I first heard about the paleo diet a few years ago when I was working front desk at a fitness center. My co-worker, Jack, left to grab dinner one night and came back with an entire rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and nothing else. He was a unique fellow, so I didn’t think much of it. Little did I know that less than a year later I would be fully committed to eating paleo, and that it would be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.
You see, I have type 1 diabetes, a rare, unpreventable autoimmune disease caused by an overly-active immune system. There is no cure. Where many cases of type 2, the more common form of diabetes that we are all familiar with, can be treated through oral medication and in some cases even reversed, type 1 is treated through insulin injections.
I got T1D when I was 11 years old. At the time, the recommendation from my health care team was to switch to artificial sweeteners and whole grains. By the time I was a young adult, I had become a full-fledged whole grain spokesperson, and even started a blog about baking with whole grains.
In order to manage my diabetes, I monitor my blood sugar levels throughout the day. Although whole grains contained large amounts of fiber which supposedly slowed down the absorption of starches in my body, they still substantially increased my blood sugar levels, requiring me to take more insulin. My blood sugar levels were not where they should be, I was tired all the time, and I struggled with my weight.
I came to realize that the recipes I was most excited about (those that had the least impact on my blood sugar levels) were those that contained NO grains at all. That, combined with the research I had been reading about gluten and wheat inspired me to remove grains from my diet altogether.
That’s what led me to paleo. It didn’t happen overnight, but the transition was fairly easy since I just felt so much better. Nowadays, my diet consists mainly of eggs, grass-fed meats, fish, and low carb vegetables.
I also eat a lot of
, coconut, and dark chocolate. I generally avoid fruit because if it’s affect on my blood sugar, but I do sneak in a glass of red wine from time to time.
The paleo diet just makes sense. I love that it uses human history as it’s guide. It helps me feel connected to our planet and my ancestors, and makes me respect my body for the well-oiled machine that it is. When you eat this way, things happen the way they’re supposed to. I’m happy to report that my blood sugar levels are the best they’ve ever been, my weight is down, and my energy levels are off the charts.