Our Story

Individual sitting

Let me introduce myself. I’m Shanti, and I’ve been married to Chris (who I lovingly refer to as Superman) for 15 years. I adore him more and more each year and can’t say enough wonderful things about him. As a matter of fact, I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve often wished I had grown up with him as my dad as he is seriously the best father in the world. We have 5 children–our oldest is 10 and is our biological son. The other four are adopted through foster care, and their ages are: 10, 9, 7, and 5. Yes, it’s always loud at our house, in case you were wondering. =) Superman is a high school math teacher, and I stay home with our kids and home school them.

tight family photo

 

P.S. That’s not our kitchen. You can read about that HERE.

Our story started about 14 years ago, when Superman started having seasonal allergies. It started with a stuffy nose, then progressed to sneezing, headaches, and tonsil stones. After a few years, he developed intestinal pain, bleeding and diarrhea. He experienced significant weight loss, and at his lowest was 130 pounds (at 6 feet tall!) He went to numerous doctors, and was always told that he just needed to eat more fiber, exercise and drink plenty of water. That was it. That was the extent of the advice we received. That lasted for a solid 10 years. Over the course of this time, Superman began to experience anxiety over his health, and would constantly research online trying to find out what could possibly be wrong with him. He had a hard time sleeping, would wake up at the slightest of noises, and was constantly drained. He felt like he was going crazy. In January, 2010, he was talking with a co-worker, and after hearing her describe her symptoms, he knew he had stumbled onto something: she had Celiac Disease, and he was sure that he had it.

He made an appointment with his doctor, told her he would like the test, and she said, “Oh, you don’t have that. Only 1% of the population has it, so it’s pretty much impossible.” After he pressed her repeatedly, she grudgingly agreed to “allow” him to have the test done. I have to interject here that just a few nights before, Superman had told me he felt he was close to death. He had the “what to do if I die” talk with me, showed me all our insurance info, etc. and was setting me up to take over “when” he died. That’s how bad he felt.

A few days later, he got the results: Celiac Disease! We were ecstatic. Just having a diagnosis made Superman realize he wasn’t crazy after all. He gained 20 pounds in 3 months, and was eating lots of gluten-free goodies. His energy levels increased, but unfortunately his diarrhea and intestinal pain continued. In the fall of 2010, we started seeking advice from people outside of “conventional” medical practices. After a series of tests through a Naturopath, he found out he was allergic to nearly everything–except meat, some fruits and most veggies. Everything else was causing his body to go into hyper-mode and basically attack itself. He realized he was suffering from “Leaky Gut Syndrome“. In order to heal himself, he needed to go on an extremely restricted diet to allow his intestines (which had holes in them as a result of his disease) to heal.

I was originally cooking two separate meals, one for him, and one for the kids and I. It was just too much, so after being inspired by the book “The Paleo Solution,” I decided to switch us all over. The results were amazing. Our son, who had suffered from severe allergies, asthma and eczema his entire life was for the first time medicine-free. The joint pain that I had for over 15 years disappeared. My mental fog was gone. And Superman was improving.

It has been a long few years to healing, but we are getting closer and closer each day. His health is like a puzzle, and it seems that we constantly stumble upon more pieces of this puzzle.

The Paleo diet has been incredible for our family. The kids and I now eat a diet free of sugar, dairy, grains and legumes about 80% of the time. Superman, however, is pretty much 100%.

I went through a period of mourning after realizing I wasn’t going to enjoy french bread or donuts anymore (or at least rarely), and wondering what in the heck I was going to feed our kids if I couldn’t give them mac n’ cheese or sandwiches at lunch. But now I can’t imagine going back to the way we ate. Our quality of life has improved a hundredfold since we began this journey.

And so, along came this blog. Originally I did it to inspire myself to come up with new meals. I thought that if I had just 10 people reading, it would motivate me to come up with meals, and it worked! I have developed a passion for creating new recipes that are cleaner, healthier, and better for us, and I love to share them with people!

