About Me

MATT7949Born and raised in Alpena, Michigan, I moved to Portland after graduating from Michigan State University in 2008. I now reside in inner northeast Portland with my husband, Jesse, and our cats, Dutch and Frankie. I am a health and wellness enthusiast, and enjoy cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. Currently, I work as a personal trainer in NW and NE Portland. I am also a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified coach.

A reformed vegetarian of 10 years and vegan for two, I started eating meat again back in November of 2011. I was prescribed the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) by my naturopathic doctor after being diagnosed with small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in early October 2011. I was already gluten-free since I had discovered almost two years prior that I had a gluten allergy, but was still having terrible bouts of bloating and stomach pain on a daily basis. Turns out, there was hydrogen present in my small intestine and the overgrowth of bad bacteria in my gut was feeding off of grains, starches, and sugar. I tried following the SCD as a vegetarian for a month or so, but realized I was not thriving as well as I wanted and was having a hard time getting enough protein. At this point, I decided to add back in some high-quality meat. I started slowly with just chicken and turkey for the first several months, and eventually added back in other meats.

I first heard about paleo when I went to see an acupuncturist, shortly after being diagnosed with SIBO. I told him about the SCD and he said it sounded very similar to paleo. With that, I started doing my own research and found myself referring to paleo websites, books and cookbooks a lot.

I can’t explain how great I feel eating this way. I know what normal feels like again in my body and my digestive problems have eased and improved 100 percent. Not only that, but I’m stronger and function better in my activities and daily life. I was prescribed to be on the SCD for 1-2 years, but I enjoy the SCD/paleo lifestyle so much that I have continued on this way. I’ve never been healthier and because of that, I have a much improved attitude, perspective, and outlook on life.


To read more about my health story, check out the following posts:

My Story Part I

My Story Part II

My Story Part III



69 thoughts on “About Me

  1. inkblotjo June 29, 2012 / 4:18 pm

    Wow, I’m glad to find someone for whom paleo has also alleviated awful digestive symptoms. I really find it impossible to explain to others who haven’t experienced a digestive disorder how horrible it is to live with that degree of discomfort.

    • paleoinportland June 29, 2012 / 4:57 pm

      I totally understand and I’m glad you can relate. Looks like we have more than just a coconut butter fetish in common!

  2. Jina Yater July 31, 2012 / 2:02 am

    Bloating is also dependent on the foods that you consume. Always avoid foods that causes bloating like fatty foods. `*”`;

    Enjoy your weekend! http://www.healthmedicinelab.com“>

    • paleoinportland July 31, 2012 / 8:43 am

      Thanks, Jina, but it had nothing to do with fatty foods. It was because of my SIBO and at that time, I didn’t even have a lot of fat in my diet nor did I eat junk. I eat a lot more fats now and larger quantities too and have no problems.

    • Dana July 20, 2013 / 8:28 pm

      I don’t have issues with fat either–as long as it’s animal fat, fruit fat (olive oil, palm oil), or a very limited range of seed oils (coconut primarily). The trouble with people on a so-called “normal” diet thinking they’re getting bloated from fat intake is that usually they are eating grains and other junk along with the fat, so they confuse what’s actually causing the problem.

    • paleoinportland August 1, 2012 / 8:37 am

      Whoa, really?! Thanks @ myfoodreligion! I’ll check into the details on your blog 🙂

  3. Marcella Rousseau September 4, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    From the looks of your pose in the photo, you’re looking pretty healthy and I hope you stay that way ; – )

    • paleoinpdx September 4, 2012 / 3:38 pm

      Thanks, Marcella. I appreciate your kind words!

  4. Naz Kovacs September 5, 2012 / 8:37 pm

    I’ve just come across your blog, due to the comment you made on my blog 🙂 Thanks for that btw! Wow I’d never heard of SCD. I’ve also had on going digestion issues for years and years! Constant bloating, feeling uncomfortable after a meal and needing to rush to the bathroom all the time! Not fun! I’ve been tested for food allergies, have had numerous tests but nothing has come up. Now that I’m doing Whole30 and have adopted more of a Paleo lifestyle, i.e no grains, no dairy and no legumes I’m feeling much better! Have already noticed a reduction in bloating and don’t have the constant need to rush to the nearest bathroom! I’m not sure exactly which of these food groups caused my problem or if it was all of them. Not eating grains has been the hardest since I was used to eating rice and pasta but if it means feeling better then I’m willing to let it go plus Paleo can be so delicious!

