Guest blog post from Rachel Sanders. Our first guest blog post!

The Paleo Diet/lifestyle/ theory has become part of the daily routine in the Sanders’ household. I’m the trailblazer by far. My husband, Bryan, being not far behind and having no complaints. Our four kids: Ella (10), Coleman (8) Thomas (4) and Andrew (2) are along for the ride and they are (almost) enjoying it.

I bought Robb Wolf’s book a couple of years ago after hearing about Whitney’s success on the diet. I dabbled in it but was overwhelmed at the time with other stressors and pushed it aside. I knew after reading bits and pieces I would pick it back up. My dad was diagnosed with Celiac in his early 40’s. I remember him getting really thin and feeling rotten a lot of the time. After many tests, doctors diagnosed him and his diet drastically changed. Adopting a gluten free diet 25 years ago meant clean and simple eating, almost no eating out. I realized when I re-read Robb’s book that he almost went paleo. I finally picked the book back up because I had been sick with bronchitis, on steroid meds, and had gained enough weight to not fit into my clothes. I had to break the cycle. Reading ‘The Paleo Solution’ cover to cover is essential to getting the low down. After the second reading, I adopted a low sugar, gluten free, no alcohol diet and was rewarded within a week with a 5lb weight loss. My energy was up, sleep was more sound, productivity was higher. And this filtered to the kids.

I couldn’t have adopted this lifestyle without having everyone on board. Chips in the house? I’m gonna eat em. Cake? Actually, no, I’m not a sugar addict like Whitney I can resist cake. Salty, crunchy, high carb snacks are my nemesis. The same goes for my children. When I offer pork tenderloin and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner, they eat it. If I offer pasta, rice or rolls with it they will eat the pasta, rice or rolls and not the meat and vegetables. They love that stuff just like Mom does. But don’t serve it and they don’t miss it.

Ella has been the easiest with transitioning but she was a clean eater all along. She’s always been hapy with some turkey rolls and fresh veg or fruit. We used to consider her our picky eater, but it turns out she just likes simple, raw foods. She is rarely sick and is lean, strong and almost never moody. Coleman is our grumpy one, always has been. Quick to go from one emotion to the next, introverted, disrespectful at times, unwilling and lazy. Since allowing him to enjoy a breakfast of venison sausage and berries or a lunch of salami and carrot sticks, he is more willing to authority, respectful, happy and doesn’t complain of being tired and hungry an hour or two after eating. (Aside- does this happen every day? No. We have days when gluten creeps back in or a sugary snack and we backfire big time. We know the triggers and getting back on track is easy as pie- no pun intended).

The next two… Ahh, Thomas. I love this child. But he is the biggest sugar addict ever. And the biggest gluten addict. Can’t trick him with anything. Carrots in a strawberry smoothie, gluten free waffles, you name it and he won’t be tricked by it. Of course, he is the one who needs the paleo diet more than any of the others. We are getting there in baby steps. His insulin has been elevated his entire life. he is battling sugar and gluten addiction at 4 years old. As Thomas muddles through his big fourth going on fifth year, he is much more reasonable towards reason. “Thomas this has too much sugar. It will make you feel bad…Ok Mommy.” Daily battles.

Andrew, age 2, is born for this. He doesn’t like chocolate (!) or any sweets and isn’t a bread eater. He likes the rice pasta but prefers meats, fruits and veggies. He’s still drinking a yogurt smoothie each morning, but none of our kids are drinking cow’s milk. That messes with our systems. We have almond milk or coconut milk.

When we stay paleo, behavior issues diminish. Not that we have behavior problems but the terrible twos, irrational fours, and moody seven-eleven year olds disappear. The paleo diet is so worth it to have four happy, eager to please children AND for us to feel great and have all the energy to chase after them all day. We are trying our best and all experimentation has proven that a variety of veggies, some fruits, meats, and healthy fats make for the happiest, healthiest family. With a family of six, anything that makes things easier is fine by me.

Don’t let me forget my Dad who is loving paleo. My mother’s arthritic knee stopped bothering her within a week of cutting the beans, dairy, etc. Those are the other things they cut out in addition to gluten which they had already cut out 25 years ago.I hope they stick with it. As for me, I am rolling along. Dropping pounds and belly fat, enjoying my kiddos and will never look at “diet” the same way again.