Do you have Celiac Disease or are you gluten intolerant? This supplement has been a HUGE contributor to Superman’s health improvement. I am in shock at what a difference he has noticed. He has been able to tolerate foods he was not able to even have in small doses before, including dairy (huge!). He doesn’t eat those foods often, but this supplement has been key for him! Check it out HERE

One other supplement that has been a huge help to us both, helping us to sleep soooo much better (we don’t take it every day, but do when we especially feel like we need a good night’s sleep) is THIS

Superman wrote out his whole journey to health & healing, in his own words. You can read the 4-part series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

I hope you will find inspiration on my blog. If you have questions, or comments, feel free to contact me any time at: lifemadefull {at} gmail {dot} com.

 

 

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Comments

  1. carolyn says

    thank you so much for sharing your recipes. It is overwhelming to think of changing to a paleo diet when my husband and i are horrible at cooking! Looking through your recipes make me more confident that it is possible. We also have a busy household with 3 kids (9/6/3) with my oldest having severe special needs and require 24/7 medical attention.

    I would love to do the whole30 challenge but am not sure it is realistic for me to go 100% cold turkey! But surely i will get there!

  2. Christina says

    I couldn’t help but read this and think how similar you sound to me. I also home school. I have 5 kids, 3 of them are boys and I am trying to figure out how to eat with my 3 year old who have very sensitive allergies.

    • says

      Wow, that is a lot of similarities! We have 3 boys, two girls also! Let me know if you have specific questions–we have dealt with many, many food allergies with my husband, and a big dairy allergy with one of our sons. Any time you want to chat, let me know!

    • Lori says

      What an awesome ending to what sounds like a miserable adventure for your husband at first! I wonder, what did he do for an extreme diet to restore his intestines? My husband is going through something similar which has been going on for 2 years now. Still no answer but he feels much better if he is juicing. Thank you for any information you can lend!

      • radlandon says

        Hi, Lori! Superman ate pretty much only meat, veggies and a bit of fruit for almost 2 years before he finally was able to reintroduce some foods…slowly. He’s doing much, much better now!

  3. Andrea says

    I am so excited to find your blog, though a bit overwhelmed as well. The desire to change our eating habits and diet has been on the radar screen for a while. I have hesitated for so long mainly due to the high cost of food and our family size. We are a family of 12: 6 girls and 4boys. Our last was born with Down syndrome and just turned 1. Our oldest is 22. With Hope’s diagnosis, she’s eating only organic home made baby food and table food(most of the time) My husband and I both need to lose 30+ pounds. He has been diagnosed with high blood pressure and I need him around for the next 30 or 40 years. I would love to do the Whole 30, but it would have to be a family decision and commitment. I look forward to reading your recipes and gleaning lots of information from your blog. We just had eggs and oranges for breakfast(as opposed to cereal, and the thought of preparing a healthy lunch is already causing anxiety. haha

    • says

      Wow, you do have your work cut out for you! Sometimes it’s helpful to start small…baby steps. Pick something you think may be the most “aggravating” for those in your family (i.e., sugar, dairy, or grains, etc.) and try to eliminate that. Or just start out with one meal at a time–making the transition just by cutting out everything at breakfast and only eating “Whole” foods, eliminating all the insulin-spiking cereal grains and sugars. Or you could just start by starting out just eating more “real” foods when you can. Each small step is a step in the right direction! Good luck!

  4. Andrea says

    Yes, you are right with the baby steps. That was kind of how I was going to approach it. Now to get everybody else on board

  5. sarah says

    Well we finally cut out grains and sugars – not quite up to giving up dairy yet, but maybe one day! I will say that my back pain is actually gone – never thought that would be true!! The anti-inflammation really worked!

    Unfortunately James’s allergies (the real catalyst for this) still appear to be going strong, although he has battled a cold as well so I’m not really sure what is what. Maybe I will have to take him off dairy…..going to give the xylitol spray another shot, hopefully with the air purifier that will be enough.

    Also, since I’ve done all kinds of crazy reading about Paleo I wondered if you had considered a GAPS diet for Chris? Todd’s aunt is struggling a lot with intestinal issues (well that is an understatement as she had an ileostomy – like a colostomy but in the small intestine) and when I heard about GAPS in a paleo podcast I thought it might help her. Just ordered the book from the library…the stuff about healing the leaky gut sounded like some of what Chris deals with too.