    Btw funny how you grew up in Michigan, my husband and I just moved to Michigan last year from Australia! Oh and Portland is like the number 1 place in the U.S I’m dying to visit! Anyway glad I found your blog I’m off to look around more 🙂

    • paleoinpdx September 5, 2012 / 9:28 pm

      Yay, thanks so much for checking out my blog too! I’m happy to hear that you’re feeling a lot better now that you’re eating paleo. Real wholesome food makes a huge difference, and truly is the best medicine. Paleo IS so delicious and there are so many possibilities! I don’t miss any of those other foods anymore, but did a little in the beginning.

      It’s such a small world, isn’t it? Where in Michigan are you living? I was just back in Michigan visiting family and friends a couple weeks ago. Yes, if you ever get the chance to travel to Portland, do it! It really is a wonderful city with a lot to offer.

      • Naz Kovacs September 5, 2012 / 9:34 pm

        We are currently living in the Detroit area, more specifically in the city of Birmingham. I’m not sure where in Michigan you are from but I know it’s a big state! I want to visit the North as I hear it’s beautiful! As for Portland yes I’ve heard so many great things about it plus I hear you have great biking trails which I’d love to see!

  5. paleoinpdx September 5, 2012 / 9:37 pm

    I’m from Northeast Michigan, Alpena specifically. It’s right on Lake Huron and 90 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge. It’s also four hours north of where you are. Yes, it’s very beautiful up there and the UP is really beautiful too 🙂 Birmingham is a nice city, though I haven’t spent too much time in Birmingham directly. My sister and her family live in Novi and I have other extended family in the Detroit area. I’ve spent a lot of time around there.

    Yes, Portland is a big biking city and there definitely are lots of trails!

    • Naz Kovacs September 5, 2012 / 9:40 pm

      Oh nice! Since we’ve been here we’ve driven to Chicago and Toronto, so next road trip will be Northern Michigan for sure! And hopefully Portland sometime too 🙂

  6. lovepaleolife September 13, 2012 / 12:15 pm

    hey thanks for stopping by my blog.. i got to find yours! Fun to see another reformed vegetarian turned paleo!! I was veggie for 15 years..!! Ten year old me would faint if she knew what i was eating now 🙂

    • paleoinpdx September 13, 2012 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you for stopping by my blog as well! Wow, 15 years … that’s 5 years more than me! I probably would’ve fainted even a year ago seeing what I’d be feeding myself today! Haha, it’s funny yet humbling to reflect on our past life, isn’t it?

      • lovepaleolife September 13, 2012 / 12:33 pm

        ye it sure is. and its weird because i’ve been a meat eater ( say what?!) for 3 years now.. and as much as its become a way of life i certainly haven;t forgotten where i came from and why. its tricky sometimes 🙂

      • Sarah Bosse October 4, 2012 / 10:29 pm

        Haha. I too eat things now that I never would have imagined I’d eat in a lifetime! Pork rinds, beef liver, and REAL FOOD! I ate freezer meals and crap all the time for many years until it nearly killed me. Even GF “food” is often full of junk and has little to no nutritional value! So glad I’m SCD all-the-way now and congrats on the improvement you’ve seen in your health! 😀 Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      • paleoinpdx October 5, 2012 / 8:51 am

        Thanks for all the nice comments, Gutsy Girl! It’s pretty amazing to reflect where we’ve come from, and humbling too. It really makes me grateful for where I am now. Congrats on your awesome progress and improvements too 🙂

  7. paleoinpdx September 13, 2012 / 1:20 pm

    Amen to that! I’ll never forget where I came from and the journey it took to get me where I am now. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot and come a long way!

    • paleoinpdx October 7, 2012 / 12:21 pm

      Aw, thanks 🙂 Can’t wait to see the photos!

  8. Emilie October 26, 2012 / 8:57 pm

    Hi Alisa, I googled “Paleo gym Portland” and your blog was the first search result that came up. I’m glad I found it. Wow, do your recipes look wonderful! I’m a Paleo/nutrition enthusiast (and blogger, but on a different topic) living in NE too. I wonder if I’ve seen you at CC before. 🙂

    • paleoinpdx October 26, 2012 / 9:07 pm

      Nice, I’m glad you found me Emilie! Who knows, maybe we have seen each other before! Speaking of CC, I’m about due for some chicken tenders (I crave those things often!). I was actually just there this morning too, replenishing my date/nut treats that I sell. Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

      • Emilie October 26, 2012 / 9:16 pm

        Aha! I have heard of you then. I dig your date/nut treats. You should broaden your Paleo baked goods offerings. I’d buy ’em.

