Our story started out of necessity.
I grew up on a grain farm in Saskatchewan, baking and cooking with the traditional ingredients; white flour and white sugar. Fast forward to 2011. My oldest son was diagnosed with leaky gut and had intolerances to gluten, eggs and dairy. My world came crashing down. What the heck were we going to eat?? I cried in the doctors office. Everything I made and fed my family had those ingredients. At this point I also tipped the scale at approximately 219 pounds, used anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. I also had severe acne (tried Acutane and antibiotics which almost killed me) and severe lower sciatic pain from a accident. I was a hot mess.
After this doctor's appointment for my son, I decided that I would support him by not eating gluten myself. Within about 4 weeks I noticed that I was able to get out of bed and not have the lower back pain, and the love handles that I was trying to hard to "work-off" were finally starting to shrink. I put two and two together. I myself was also intolerant to gluten and it was causing inflammation in my body.
This began my journey into food research and healthier eating choices. My eating habits have evolved drastically over 6 years. First I started replacing all gluten products with gluten-free alternatives. Then I learned about the Glycemic Index and that the starches that I was ingesting by eating the gluten-free alternatives were spiking my blood sugar. So I started researching some more and experimenting with different kinds of ingredients that didn't use starches. This I would say would be my "soft-start" with eating the Paleo way. I then discovered the actual Paleo diet and switched over to whole foods which incorporated a lot of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.
During this time I also discovered Bikram yoga when a studio opened near my neighborhood. This is a 90 minute series practiced in 40 degree heat. It was brutal but the challenge and changes that it made for my body and mind were outstanding and changed my outlook on life. When I first started Bikram there were backward bends that I would be in so much pain trying to do because of my sciatic I wanted to puke. But sticking with yoga I am now able to do deep back bends working towards flipping in and out of wheel and handstands.
So my eating habits were changing for the better, and incorporating a hot yoga series that focused on stimulating thyroid, metabolism and strengthening muscles, my body was starting to work more efficiently. I was then able to go off of my medications with no complications and my skin started to slowly clear up on its own. It is amazing how your body can heal itself through nutrition and yoga. We just have to listen to it.
Over 4 years, I was able to lose 70 pounds and get off various prescription medications.
At this point I was also encouraged by my son's grade 4 teacher (who I used as my guinea pig when making my paleo treats) to start selling my whole food baking.
At there it is folks, Food In the NūD was born.
Well you would think that our journey ends there
But this is where Bryan's journey begins. July 31, 2014 (our 10th year wedding anniversary), Bryan ended up in the Emergency room. He fell "the wrong way" off of a 5' ladder and crushed his calcaneus. The doctors termed it "hamburger foot" and to make matters worse it was a compound fracture, meaning the bone came through the skin and set him up for a high risk of infection. He was rushed in for emergency surgery. They pushed a 8" steel rod into the back of his heel and into his foot to try and stabilize it and sent him home with a prescription of Hydromorphone and told him he had a 50/50 chance of loosing his foot if he DIDN'T get an infection.
There is so much that happened from that point to 19 days later that I could write a book. But to fast forward a bit, he came out of his 2nd surgery and a couple of days later was sent home to recover. Day 19 of being on this painkiller sent Bryan into a severe depression, OCD and suicidal tendencies. Now imagine a 250 lb man confined to a chair who started having a massive panic attack which at first I thought was a seizure because he looked like he was convulsing. We were given explicit instructions by the surgeon that he was to put absolutely no pressure on his foot. I couldn't get him out of the house and to the hospital myself so I had to call the ambulance. Once the ambulance came and determined that he was having a severe panic attack due to the side effects of the pain meds and Bryan was going to be OK, the paramedic looked at his painkiller prescription and said that if she was on this dose, it would have killed her. That little bottle of horror left our house with the paramedics that night. And he was left with T3s to try and manage severe pain and a very uncomfortable 48 hours to detox off of the Hydromorphone as it already caused a dependency. That is when we started researching medical canabis. Bryan then applied and received his licence to use canabis as a pain killer and hasn't used any pharmaceutical since.
His story still continues but I will try to condense it. He did 5 surgeries in 9 months. Got a severe staff infection in the bone. Spent 30 days in total admitted into the Miseriacordia Hospital (one of the most run down hospitals in Edmonton). Had a pic-line inserted into his heart so he could do months of antibiotics on a daily basis. His final surgery to save his foot, his surgeon did a partial calcectomy and literally cleaned out the heel bone cavity of infection and stuffed it with bone cement laced with antibiotics. Last ditch effort to make sure the infection didn't come back he did 27 dives in a hyperbaric chamber.
During this time I was cooking and delivering all his meals to the hospital because the hospital food was anything but nutritious. That's another story, our medical system needs to be trained on nutrition and healing....'nuff said! After 9 months and 5 surgeries, Bryan was left with a mess of a foot that was chopped up couldn't flex and was swollen. He started physio therapy which got his one foot and leg moving a little but it got to a point that they couldn't do much more at physiotherapy and he couldn't walk (he was using a knee scooter and peg leg at this time) so walking and running to increase mobility and strengthening leg muscles was out of the question.
January 2016, I was able to convince him to come to Bikram yoga with me. I knew that this series, which is mostly standing in one spot or floor work, would help him build muscle, flexibility and strength while being able to put minimal pressure on his bad foot at first. After one month of going together once or twice a week, he decided that he was going to do a 30 day challenge.
He scooted into those classes on his own (like a bird being pushed out of the nest) and ended up completing a 60 day challenge. The physical change, muscle building and flexibility that he gained in those 60 days got him hooked for life. As he gained confidence and flexibility through yoga he also made dietary adjustments. He cut out drinking alcohol, eating refined foods and started eating Paleo and whole foods with me. These two changes dramatically changed his life and physique.
One year later, he is 90 lbs lighter from his heaviest weight, able to walk with barely a limp, and kills the hot flow yoga classes as he is working on headstands and arm balances while still focusing on balancing and building muscle on his weak leg and foot. He still amazes the specialist with his recovery. The frustrating part of this whole story is that our medical system still doesn't recognize whole food nutrition, yoga and medical cannabis as powerful healing tools. *Sigh* I'll just leave it as we have lived it and it works!!!!!
I hope that our story will inspire people who read this to make changes, whether big or small and take their own health into their own hands. Any change is a change for the better. Always ask questions and do your research!