    So glad you enjoyed your trip!!

  6. Alyce says

    Hi Shanti! I just found your blog this evening through another blog that I found through google. I’m so glad I found your blog. I just started eating clean some where between August-October (I can’t remember the exact month…lol). I’ve successful lost 43lbs to date with eating clean(trying to loose 100lbs)! Eating clean has changed my life!!! I can’t wait to go through your blog for recipes and use it as another resource. I actually just made your chocolate cake for 2 and I’m eating it as I type (so good). You have the cutest little family! Look forward to talking to you. Alyce :-)

  7. says

    Awesome story. Thanks for sharing. I too have drastically improved my diet by switching to whole GMO-free foods. Thank you for sharing your story and recipes!

  8. Lori says

    Thanks for sharing your story! I homeschool too but only have one at home, a 14 year old son. My 22 year old daughter is married. I started eating clean last year and have lost 30 lbs. My son has severe food allergies so eating clean has been such a blessing. He is less hyper and sleeps so much better without all the junk. For the first time in very many years, I am off my allergy and asthma meds and my excema is very under control. It amazes me how diet can affect so much of our life!

  9. Lulu says

    what do you do if want to feed your family healthy, knowing they would feel better, and your husband continues to bring home the candy and junk food into the house?

  10. Sandy says

    Wow, you are an inspiration. Not just in the way you cook and eat, but the fact that you have adopted those gorgeous kids and are giving them a great future. Your family is beautiful and I can see that you are all very happy. I am so glad to have found your blog, and I do plan on making some of your yummy looking and sounding recipes! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to write this blog and help others like me that Eat Clean.

  11. Amy says

    I recently found you and I am so glad I did! I’ve been searching for clean eating resources/inspirations and I can stop searching because I found what I’ve been looking for. My biggest challenge with eating clean is being able to eat on the run or on short notice. I am married part time (my husband is in the National Guard and is away from home a lot), have 2 girls (10 & 12), a needy dog and I also work outside of the house. My girls have very active schedules with activities and sports and we do a lot of running around (not in a good, athletic way!). I would prefer to have a set weekly menu for all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), but just haven’t figured it all out. What’s your approach?

  12. says

    Amy, thanks for stopping by! The kids usually have the same thing for breakfast–eggs and fruit and/or oatmeal (yes, I know oatmeal isn’t Paleo) lol. I usually eat leftovers from the night before, Superman usually has a sweet potato, avocado and a protein shake that helps with his gut healing. Lunches are pretty basic–sandwich meat, veggie, fruit, etc. Check out my tab at the top called “snack and lunch ideas” for more inspiration!

    • Summer says

      What kind of protein shake does he do to help with healing? I am in a similar situation and am needing to find a good quick on the run egg free/grain and gluten free/dairy free breakfast.

  13. Kimberly says

    I never ever comment on sites, but I am so uplifted by your story and I just had to let you know. I have made the decision to go completely paleo, it took a while to let go of bread. I will definitely be utilizing your site!

  14. Ericka says

    I love reading your blog. We see to have a few things in common, you and I. I have been married to my best friend for over 22 years now, having met in Bible College when we were 18, married at 20 and first of 5 kids the month before I turned 22. We home school. We eat paleo. We like crossfit, tho with two college kids and two still at home (the other child, our middle son, died from cancer), we unfortunately can’t afford it. We plan to do your 30 day challenge when we get home from moving kids back to colleges at the end of this month and are upping the ante personally withgivingup Coke Zero, our last Paleo hold out. Keep on with what you’re doing and loving your family. Well done!

    • says

      Nice to “meet” you, Ericka! Wow, we do have a lot in common. I am so sorry to hear about your son. Thank you for reading my blog, and good luck on the 30 day challenge!

