My whole life I’ve been thin. Not athletic, but pretty skinny. And not much of a complexion. Pale. You might have thought I was healthy, but pretty much my entire life has been full of different health problems. From birth I was plagued by gut distress issues, unexplained stomach pains, and chronic acid reflux. My colic as an infant was likely attributed to this.
My mid teens I was prescribed proton pump inhibitors for the reflux. This may have made my health worse. Since my stomach was virtually shut down, nutrient absorption took a big hit, and gut pains and problems persisted, despite my lack of stomach acid.
I also had really bad acne. Chronic eczema too, which I was prescribed anti-inflammatory steroids for. I also got sick at least once a month.
On top of all that, I was tired all the time. I crashed hard in the afternoon. I slept all day long when I could. I didn’t eat much and remained thin through my freshman and sophmore year of college. The acne and skin problems followed. This, by the way, accumulated a bunch of stress and social anxiety on me.
Come the second half of sophmore year, I began to have sudden and violent pains in the region of my esophagus. Multiple ER and doctor visits came up with no answers for me. It was terrible, like being stabbed over and over again. Writhing in pain for hours on a hospital bed until they finally give you pain killers is not a good time. The only explanation was “take more proton pump inhibitors” or “it’s esophogeal spasm, there is no cure”.
“GREAT!” I thought. Wtf is this? It definitely wasn’t acid reflux related, since I had no acid pain, and it seemed to happen completely independent of any other symptoms.
I started going to they gym. The stress relief seemed to help, but I never put on any significant muscle, and I never totally cured the pains. They kept coming back every once in a while. I began to associate them with anxiety, since they started happening at large family gatherings. It never crossed my mind that it might be food related….
After years of trying to find a way to get muscles, without getting fat like all my other gym-going friends, I came across the Musclehack website. Basically a low-carb diet plan designed to bulk you up without fat, coupled with some really great workout routines (Which I still use!). My heartburn was mostly cured! I started to notice whenever I ate a bagel or something like that, heartburn would flare up immediately. BINGO! I thought I found the answer….
I was wrong. The low carb approach was close, but still an incomplete answer as far as my health was concerned. I was still eating junk on the weekends and grains and sugar during the week (even though they were small amounts). Heartburn would still show up sometimes, as well as the pains, acne, and other health issues.
I researched everything like a mad man. I wanted to know why everyone was stuck on the conventional old wisdom. Nothing seemed to add up. I got deep into the biology. The more I read and questioned, the more I started to come to a realization. Health and bodybuilding are based off of old outdated ideas that have no science behind them! The conventional wisdom sucks, and everyone is listening to a small group of old stubborn people who just repeat everything they hear from crappy publications and adhere to outdated conventions that have to causal evidence to back them up!
I started to realize that there is more to health than counting macronutrients or calories. I realized that food has to be looked at within a certain context; the context of the human species as we evolved.
I didn’t know it, but I was about to stumble across Paleo. The wonderful world of science, common sense, and deep understanding of the biological processes that drive health and fitness. We are Homo Sapiens, animals. Genetically identical to our 100,000 year old ancestors.
Once I cut out grains, sugars, beans, and vegetable oils completely from my diet, I noticed immediate positive changes in my health AND body composition! Muscle became almost effortless to attain. My recovery times diminished, as I used to get super sore for days. My soreness was now nonexistent, or only lasted one day. I stopped getting sick. My acne cleared up. I spent more time in the sun. I dropped all the prescription meds. I never had a stomach pain again. My heartburn disappeared completely. My social skills improved, likely because of a clearer mind and better body composition. Muscle is a great confidence booster, and continues to give me the motivation to keep going.
I always keep learning. I never stop reading and thinking. I always ask why. I always find out how things work, inside and out. It’s my duty to my body to follow the path of the animal, to live a long happy life.
I feel great every day. My mind is clear. It’s almost as if there’s a constant stimulant running through my blood. (It feels as if I have an unlimited natural source of adderol or something, pumping right into my brain) I never wake up sore or tired. I never need coffee during the day. I leave work energized and ready to lift heavy shit at the gym. I sleep more soundly than I ever did. Paleo has flipped my life around competely!
I refuse to spend the final years of my life in a bed or a wheelchair. I refuse to follow the masses. I refuse to be caged. That’s my philosophy. Hopefully my experience will inspire you to make the same changes, so that you can live a long healthy life, fully independent and capable, free of worry from injury or disease.
What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
My original ideas about health. The idea that fat and cholesterol were bad. It took a lot of research for me to understand the mechanisms truly at work.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Forget everything you think you know about health. Chances are, you've been deceived. The hardest part to let go of is the cholesterol-heart-health myth. Trust me, cholesterol is good.