet really really work for me and my family. I don't know about you, but I think 6 years is enough time to really benefit your health or cause it to decline.

For the first year, I stayed under 50g carbs. Low carb high fat, mostly organic. What a difficult time that was finding quality food! Organic wasn't the fad it is now so it was really difficult maintaining that lifestyle. But I pushed on. I lost the weight, I felt pretty damn good for the first 6 months. My headaches/migraines lessened, I was sleeping pretty well, my hip wasn't hurting as much (probably because I weighed less) and I had amazing levels of energy (although this was the first time I ever drank this much coffee in my life). I was eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, a salad with meat for lunch, meat and veggies for dinner and even low carb cheesecake for dessert. And yes I kept the weight off for about a year to a year and a half.

The second, third, fourth, fifth year and now was when it started getting strange. I followed the same steps, yet weight crept up. I began modifying it, I thought maybe it's something I need to have a better ratio of. I ran my macros, so I changed my protein, fat and carb ratio. Nothing. I started developing horrible anxiety. Social anxiety. The kind that I can't even begin to explain other than the fact that I just did not feel like myself anymore, I started fearing stupid things, even the thought of driving made me nervous. What was this? I always loved being around my people, I love driving! What was going on? Maybe I needed to modify it further. Obviously, I was doing something wrong since this Paleo way of living was far superior and known to be the way we should be our ancestors, right?

My migraines came back, my hip started hurting again, my skin started breaking out again. What was going on? A few other symptoms reared its ugly face that really began concerning me. I started feeling like I was going to pass out upon standing up, my sleep cycle was horrible, I was unable to sleep! What in the heck was this? So I upped my salts and I upped my magnesium. It had to be me right?

My fourth year was when it took a turn for the worse. I started having extreme symptoms of hypothyroidism. Poor memory and concentration, fatigue (tired all the time), feeling cold, weight gain with a poor appetite (I was never hungry anymore), muscle aches and pains, brittle nails my hair started coming out...a lot at once while in the shower, I was constipated most days and I had extremely heavy periods. What the hell was going on! Obviously it's my thyroid right? So I went in to get it tested and I was right on the border, a few points away from wanting to medicate but we decided to see what I could try naturally to help it. I upped my iodine with kelp, it had to be a nutrient deficiency causing this cascade effect right? My metabolism was ruined and my adrenals were shot. I started to feel a little better, things were turning up. I got a follow-up thyroid panel and everything was good to go! YAY things were looking up!

4 months later. And then...the stomach bloat with extreme cramps set on. I couldn't drink water. I couldn't drink water! WATER! What the hell is going on! I had extreme lower right abdominal pain and I couldn't hold down water. Ding ding ding...appendix? To Urgent Care I went. I had a temp and sore liver and gallbladder palpation but they were unable to tell if my appendix was the issue, so to the ER they sent me. I got my blood drawn and that was about it for that night...I was in so much pain I was passing out in the waiting room and just wanted to go home and try to go to sleep. I had an appt with my main doctor in the morning so I figured it was best to get some rest. We left. What a horrible painful night. I should have stayed. The following morning my doctor told me she didn't think I was in that much pain (umm, I never go to the doctor and never complain so, yes I was in pain) and that she thought it was my ovaries...she put in a referral for an ultrasound that I received 3 weeks later. I was hunched over, could barely walk. Decided to try home treatment since these doctors were of no help to me. I had about 7-8 bowel movements a day...7-8! So I knew this had something to do with my Digestive system. I put myself on a candida diet and I slowly but surely started getting better. Slowly. Very Slowly. I stopped eating a lot of protein and I stopped consuming high amounts of fats. At least that lower right pain was gone. The time came for me to get my ultrasound, they found an ovarian cyst on my LEFT ovary, repeat ultrasound in 2 months. 2 months later cyst self-resolved. PHEW!

FAST forward to this year. I was still doing Paleo, I was over concentration on my protein and saturated fats still and I again started having lower right pain. Appendix? This time I didn't mess around and went to the ER right away. They found a 12cm ovarian cyst on my RIGHT side. Quite huge.  I had an appointment with my GYN the following week and she immediately wanted to set me up for surgery to remove the cyst. So I scheduled for surgery the soonest I could get, in 3 months. Now at this point, this was my turning point. SOMETHING HAD TO CHANGE. Is this actually a continual ovarian cyst issue or is my appendix also trying to burst from being backed up with too much animal products?

I started looking at my diet through different lenses. Something had to change. It had to! This cannot keep reoccurring. So I started looking into every way possible that I could help balance my hormones and lower my estrogen.

Plant Based Diet with no soy and no gluten it was.

My cyst did get smaller, we are still watching it but surgery is off the table. Something amazing happened during these last few months of shifting my mind on food and how I ate and eating this new way. I started feeling better. Happy! No depression and little to no anxiety. I am able to sleep well at night, my energy levels are better, my hair isn't falling out, my nails aren't brittle, my headaches aren't as frequent, my skin cleared up, my hip wasn't as achy, and I started losing weight and my periods aren't heavy anymore. What was happening here? Was a no meat, no dairy plant based diet doing all the things I had hoped paleo would do for me?

Heres what I have learned through this, you must have long extensive studies done on any given diet before considering it a lifestyle. Who cares what he or she looks like on the cover of that book that they are trying to sell you...what matters is complete health. Some people take steroids to look good but does that mean everyone should take steroids to look good? No! Absolutely not! Don't be sold by the advertisements the give us. Always always listen to your body. As you can see my body whispered signs to me and then it started screaming out at me. You want to hear the whispers.

I am fully committed to this plant based diet as long as I am seeing and feeling results. Ideally I want it as a lifestyle. I am so excited about bringing in all the fruits I have missed out on and I honestly will not miss any of the heavy fat or meats. I look forward to fresh tasty real food with all of the benefits associated with it.

If you'd like more information into Plant Based diet check out What the Health on Netflix and Forks over Knives. This is going to be my next journey I take. May whatever one you choose to go on be the one that your body agrees with the most and provides you with the best health possible.

Until next time...


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