Today’s post is a first for me – a guest post – but my friend Kristin Jekielek, who has a similar story to mine, just started up a new website called Paleo Trail and I think it’s pretty sweet. So I asked Kristin to share her story and how it led to the creation of her new service.
Paleo Trail is a meal-tracking website without the macronutrient and calorie-counting trappings of conventional trackers; instead, users focus on simple parameters they define for themselves. I like this concept because I’m a strong advocate of the idea that a one-size-fits-all approach to diet and health is not optimal, and Paleo Trail lets you define what makes a “healthy” meal on your own terms.
Paleo Just Made Things Better
I started eating Primal in July 2009. That first month was eye-opening (after I got through the carb flu at least). My energy was up, my mood was better and more consistent, I wasn’t bloated anymore, and I even dropped a couple pounds without trying. Pretty cool stuff!
…Until I Did This 1 Thing Wrong
I went all-in on Paleo. I was preparing 90% of the food I ate, cooking only local & grass-fed/pastured animals, local & organic produce, ~50% calories from fats like grass-fed butter and pastured bacon, and even switched from table salt to sea salt. That’s what I’m supposed to do, right? Well, it gave me an iodine deficiency.
I started to supplement iodine and included wild caught ocean fish and seaweed in my diet. I started seeing results immediately – literally the very first day.
A couple months later my recovery came to a halt. I was still very fatigued and foggy-brained. My doctor ordered some blood work, and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune condition. I was prescribed Synthroid and saw some mild improvements.
My Path to Health
My journey got worse before it started to get better. I had a stressful office job that I disliked, and I continued going to CrossFit at my normal high intensity. I drove myself into the ground and into Adrenal Fatigue.
I’ve worked with several alternative health practitioners over the past year and a half and have seen much success. These practitioners helped me understand that eating a whole foods diet isn’t always enough to find health. We’re all carrying around decades of poor diet and lifestyle choices – the consequences don’t magically evaporate.
What’s more is I saw marked improvements in how well I felt once I began eating traditional foods outside of the standard Paleo template. I began making my own yogurt from raw milk, raw sauerkraut, kombucha, bone broths, and even lacto-fermented pickles. I take fermented cod liver oil daily. Each time I added one of these foods to my diet, I saw specific positive changes in my gut health and energy.
Why I Track My Meals
One other thing the health practitioners all had in common was that they all asked me to track my meals. It helped them understand if my eating habits were contributing to my symptoms in any way. This goes beyond what you’re eating – when are you eating it, how are you combining it with other foods, and not only how often are you “cheating” but what foods are you cheating on most?
My specific health issues actually benefit from a particular eating schedule and specific food combinations at different times of the day. I have to eat breakfast. I can’t do carbs in the morning, but it’s fine if I load up on them at night. I ate 4x/day because my chronic stress gave me mild dysglycemia. Careful diet tracking helped me discover these patterns that I otherwise would have chalked up to my symptoms.
Eating real food was definitely helping me through my health issues, but diet tracking helped me fine tune my eating habits to fully support my particular issues.
Enter Paleo Trail
I wanted diet tracking to focus on the quality of the food choices I made while also being fast and convenient. Unfortunately, virtually all online diet trackers focus on calories and exact portion sizes. That’s why I created Paleo Trail. It lets you track your Paleo diet online in less than 5 minutes a day, without ever counting a calorie.
You’re probably wondering how it works. To add a meal, you simply rate the quality of the food choices you made at the meal.
Did you eat only 100% health-promoting foods? Then give yourself a Supreme rating. Was this a cheat meal? Or did it fall somewhere in between? Select a rating and that’s it!
The Paleo Trail Calendar shows you at-a-glance how clean you’ve been eating over time.
It’s free to join, so you have nothing to lose if you sign up today.
The Moral Of The Story
Tracking my diet has been crucial. However, the number one thing I recommend for others is to research, research, and research this stuff for yourself! My health issues weren’t diagnosed until I took matters into my own hands, and I have a really great understand of how to eat to support my health now. Consider more than one person’s opinion on any topic and be your own guinea pig for best results!