My name is Stefani Ruper, and I am the author of this blog, as well as the bedraggled leader of the rag-tag Paleo for Women Evolutionary Womanhood Revolution community thing. For more about the community, which totally kicks ass, please visit The Forums.
Below I detail my own health journey, as well as my relationship with the work that I do here. If you want to know more, please ask. You can also find me at Love Works, another place at which I advocate wellness, love, peace, and joy.
My health was always a little bit off. I was always a little overweight; I had a little acne; I had a little – or rather — I had a lot of trouble sleeping. Additionally, I was always a type-A perfectionist. These facts meant naturally that much of my life has been a vigorous pursuit of optimal health.
I was also diagnosed with PCOS in the winter of 2009.
But even before then I always obeyed the rules that I was told were healthy. Unfortunately, what most of the scientific community endorses as healthy and as a proper approach to health is a joke, literally, a joke, so I suffered the negative effects of following their prescriptions. They said fat was unhealthy, so I ate almost none of it. They said animals caused heart disease, so I ate none of those either. They said soy was good for you, so I ate plenty of that. They said calorie restriction was the only way to lose weight, so I got into that awful cycle of restricting and bingeing at an age way, way too young. All ages are too young for that. Still, I was young.
That was bad, and that coupled with my stress and sleeplessness was in fact what caused all of my “little” issues. These issues also included headaches, hypoglycemia, anxiety, and what I later learned were malfunctioning ovaries. Not so little anymore. Society was killing me.
I also really believed in being critical. And I am so glad I did. My mother suggested to me that I read Nora Gedgaudus’s book Primal Body Primal Mind, when she was watching me struggle with my mental and physical health. I was outraged. ”Mother!” I gasped. ”How can you possibly expect me to eat animals? I will read this book, but even if it turns out it’s healthier for me to eat animals than to not, I won’t do it. The planet will thank me.”
So I read the book and I highlighted all the points I wanted to contest, and I put little sticky notes in the margins, but by page 60 I was sold. I needed to eat a paleo diet.
So I did.
And I became wholly invested in natural health. My undergraduate degree was in biogeochemistry, and I was in fact a tutor in organic chemistry, so both the biochemical principles as well as the general scientific rigor of what the paleo authors were espousing were enormously compelling. I began applying my background and a general critical eye to all the literature I could possibly find, and my brain, philosophy, and passion all began to grow. I loved and read so much that in fact I compiled several hundred posts about a year ago into a “paleo archive” that serves as a thorough snapshot of the evolutionary scene at that time.
The thing is–the paleo diet became important to me. But because I was still stuck in social (and paleo!) norms about what a beautiful body was, I never accepted my natural form. I achieved 18 percent body fat, but at a great price. I was infertile; I had cystic acne; I had no sex drive; I never menstruated. I troubleshooted my health and tried a variety of both natural and pharmaceutical remedies for several years. Nothing worked. I didn’t give up. My last resorts–androgen-blocking drugs–ended up giving me insomnia and anxiety. Those are two innocuous sounding phenomena, but experiencing them was in fact debilitating. I would never wish them on anyone. Ever.
At that time, being pushed to the edge, I finally realized what an idiot I had been. For someone who spent the vast majority of her life saying ‘fuck you’ to society in one way or another, I had certainly been happy bowing down, genuflecting, and wringing the life out of my body in order to win at one of society’s games.
Not any more.
Over the course of one swift, terrifying, and liberating week, I kicked my need for social approval under the bus and never looked back. Since then I have listened to my body’s hunger signals, forgiven myself for eating at any time and in any amount I would have beforehand considered negative, gained ten pounds, cleared my skin, begun sleeping peacefully, and really embraced the philosophy I had always espoused to others but never been able to convince myself to believe. I had finally arrived. I loved my whole self, and I was never going to apologize for that again. Things have not been perfect moving forward, not by a long shot. But I am not looking back. I refuse to. And it’s about damn time.
Today, I research feminine aspects of those things. And I blog about those things. And I inspire women about those things. I am concurrently a full time student in philosophy at Boston University, but I love what I do here dearly, too. As mentioned, I have a BA in biogeochemistry. I graduated from Dartmouth. I have a mission and a love and a purpose, and I invite you to join me in this quest for holistic, empowered, communal and healthy womanhood.
Additionally, I have way more hobbies than is healthy, and I live in Boston, so come hang out with me and we’ll do some of them together. I don’t shower all that often, nor I do brush my teeth consistently. Those are both things that society tells us we need, in order to sell us stuff, but they’re not really necessary, especially once we’ve rid our diets and lives of the toxins that make us stinky.
I’m not kidding. It works. People still sleep with me. Even more often, in fact.
I love love more than anything in the world. I think love is the only thing that matters, and that everything that goes wrong in this world is because we are separated from or fear being separated from love. When we act out of love instead of out of fear, really beautiful and powerful things can happen.
That’s a big part of this blog, too. Maybe the biggest, even bigger than the ovaries and the hormones. None of us can be physically or psychologically well without the other. We must have peace and wellness and love and self-love if we are ever going to achieve physical wellness and healthy relationships with food.
I don’t wear shoes unless I have to. Being barefoot is good for my knees and hips, as well as good for my soul. I like to sleep outside because it is fun, and I like the cleanness of outside air, even if it means I wake up damp. It is clear that I like things natural, but let’s not overestimate me in any fashion. I wear make-up; I love computers; and I have seen every episode of How I Met Your Mother. All in all, I am a researcher, I am a woman, and I am natural(ish)–at least where I think it counts–and for these reasons I have enough experience that it is my ultimate aim to share in a conversation about it with you.
Please go to this page for contact information. If you would like help with your own problems, I am not currently taking on consulting clients. Hopefully in the summer of 2013. I am, however, always on this site, and in particular, available through the PfW Forums.