  15. Sharon says

    Hi, Shanti,
    Just discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey. I too am a homeschool mom although retired. My husband is ‘Indiana Jones’…so I felt a kinship to you with your ‘Superman’. I appreciate your crossfit workouts…just getting started with that, so this will be quite helpful…

    Blessings,
    Sharon

  16. Amber says

    Hi Shanti
    I am praying for your adreanal health and issues
    Would love to converse further, if you’re interested and have time.
    I’ve been struggling for years myself and have had a recent “reminder”, so am looking for support and friendship, encouragement and ideas.
    In Christ
    amber

  17. Sarah says

    Hi Shanti!
    I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a blessing it is to have found your blog! I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 14, and have been dealing with it for 8 years now. If there is one thing I have learned over the course of this journey, it is that finding good gluten free recipes is not an easy task. I go on and off the diet quite a bit, just because it is so difficult to stick to it sometimes!

    My diagnosis was very similar to your husbands, and very similar in the fact that we almost had to force my primary physician to test me for celiac. It is amazing how much progress has been made even in the last 10 years with gluten free foods.

    I just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading your blog and I am so excited to try some of the recipes you have posted! :)

  18. says

    I found your blog tonight via a link to my blog written by “tina” on another post you had about not eating paleo 100%. When I read this page and saw “tonsil stones” highlighted with a link I flipped out!! I had those things for years before cutting sugar/grains and I never knew what they were called. All I knew was that they WENT AWAY when I cut the sugar and grains almost 2 years ago. Well, now I know they have an official name, and I am forever indebted to your blog for this information! We seem to have similar food stories. I look forward to reading more about you!!

  19. Shana says

    Hi, A friend recently told me about your blog and I wanted to say thank you. I have four children 12, 9, 8, and 5 and an amazing husband that understands the importance of diet. I am treating my sons ADHD with diet. He is preservative, dye, casien, corn, salisylates, food make with baking soda that is not alluminum free, and amines (chocolate) free and have seen a complete turn around. Not only is his ADHD under control he stopped writing all of his words backwards, he does not have accidents at night, and his almost nightly leg cramps that we would have to rub for hours are almost completely gone.
    Abour 4 months ago my five year old began complaining of stomach aches and was always tired. A friend (who has Celiac) told me that it sounds like Celiac so we began cutting out gluten and the stomach aches have stopped. Now I have to combine the two diets so it is great finding your page. On a side note we do not eat pork or beef after my husband started learning about acidic food and since cutting them out we have not had a the stomach flu once, something we would have hit the house at least 2 times a year.
    Thank you so much for all of your recipies.

  20. Heather says

    Came across your website by searching about crossfit! a few things… I love your “I should be in the kitchen shirt.” I think it is fabulous that your family is so abundant and happy!!! Also thank you for your crossfit post. I enjoy attending our Ymca, but during flu season my kids are ALWAYS bringing it home no matter how often they wash their hands. So this was and will be a better alternative for our winter months!!! I hope you will come up with a cross fit 3…if you can!!

    • radlandon says

      Hi, Heather! I hope at some point I will come up with a Level 3. If I could just pause life for a moment and make it happen, that would help! lol Thank you for your comment!

  21. Adrienne says

    This website is incredible! I’m new to CrossFit & Paleo so this has really inspired me. I’ve always worked out & eaten well but these recipes have me salivating :)
    Thanks for so many updates!!!

  22. says

    Just found your blog via a pinterest crossfit pin!

    I am a mom of seven, two are adopted, we are a mixed race family, we homeschool, and I eat pale. I think I have found my sister in you! :)

    Will definitely follow your blog. Thanks for putting it out there!

  23. Lisa H says

    In reading your story, it was like you were writing about our family (minus 4 kids). My hubby is super man, and well,.,.. I am striving to be you! Wow so happy I stumbled upon your blog! Thank you for doing this!

  24. Jill says

    Hello, I emailed you but it bounced back (?). I wonder if you can email me? I am 32 years old and rock bottom with fitness-nutrition and hormone/metabolic//gut health. Worse is that I’m emotionally binging a lot at night (too ashamed to tell you what I did last night) and cannot exercise (long story), nor do I purge and I am highly constipated all the time, so this stuff isn’t…getting out.

    You look stunningly beautiful and such lovely site and family…I kinda sorta resonate with your story (I fear leaky gut and more) and would love if you could email me. I feel quite hopeless now and am unsure how to recover after all these binges . I need to flush/cleanse my body, but I’m not overweight and can’t afford to lose wiehgt. I feel old and this has gone on so long I feel I’ve gone “too far” and there’s no way to reverse this. Please email. Thanks and much much appreciation.

