Hello there reader!
Welcome to the Messy Masterpiece Bio!
This is my farmhouse and you are standing on my front porch. As you scroll down along this page, I invite you to pull up a rocking chair, grab yourself a glass of something good, and join me as I recount the story of how Messy Masterpiece came to be.
My name is Stephanie…the mess behind the masterpiece! If I had a time machine, I would go back in time ten years to ask myself what I thought I would be doing now. I bet you a million dollars my answer wouldn’t be blogging about primal eating, food allergies, or homesteading.
I was heavily pursuing a future in wedding and event planning and too busy chasing an energetic toddler around our military home to care about much more.
Most of my diet consisted of hamburger helpers, prepackaged goodies, and desserts. I was anti-diet, anti-health food, and never gave a second thought to the food allergies listed under product ingredients.
So, How Did I Get Here?
To tell you the truth, my head is still spinning from the complexity of God’s master plan. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to properly articulate exactly what happened to land me here, at this moment, talking to you. However, I can tell you about the turning point when everything changed.
January 1st, 2019. It was New Year’s Day and it was day one of the rest of my life. I was the heaviest weight I had ever been (not pregnant) and decided it was time for a change. So, I downloaded MyFitnessPal, started counting calories, and started an intense workout routine called Focus T25.
A couple months later, I was down 15lbs and feeling great! Except, for every once in a while, my chin would feel tingly. It wasn’t concerning at first, but eventually it was annoying enough to bring up to my doctor. So, at my next appointment, I told him about my symptoms. He looked at me with a puzzled face and said “Hmmm, that’s weird. Maybe it’s a pinched nerve?”
Over the course of a couple weeks, my symptoms worsened. What used to be a tingly chin ended up being a numb chin, right side of my face, and down into my neck. At this point (being the overreactor, overthinker that I am), I had myself convinced I was dying of brain cancer. Don’t judge…if you suffer from anxiety you’ve probably thought it too!
It was time to get some answers, so I consulted Dr. Google. I already knew it was going to tell me I was dying, but I was hoping for a miracle. To my amazement, the first thing that came up was “ear infection” or “sinus infection”. With fingers crossed, I headed to the walk in clinic for an easy fix. One round of antibiotics later, no improvement. I was told to go to a different clinic for a second opinion. After the second clinic, two ER doctors, and many tests later, I was referred to a neurologist.
Here’s where God’s master plan started to shine. In the back of my mind, I remembered the name of a chiropractic neurologist I had met years before. We had been referred to him after a several year search for answers about my daughter’s behavioral challenges. Though I didn’t think he was a good fit for us at the time, his advice and extensive knowledge stuck with me over the years. I looked up his office’s information and called to schedule an appointment.
In fact, check out my recent post, World Brain Day, co-authored by this very doctor and myself for more brainy info.
Appointment day came, and I was terrified. Either I was about to hear terrible news, or worse, no news at all. No news meant no answers and no help. I remember filling out the paperwork as the office was buzzing with smiles and laughter from the satisfied patients and sweet receptionist. Though I appreciated the environment, I was too full of fear to enjoy it.
When it was my turn, the doctor called my name and we proceeded into the exam room. After I briefly recounted the last few months, he did a physical and neurological exam. Then, he gave me a list of his top three theories.
Theory #1 was spinal misalignment. This would be the easiest fix to remedy and the least severe conclusion. Theory #2 was Lyme’s Disease. I hadn’t been exposed to any ticks to my knowledge, so I wasn’t worried about Lyme’s. Finally, theory #3 was a Chiari Malformation.
According to the website ConquerChiari.org, “A Chiari Malformation is a serious neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing many symptoms.” Several migraines with aura (loss of pieces of vision and numbness) and an MRI later, it was confirmed that I indeed had won the Chiari lottery.
So, now I had the right “who” to help, and knew “what” was the problem, it was time to move on to the “how” do I get better?
In addition to various adjustments to keep me aligned, therapies to help balance my brain, and vitamins to balance my body, I was told to start a Paleo diet.
