Hey There! My name is Alex Juel. Thanks for stopping by.
My journey into the realm of health and fitness started around 2006. I was a skinny-fat guy in my mid 20’s and I was tired of looking at my body in the mirror. I bought a barbell set and weight bench from Sports Authority and downloaded an ebook about proper nutrition for weight lifters.
That ebook had some great tips for beginners and was a good starting point for me because I didn’t know a damned thing about proper nutrition. I’ve since used programs such as P90X and Insanity, each with their own nutrition guides. These things really sparked an interest in healthy eating for me and over the years I’ve continued reading and researching online, almost obsessively.
Around early 2011, I became interested the paleo movement. It intrigued me but I wasn’t ready to jump in just yet. I started following the blogs of people like Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey and Chris Kresser, soaking up the knowledge that these experts shared.
Then my nutrition research went into overdrive in April of 2011 when I decided I was going to go vegan, which I did to support my wife who had been vegan for a couple of years already. I wasn’t sold on the idea that veganism was healthy, so I did a massive amount of research to make sure that if I did it, I was going to do it right.
While I was vegan, I learned a lot about food as well as the ethics of animal farming. I’m the kind of person that always wants to learn, so although I was vegan, I continued reading articles and listening to podcasts from paleo advocates.
I suffered a variety of health issues beginning in late 2012, which lasted throughout 2013. These were things like brain fog, lethargy, dizziness, joint pain, and extremely painful gas. I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, which meant that my body was absorbing too much iron and the only treatment is phlebotomy – I had to donate blood almost every week for several months to get my levels to normal. This was reduced to every couple of weeks, then once a month and now every two months. A lot of my symptoms did seem to match up with those of someone having hemochromatosis, and while a few of those issues did seem to lessen during my treatment, they didn’t go away entirely.
I can’t say for sure if my health issues were related to hemochromatosis or my vegan diet (I did blood work to make sure I wasn’t deficient in anything and everything looked great), but after hearing about the success stories of so many other people who switched to paleo diets, I was seriously considering leaving veganism. I mentioned this to my wife and she understood.
My mind wasn’t made up yet though.
That is until our daughter was born on January 22nd. We had originally planned on raising a vegan baby, but as the pregnancy went on, I think we both started questioning the vegan diet for our little girl, especially after reading The Better Baby Book from Lana and Dave Asprey. We thought we’d play it by ear after she was born.
But then we learned that my wife was unable to breast feed. She just wasn’t able to produce enough breast milk. This was probably the most crushing experience of her life.
In February 2014, we decided to try the paleo diet to see if it would help.
Having the knowledge that we did about animal farming from being vegan, we decided that the only way we would do it is if we purchased grass-fed organic beef and pasture-raised eggs. We absolutely would not buy meat from an unethical industrial farm.
I wish I could say that the paleo diet worked for Michelle, but it didn’t. We learned that my wife is simply physiologically unable to breast feed.
But over the 3-4 months that we were eating strictly paleo, we found ourselves having more energy and generally just feeling better. In June we thought we’d try introducing wheat into our diets again to see how we felt. In only a couple of days, we both felt terrible. We both had gas and low energy, Michelle had bloating and I started having joint pain. So no more wheat!
We aren’t strict paleo, but we do use the paleo diet as a baseline. We eat beans, as long as they’re soaked for 24 hours, we eat potatoes occasionally, we eat white rice, and I sometimes eat grass-fed cheese. We don’t eat wheat or gluten, we don’t eat corn, we try to avoid sugar, we don’t drink milk, and we mostly avoid anything that’s processed.
Oh, and those health issues I mentioned earlier, they’re pretty much gone now.
I know that there might be a lot of factors at play here, like eating paleo, removing frankenfoods like seitan from my diet, and getting my hemochromatosis under control, but I’ve never felt better than I do now after going paleo. That’s enough for me. I’m sticking with it.