We’ve all heard those perfect paleo testimonials, where someone ditches grains and refined sugar, drops 100 lbs, reverses every possible disease under the sun and goes on their merry way. And then there’s the story of people who have autoimmune diseases and after a bit of foot stomping have to also give up eggs and nightshades and whatnot and be a lot more vigilant about what spices are snuck into their sausages.
My paleo story is more in the latter camp. To me paleo is just a template a starting point, a baseline diet that works for most human beings since it is indeed the way we have evolved to eat. But despite the amazing improvements I’ve seen in my health, body, mind, relationships and family, I’m far from “fixed”. I’ll always be a work in progress.
Aren’t we all?
I felt the need to write this post because of several comments I’ve gotten along the way in the last few months, mostly from friends and acquaintances, that made me realize that in my effort to help people I may not have been as transparent about my current and ongoing health struggles. I know it’s likely there are many of you that are still struggling with health issues despite adopting the healthiest diet on the planet. My excuses? Well, for starters, I’m actually a pretty private person believe it or not — especially when it comes to things like enemas! That’s changing a bit inevitably because of the blog but every single post that is about me has been super hard to crank out (this one included) and yet if it has the potential to help others, how can I keep it to myself?
My other excuse is that I like to wait until I have things fairly figured out before sharing them with others, for fear of misleading anyone, which is bonkers since I’m only human and will never have it all figure out and this blog will always be just me sharing what I’m learning along the way and trying to figure things out with the rest of you. So, here goes…
During the course of this year I’ve seen several doctors and had many, many lab tests. A few of the things I’ve been dealing with and working to correct with supplements under the guidance of my naturopathic doctor are: H. Pylori, SIBO, high levels of lead and mercury, histamine intolerance and the long list of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that result from a crappy childhood diet.
My doctors are still not entirely convinced I don’t have an autoimmune disease despite testing negative several times but I guess that’s a problem for another day. In the meantime I’m trying to minimize all the other smaller variables before dealing with larger potential issues.
So, does that mean that paleo is not right for me?
No! Paleo saved my life. Removing processed foods, grains, refined sugar and legumes and increasing my intake of quality meat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol is the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. The list of conditions I have reversed and medications I have ditched because of paleo are incredible and every once in a while I have to remind myself of that when I’m too focused on my current struggles. I mean, before paleo I didn’t even get a period- how messed up is that?! And now I do, every single month like clockwork. Before paleo I was allergic to so many things my allergist was shocked. I ended up in an emergency room 3 times because of them. So being allergic to a few things now and trying to refine what those are is really nothing in comparison to what it could and used to be like.
The truth is you can’t simply un-do the damage of 30 years of crappy food with 2 years of eating healthy.
So, what does all this mean for me right now?
I will give progress updates every few weeks for those of you that are interested in these conditions. As a reminder, I’m not a doctor and none of this is to be taken as medical advice diagnosis or treatment. As much of a researcher, experimenter and health skeptic as I am, there is no way I could tackle these protocols without the guidance of my N.D. So, while I may share a supplement I’m using here and there, I highly recommend you find a qualified health professional to help diagnose your conditions.
I recently finished a protocol to eradicate H. Pylori and, HOORAY! I was successful. I’m so relieved it didn’t involve antibiotics thus far since I’ve had more of those in my life than I can count and it is probably the thing that single handedly wrecked my health the most.
I’ve also embarked on several detox methods, some of them fun — like relaxing baths — and others not so fun. I’m not sure you can call an enema fun. Haha!!! You can read about my detoxes in these posts:
My persistent fatigue lead my doc to suspect heavy metals so I did a urine test which discovered high levels of lead and mercury.
I’m 3 weeks into a heavy metal chelation. Holy heck this has been the toughest thing I’ve done health wise so far. It is an 8 week protocol during which I take supplements 4 times a day in addition to a smoothie full of more supplements. I have to avoid anything that might give my liver any additional detoxing to do, namely caffeine and alcohol, which isn’t always easy this time of year. I’ve been breaking out like crazy, have crazy headaches and brain fog and other than walking and yoga cannot exercise at all right now. I’m trying to be patient during this process but hot damn it ain’t easy. I’m super over it.
And then there’s the histamine intolerance which I’m trying to postpone driving myself crazy with until the heavy metal party in my head is over next month because another elimination diet is not exactly what I need at this point but in the meantime, I’ve been paying attention to how high histamine foods affect me and making a plan to do a strict elimination of these foods in the near future. In the meantime, I’m whining and complaining about it to my foodie friends and husband. 🙂
This may be a bit of an unorganized rant. I can’t really tell. I blame the heavy metals. I just want to be honest and transparent with you all about what’s up on the Homestead these days. I can’t promise there won’t be any alcohol had at Christmas dinner but until then my cocktail of choice will be sparkling water with a touch of lemon or lime in it.
