VIDEO: ‘Paleo diet changed my life’
FROM the day she was born Jocelyn Walker was sick.
She missed out on a normal childhood spending most of her time at different hospitals and has lost count of the number of doctor visits or different medications she has taken in her life.
When she was 12 doctors finally figured out what was giving her severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea; and why she was catching every virus that was doing the rounds.
She was diagnosed with Crohn's disease - a type of inflammatory bowel disease described by health professionals as "lifelong" - and started taking a range of harsh medications.
But four years ago Mrs Walker (pictured) was introduced to the Paleo diet based on foods thought to have been eaten by early humans.
"I had been really active my whole life, despite being sick a lot, but when I was diagnosed everything in my life just stopped," Mrs Walker said.
"I was on steroids when it was really bad, as well as other medications like maxolon, (a nausea suppressant) and losec (used to prevent the production of stomach acid).
What's your thoughts on the paleo diet?
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It's just a fad
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"Some of the medications were ones used to treat cancer and they were really harsh on my body.
"The medications had an affect on me mentally too and so I was also taking anti-depressants.
"There were some days when I just felt awful and that was how I lived my entire life until recently.
"I would take a handful of pills every day and got so good at swallowing them I would just do it one go."
At first, Jocelyn and her husband David eased into the Paleo diet; switching out refined sugars and gluten, before gradually committing fully to the change.
In April 2015 - with the support and approval of her doctor - Mrs Walker stopped taking all of her medication.
"He was just so happy that I was healthy," Mrs Walker said.
"It's amazing to think that changing what I am eating has completely turned my life around. I feel so good now and I couldn't tell you the last time I felt sick or caught a cold."
Mrs Walker, who studied psychology at university, said it was also about changing her thinking, particularly when it came to "treats".
"You have to change the whole way you think about food because what do you do when you want a treat? You go and get something naughty. But then I just think about how that will make me feel in an hour? Or five hours? Not good."
Attention around the controversial Paleo diet has been most notable in relation to celebrity chef Pete 'paleo' Evans - host of My Master's Hotplate - who has produced recipe books on it for babies.
Those books have been criticised by some in the Public Health Association.
Dieticians Association Australia has also criticised the celebrity chef for spruiking "the fad diet" and say there is often too much emphasis on protein and not enough carbohydrates.
But Jocelyn Walker isn't looking back; and she's so assured of the benefits of the diet that she has decided to raise her four-month-old son on it too.
My medication before paleo
- Dipentum: side affects can include headaches, skin rahses, itching, muscle pain
- Losec: side affects can include pins and needles sensation, mood swings, fever, numbness, abnormal eye movements
- Maxolon: possible side affects are depression, increased heartbeat, swelling of the hands and feet
- Prednisone: side affects can be trouble sleeping, increased appetite, unexplained weightloss,
- Other steroids, plus supplements
*between 8 to 12 tablets every day