How did I make the connection between the paleo diet and the MS Diet book?

How did I make the connection between the paleo diet and the MS Diet book? And how did I actually start doing it? It all comes down to Crossfit. My box (what we call the gym), Crossfit Wilmington (CFW), is an amazing place that encouraged me to eat paleo and work out optimally. I am really lucky to have found it.  Or I should say, I am really lucky my sister forced it down my throat.

My sister is and has always been uberfit. She went from beating our friends’ dads in arm wrestling as a child to varsity everything to Crossfit instructor quite easily. Kickboxing, weightlifting, Les Mills instructor, TRX, she has done it all. But she fell deeply in love with Crossfit. I, on the other hand, am a nerd and spent most of my youth reading and making fun of jocks. I proudly failed every President’s Physical Fitness tests I ever took. And though I lost my virginity to a bodybuilder, I had no interest whatsoever in working out. I teased my sister mercilessly about the Crossfit cult, doing everything ‘for time,’ and the word burpee sent me into hysterics. When she gave me a month of Crossfit for Christmas two years ago, my response was, ‘you bitch.’ Because she knew I wouldn’t shun a gift. She knew I would go. And six months later, I did go.

The worst part about Crossfit at first was not knowing whether I couldn’t do something because of my MS or because I wasn’t fit enough. There was one workout where you had to run about 10 yards and jump tiny hurdles, turn around and run back (as fast as possible, of course). I attempted three hurdles and could not lift my legs up over them. I broke down in tears and ran out of the gym like a middle school drama queen. My sister ran out after me and asked me, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I sobbed ‘I have MS.’ and then she started crying. It was awful. Then we went back in the box and another beginner girl was in there and SHE couldn’t do the hurdles either. I said, ‘Do you have MS, too?’ She said, ‘No, I just can’t do this.’

I kept at it and worked my ass off. After about a month I could do a pull up, a lifelong fitness goal I never achieved at any other gym. But I was still fat. Sis broke it down for me; she said you have to eat paleo. But I couldn’t trust her food advice because she is one of those people who has done every fad gym diet on earth and didn’t even need to because she has always been skinny. Besides, she had been eating paleo for a while and it was the one thing I could still tease her about, since I was a crossfitter myself at this point. Fortunately, one of my instructors brought it all home for me. I remarked that he was super fit and the person I was talking to said it was hard to believe he had been shot in Afghanistan a year before. What?!? The guy who just did a sub-3 minute Fran (a popular benchmark workout)? Yes, he fully recovered from a gunshot wound and is better than ever. Just like the owner who recovered from a broken back and complete adrenal failure, among other things. And the guy who recovered from shrapnel wounds, double shoulder surgery, and like 50 other surgeries. All combat vets, all thriving physically and mentally. What was their secret? Paleo.

How could I start eating paleo and make fun of my sister at the same time? By saying I was not eating paleo. I said I was doing the MS Recovery diet! It was perfect. I re-read the MS recovery diet book and then looked up everything I could find about paleo, which at that time was Loren Cordain’s book and a handful of blogs.  Tune in to my next blog to read about my recovery!