When the doctor told me to do this with my daughter years ago, I laughed it off. At that point I was still an anti-diet, anti-health food kinda girl. After all, how was I going to get my 6 year old to eat kale and brussel sprouts when I could barely get her to eat chicken nuggets? But now, sitting on the doctor’s exam table with a diagnosis of my own, I felt God shaking me to listen up.
I immediately started studying what I can and cannot eat. I hated vegetables and anything that tasted healthy, so my options were pretty limited. For the first few weeks, I was a pouty, hangry mess.
Eventually, I made it through the detox period and found endless energy on the other side! I suddenly felt the best that I had in years, maybe even ever! My mood stabilized and I dropped another 15lbs. My numbness was going away and other health issues resolved themselves. At this point, I was transformed into a full on Paleo believer.
I started to learn which Paleo foods I liked and what I didn’t care for. I was amazed at the amount of vegetables that I started to enjoy, and even crave! Over time, I had compiled a list of which ingredients acted as best substitutes for non Paleo options.
For example, almond flour mixed with arrowroot starch creates a minimally detectable wheat flour alternative. Honey and maple syrup easily replace granulated cane sugar. I learned how to make breading, sauces, dressings, and even desserts that didn’t taste like they were made with healthy ingredients.
Why Start A Blog?
So, I have a diagnosis and a diet that works for me…but why create a blog about it? Great question! The answer is simple. The Paleo diet has changed my life and I want to tell everyone about it! You, reader, get to benefit from my passion about healthy food, tasty recipes, and the hard lessons I’ve learned along the way.
If you’re ready to check out some great Paleo friendly recipes, head over to my Paleo Cookbook page. If you need to back up a step and dive deeper into what Paleo actually is, start at my Learn About Paleo page.
But, Where Did The Name Messy Masterpiece Come From?
My life looks nothing like what I thought it would. Where I thought I was headed, is not where I ended up. The journey has been full of twists and turns…a downright mess! However, I’ve started to notice something in the last year that I’ve never seen before…there’s a masterpiece hiding underneath.
Life is like cooking. Each one of my life experiences is like an ingredient. Sitting on a pantry shelf, ingredients are just ingredients. Some are sweet, some are bitter. It’s not until we combine ingredients together, do we create something wonderful. However, you need to know what pairs well with what to get the best results.
After I found success with the chiropractic neurologist, I decided to bring my daughter back to him for help. In less than six months, she was a completely different kid. The bitter ingredient of her challenges mixed with the sweet opportunity of help created a beautiful new life for her.
In the same way, my son’s severe food allergies paired with advocacy, awareness, and alternatives create a brand new opportunity. I now get to educate others on the dangers of food allergies and cross contamination in the hopes of making the world a safer place for my son.
My journey to health after a salty diagnosis allows me to educate and help you, my dear reader, find a sweeter path to health. It’s my hope that my trial and error will help others see that a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean boring, tasteless food. I’ve done the work to help you start and I will continue to work to keep you going strong.
There is beauty in the messes of life. You, yourself, are a masterpiece. Just as aged cheese and fine wine, your experiences have a perfect pairing. If you can’t see it yet, you’re still in the baking phase. Hold tight friends. It’s worth the wait!
What’s Next For Messy Masterpiece?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Things are about to get even messier at Messy Masterpiece. The last three years of eating a hunter gatherer diet has opened my eyes to many things. One of which, is the need for my family to get our hands dirty and work towards a “back to basics” way of life.
The improvement I have seen, not only in my health, but in the health of my kids, when living a cleaner lifestyle is astounding. From the food that goes into our bodies, to the products in our hair, and on our face, quality matters. The closer we can get to the way God designed it, the better!
So, my husband and I decided to purchase a lot in the country and start our very own homestead! We are are couple of years away from living there full time, but are excited to invite you on this next big adventure with us! I look forward to sharing our green alternatives, permaculture plans, and all things homestead in the very near future!
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