My transition into a Paleo(esque) lifestyle did not happen overnight. It was a slow, gradual process and if I’m honest and accurate, one that is still happening. It wasn’t something that I sought out, or was even open to at first. After the birth of Mr. Man in December 2011 I knew that I wanted to continue to change my eating habits and overall health. We were eating more organic produce, added more whole grains, included more legumes and vegetarian meals to our diet, and cut out a large amount of processed foods and added sugar—because that’s what you do when you’re eating healthy right? I had stumbled upon a webpage called 100 Days of Real Food and decided that I would start with a challenge and eat real food for 10-days. That was eating food that had no more than 5 ingredients on the packaging and focusing on “shopping the perimeter” of our local supermarket instead of the aisles that typically house the highly processed foods. It eliminated refined sugar and focused on natural sources of sugar—like honey or maple syrup.
While I enjoyed the shift in eating from a personal and intellectual level (I say intellectual because it made me feel like a super cool yuppie, not gonna lie), I noticed that not only myself but also Mr. Man, who I was exclusively nursing at the time, began to have digestive issues. Eating anything with legumes gave me insane amounts of gas pains –as well as massive amounts of diarrhea for the baby. After talking with Pam, who was already Paleo at this point, she urged me to start to look into the diet. Ithought she was insane. I thought I was doing well enough and there is NO WAY that eating grains, dairy, and legumes could be causing me or my family any undue harm. However—the GI issues persisted and I decided it was time to stop the legumes. Low and behold the issues cleared up. I noticed that Mr. Man had some mild baby eczema, which I had initially attributed to genetics because I myself had these issues as an infant (I was also allergic to milk and soy as an infant as a side note). More discussions with Pam and she had pointed me to some articles about how dairy is a leading culprit of many common skin conditions, including eczema. So, as much as I loved eating my fat-free Greek yogurt(because fat is bad right?!) and pasteurized cheese in abundance, I decided to give it up. Slowly, his dry skin began to clear up. At Pam’s continued persistence, I looked into a few articles on Paleo. I was still on maternity leave and despite having a newborn and an active 2.5-year old I had the “time” to do someonline searching. I came across a podcast called “Paleo Talk” that was hosted by Sarah Fragoso and Chrissy Geller. I started at Episode 1 and was kind of hooked on the basics of what they had laid out.
I listened to the podcasts regularly and began to read more articles and quickly found two incredible bloggers that I immediately connected with—Sarah from The Paleo Mom and Matt & Stacy from Paleo Parents. I enjoyed their approach to “going Paleo” because like myself, Sarah and Stacy were moms, and in the process of transitioning to Paleo. That was about 3-years ago. And 3-years ago in the Paleo world is kind of like a lifetime. While there were bloggers out there that you could research and articles to read, there were not an abundance of printed materials aimed at ordinary people who had families that they took care of. At this point, I was caught up with Paleo Talk in terms of the podcasts and was searching for more—I craved the knowledge and information that was being presented to me. I would listen and then regurgitate the info I had learned to The Hubs, who listened and nodded his head like any good husband does when his wife is talking about something that he really doesn’t 100% care about but listens to because he supports his wife’s ideas and interests. I was driving a lot for the projects I was assigned to at work so when I had read that my two favorite blogging moms were joining forces for a podcast called The Paleo View I was ecstatic! They were approachable and informative. They were not “Paleo Perfectionists.” They made me laugh. They taught me information from a science-minded point of view but in a down to earth, yet not dumbed-down way. They jumped on their soap box and preached from time to time—it did all I could not to yell “AMEN!” Over time, I felt like I KNEW these ladies. I felt like I was their friend. Like we were in the car on a road trip listening to them soapbox about the same things that I tended to soapbox on with Pam.
Both Sarah and Stacy have gone on to be some of the leaders and loudest voices of the Paleo movement. They both have contributed their amazing intellect, insight and breadth of knowledge to thePaleo community through e-books and best-selling print books. Most recently, Stacy and her husband Matt released their Real Life Paleo. As part of its release, Matt and Stacy orchestrated a massive book tour to meet those of us who follow them and their work and to also help continue to spread the Paleo word to those who do not yet follow the lifestyle. I was lucky enough that Raleigh-Durham happened tobe on their tour stop list. I was listening to the podcast while out for a long training run for the New York City Marathon and pretty much stopped in my tracks when Stacy made the RDU announcement. I stopped my Garmin and went on their website and RSVP’ed right there in the middle of my run! I was like Marsha Brady when she found out that Davy Jones was coming to her prom! I was going to meet two of the most inspiring people in Paleo! For the rest of the run that’s all I thought about was whether or not Matt and Stacy would be willing to do a quick interview after the book signing event. I figured I had absolutely NOTHING to lose so I shot them an email and a few hours later I had a reply in my inbox from their assistant Monica letting me know that they agreed to the interview! No words described the excitement that welled within me.
Fast forward to the day of the book signing—it was held at the Barnes & Nobel in Brier Creek Commons, Raleigh, NC. Their presentation, to a packed house, was great. Matt and Stacy both discussed their reasons for going Paleo and the life altering changes it has made on their health and the health of their three young sons. Together Matt and Stacy have lost a combined total of over 200-lbs. They have both regained their health and their lives—you can read more about their story here written in their own words.
As a couple, Matt and Stacy have authored 3-cookbooks: Eat Like a Dinosaur, Beyond Bacon, and Real Life Paleo. They have also authored 2 e-books: 3 Phase Paleo: Transition Your Family in Three Easy Steps and Paleo to Go: Meals & Snacks for Work, School and Travel. They are published in countless magazine articles, featured on television, and have presented at conferences. Their work and contribution to the Paleo community is vast. Their voice is an important one in the community—they are in fact everyday people. That is the one of the biggest takeaways from my time with Matt and Stacy. They are REAL people. They are parents like me and The Hubs. They are fun and funny. They are down to earth, witty and sharp. Stacy is bubbly and magnanimous. She has an infectious laugh and a poise and grace about her that is enviable. Matt is quiet and reserved, yet so very thoughtful about everything he says. What I love about Matt is his quiet manner. I mentioned before that he is thoughtful in what he says—before he speaks you can almost see him thinking and then he crafts a beautifully eloquent response to the question that was just posed to him. While Stacy may garner a lot of the attention and accolades because she is the front woman so to speak—Stacy is quick to explain to the group during the open Q&A format that Matt does the cooking and recipe development. Stacy will often come home with an idea for a new recipe and describe it to Matt and it’s his job to figure out how to make it. Matt also produces the podcasts for The Paleo View, in addition to authoring posts on the blog. I knew from the start of the presentation that if I lived near them, I feel like they are people that I would be friends with…hopefully. And if they turned me down I’d would be persistent and not take no for an answer until they were my friends.
After their presentation, they graciously signed everyone’s books taking time to speak with each person, and offered to take photos if people were interested. They identified with each person they met—it was so nice to see how they interacted with everyone; to see how they have made an impact in the lives of each person that attended. Attendees were in various places in their Paleo journey. Some where there because they were new to Paleo and they heard the book was a great tool for transitioning. Others like me were long time fans and wanted the opportunity to meet with them. Some had chronic illnesses and Paleo was their way of helping to address and heal their bodies. Yet others, like me didn’t have any chronic illness but were there as a means to help prevent familial illnesses from becoming a problem in their lives and the lives of their families.
In Part 2 of my Series on Matt & Stacy of Paleo Parents, I will share with you my interview conversation with them. There MAY also be an announcement of a great giveaway there too…