In 2017, Paula completed a Nutritional Therapies Practitioner course with the Nutritional Therapies Association. A Nutritional Therapies Practitioner (NTP) focuses on digestion, blood sugar regulation, fatty acid balance, hydration and mineral balance teaching clients how to eat real, properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods to improve their health and become a healthier version of themselves.
Paula and Greg have also been working towards completing Certificate 3 & 4 in fitness as well.
OUR JOURNEY started in 2014
OUR JOURNEY started in 2014
Our paleo inspired journey started when I applied for a job at a Paleo Café. Normally when I apply for a new job, I eat at the venue a few times to see if I like what they do and if I can fit into it. This time was different. A new café, not even open yet and an interesting concept.
Who would have thought a new job could change your life...........……..Well it has for me!!!!
In February 2014, I applied for a job at Paleo Café Burleigh. I had a Basic knowledge of what the Paleo lifestyle was. So I started by using Google to expand my understanding. I liked what I was reading although my interest faded as I didn’t hear about the job. The health benefits seemed unbelievable. I have always believed that food was medicine. I choose not to take supplements or antibiotics, always using food to gain what my body needed.
As my grandpa would say “you have been in a good paddock.” We were so comfortable in our relationship, we had let ourselves go.
In the 5+ years Greg and I had been together, I had gained at least 25kg. I lost a little before we got married in October 2012 although I was always trying new ways to loss weight. When we moved, we decided to do things differently. I wanted to look good at the beach so I started a food diary and tried to eat clean, well what I thought was told was clean. I think I lost 3-5kg in the first 6 months we were here, then nothing. I was so excited when I finally got the call for an interview. My interest was sparked again. Firstly I purchased the Paleo Café cookbook and began baking paleo treats for my husband, Greg and making cauliflower rice to accompany curries and casseroles.
It was Greg who suggested we give this way of eating a go, since I would be cooking it every day. Secretly I was excited. Firstly to have his support and secondly I also knew the eating this way was going help his health. Greg's energy levels would plummet every day about 2pm. Greg loves to tell the story of how I ignored his stomach pain back in September 2012. As long as I have known Greg, he has had an irritable bowel. At different times he has avoided dairy thinking that was the cause. He loved ice cream too much to make this permanent. So in 2012, he was admitted to hospital in the middle of the night. After a scan the Doctor concluded that his appendices was septic and it wasn't IBS after all, although he continued to have IBS symptoms. He also caught every cold, sniffly nose anything that was going around. Oh and he snored terribly. So much so I went to sleep every night with the TV on, otherwise I couldn't fall asleep.
We moved to the Gold Coast in January 2013 and decided to do things differently. We believe that small changes can lead you to a different destiny. As you can see from our before photo, I needed to lose weight. I started walking 3 to 5 times a week and eating clean (well my version of clean). I managed to lose 5kg but that was it. I couldn't shift any more. I gave up. Who cares anyway, there were always fatter people than me at the beach. We continued our lives facing many challenges. Our faith helped us weather a few storms and assisted to strengthen our marriage. We were changing in positive ways from the inside out.
We started saying we were 80/20. Eating paleo 80% of the time. Breakfast was the biggest change we had to make. We had always just eaten toast every morning with butter and jam or peanut butter then bacon and eggs on weekends when we had more time. It took some time and preplanning, frittatas and egg cups. Lunch was easy, Greg was not a fan of sandwiches and always took leftovers to work. I would cook him curry or casseroles to freeze for lunches. Dinner was always meat and vegetables or salad, so we just adjusted our condiments. We swapped soft drink for mineral water. Reduced our fruit intake. Weight just fell off. I had gone from working part time to full time so there was not a lot of time for me to exercise. I lost 10 kgs in 2 months. We went to a friend’s 21st, pizza was the only food option. Great I thought, I haven’t eaten pizza in months. My body didn't think it was great, I was sick for the next two days. Greg was not losing weight as quickly as I was and this frustrated him. He was still drinking coffee at work and - shock horror - still with sugar in it. Although he had cut down from 4 spoonful’s per cup to only one. His overall health had improved ten fold. His energy had increased, his snoring stopped, minimal IBS and no sick days for nearly 12 months. Late last year he completely cut sugar from his diet. After going cold turkey he had headaches and shakes for nearly two weeks, definitely an addiction. Now he has swapped his coffee for tea or bone broth or flavoured water.
