Don’t food allergies suck? Almost everyone I know who went paleo did it because of digestive troubles, or realized their digestive troubles disappeared once they adopted a paleo diet. I have had digestive troubles my entire life. Around 11 years old I started having severe abdominal pains and lost a ton of weight. I remember being teased by other girls for wearing jeans with elastic waistbands to keep them on my emaciated body, and being called anorexic in gym. I spent over a year seeing doctor after doctor, clutching my stomach and sobbing in waiting rooms, only to be told repeatedly that I was “faking it” and “didn’t want to go to school”. Finally we met with a GI specialist who asked if I had been tested for Celiac Disease. Back in the early 2000s, Celiac disease was almost unheard of still, and I had never heard the word gluten before. After my bloodwork confirmed I had celiac antibodies, a biopsy of my small intestine confirmed I had Celiac Disease. Since we had no idea how to do the whole gluten free thing, over the next few weeks I ate more eggs than I probably had in my entire life previous. So naturally I hated eggs until about a year ago.
Fast-forward another 8 years and I started having trouble keeping food down. Sounds pleasant, right? Again, I spent about 3 years seeing various specialists, trying numerous medications, spending half my time and $10,000 in hospitals, and ultimately gaining about 30 lbs from medications. I eventually tried a medication for a few months that broke the vicious cycle, and I was able to eat regularly again. I felt great for 6 months, and then all hell broke loose AGAIN. Everything I ate seemed to make me sick. During all this time not ONE SINGLE DOCTOR suggested I try changing my diet. Not one. After having zero luck with traditional medicine, I saw a naturopath in early 2016. She ordered an IGG panel that revealed I had an EXTREME sensitivity to all dairy products, and strong sensitivities to legumes, soy, some nuts, and a few high FODMAP vegetables (despite my traditional Dr telling me this test was ‘worthless’). I also found out I had SIBO, another condition traditional medicine told me was ‘fake’. And so I was put on the SIBO diet – cutting out all grains, sugars, starches, and limiting high FODMAP foods. Since I also had so much trouble with dairy and legumes, I decided to do the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) for 6 weeks. I had never felt better in my entire life. For the first time in years I wasn’t taking any medication for my symptoms. And so when my 6 months on the SIBO/AIP diet was up, I chose to continue eating paleo. It is the only thing has 100% cured my tummy issues without relapse.
However, eating paleo makes going out to eat suuuuuck. And it doesn’t help that eating gluten free has become a fad, because now I’m constantly asked if my dietary restrictions are “real or just a preference”, making me feel even more sketched out about the care they’re taking with my food.
One of my favorite places to eat since going paleo is Brasa. If you live in Minnesota and haven’t been there, you need to go now. I mean it, stop what you’re doing and go eat there. You can thank me later. My favorite thing to get there are their collard greens with smoked chicken. But they use a small amount of butter to sauté the greens, and that means tummy troubles for me. So I set out to make my own version, and I loved this recipe so much I planted ¼ of my garden this year with collard greens. So I could eat them every damn week.