My name is Jasmine, I am a Registered Nurse. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 2009. A few days after exams I packed my things and moved to Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa, to start my career in a large medical/surgical Intensive Care Unit, where I’ve been working for almost 7 years.
A little bit about me… I am a night Owl, and therefore I work mainly night shifts. I have two incredibly loving and friendly long haired dapple dachshunds Aspen and Bonsai (pictured). I keep active by playing soccer and volleyball year round and play softball in the summer for fun. I enjoy cooking and baking paleo foods and also enjoy taking pictures of my dogs and nature. I am by no means a writer or photographer so please be kind.
If you would like to know a little more about my journey to becoming paleo please read on…
I grew up a military brat, moving around Canada and overseas. Although the term “Military Brat” is not meant to offend any children of the armed forces, I was truly a brat. The youngest of 3 girls, I always had to have things my way. This included my diet. I was an active child and teenager, and somehow managed to remain fairly healthy although my diet consisted mainly of bread, cereal, chicken, potatoes and very few fruits or vegetables. My mother tried her hardest to get me to add variety to my diet but I just wouldn’t do it. I would have a bagel or cereal for breakfast, plain bologna sandwich for lunch (no lettuce or veggies!), and she would often make separate meals for me for supper because I would never eat any of her delicious home cooked meals (she is a pretty great cook, I have come to realize).
As a child I often had very bad ear infections and was also quite an anxious, moody and hyperactive child. As a teenager the ear infections continued and I also developed severe throat infections several times a year. My mother brought me to a naturopathic doctor and I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. I had never been much of a milk drinker because it had always made me feel bloated and nauseous. Cutting out cheese and yogurt was difficult, and although I limited my intake of dairy, I still consumed it. The ear and throat infections came less often, but they remained there well into adulthood. My anxiety also grew stronger as a teenager and continued into adulthood, and became worse as I started getting deeper into my career, got married, and had more responsibility.
In the summer of 2012, 2 months after my ex husband and I got married, I started getting heart palpitations several times a day. I ignored it for a month… hoping it would go away. But they got stronger, would happen at work, would happen watching TV, would happen playing soccer, and they were sometimes accompanied by dizziness. I finally decided to go see my doctor, and she was very thorough. We did bloodwork and an ECG which both showed nothing. We then did a 24 hour holter monitor that would keep track of any palpitations over the 24 hour period of time. This showed multiple symptomatic ventricular and atrial palpitations both when awake and when sleeping. We followed this test with an echocardiogram just to make sure there was nothing structurally wrong with my heart, and it showed nothing. My doctor suggested medication for it, and also for me to stop consuming caffeine and alcohol (hard for someone in their mid twenties working stressful 12 hour shifts). This led me to start thinking about a change in lifestyle.
I have spent the last 4 1/2 years working mainly night shifts in a large city Intensive Care Unit and found my mental and physical health deteriorating over time. As most people know and as research shows, shift work can wreak havoc on your health. Last fall/winter a few co-workers had started the crossfit/paleo lifestyle and I became interested. I started doing my research on the paleo lifestyle and eventually read the book “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo. This book changed my life. Everything just made sense to me after reading it. The paleo diet is what we’re genetically programmed to eat, and we’re constantly putting highly processed and unfamiliar foods in our bodies, no wonder our bodies are retaliating! For those of you who do not know… the Paleo lifestyle (considered more a lifestyle than a diet because it is something that can be followed for the rest of your life) is the concept of eating non-processed foods, in their natural form, things our “caveman” ancestors would have eaten. This includes unprocessed meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. While some people who follow the paleo lifestyle also include dairy, it has to be full fat dairy, preferably raw and unpasteurized. You replace your calories and carbs from grains with healthy fats like coconut and avocado and good starches like squash and sweet potatoes. It is also suggested that your meat be grass fed, chicken and eggs be free range/organic.
I ate strictly paleo for the month of February and March of 2013 and found incredible health benefits. I was sleeping better, my acne was better, my joint pain had lessened, my chronic daily headaches were gone, my body was recovering faster after working out and soccer games, my muscle tone was more prominent than even when I played sports every day and I lost 15 pounds with absolutely no calorie counting and eating as much as I desired. Even my nails and hair were stronger and healthier than ever! I have always been an athletic person, and never overweight. I played several sports throughout high school and University and currently try to keep in shape by playing soccer and volleyball once a week and I bike/walk to work. I decided not to adopt the Crossfit lifestyle due to several factors, including my height/lankiness, a back injury I sustained at work and a knee injury from playing rugby in my teens.
Needless to say, the benefits I saw while beginning the paleo lifestyle was enough to turn me onto this for life. It also helps that I found cooking and baking to be quite therapeutic, and this has helped immensely with my anxiety and stress levels. I cook and eat things that I never imagined myself eating before. I have learned so much and want to continue to learn. I have never owned so many cookbooks in my life!
I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and will try some of my shared recipes from time to time!