Blogger Spotlight – Mary Herrington
1. What got you interested in the Paleo lifestyle?
What got me interested in the Paleo lifestyle is a long story which I will try to sum up in a few sentences. After many years of being sick, having abdominal by-pass surgery at age 40 due to a birth defect which took over 7 years to find, I needed to recover. I had to find a way to provide nutrient dense foods to my 40 year old severely malnourished body. I tried raw. I tried vegan. I tried vegetarian. I have to be gluten free due to a wheat allergy and Celiac Disease, so following the Standard American Diet wouldn’t work for me. I felt hopeless, frustrated, HUNGRY and overwhelmed. I had a friend who introduced me to the GAPS diet and that lead me to the Paleo lifestyle.
What I love most about the Paleo lifestyle is that I don’t have to adjust a ton of recipes. I am allergic to sugar, wheat, all gluten, dairy, some legumes and corn to name the most common ones. Standard recipes, whether they be the Standard American Diet, vegan, vegetarian, raw or gluten free all rely heavily upon those 5 major allergens for me. Finding Paleo was finding my freedom from hours of substitutions and adjustments.
2. What excites you most about writing/blogging and helping people get healthier?
What I love the most about writing/blogging and helping people get healthier is their reactions. I helped a woman named Val most recently. She is 66 and has struggled with auto-immune issues for decades: Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus and Lyme Disease. She was in pain almost all the time. When she came to me, she was at her wits end. While slowly transitioning her off her Standard American Diet through an elimination diet, she was able to pinpoint exactly which foods flared her autoimmune reactions. A little over 6 weeks later, Val came back to me and told me how much BETTER she feels and how she will never go back to eating the Standard American Diet again. She has gained her life back. She is now gardening again, swimming, walking without pain and able to enjoy time with her grandchildren.
3. What is the top question asked by your readers?
I have two top questions people ask me.
1) How do you do it?!
2) How do you afford it?
I says both are easy. For me, not being Paleo results in such loss of quality of life that changing my diet to satisfy a craving is not worth it. One time, I thought I would humor myself and simply have a bite of ice cream. Just one. I ended up in such pain that was a reminder as to why I stay on, and enjoy, the Paleo lifestyle. Now when I want ice cream, I throw a banana in my Vitamix, add some maple syrup, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. My craving is satisfied and my stomach is satisfied with no pain.
As for affording it? That’s easy too! I simply create my budget based upon the National Average of 16% of income toward food and go for it. I no longer need as much money in my budget for medical expenses from a poor diet and lifestyle. I am able to move the monies allocated in my medical budget to my food budget when I need a larger food budget for special occasions.
4. How do your family and friends feel about your Paleo life?
My friends and family are very supportive of my Paleo lifestyle. My parents have joined me on a modified Paleo lifestyle. They are now eating more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as less processed food after coming to my house and experiencing the Paleo diet. As for my immediate family, they enjoy it. My husband loves having more meat, and not beans. My teen loves that it helps keep her figure slim while increasing her efficiency for thinking as she is approaching her senior year in high school. My youngest enjoys knowing wherever we go, she has delicious snacks to bring with her. Since they also share many food allergies with me: sugar, legumes, corn and gluten, it is not difficult to have their support since it is for their health as well.
5. What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your weakest moment?
During my weakest moments, and I do have them (when I am really missing traditional pizza with gooey gooey mozzarella cheese or CheeseDoodles), I simply tell myself the following:
1) Touch those foods and you will be in serious pain.
2) What need are you wanting to fulfill with this food craving?
3) For pete’s sake woman, if you must partake in it, at least make it gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and corn free! Go home and cook!
6. If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?
I have a stock of Paleo cookbooks and magazines. I love the feel of the pages while I create my shopping list and weekly menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack options every Friday night. Here are my go-to’s:
1) The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D
2) Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
3) Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by by Weeks, Boumara & Sanfilippo
4) Paleo Lifestyle Magazine
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