My health journey started in early 2014, after I graduated college and started my first job. I constantly had stomach pain and digestive issues after years of a poor college diet. One day I was having lunch with my coworkers when the topic of diet came up. One coworker proudly told us he had eaten 8 eggs the day before. I reacted with concern: “8 eggs? Isn’t that a lot of cholesterol?” He was expecting my question and said, “No, eggs are not a problem”. Then asked me why I thought cholesterol was bad? To which I replied with the obvious answer: “It clogs your arteries.” He then explained the basics of what cholesterol is and why it is so important. At the time, I didn’t really know what cholesterol was. I was repeating what I had been told for years. The topic turned to what causes weight gain, because surely eating 8 eggs a day must cause weight gain. My coworker explained that eating fat does not make you fat and started going into the science behind fat, carbohydrates, and protein. My coworker told me that he eats a high fat, low-carb, ketogenic diet. Ever since that lunch I was interested in learning more about nutrition.
This new information about fat and cholesterol was shocking. I used to be proud of myself for not putting butter on my bread. I refused to drink whole milk because of the fat content. I was fat phobic. However, I knew my Standard American Diet was not working because of my digestive issues, skin problems, and anxiety. My digestive issues were controlling my life. I didn’t want to leave my apartment and go out with friends incase my stomach became upset. I never wanted to go out to eat because I frequently felt sick afterwards. In addition, I struggled with my skin since I was sixteen years old. I tried everything to clear my breakouts, including: face wash, topical creams, and antibiotics. Every trip to the dermatologist I walked out with a new prescription. I was always told that what I ate had nothing to do with acne. My digestive issues, skin problems, and feeling sick all the time led to my anxiety. The possibility of feeling better made the decision to change my diet easy.
After doing some nutrition research of my own, I slowly started changing my diet. My first step was completely removing gluten. I already knew gluten was a problem for me, but I never had the motivation to remove it until doing my research. I started my diet change by eating low carb and high fat. Eating low carb helped me stop eating the high carb processed foods I typically ate. I also removed dairy from my diet because I discovered it was the cause of my skin problems. Many of my digestive issues cleared up with the removal of gluten and eating low carb, but some persisted. I continued tinkering with my diet to try to heal my digestion. Throughout the years I have started eating a more paleo diet. I still eat low carb, but not as low as when I first started. I eat meat, veggies, some fruit, and indulge in treats occasionally. It has been a long journey, but I have found a way of eating that has improved my digestion, reduced my anxiety, and healed my skin. Eating this way is not a temporary solution for me, it is a permanent lifestyle.