We both have so much energy. I work long hours some days and sometimes I am surprised I can fit my life in around it. In the past when I have worked in busy kitchens doing long 10-15 hour days any day off I had was spent lazing around. Eating toast, catching up on sleep and tv.
In 2016, we flew to Austin, Texas to attend Paleo f(x) a weekend conference that focused on all aspects of the paleo lifestyle. It was an awesome experience, we heard from all the experts, on food, exercise and health. We saw lots of exhibitors showing off their products, food, exercise, skin and beauty. It really is a way of life not just a diet. We enjoyed all of it. We met some wonderful people. Many of participates we met were NTP’s (Nutritional Therapy Practitioners), who had studied nutrition with the Nutritional Therapy Association. Greg knew I had an interest in nutrition, I had looked at studying when we first moved to Queensland although it wasn’t the right time or right course. This course looked perfect it aligned with my beliefs about food as medicine which had only been reinforced while working at the Paleo Café. I was unaware that Greg had put my name down to win a scholarship with the NTA, so I was surprised and excited when I won. Actually, freaked out a little until I realised that I could study in Brisbane. I enrolled in the February 2017 class. The NTA program is a 9-month online course with 3 in person long weekend workshops.
Greg’s health had improved although he still suffered the occasional bouts of stomach cramps that I called contractions. These usually occurred after he ate gluten or dairy. It took Greg a long time to realise the correlation between food and these attacks. As he could occasionally eat say a burger with gluten bun or ice cream (he found it difficult to eat out with friends without feeling like he was missing out on everything) and would be okay.
In March 2017, he had an attack (first one in over 12 months) it lasted 3 – 4 days. Day one he was in bed all day, with contractions having him constantly doubled over. The pain was comparable to the pain he experienced when his appendix was removed. Day two the contractions were less frequent, although very painful. Day three the contractions were still painful although only occurred about a dozen times, he could move to the couch and watch TV. By day four he could go back to work and semi function normally, eating minimally and would was only doubled over in pain 3 or 4 times. In the past, these attacks happened regularly.
I had only been studying for a month or two, although I wondered if this was related to digestion. Greg had volunteered to be a practice client and I could see his whole digestive system needed support and he had high blood sugar dysregulation. His pain point was his sigmoid colon, positioned on the opposite side to where is appendix once was. After unhelpful doctor’s visit (our regular doctor was away so he saw a replacement), he made an appointment with a naturopath. She requested lots of test and checked his blood sample via a microscope showing allergic tension in his system. While waiting for results she diagnosed Leaky Gut. He went from eating his 80/20 paleo to only eating fruit, vegetables and meat. Test results showed he had Candida, SIBO and his liver struggled with its phase 2 operation. Our regular doctor diagnosed diverticulitis. For 3 months his diet was only meat and vegetables, no eggs, no night shades with a few supplements the naturopath recommended.
As I studied more, I learnt more. Learning the NTA functional evaluation was profound for both of us. I was able to ask Greg’s body how it was feeling and assess which supplements were needed to support it. Greg’s IBS was under control, healing his leaky gut and SIBO was life changing for him. No more rushing to the bathroom as soon as he ate and again multiple time for the next hour or so. Now if he accidently eats gluten or even chooses to eat a burger he is not suffering as much as he did in the past. He will still feel bloated although it does not cause pain for days anymore. His energy is amazing, working full time, teaching karate part time and supporting me with PGLifestyle. For Greg, fitness and health are his ultimate goal, that and being able to continue surfing into his old age.
I always thought I was healthy. I hardly ever got sick. I have trouble swallowing tablets and capsules so I never took antibiotics and pain killers except the odd disprin. I started getting what my Grandma called “growing pains” when I was 8 or 9 yrs old, really they were uncomfortable cramps and headaches.