Have questions? Please comment below and I will answer them next time I do an update. If you prefer to keep them anonymous, fill out the contact form on my site. I can’t reply to each question individually but I do read them all and will try to address them in a future post especially those questions that I hear multiple times
What fine tuning have you had to do with your diet for health reasons?
Latest posts by Sylvie McCracken (see all)
- Treating H. Pylori (Part 3): What H. Pylori Does to the Body - August 8, 2022
- Treating H. Pylori (Part 2): How H. Pylori is Contracted - August 3, 2022
- Understanding Beef Labels: Organic, Pastured, Grass-Fed & Grain-Finished - July 25, 2022
14 thoughts on “Confessions of a Paleo Blogger: When Paleo is not Enough”
I have Dao Deficiency too (histamine intolerance) and have SIBO too (hopefully results will come back negative cause I am on my 3th week Elemental Diet, as I told you, following your tips), but until a few months ago I got headache every day, slept badly, brain fog all day… What worked for me was: eating more carbs (complicated with sibo), reduce stress (did some radical changes in life/work..), dropped coffee (sadly, I love it) , stop reading everything I could about all this issues (that stressed me a lot , I even dreamed it), and eating paleo, and even with sibo, I was feeling much better.
About histamine… I noticed that i didn’t have reactions (headache) anymore…. I checked DAO and was still low (little bit higher but still very low, in 58) but I checked blood histamine and was low. I tried doing the same tests eating tons of histamine the day before and the same morning too, I did the blood test, and Dao was almost the same and histamine in blood was low anyway… So, even Dao is not at the stablished levels as “normal”, it seems that is “enough” to handle the histamine I eat. Anyway, my humble advice is that don’t get stress out a lot with food cause it’s very complicated eating low histamine and low fodmap, If you got rid of SIBO and you are able to take a good probiotic (there are strains that help to metabolize histamine), and If you want at first taking DAO enzyme too, I am sure you will get better very very soon… little by little your gut will be healthier and your histamine issues will be gone.
I think very often that “if you could, I can”, I still have sibo but not the other issues so “If I could, you can”
(sorry if my english have mistakes)
Hugs from Spain
Great blog. Thank you for sharing. I have recently been tested for H. Pylori. I do not have the results back yet but have read about treatments using triple antibiotic therapy. I am nervous about that causing other issues in my system. Can you share what treatment you used?
Hi Candace, sure thing. I wrote a whole post about how I treated H. Pylori naturally plus another recommended treatment here: https://hollywoodhomestead.com/how-to-treat-h-pylori-naturally/
Great post! How do you know you have histamine intolerance? Is there a test for it?
I think it was fate that I found your blog today– I so needed it! I have been struggling with so many health issues over the past few years and just recently discovered I had H. Pylori, leaky gut and a ton of food allergies. I’ve switched to paleo and it’s helped, but still not 100% and the 20lb I’ve gained this year will not budge. I’ve also had strep throat 6 times and did the prev pack for H pylori and fear I’ve destroyed my immune system/healthy bacteria. Thank you for your blog and sharing your story– hopefully it will help me on my journey! R
Thanks so much, Robin! Hang in there. One day at a time… Take a moment to think about how far you’ve come!
We all need to remember that life is a journey of one step at a time. I am starting the path of reclaiming my health at 58, so I know that I have many steps ahead to undo all those years of SAD. One of the bright spots is that I know I am not alone. We can struggle together, but more omportantly we can celebrate our victories together. Let’s keep on supporting each other! Happy Holidays to all.
Beautiful, Ellen. Thank you!
I needed this today. I recently started supplements (under the direction of my chiropractor / homeopath) to help with the underlying cause of my severe eczema, and of course it’s getting worse instead of better now that I’m killing off candida. I have been so discouraged. Your story gives me some perspective. Thank you.
So glad it was helpful MeganAlba! Hang in there!
I have eaten very healthy and still struggle with what is best for my body. How did they suspect heavy metals for you? Sounds interesting. I hope you get well. I found I have gluten intolerance. I also avoid soy, peanuts, eggplant, and raspberries (allergy for raspb). I was a vegetarian for many years and went back to eating grass-fed humanely-certified preferably local meats and wild caught fish. I feel better but still not 100%. It is a work in progress. My doctor isnt that helpful, but it is free under my air force husband’s health insurance, though I wish we could afford a naturopathic doc. Good luck in the rest of your healing.
Hi Krista! The heavy metals suspicion came as a result of a combo of factors…. I’d say as far as symptoms fatigue would be the biggest one. And also knowing I’ve had many dental mercury fillings in and out of my mouth were a good hint for the mercury at least 🙂 Thank you!
I think many of us are in the same boat– trying to help others while still not entirely through with our own battles. I’m curious about which H.pylori test you took — the blood or the one measured by your breath.
Hi Chris, I did a stool test via my naturopath. We used Bio Health labs.