What is Practically Paleo?

Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko
Practically Paleo founder

My Paleo journey did not start with the intention of weight loss, though I was very much overweight. Despite the pounds I had packed on over the years, I have always been a fairly active individual. I worked more than 40 hours a week at a sizable hotel in which I walked literal miles a day. I am an amateur photographer, and I travel frequently to the mountains, hike around ghost towns and traipse the national forests looking for just the right shot. The weight has never seemed to get in my way. Nothing seemed to, really. Almost.
 
I am a person who thrives on mobility. If I want to get from Point A to Point B, I will find a way to do it, and the path doesn’t have to be the one of least resistance. So, when I found myself saving steps after a 16-hour road trip left my knee stiff and my ankle sore, I knew something was up. I finally visited a doctor’s office where I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. 
 
During that visit, the doctor recommended I try a Paleo diet. I was living in a hotel room with no kitchen, but I started to figure out a few ways I might still change the way I ate. But then the boss bought me a Coke. A guest brought me sweets. Then it was Halloween. Then Christmas. 
 
It was two years before I started eating Paleo-ish. In February 2018, I was working two semi-physical jobs, was constantly in pain and was eating ibuprofen like it was actually going to do me some good, which it usually didn’t unless I chased it an hour later with 1400 mg of acetaminophen. I was homeless and staying at my daughter’s for two weeks while she was in England. She lived on the third floor of a three-story building, so there was no elevator. I realized my first day there that I wasn’t going to be able to work 16 hours a day, climb her stairs, and wake up pain free. I’d finally reached the end that proverbial rope and had to make a change.
 
So I used her kitchen and started eating Paleo-ish meals. I bought meats, fresh vegetables, and fruits. I started reading labels to find out if safe-looking foods had hidden sugars or grains in them. I took time with preparations, even if I was tired. I stopped drinking my calories. I ate slowly and enjoyed my meals. I stopped ordering out. 
 
After a week of these changes, I realized I was walking into work, not dragging. And I had stopped taking so much ibuprofen. Not all my aches and pains are caused by my arthritis, but not having to deal with the arthritis made the other problems easier to handle. 
 
The loss of my arthritis pain was not the only way I benefited by the new diet. The acid reflux that kept me up and had me munching antacids all day disappeared. So did most of the migraines — caused by weather and hormonal changes — I’d had since I was in my early teens. In April, I stepped on my parents’ scale while visiting their home and discovered I’d lost 30 lbs. in just two and a half months. 
 
Understand, I’m “practically Paleo” or Paleo-ish. I’m not perfect. I don’t follow this lifestyle to the letter. Perhaps I will one day. Not everyone can just change a to a new lifestyle and never look back. Sometimes I feel like my problems can only be solved with a pint of Cherry Garcia. And, maybe that’s a good thing. In my crazy, mixed-up, random, transient life, maybe I need rules that can be bent or broken and then re-adhered to while I lick wounds of my own making and say, “Yeah, I’ll totally do that again!”
 
And maybe I’m not the only one out there who is like that. 
 
Respectfully,
 
Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko
Founder of A Practically Paleo Life

9 thoughts on “What is Practically Paleo?”

  1. I know a lot of people have acid reflux and it literally sucks. I think I can trust what you write about the paleo diet and I will bookmark this site for sure. Do you have Facebook page?

  2. I love that you are not a total fanatic like so many other diet bloggers. It can get really tedious to read those “if you don’t do exactly as I say, you will fail” posts.
    Great that you don’t have that much pain any more, and a bonus with the weight loss.

  3. Just to let you know, I am not new on reading blogs and leaving comment afterwards. But, I think this is the first time that, I can feel what I am reading.
    It’s like, I can visualize your situation, you’re a great writer! Because you can do that to me.

    I’m not a health conscious person, so I’m not really familiar and not concern with any diet. Because I love food! I love eating! and I have a freaking metabolism so, eating didn’t bother me.
    Until, 2 years ago, I noticed that I am getting weight.

    So, 2019 is here, losing weight is one of my goals.
    I really want to know what is a Paleo Diet exactly, I haven’t heard about it to be honest.
    How do you do it? Does it come with exercise as well?

    1. It’s actually not as restrictive or planned out as other diets. If I’ve got it all laid out in my other posts, starting with, I think, “The Benefits of a Paleo Lifestyle.” I’m really hoping that this website will help out beginners.

  4. Good post, Kelli honestly making a change or just doing something in the right way for health problems can make a difference. I not heard too much about a Paleo diet but am interested in learning more about it. Arthritis pain affects many people and has for years there are different types of it and some more severe than others. Learning ways to cut down the inflammation in our body is the best things we can do. This is a great article and much needed.

    1. Thank you. I used to live in Boulder, Colorado, so I’ve heard of them all — paleo, vegan, vegetarian, some weird ones I couldn’t even begin to describe. I’ll admit that I was skeptical with this one, but I had already been hearing things about it from different sources when my doctor recommended it. It’s a change I’ve not regretted.

  5. I totally understand when you go a little bit into a diet. Right now I am a vegetarian and I still eat a bit of meat every now and again, particularly around the holidays. I also do like eggs, but I will have to cut those out to really commit at some point.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

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