One of the first things I did after I discovered how much better Juliana felt eating low carb was to go looking for a community for her. The path was circuitous–Jimmy Moore’s livinlavidalowcarb blog had a list of “low-carb friendly” health practitioners, and Susan Jimenez was on it. Turns out she is a nurse practitioner, but now she’s become a cross-fit trainer at the gym she runs with her husband Saul, Mad Dawg School of Fitness. Cross-fit gyms recommend a Paleo, or Primal eating style–basically what we would have eaten before the advent of agriculture. In other words, no grains, sugar, dairy, and limited fruit. The eating plan consists mostly of animal protein in various forms and vegetables. Paleo isn’t designed to be low carb, but it ends up being low carb.
A low carb gym sounded good to me, and we went to meet them. Susan did a functional movement screen with Juliana, something they do at Cross Fit gyms to establish baseline mobility. Then I joined them and poured out my questions–why hadn’t anyone ever told me carbs could be the problem for Juliana? Was there a health care practitioner who could help me navigate this new environment? Susan said it was unlikely we would find support for a low carb eating style amongst the health care establishment. I knew from experience that my somewhat alternative family practice–they were willing to discuss the benefits and risks of commonly administered vaccines, unlike the pediatric practice I had left when Juliana was 2–would not know anything about it.
Juliana started training with Susan. Even though she was a teenager in a gym for adults, she felt welcome and really enjoyed it. She had to take a break over the summer and then for soccer season. I started training there in September, and although I have historically disliked group exercise classes, cross-fit is totally different. It’s the exercise equivalent of low carb eating–it does not recommend exhausting cardio sessions to control weight, as most other gyms do–rather cross-fit, generally speaking, recommends duplicating the likely physical feats of our ancient ancestors.
Lengthy cardio sessions leave you depleted and a tasty target for predators. In cross-fit you do a lot of work on mobility, everywhere (hips, shoulders, wrists, ankles etc.) so that you become more agile and less prone to injury; you sometimes lift really heavy things; and you sometimes sprint really fast. Cross fit may make it possible for me to succeed in my life-long project to get my shoulders to stay back instead of hunch forward.