I'm a 32 year old married mother of three crazy boys - currently aged 5, 7 & 8. I've had issues with my joints off and on for my entire adult life.
At age 19, I came home from my freshman year of college for winter break and wound up at a rheumatologist's office because my hands and feet were inexplicably swollen. I was told I had arthritis!
I dealt with joint issues off and on for years. Then - roughly four years ago - my lower legs blew up to frightening proportions. My doctor ran every test he could think of and every one of them came back normal. I was diagnosed with "Idiopathic Peripheral Edema" - my doctor said, "That's medical jargon for 'I have no idea why your ankles are swelling.'"
I was prescribed diuretics and told to cut back on salt and lose some weight.
I've spent the subsequent years trying to figure out what sets off the swelling. Drinking, of course, causes issues. I noticed the swelling gets really bad when I eat out often. I'd assumed it was the high salt content usually found at restaurants and fast food joints. But sometimes even that didn't seem to be the case.
One day, Rachael told me about her adventures with something called the Paleo Diet.
No thanks, I thought. I've been eating better already and feeling pretty good. I didn't want to hear about some crazy restrictive diet. Rachael had mentioned how eating Paleo can help with inflammation, though, and that stuck in the back of my brain for weeks. I slowly read up on this way of eating. I found a few interesting recipes and websites with more information.
And then one day...I just got fed up with my joint pain. I became frustrated at how my ankles would swell to the point where I could hardly walk. I was tired of not getting to wear my wedding rings every day. I hated the way the meds made me feel and they didn't always work anyhow! Something had to give.
On Saturday, July 28th, I went to Sprouts to stock up on food items I'd need to help me make this transition.
On Sunday, July 29th, I started my Paleo journey. My first day left me feeling satisfied and I experienced almost no swelling in my ankles/hands. (I'm positive it will take quite some time to undo the damage that's been done - I do not expect this to miraculously cure me overnight.)
I'm going to miss my dairy, but I'm already finding substitutions...and giving up a few comfort foods is I small price to pay for actual comfort!