The Postpartum Diet That Changed My Life Forever

I've never been one for “trendy” diets. I don't own a juicer, I get hungry about 10 seconds after I eat a smoothie, and I don't necessarily think gluten is the devil. (Although I know, to people with Celiac disease, it really is the devil.)

The point is, I like food and despite gaining weight with my pregnancies, I haven't done anything special to try to lose that weight. I run occasionally, do my exercise videos (Shaun T. is the man!), and lift weights now and then with my much younger, much more fit sister, but other than that, I consider mostly eating healthy and mostly being active a good enough kind of healthy lifestyle for me. 

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But then I got fed up. I was having some, shall we say, digestive issues, and constantly bloated and gassy, to the point that I was pretty much a running joke in my entire family. In short, I was kind of sort of miserable, so I decided to jump on the trendy diet bandwagon and see if cutting certain foods out of my diet really would make a difference. 

First up? The Paleo lifestyle. 

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Image via Chaunie Brusie

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the Paleo diet essentially focuses on “whole foods,” with no dairy, grains, legumes, or anything processed. There are all kinds of rules and regulations, but the basic gist of it is: keep it unprocessed and focus on lots of veggies and lean protein. Easy enough, right?

It was a bit harder than I anticipated, but I also enjoyed getting back to the basics of eating, and the diet made a lot of sense to me. I felt great knowing I would be forced to eat so many veggies and honestly, I love a lot of the staples of the Paleo diet, like spinach and broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggs, and salmon. That's good eating in my book. 

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So I went with it and I have to tell you, I was mostly curious about cutting out grains. Would all of my problems be mysteriously cured by cutting out gluten from my life? Turns out, nope. My body does OK with gluten, but what I did discover about myself was surprising:

I am lactose-intolerant. 

I will spare you the details, but when I reintroduced dairy in my diet after doing Paleo, I realized that I was not feeling so hot. I was almost instantly bloated, gassy, and running to the bathroom constantly. I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I cut it out again for a week, then reintroduced it again by throwing some cheese in my eggs and bam–it was like instant torture in my stomach. 

I was so shocked because for as long as I can remember, I've claimed to have a “sensitive” stomach. My husband has frequently made fun of me for all the complaining I've done. “Oh, please,” he would say. “You're sensitive to air.” 

And it definitely felt like that, because I never connected that there could be one common denominator in all of my tummy troubles–until doing the Paleo allowed me to realize that it had been dairy all along. 

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I did some more digging and found that certain dairy products, like butter and my beloved half-and-half in my coffee, don't upset my stomach because they apparently have very low levels of lactose. But things like regular milk, frozen yogurt, or cheese? You may as well just say goodbye to me because I'll be out of commission for the rest of the day, thanks.

I also found out, through doing Paleo that I have other food sensitivities I didn't know about, including to foods like:

  • Grapes (again, this is a problem with the body's ability to digest the sugar, except it's fructose intolerance)
  • Spaghetti squash (no idea why)
  • Most red meats, except for bacon (thank goodness)

It's been the strangest journey, because before I actually put myself on a “diet,” I would have laughed at such trendy food diets. But now? I am so grateful to them because doing Paleo and cutting out dairy has changed my life. I feel like a completely different person and I didn't even realize how miserable I was before.  

{ MORE: This Postpartum Body Post is the Best One Yet }

I feel like I've been given a new lease on life, even if that means a life without pizza as I once knew it. 

Have you tried any postpartum diets?

What do you think?

The Postpartum Diet That Changed My Life Forever

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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