After years of chronic pain and fatigue and a diagnosis of both fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.), Lucy Stone started an Instagram account called “Lectin Free Living” as a way of keeping track of her progress after discovering Dr. Gundry. Today, she’s well on the road to recovery and – and can’t praise Dr. G enough for his work!
With a background in marketing, media, and interior design, Lucy recently set up a facebook page (with website to follow) to share her amazing lectin-free recipes, and healthy living advice for those living with fibro, M.E. and beyond.
We caught up with Lucy from her home in England.
How did you first hear about Dr. Gundry?
Lucy Stone: I first heard about Dr. Gundry through my massage therapist, Dr. Ian Tennant, who is very knowledgeable about all things health and wellbeing related. At the time, I was complaining of major digestive issues, and things were so bad, I was convinced I was suffering from a stomach ulcer.
We were discussing the candida detox, which I’d previously done a few years earlier, and which I felt that I might have to do again. Ian explained the concept of how harmful lectins can be to the body, about their effects on the gut, and about Dr. Gundry’s work. It sounded interesting, so that night I had a quick google and watched some Gundry MD videos…and all seemed to make perfect sense. From thereon in, I was hooked and duly ordered the book, which couldn’t arrive fast enough!
What was it about the eating program that resonated with you?
Lucy Stone: In truth, I haven’t had a great time with my health in the past 8 years or so, pretty much a quarter of my entire life thus far, and learning the link between food and health was a major “light bulb” moment for me. I found myself racing through Dr. Gundry’s book to get to the end – I couldn’t believe what I was coming to understand from these words on the pages! Everything just makes so much sense when you understand the research! I’m pretty sure my husband was just about to reach for the earplugs as I was so intent on imparting my newfound knowledge on him with every new chapter of the book!
What health issues were you struggling with?
Lucy Stone: When I look back over the last chapter of my life, my relationship with food has become steadily more and more frustrating as my health issues have increased – which has been a shame as I love food! I have struggled with a variety of digestive issues, ranging from just minor bloating and discomfort to major spasms, reflux, and burning. I used to wake up every morning with severe burning pains in my stomach that made life very hard work. Much of these I believe was caused by the over-use of antibiotics as a child due to recurrent tonsillitis and glandular fever.
Around 8 years ago, I went “gluten-free”, in an attempt to eradicate these symptoms. I’d heard that cutting out bread, wheat, and gluten could help, so I went cold turkey and stopped eating bread. Temporarily, some of my symptoms subsided…and then they came back with a vengeance, probably around the time I found the gluten-free aisle in the supermarket!
Soon after that, I went on a candida cleanse (cutting out all gluten dairy, yeast, and sugar) in the hope of feeling better, which I did for around 2 years. Despite losing weight, it didn’t stop the bloating and stomach pains I continued to get. Now I see that this was probably because my diet was majoring in pulses, legumes, peas, and beans. I now know that these are the worst things to fill up your diet on!
Things went from bad to worse health-wise, I’d suffered from a painful slipped disc in my back around 7 years ago and was a chronic pain sufferer until around 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and M.E. and felt like my life was crumbling around me. I suffered from extreme lethargy and pain – unexplainable, burning, searing pain that made life harder than it had ever been before! I wasn’t working, I was surviving on benefits, and I was having to attend a weekly M.E. Clinic, where I was advised that “more rest” was the answer.
I felt hopeless and my anxiety levels were sky high. Luckily around that time, I met my soul mate and love of my life, and that kept me sane throughout. He became a rock for me and helped me through this tough time. We got married a year ago this April and thankfully, I am pleased to report that I’m now steadily on the mend thanks to his support. Also with HUGE thanks to the more recent discovery of Dr. Gundry.
How long have you been on the Dr. Gundry’s eating program?
Lucy Stone: I’ve been on the eating program for around 7 months now, although I had a break over Christmas and for my birthday as I was doing too many social things and found it hard to stick to. Although next Christmas, I’ll be way more prepared so if you’re reading this, don’t let this put you off!
