So what do I mean by Paleofying Healthcare you may ask? I am a conventionally trained physician assistant that looks through the lens of a paleo diet and lifestyle when making decisions about the best treatment options for my patients. I teach my patients the basics of paleo nutrition (and low carb / ketogenic when appropriate) to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Not only do I consider a paleo lifestyle a great treatment, it is also the best prevention of disease.
Now a little of the boring stuff about my credentials first (so you don’t just think I’m some random person talking about health and paleo)…I graduated from Midwestern University in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences. I then went on to earn a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Iowa (GO HAWKEYES!). Since graduation, I have been working in family practice and love the diverse patient population I am able to treat on a daily basis. I currently work in an office with a physician that specializes in dietary weightless. I consider myself very lucky to work at Nally Family Practice in Surprise, AZ. Adam Nally is a doctor of osteopathy who is board certified in family and bariatric medicine and specializes in dietary and weight management, insulin resistance, and metabolic disease through a ketogenic and low carb approach. Only 7 years into my career as a Physician Assistant and I think I have landed the closest to my “dream job” that I could hope for.
My paleo journey began in 2011 after I had abdominal surgery that left me with intolerable gastrointestinal symptoms. I was diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance and switched to a gluten free diet. This still included the typical gluten free grains and goodies that so many “health food” stores are selling these days. I started to feel better but still did not get the complete relief I was hoping for. When conventional medicine was unable to give me answers, I was introduced to the paleo diet by a coworker and I have never looked back! Since the paleo lifestyle changed my life so drastically, curiosity got the best of me and I dove into research of all the benefits a paleo diet and lifestyle provide. Yes, I consider myself a medical nerd.
Even though there has not been anything earth shattering or health promoting in my first post, I hope you continue to follow me on my journey as a paleo healthcare provider. I’m looking forward to helping all of you navigate a non-paleo world, making the day to day of a paleo lifestyle easier. And for those of you that haven’t decided to make the plunge just yet, hopefully you will be convinced that this lifestyle is doable and at least worth a try (often all it takes is 30 days to see changes in how you feel).
So what can you expect from this blog in the future? There will be answers to common medical questions, so feel free to leave comments on posts and I will do my best to answer them in the future. I’ll explain why a paleo, low carb, or ketogenic diet is the best approach for many common medical conditions. For the foodies or those that just have fun cooking in the kitchen, I look forward to posting recipes, favorite cookbooks and cooking gadgets, and substitutions for the standard american diet. I’m sure everyone has used the excuse that the paleo diet is too time consuming with food preparation or hard to follow when everyone else is eating a different way as a reason to continue following the standard American diet (SAD) – I know I did! So how do I plan to make this lifestyle more doable? Posting shopping lists, the best websites for shopping paleo on a budget, simple recipes, snack ideas, great bloggers to follow, and more. Of course, the medical nerd side of me will throw in some posts about the most recent medical research along with my interpretation of it and how it can be applied to every day life. The science of nutrition and lifestyle is ever changing and can often be difficult to navigate on your own. As the paleofied PA that is attempting to paleofy healthcare, I look forward to helping you and being a part of your journey.
-Jenna Lightfoot, PA-C