  25. Jill says

    P.S….I do not eat gluten…I fear a dairy allergy and egg allergy and will now cut out dairy (after a massive binge last night on 5 cups of fruit + an entire jar of peanut butter + 40 grams dark chocolate + 500 gram tub of greek yogurt)…
    I’m very petite framed and only 5 feet 1.5, but am about 85ish lbs and have been for a long time (or less)….but I have so much complicating factors that I do not know cause vs. effect (my anxiety/depression…amenorrhea,…orthorexia….current binge eating that is severe…chronic fatigue and achy muscles and back so that I can’t exercise…brain fog…fatigue…constipation…slow digestion system…if not constipated then mushy or dirty explosive diarrhea of little tiny pieces that are clearly unhealthy..no good bacteria in me)…..was never vegan and have avoided grains and beans a long time due to belief that “well if I don’t exercise I don’t deserve them)…but I’ve binged massively on everything else and am ashamed and tired of this and don’t ever recover from the binges but instead jump into massive eating again…my body is riddled with crap and I am too scared of colonics and don’t know what to do…need a solid meal plan/structure….gaps and stuff is way too complicated and not realistic for me…I need SIMPLE and I can’t find all this hormone free stuff…I need simple structured meal plans to flush out my body and regain health and vibrancy without losing weight …somehow…does that make sense ? Please don’t think I’m a nut :) I know u can’t advise me “professionally”…I just need advice, thoughts, something….something …thanks.

  26. says

    What a beautiful family! I just found your blog through Chowstalker. I’m your newest follower and I’m looking forward to checking out more of your blog and recipes.

  27. Nicole says

    My 15 year old son was just diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I came across your website through the Feb 10, 2014 Woman’s World magazine. I am hoping that your recipes will help me since I am not a great cook and we have been living off fast food and packaged food for so long. One symptom my son is having now (after being on medication for 2 wks) is very uncomfortable bloating. So, I am thinking that we should try this and hopefully it will help him. Any advice that you have would be greatly appreciated. I am excited to have found this site and can’t wait to be able to fully explore it. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi, Nicole! So sorry to hear about your son. It is so overwhelming at first, but you will get into a groove after awhile! Have you read “It Starts with Food?”I highly recommend having him (and you!) go on an elimination diet for a month, and then slowly introducing foods. For someone with Chrohn’s, it may take longer than the 30 days to get things under control. Another great book is “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” and is good for someone who is having continued symptoms even after eliminating foods. Let me know if I can be of anymore help! Thank you for stopping by!

  28. Marla says

    I am highly allergic to most grains, throat starts constricting, breathing becomes labored, much coughing and vomiting. This all happened after having 3 surgeries in 3 years. The way I’ve dealt with it was Benedryl, lots of Benedryl. I’ve taken it before eating regularly and if the reaction is too bad have even chewed it and allowed the goo to sit just inside my throat. Last year I discovered Paleo. I did good for a while, but it is so overwhelming with 4 kids and a hubby who have no issues that I have now slowly gone back to Benedryl.

    Thank you for sharing about your husband, your faith, your recipes and experiences. I hope to learn much and transform my family without them even realizing it. (Big mistake I made before…telling them, “We are going paleo.” I should have just started cooking differently and they would have never known.)

    • says

      Oh, Marla. I’m so sorry. =( It would be very difficult not to have the support of your family. I hope you find simple meals that your family loves on my site! Stick to it, and everyone in your family will benefit! Let me know if I can help!

  29. jen says

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I’ve been wanting to do paleo/ whole 30 but its so hard to find recipes for larger families. I too have 5 kids and am so happy about finding this. Thank you!!

    • says

      Hi, Sherry. Each person is different–my husband was so ill that he could not tolerate ANY honey or any type of sweetener for years. Now he’s much better, though. To me, honey (especially raw honey) and pure maple syrup are natural sugars that I enjoy using in my baking, so I have no problem with them! I am not a fan of Paleo Police who try to dictate what each person should do. I firmly believe that each person’s diet needs to be individualized to them. Hope that helps!

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