This guest post is by one of our fans and favorite media personalities, Kelli Tennant. With the help of the Paleo community and a willingness to take her health and diet into her own hands Kelli has healed herself of fibromyalgia. Here's her story:
In 2007, I was the co-captain of the University of Southern California’s women’s volleyball team. I was in peak physical condition with aspirations of carrying my team to a National Championship. One day, it all came crashing down.
The details of how I got to the actual diagnosis of fibromyalgia are neither here nor there. But from that day in November 2007 to now, my life was flipped over and over and over. I experienced an extreme amount of pain throughout my entire body. It felt like someone was gripping my bones as hard as they could.
My left leg was numb for about four years, and the first year it would actually drag behind me. I was bed ridden for six months, couldn’t stand up straight, and as a junior in college, could barely make it to class. I was in a deep depression and when the pain would get really bad, my vision would go blurry. I lived at a constant 8 on the pain scale. I had no idea what it felt like to be without pain from head to toe, in places I didn’t even know existed.
I visited with a variety of doctors, all of whom had drastically different ideas of what the healing process would look like. Every single one had something in common though- handing out painkillers and muscle relaxers like candy. They believed in masking problems. And I quickly learned, so does society.
At 19, to be told you have an illness in which your body is attacking itself and that there is not a real answer, is pretty miserable. I felt really alone trying to navigate a medical world that only had answers that created new problems, or better yet, problems that they didn't know about yet because the medication was too new to fully understand. So in 2009, I stopped it all.
I went off every medication — painkillers, nerve blockers, muscle relaxers, sleep aids and anti-depressants— cold turkey. I told myself that there was no way a 21 year old girl should be taking all this stuff and still suffering so much. And there was absolutely no way I would hinder my chances of getting pregnant one day, or accidentally (or on purpose) overdosing because the medication made me so crazy.
So there I was, starting from scratch. I started doing research. All day, every day. I read and read and asked questions in forums. I was a sponge and willing to try anything. The overarching belief was that auto immune diseases, and basically every other problem we have, are created by systemic inflammation. This is triggered by what we eat. So, to the diet sections I went.
I stopped drinking alcohol for two years. I was a vegan and then vegetarian for a few years as well. All made great impacts. I definitely felt cleaner and less inflamed. But I realized it was only because I was eliminating a lot of processed carbs and sugar from my body. So, great first steps, but I will still in a lot of pain and needed to shed layers of toxins and what felt like puffiness from my body.
Later that year, I started following this woman named Jenna Phillips. (When I say follow, I mean kindly stalk on Twitter and then later in person because that’s the effect unicorns have on me.) I became obsessed.
She is a Paleo goddess who has gotten through a traumatic brain injury as well as diabetes by changing her diet. She is so incredibly beautiful and just glows from the inside out. I knew I needed to do what she was doing. (I’ll have what she’s having.)
I started following her instructions for paleo and reading up more on what that lifestyle consists of. I then stumbled across The Paleo Mom. Sarah is a God-send. I would read every single thing she wrote, specifically in her Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP), and email her constant questions. She was so incredibly kind and supportive and seemed to have the answer for everything.
So between these two amazing Paleo powerhouses, my life was changed… again. This time though, for the better. I went really strict for about four years. My whole body changed. The puffiness went away, my cravings for sugar and carbs faded, and I started to feel more and more energy.
Little by little, I started healing myself from the inside out. My severe IBS faded and the overall pain kept falling away. My mind was finally clear to think and see.
Since I started eating Paleo in 2009, I feel like a new woman. Not only am I stronger and in control of my health for the long-term, but I am thrilled to say I have been PAIN FREE and healed my fibromyalgia holistically (Paleoly) as of July 2014.
My body rid itself of all the toxins, it was able to reset, and I was able to find a daily lifestyle that consists of God’s gifts of whole foods, and reinvent my entire being.
I am so proud to be one of many in a community of thoughtful, knowledgeable people that have become their own best advocates and made good, clean food the core of health. Jenna, Sarah and eating Paleo have changed my life, and I am forever grateful.
Too much reading...
How about dessert?