My name is Kathleen and I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a BS in Biology. I have had a deep interest in health and fitness since I was a teenager. Like many others I ate a Standard American Diet and believed that eating low-fat and sugar-free foods was the way to stay lean and healthy. I began learning about paleo when I joined Pioneer Valley Crossfit my junior year in college. I didn’t think much of it at the time but it certainly made me question the boxes of cereal and yogurt that I was living off of in college. Not long thereafter I began having severe chronic pain, first in my upper back under my right shoulder blade, then a year later my lower right abdomen. The pain was so bad that I found myself in several doctors offices and hospitals undergoing a plethora of tests all yielding in the same, unknown result.
Being in pain and hearing “we can’t find the cause of the problem” is probably the worst news you could get from these “trusty” medical professionals. After enduring countless months of pain I started to seek my own solutions. My friend and coworker at the time had opened her own chiropractic practice and I started seeing her frequently. She was not only a great chiropractor but also someone who truly wanted to help me. We looked into some meridian pathways to see if stimulating certain organs would help. She thought that my gallbladder might be the issue so I began researching this organ and tried the “gallbladder diet” which surprisingly helped alleviate the pain- FINALLY!
While my gallbladder may or may not have been the cause of the pain- I will never actually know, but it did open my eyes to the healing power of foods. From that point on I began slowly learning more about paleo, acquiring herbs, spices, healthy oils, removing gluten and processed foods, and most importantly: learning how to cook! This process was NOT an overnight thing! I have to say that it took me years of trial and error to get to where I am today.
Eating 100% paleo with the occasional drink or bite of ice cream here and there, I believed that my overall health should be pretty darn good, but I still had some obvious issues that had not been resolved from changing to a paleo diet alone. I have had psoriasis for years (mostly on my scalp) and that didn’t seem to be changing any time soon. With more research I found that Psoriasis was an autoimmune condition, and even better: there was an Autoimmune Paleo Protocol that I could use to heal further. This news was thrilling but giving up my beloved coffee, eggs and alcohol while being a bartender and working crazy hours all the time was a tough one to swallow.
My journey had seemed to come to a halt once again until I enlisted the help of an amazing Naturopathic doctor. At this point my main concern was having the guidance and support to stay on the appropriate diet to heal my guy and ultimately reverse my autoimmune disease. What I discovered with the help of this doctor was that diet is not the only factor holding me back from being healthy- lifestyle plays a huge roll.
As a recent graduate that had just been trying to make ends meet while simultansiously trying to develop my own business and uncover my purpose in life. This news didn’t lessen my stress. It did, however, give me the push that I needed to find a new job- actually two new jobs- that complimented my lifestyle much more and STILL pay my bills, imagine that!
What do i do now? Well, I work for my chiropractor, Dr. Jeffrey Soley, who has been a blessing since I found him through some friends at my current gym, Crossfit Iron Will. I also work at Jake’s Restaurant in Northampton which has the best locally sourced brunch in town, and also sells my delicious paleo treats from the business I developed last year, Primal Treats and Eats. Primal Treats and Eats is my main passion, its also mostly a hobby. I love being able to provide people with delicious, homemade dessert options so they never feel left out on birthdays, holidays, or simply when they are craving a treat!
Other than cooking and baking, in my spare time I enjoy getting stronger with my family over at Iron Will. I have had a rough time so far dealing with underlying pain and injuries, but each set back has given me a chance to reflect and come up with a better plan for the future. I am also one of those super outdoorsy people. There is no better stress relief than getting outside to bike, hike, ski or explore.. except maybe for the days when I get to ride my horse. 🙂
While my journey to healing my autoimmune conditions (yes that is plural- while working with my naturopathic doctor I discovered that I have more than one autoimmune condition) is still ongoing, I have devoted much of my spare time to learning as much as I possibly can. I am an avid listener to several wellness podcasts, including but not limited to: Balanced Bites, Underground Wellness, Barbell Shrugged. I believe that knowledge is power and it continues to enrich my life every day. Every day I hope to take another step further in my own healing process, to learn, to grow and to share what I have learned with others.
I hope you enjoy my blog and feel free to ask any questions or make suggestions along the way!