My period started when I was in Grade 5 or 6, not monthly, at first it was very random. I often came home with my jumper tied around my waist trying to hide it. My cycle was never predictable until I started taking birth control at 19 years old. It was always uncomfortable, some months I just stayed home for the 3-5 days. When I about 24, I got thrush every month 3 days before my cycle began. The doctor I saw at the time changed my birth control every month for 3 months until finally Depo Provera stopped the thrush, the cramps and the headaches. This was life changing for me. My period stopped completely!!! I no longer need to purchase sanitary products, just visited my doctor every 3 months for my injections. As I moved around changing jobs and locations I would miss an injection and as soon as my period returned usually within 1-3 months I find a new doctor and start injections again.
The only sick days I took from work were mental health days where I needed a break or was struggling with the pressures I felt from life. When I started working in hospitality sick days were never taken even if you were sick. You learnt to manage and just soldier on!! At the first sign of a sore thoat or sniffley nose, I would start having hot honey and lemon drinks which always helped me fight off any infections. I am a big believer in mind of matter, so I always avoided the flu. My husband on the other hand has nearly died from man-flu at least 3 times in the last 10 years
I have always struggled with my weight. When we first started eating a paleo lifestyle I was able to lose 10 – 15 kg very easily. The next 5kg was a struggle. As it always seems to happen to me…. I gained back some of this weight and plateaued, this time at 89 -87kg. No matter what I did for years, that weight wouldn’t shift. No matter how much I exercised. No matter, how little or much I ate. I could only get to 85kg, then I would be back to 89kg. I just always struggled. I accepted this!
I had a health scare in 2017, that made me rethink my life and why I was here and what I wanted to do. I was working 50+ hours a week and studying. I focused on myself instead of always putting others first. I left me job and became a hermit for a few months. I started to question everything. A skill the NTA taught, always ask why??
Was I getting enough sleep, was I hydrated enough?? Probably not.
Did I need to work on my adrenals or was it my blood sugar or thyroid or hormones??? Maybe!
Was my liver doing its job to the best of it’s ability?? Maybe not!
Was I exposed to mould or toxins or EMFs?? Definitely Yes!!
To help me sleep, I put a plant on my bedside table and bathrooms and stopped charging my phone next to my bed. I also set an evening alarm to help me get to bed on time.
I introduced potted indoor plants to nearly every room in our home to reduce air borne toxins.
Make up was never really my thing, not a priority when you are working in kitchens and live in a humid environment, so we changed our body products to organic non-toxic alternatives. Even swapped out our cleaning products.
I choose not to drink alcohol for about 9 months to ease the burden on my liver and now only drink on the odd special occasion. Water became my drink of choice. No more juice or fizzy soft drink.
We swapped our jug water filter for a fancy Propur that eliminates fluoride, heavy metals, contaminants and glyphosate from our tap water.
We replaced our plastic drink bottles and food container with glass or stainless steel, no all but most to date.
I listened to lots of Summits, podcasts and read lots of books and pick out the habits that suited my lifestyle.
I challenged myself to learn to surf even though I have a fear of water, waves and do not actually like sand.
I stopped burning candles and started using essential oil in a diffuser.
Buying most of our fruit and vegetables from the local farmers market more often. We created weekly menu plans. And menu prepped one day a month to stock the freezer, so we always had meals for when we were time poor or felt too lazy to cook.
I stopped my birth control injections as I was having peri menopause symptoms.
Decided to take an apple cider vinegar shot, most mornings followed by a big glass of water to aid my digestion.
Instead of focusing on my weight, I started to focus on the nutrients my body needs. Play with the ratios of protein, carbs and fats in the food I ate every day.
I add a gratitude practice to my night time getting ready for bed ritual.
My only exercise is surfing or walking at the beach, enjoying the vitamin sea and D.
Now I work about 30hrs per week and have weekends off with husband. And spend social time with family and friends, rather than being at work all weekend.
Currently my weight has plateaued between 72kg and 75kg and I am happy with this.
We are both better versions of ourselves today and all because we exercise, make good food choices and made our own decisions after being informed………..and we are still working on it. Friends and family are always asking us how we do it, questions like "isn't it so expensive and hard to eat Paleo?", "what can I eat?" etc. So after answering the same questions over and over again we decided started pglifestyle.com.au to help others. With the heart to help others achieve overall wellness, to be informed and a view that one day, we will achieve my goal of publishing a cookbook.
We are so grateful for this opportunity to change our destination.
xo Paula & Greg