**This is the second of a two part series where we will be sharing with you what has motivated us to the grain free lifestyle our families follow and how that has helped us to achieve healthy living. You can see Shaun and Michelle’s post here.**

Tom and Katie

I have always felt that diet was an important part of being healthy. Since high school I have played around with eating different ways or jumping on different “fad diets” to try and gain muscle mass while staying thin. Each diet lead different side effects and in turn lead to me moving to the next “healthy” diet. For years I had been having stomach issues and had seen many doctors and specialists about it. They never came up with anything so they labelled it as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I took meds three times a day to try and help control it. Some days it worked and others it didn’t. 

In early 2009 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. As soon as I was diagnosed I began trying to figure out what I could do to fight this and win. I realized that diet was a big thing. The food that I eat is what energezies my body. If that fuel is bad and full of toxins than my body will react in a negative way. This lead me to researching the purest, most natural way to eat. In the summer of 2009, tests showed that the cancer was gone from my body, however there was one lymph node that the doctors continued to track.

Since then I have spent lots of time researching and trying out new ways to eat and exercise so that I can be at my healthiest. It has also been a passion of mine to pass my knowledge onto all those around me, to help prevent anybody from having to go through what I went through.

At the end of 2011, I challenged Shaun to complete P90X with me. During our workouts Shaun would talk about the primal lifestyle and the Cafe of Life Chiropractic Studio. During this time I was seeing a chiropractor however I was noticing little to no change in my overall health. What Shaun was telling me sounded like what I was looking for.

Katie and I began by clearing out our cupboards of anything with labels and making all of our food from scratch. Cutting out pizzas, breads and pasta was extremely difficult for us but after the first couple weeks Katie didn’t have to listen to me complain of stomach pains and that was enough to convince her and me as well. Once I saw the the benefits of our new diet, I made another change and started going to the Cafe of Life. After the first few weeks I was able to pull myself off my medications, my range of motion increased, my lower back pain was almost nonexistant, and many of my digestive problems were decreasing in severity. I believe the combination of diet and a positive brain-body connection through chiropractic care has lead me to a healthy lifestyle.

I’ll let Katie tell a bit from her perspective…

When Tom first mentioned to me about going grain free I thought it was a little crazy. It seemed like out of nowhere he was all of a sudden talking about this new paleo diet and how it was so great. We went to a bookstore and bought a paleo cookbook and Tom was super excited to give it all a try. I was a little hesistant but I could tell that Tom felt it was a great choice and could possibly help with his digestive issues. Wanting the best for Tom (and our growing family) I knew that we needed to jump into this together. It would have been ridiculous for us to prepare two seperate dishes for every meal.

I can’t really remember the first days of our new diet but I know it was a struggle. Through those struggles we have seen great benefits. As Tom mentioned he was no longer dealing with stomach pains and was able to take himself entirely off his meds. He is no longer in pain on a daily basis (unless he cheats and eats grain products). Tom and Shaun have been committed to working out together for over a year now and they both feel great because of it. For me, the big benefit I saw was weight loss. For many around me it seemed like I lost a lot of weight super fast but I had been pregnant right before we started to introduce this diet to our systems so I had some weight to lose. I am now 15lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight and feel phenomenal!

One huge benefit we have seen from our change in lifestyle is that Tom’s lymph node that the oncologists were watching and monitoring no longer shows up on scans as a problem. For years they couldn’t figure out why this lymph node was inflamed and they can’t explain why it no longer is but we are sure that the changes in our diet and the chiropractic care Tom receives has made all the difference.

With this change we have also learned that food tastes better when it’s fresh and has not been tampered with. We love going to the farmers market every Saturday and picking up our produce and meats! We love having organic produce each week from Orchard Hill Farm and having it delivered right to our door by smiling faces…oh ya that’s us! There is so much we have learned about ourselves, each other and healthy living in general since changing our diet. Who we are today isn’t who we were over a year ago and that is largely due to this change. One thing I have found is that this diet isn’t just a diet but its a lifestyle. You can’t live a primal or paleo lifestyle at a grocery store – you have to venture out to markets, and butchers. As a lifestyle, it becomes more expensive than shopping in box stores. We recognised this early on and chose to not cut corners on our food and health. We sacrificed in other areas of our budget in order to have what we need for food. This is what drives us in this business. We know other people and families struggle to find a balance in their budget when trying to eat healthy and we wanted to help others live well for less.

Do we miss grains and prepared foods? Absolutely! I miss the convenience of throwing a pot of water on for pasta and opening a jar of sauce for dinner. We both miss fresh baked buns with deli meats for lunches and toast for runny egg sandwiches. We have days when we cheat and there are consequences. Tom’s stomach is much more sensitive to grains than mine and he will pay for his cheats more. It is also never as satisfying as we think it should be.

We would never go back to our old lifestyle and many people think we are crazy for choosing to follow this lifestyle but for us the benefits to our overall health speak for themselves.

-Katie and Tom

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