Hi, I'm Jen.
Being a mom of 5 has been one of the most rewarding, most difficult, most mind bending experiences thus far in my life. As most parents can relate...all those kisses, cuddles, last minute school projects, midnight trips to the store because we miscounted how many diapers were ACTUALLY left, the first puppy loves...and when those ended badly. AND, the endless hours in the kitchen, or so it feels like!
Now, add in an autoimmune disease or two. Blah! After I had my second kiddo, I just couldn’t seem to shake the exhaustion, my weight was climbing higher and higher, to levels that made me wonder if I would be around to see my kids grow up.
After a spirited discussion with my hubby, he convinced me that I needed to see a doctor, that there was something clearly wrong. I was shortly thereafter, diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I had severe anemia (that required a couple transfusions), major vitamin deficiencies...I was a mess. My doctor gave me some meds and sent me on my way.
After a few weeks/months, I was feeling a bit better, and even dropped quite a bit of weight (75 lbs)...and then, SURPRISE, found out baby #3 was on the way. So, I took my meds like a good girl, watched what I ate, and in August of 2008, I had my first girl. She was perfect, amazing, adorable (aren’t they all?!). Almost immediately after having her, my weight started climbing and climbing, tests showed my meds were working, my thyroid levels were ok, I just needed to ‘eat better’ and move more often. OK!
Fast forward to 2012, after having kiddo #4...I was feeling great, life was crazy, we had just picked up and moved our family from WA to AZ, but, wouldn’t have traded it for the world! We had a home based business, one teenager and three younger bouncing kiddos to keep us busy, but, I just couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t sleep, but, couldn’t stay awake. My hair was falling out at alarming rates. My weight was skyrocketing out of control (after having lost over 160 lbs), despite being monitored by a trainer, working out, keeping a food diary...it was mind bending.
This went on for 2 years, and for 2 years, I dug in my heels, and refused to give up, but never lost a pound. Then, one fateful day, my amazing friend and trainer gave me the name of a naturopath. My first appointment lasted for 2 hours or more. Full panel lab tests, food allergy panel, no stone was left unturned. HASHIMOTO’S is what he said. Hashimoto’s, what is that? Is it curable? Another pill? Am I going to die? Did I pass this on to my kids?
Just when I was compiling all my research to conquer this annoying and stupid AI disease, I got the surprise of my life, that at 37, I was having baby #5. What?! I’m too old, right? Five kids, is too many, right? And then, it hit me...what about this Hashimoto’s, will it hurt the baby? If this wasn’t enough, because of my ‘elevated age’, I was considered high risk, so, it was double the appointments, with perinatologists...double the lab work...double the fun, right?
Little did I know that due to my bundle of joy, my Hashimoto’s would go into remission and I would feel AMAZING (after the first few weeks of morning sickness-that, you know, lasts ALL day). After having our FINAL kiddo (yes, final)...within a few weeks, I was once again, gaining 2-4 pounds a week, despite going gluten and dairy free (due to my food panel test showing I was allergic). Starting working out as soon as the doc gave me the green light...even did a 6k with my trainer when my little one was just 5 months old. Gained 6 pounds that week...ugh.
I needed to find a solution, SOMETHING had to work, right?! After some web surfing, sifting through a bunch of MLM products...I stumbled onto The Paleo Mom’s page (cue in haloed angels singing here). AIP...autoimmune protocol...strict elimination...no nuts, dairy, soy, corn, grains, nightshades (WHAT?! What did tomatoes and peppers ever do to you???), rice, beans, coffee, alcohol, sugar, seeds, legumes...Uhhh, um, uh, well, ok then. I’ve tried EVERYTHING else, so, I’ve got nothing to lose. So, I dove in head first to the world of AIP, and beings we have a large family (3 of whom had been also diagnosed with gluten/wheat/dairy allergies), it was an all-family quest for health!
The good news is, when I’m good, I feel great! Brain fog is almost instantly better, skin, no longer dry and itchy, heart palpitations are gone, libido-er, um, better, and yes, drum roll please-WEIGHT LOSS, FOLKS, WE HAVE WEIGHT LOSS!! Also, good news? ...this can be done without spending a TON of money on specialty items, if you’re trying to keep it simple or you’re on a budget.
Other good news, my daughter Kyra (the one that’s potty trained), has discovered a LOVE for cooking. She loves to explain to the other kids...that are currently buying the cardboard school lunch pizza, what her and her mama made the night before, or what she brilliantly came up with. And in other good news, one of our closest friends (who also share the same brilliant family size as we do), has been introduced to the world of AIP, and most weekends we can be found experimenting in the kitchen coming up with family friendly, delicious AIP foods.
Finding this has been a life saver for me, and I would love to help anyone and everyone that I can that is trying to navigate the AIP lifestyle. Contact me with your questions and ideas any time!