I've had a lot of readers ask how I came to embrace the Paleo lifestyle. While I'd like to say, “I cut out junk food overnight! I have the willpower of a saint!” the answer isn't that simple. Sidekick's baby allergies drove me to make a sudden series of healthful changes for our family. We got rid of soy, gluten, dairy (temporarily) and sugar in one day. Like yanking off a band aid: it hurt, but it needed to be done.
I remember staring coldly at his pediatrician through bleary eyes. Not this again. I don't think I can survive another go with a difficult baby. But this wasn't colic, like Some Boy had. With my second child, I knew enough to be articulate about the problems I was seeing. He would spit up constantly, he would arch in pain and cry for about twenty minutes out of every hour. He'd sporadically break out in bumpy, raised red splotches around his chest and groin.
There were other factors that confused the situation: a tongue-tie resulting in difficulty latching, low milk supply issues and reflux. It was hard to suss out the primary problem, but it was obvious that something in his diet was causing him severe pain. And since I was exclusively nursing, it meant that something in MY diet was to blame. I was instructed to cut out all major allergens completely.
I don't know if you guys have ever read the boxes of pre-packaged food, but soy and gluten and dairy are in everything. I was an overwhelmed mom of two who had suddenly lost the ability to turn to pizza or take out. None of my fast and easy homemade recipes would cut it anymore. I needed someone to step in with some guidance. “Is there a dietitian who can help me figure this out?” The pediatrician shrugged. “Meat and vegetables, Chelsea. Baby allergies aren't a joke. You need to fix this for him before it gets worse.”
As it turns out, meat and vegetables were exactly the answer we needed. It was as simple and as difficult as that. Oma was into healthy living and she guided me through the Whole30, a feat I never would have attempted if it weren't for my finicky little guy and his baby allergies. In a word, we were both cured. He was like a different person, and my body shed all that extra baby weight like it was kicking a bad habit to the curb.
Which it was.
We still take it day by day. Health isn't a destination, it's an ongoing choice. We make balanced decisions and we let our bodies guide us.
In telling my story of baby allergies, I've encountered a lot of people who have experienced their own “health shock.” A point at which they realized they could not keep on living as they were. Illness, nutritional intolerances, pain and fatigue and bloating have started to fill their lives in one way or another and they're ready to make a change, just like I was, but they're not sure where to turn. I truly believe in finding a health advocate to offer detailed, step-by-step rules and procedures for those initial days while you're relearning everything about feeding yourself. That's what it took for me.
I've partnered with American Well to share the good news that there is easy, accessible, affordable help. Along with always-on doctors who provide prescription and diagnosis help, American Well has a crack team of Registered Dietitians who can guide you through these daunting changes. They can offer a blueprint for the healthful life you want to live, whether you subscribe to vegetarianism, Paleo living, a vegan lifestyle, or are simply looking to drop a few pounds or eat healthfully while breast-feeding.
Give American Well a try for yourselves using coupon code THEDAYS. It's good for one doctor or nutritionist visit per account until 2014.
Have you ever found yourself dealing with baby allergies or in a “health shock” situation of your own?