For a very long time, I battled with Chronic Fatty Liver Disease, an Autoimmune Thyroid Disease (Hashimoto's), Arthritis and digestive issues. I decided to conduct my own research on what food choices could help my conditions. These choices culminate under what is termed a Paleo Lifestyle, and it is that: a lifestyle rather than a diet. The dictionary definition of Paleo means ‘old’ or ‘ancient’, and in terms of this lifestyle, it takes into account a simpler time when food came from natural sources and where they weren’t genetically modified or saturated with chemicals. I have not only reversed my Chronic Fatty Liver Disease but have also reduced the symptoms of my Arthritis, Thyroid Disease and other health issues.
I live in Perth, Western Australia. I’ve been married to my soul mate, Bryan for 49 wonderful years. We have 3 adult sons, 3 gorgeous daughters-in-law and 6 precious grandchildren. Family is one of my greatest pleasures in life. For the last 15 years of my working life, I managed Chiropractic clinics. I am a member of our local Baptist Church and enjoy running our Women's group.
Food is a very important part in the Joy family’s life, and most gatherings revolve around food. Every Sunday lunchtime and usually one night through the week, our house is filled with our children and grandchildren around the dinner table. Cooking for them and watching their interactions, laughter and jokes as they all eat is the greatest pleasure for me. I found myself cooking two meals. One for me and one for the rest of the family, the job was getting harder, plus I wanted to keep my loved ones healthy too. So this was the start of getting more creative with food.
For many years, Doctors had no answer to my unhealthy liver function tests. To cut a long story short, I eventually had to have a liver biopsy, which confirmed Fatty Liver disease. My Specialist sent me to a dietitian who placed me on a low GI diet full of whole grains and low-fat dairy, etc., but there was no improvement. Since then, I have discovered that they were the worst foods for my Fatty Liver disease. I also know now that the low-fat diet that I followed for 18 years was probably the starting point of my liver deterioration. Then, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, an autoimmune thyroid disease.
I sought advice from another medical doctor, who is a member of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. After he received results from liver function tests, he explained that if something wasn’t done straight away, scar tissue would form and result in cirrhosis of the liver. He gave me dietary instructions to follow, as there wouldn’t be much of a chance that I would receive a liver transplant at my age. I had to cut out grains containing gluten, in addition to high carbohydrate foods like rice, corn, white potatoes, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, ice cream and processed foods. After 6 months, there was some improvement in my liver function test results, but I still had a way to go.
As I researched food to help with Liver and Thyroid diseases, I started eliminating all grains (not just gluten ones). As information regarding the Paleo lifestyle started to emerge, I realized that I was already adhering to this type of diet. Eleven months later, my liver function test results were all reading within the normal ranges. This was a very exciting time for me (as it had been at least 6 years since I had a normal reading).
Over the course of researching the internet and reading every book I could put my hands on, it was very evident that the food I had been eating for so many years had made me sick. However, the revelation that the right foods can heal my body and become my medicine is incredible.
After friends continued to ask for help with recipes, I decided to write my first cookbook, "The JOYful Table". This book is filled with family-friendly food, that is gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, additive-free, refined seed and canola oil free and mostly dairy-free. It was made with love for my family and friends. I really hope you enjoy it and are blessed by it.
I have now written three more cookbooks: A JOYful Christmas, The JOYful Table 5-week Meal Plan and The Paleo Bread Cookbook. Link to books HERE.