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Testimonial: Another Benefit of Paleo


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(When my clinic manager emailed me to tell me her mother Bernice was having an emergency operation for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, I was obviously concerned. After all, that’s a serious surgery for an 84-year old woman. So I was delighted when I later learned that the surgery went far better than the doctors imagined it would, and that Bernice was recovering at record pace for a woman of her age. In fact, I learned that she was quite the rock-star at the hospital. The nurses were shocked that she was only taking a single medication, and they got awfully curious about this “Paleo” diet that Bernice was following. When I talked to Bernice on the phone the day after her surgery, she was alert, sharp and excited to be heading home. I was inspired by her story so I asked her to share it here.)

My daughter got me interested in Paleo about nine months ago.  She has been a patient and colleague of Chris’ just about from the beginning when he opened his practice in 2010.  She began the 30-day autoimmune reset diet as outlined in the Personal Paleo Code last December and talked me into the plan as well.  Who would have thought I would experience an astounding side effect of eating paleo style later on?

Two months ago I experienced a pain in the stomach area which gravitated to the back.  I thought the gallbladder was giving me problems; after all, I am 84 years young and something is bound to go wrong.  I waited until my regular quarterly appointment with my physician 10 days ago to complain about the symptom:  she immediately sent me for an ultrasound.  The results were sent to a vascular surgeon who had me report to his office the next morning.

Things just escalated from there:  within 24 hours and an extraordinary amount of testing I was wheeled into the OR to stent a 7.5 cm abdominal aortic aneurysm.  I guess the thing was getting ready to blow. I have never been in a hospital except to deliver my children some 50+ years ago so I didn’t know what to expect.  I came out of anesthesia and the doctor was asking if I took Coumadin:  I said “no, I only take 20 mg of a blood pressure pill daily”.  They couldn’t believe they would not have to administer a blood-thinner.  I did not need any of the high-powered pain relievers – Tylenol was just fine.

My daughter brought food in as the hospital food was nothing but deplorable processed stuff – folks asked me “what the green stuff was” (kale with sesame seed oil).  The surgeon inspected the incision site 24 hours later to find the incision was healing faster than expected….and…do you want to go home?  I didn’t argue.

Here’s the part of the story you need to take away.  I am totally convinced that you are what you eat.  After removing all processed foods and gluten from our diets the health benefits have been nothing short of extraordinary.  We print meal plans from the Meal Plan Generator each week and often augment from other websites as recommended by Chris.  The bottom line is this:  modern medicine is truly valuable in a situation like I had and I’m glad it’s there; but combining technology with good Paleo nutrition is key to healthy longevity.

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Chris Kresser in kitchen
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  1. My cousin was unwittingly following a paleo program during both of her pregnancies. She and her husband ate no grains, consumed most fruit and vegetables from their organic garden, and only bought meat and fish from reputable sources. Both children literally slipped into the world. Neither will eat sugary foods and they are never sick. We live at opposite ends of the world and all of this took a while to filter through to me. I explained that the reason for her ‘good fortune’ as she put it, was her good lifestyle. She is now on a mission to help other young mothers.

  2. My husband has had several hospital stays in the last year, a first for him and I hadn’t been in a hospital since having my kids 20 years ago. We were both appalled at the quality of the food – we had both been eating low carb for a while and found it hard to believe sick people were given such over-processed food full of unhealthy stuff!

  3. Hello, I’m 14 weeks pregnant and to my surprise I have seen three fibroids that I did not know I had. I have 39 years and have never had menstrual problems, I’ve been pregnant quickly, I have not ever had chemical contraceptives. Is there anything I can do to take away, some need to avoid food or increase? I eliminated milk foods, gluten and soy. I read something about calcium-D-glucarate, DIM and indole-3-carbinol, are safe during pregnancy or lactation or should wait for later?
    Thanks and sorry for my English.

  4. It really never is too late to change. As Hippocrated allegedly said: “Let food be thy medicine.”

  5. This is a great story and I’m glad to hear you’re doing well after the surgery! Nothing like healing quickly to stoke the curiosity of the hospital staff too! 🙂