Let's go back to the very beginning of this journey and where everything began. A little over a year ago I decided to start following a Paleo diet because I needed a change somewhere in my life to help me feel better and get healthier. I started at the beginning of 2013 and right away started losing weight and feeling better. I was following an 80/20 Paleo diet where I would eat Paleo all week and on the weekends if I wanted a splurge I would go ahead and have a little splurge. I was sleeping better, I wasn't having awful sinus issues anymore and I was just feeling better about myself in general. Then all of a sudden after a sudden loss of a dear friend I went spiraling out of control and started becoming very sick. All of the lymph nodes in my head and neck were very swollen and I could barely turn my head, I was breaking out in hives all over my body and scalp, my eyes were swelling, and I was constantly very sick. I finally visited my Dr. and after a many blood tests, a round of very strong antibiotics and a discussion of concern since swollen lymph nodes are a main sign of Lymphoma (scariest day of my life and thank the lord for clear blood tests) I still wasn't feeling any better. Thankfully my Dr. is amazing and she wanted to figure out what was going on with me so we sat and talked for quite a while about all of the changes in my life recently and in passing I mentioned that I had been following a Paleo Diet for the past few months and had just recently stopped. All of a sudden it was like a light bulb turned on over her head and she said she was almost 95% sure this all stemmed from something dietary. Before running any expensive inconclusive tests she suggested I go back to a very strict Gluten Free diet. I immediately started freaking out because I didn't know what to eat or what to do (mind you I had been living gluten free for the past 3 months so I am not sure why not being able to eat bread sent me into a panic). I of course first turned to anything and everything labeled "Gluten Free" (breads, crackers, cookies, baking mixes, pasta, etc) and initially I lost a ton of weight (best side affect ever). After a while I stopped losing weight and actually started gaining everything back plus some which just goes to show you that just because something is gluten free doesn't mean it is healthy.
After a few months I was feeling a little better and not having as many reactions, but something still wasn't right. It wasn't until right before Christmas 2013 when I had an extremely bad reaction where I broke out in hives all over my face (there is nothing like face hives during your class Christmas Program and every single parents asking you what is wrong with your face) that I was sent to see an allergist. Come to find out I not only have issues with gluten sensitivities, but I am also allergic to black and white pepper (my body doesn't discriminate), and oranges. I thought ok I can live without these things. No biggie. This won't be any more difficult then what I was already living without. So once again I rearranged my diet and stopped using anything with pepper and oranges, but something still wasn't right. Living gluten free these days isn't as difficult as it used to be. There is so much information out there these days about living without gluten, my grocery store offers at least 3-4 brands that are great gluten free replacements for most foods, and most restaurants also offer a few selections that are gluten free these days so you can almost live a normal life even if you are living with celiac or a gluten sensitivity. Sadly there is not a lot of information out there for my awesomely weird allergies. I should have know I was in trouble when my allergist walked in to check my tests and said "Well........This is a surprise! I have never had anyone allergic to pepper before". Thanks doc you are making this so much easier! When I got home that day I tried to find as much research as I could find and became a super label checker and after many more allergic reactions and a few long talks with my sweet husband while he was scratching my back because I was so itchy we both decided that I needed to stay away from anything labeled with spices, citric acid, citric fiber or natural flavors in it. That basically meant no more processed foods especially anything labeled Gluten Free since these foods had so many extra ingredients to make you feel like you are kind of sort of eating something that tastes like real bread.
And this super long story you just read is what lead me to complete my first Whole30.
I knew I needed something to retrain my mind and my body to eat real food and to get rid of any old cravings that might be lingering. Basically Whole30 is Paleo on steroids so no grains, no beans, no sugar, no dairy and no alcohol. Sounds awesome right? Well it is and I am planning on completing another Whole30 sometime soon. I am so proud of myself for sticking with it and I can honestly say I am a completely different person than I was when all of this allergy mess began a year ago. I now stick to a 95% Paleo diet and I feel amazing! It is always so funny when I tell people why I can't or don't eat something because they always get this sad look on their face and tell me how much that would suck or how they could never live without eating or drinking such-n-such. I just flash my pearly whites and go back to drinking my spinach, banana, spinach smoothie and think how lucky I am that I am still on this journey and how much better not just my life, but my whole families lives are because I can't eat such-n-such. You may not think there any medicine for what I have (Except Benadryl. Lots and Lots of Benadryl!), but I think I might have discovered a cure all.