With a little preparation and enough determination, it’s actually very easy to stick to!
What was the greatest challenge for you eating this new way?
Lucy Stone: At the time of discovering the eating program, we only had a temporary make-do kitchen as we were renovating our Victorian house. That was hard – living in a house full of work dust, in a tiny cramped kitchen area, trying to prep food. But luckily just before Christmas, we moved into our new kitchen so meal planning and preparation is now a breeze!
Eating out has also been one of the hardest things for me personally, as I’m not so good at requesting major changes to options on a menu. I don’t like to make a fuss in a public restaurant, and so that can be hard, especially with a family like mine who love to eat out a lot! But it’s usually just a case of asking for more vegetables and no potato. There are simple swaps that you learn to use to make life easier, for you and the restaurant.
What support have you had on your journey?
Lucy Stone: Speaking of my family – they’re all getting to grips with the eating program too. My husband now eats the same evening meal as me – which makes life a lot easier as I used to have to have to make two version of dinner. Especially tiring after a long day! I also bought my dad a copy of the book and he’s now super keen to stick to Dr. Gundry’s “Yes List” as he’s lost some weight on it. My mum and sister both think twice now before eating tomatoes and white potatoes, so that’s a big help when they’re planning family meals.
Did you see any differences right away?
Lucy Stone: Yes, the weight started to fall off me! And from places where it hadn’t previously! I have lost a stone (14 lbs) since starting 7 months ago and am now a happy size 10 again! I can fit back into clothes I haven’t worn in a long time, and it’s such a joy to feel in control of my weight a bit more!
I also noticed, after being on the eating plan for a few weeks, that as soon as I strayed from the Gundry “yes list” my body knew immediately! My body would ache in ways unimaginable and it would start to feel as though I had some form of arthritis in my hands, and joints – which I now know to be the effects of inflammation! Christmas was full of aches and pains which I don’t intend to experience again, it’s just not worth it!
I’m due to go away with my husbands family on holiday soon so I’ll start planning for that to make sure that I take ingredients with me that I know are compliant. I’m sure I’ll rustle up a few concoctions to take with me – like my homemade granola, or my “almost’mato” sauce recipe!
What are you experiencing now?
Lucy Stone: As a fibromyalgia sufferer, I used to get extreme muscle aches after exercise. A few months ago I started doing some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at my gym, and the soreness and burning afterward would literally last for a week. It would affect my central nervous system and the pain was unbearable. Now, after a session, I will ache for a couple of days, but it’s so much better than it used to be! And I recently had the all clear from the hospital. The fibromyalgia team has effectively signed me off – they don’t want to see me again, which is amazing!
How has your life changed since you found Dr. Gundry?
Lucy Stone: Well, apart from the weight loss, I now have a higher pain threshold and generally less inflammatory aches and pains. Feeling good is great! I now run a busy tree surgery company with my husband, and there’s no way I could have been doing that a few years back and feel this much in control! It’s perhaps too early to say, but my skin also feels great and my nails are stronger than they’ve been in a long time. Perhaps some of my wrinkles are vanishing?! I feel I’ve gained my life back and I’m so eternally grateful to Dr. Gundry for his knowledge, wisdom, and research!
Who would you recommend Dr. Gundry’s eating program to?
Lucy Stone: I would recommend this program to anyone who has an unexplainable ailment, dis-ease or health concern! It clearly is very effective for people with an autoimmune condition, as I do. But I’d really tell anyone to try it as you simply have nothing to lose!
I am such a firm believer in it, that I recently set up an Instagram account called Lectin-Free Living to help keep myself on track with what I’m eating. It’s also a place to record recipes. It turns out I’m now helping many others on their healthy eating journeys! Dr. Gundry has started something big here – this could be the start of a health revolution! I get such great comments from people that love my recipe ideas and photos. Who knows what will happen with this! Watch this space for some other developments at some stage too! I absolutely love getting creative in the kitchen and working within the parameters of the Gundry “yes list” to create something special, unique, tasty and health promoting!
All photos courtesy of Lucy Stone and Lectin-Free Living