  9. paleoinpdx October 26, 2012 / 9:21 pm

    I try and keep it simple. Since I have to make the treats there and the space is so small, simple is good. If I were to do any actual baked goods, it’d be tough because the oven is so small. I wouldn’t be able to make many at once. To be honest, I don’t really have the time right now to do anything more complex — I’m crazy busy, but it’s good busy! I go into the cart once a week or every other week early in the morning to replenish the date treats. I’m glad you like them! I just made a new flavor today, but may tweak it a bit depending on feedback. Pecan spice! I still think salted almond tops all though 🙂

  10. Doreen November 2, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    Life is amazing! I ‘googled’ Leer for a family newsletter I write, ran across “estherslifestyle” blog about Lier, Norway & pictures, your reply about Leer, MI—-and here I am! I’m also originally from Alpena & graduated from Michigan State; however, born in 1931 and a 1954 alumna! I was curious about your family name since I have relatives who were among the original farm families of Leer—–Enger. I have a great-niece who writes a blog about healthy eating. fitness and nutrition. I’ll turn her on to your blog. Hers is “Treble in the Kitchen.

    • paleoinpdx November 2, 2012 / 1:18 pm

      It’s such a small world, isn’t it Doreen? I’ll be sure to check out your great niece’s blog — thanks for the recommendation. My family’s last name (that settled in Leer, MI) is Olsen. My grandma is Anna Mae Boboltz (Olsen). Do you know her or of her? She would be six years older than you. Thanks so much for reaching out to me!

      • Doreen November 3, 2012 / 8:55 am

        No, I don’t know your grandma. I’ll pass your information on to the Engers, my cousins. The early families who had farms in. Leer are: Enger, Gulleksen, Markusen, Christopherson and Olsen, and those five Norwegian families started the Leer Lutheran Church. They started out in Alpena working in the lumber mills until they had enough money to buy their land in Leer to farm. So much for the history lesson!

  11. paleoinpdx November 3, 2012 / 10:20 am

    Yes, I know quite a bit from my grandma — she’s the historian of the family and knows so much! She has many old photos and keeps track of the history. She’s still involved with the Leer Lutheran Church and even does various things for people over in Norway. She’s an amazing woman!

  12. lo November 7, 2012 / 6:33 pm

    Stumbled upon your blog from a WordPress suggestion when I was publishing a post and wanted to comment. I recently moved to inner NE PDX and followed the SCD (for 2 months) as a way to manage lactose and fructose intolerance and IBS. I ended up switching to the FODMAPs diet and have been faithfully following it for over a year now. It is amazing the role that diet (and exercise) plays in a healthy gut! Great blog!

    • paleoinpdx November 7, 2012 / 7:55 pm

      Hi Laura, or I guess I should say neighbor since we’re both in NE PDX! I’m glad you found my blog and thanks for checking it out! Food truly is the best medicine and the choices we make will either help us or hurt us. I’m glad you found something that works for you and your body. I’ve been very successful with the SCD and have been on it over one year now.

  13. My Cranky Gut November 9, 2012 / 1:31 pm

    Hi! I just found your blog after being referred by the facilitator of the new SCD Support Group here in PDX. Looking forward to catching up on your posts and trying some of your recipes! Thanks for the follow!

    • paleoinpdx November 9, 2012 / 1:38 pm

      Thank you for the follow too! I checked out your blog and you definitely have some good and helpful content. I could definitely add to your restaurant reviews because I’ve eaten at several scd/paleo-friendly places here in town, though definitely not in my beginning days and months on the SCD. I was happy to hear about the newly developed SCD support group here in PDX. That is so wonderful!

      • My Cranky Gut November 9, 2012 / 1:42 pm

        Awesome! I’d LOVE to post any reviews you’d like to share! I can only eat out so frequently!!

  14. paleoinpdx November 9, 2012 / 1:59 pm

    Sure, I don’t eat out very often either and it’s definitely a treat to do so. I’ve actually done blog posts about some of the places I’ve eaten and actually, my post from this past Monday included a recap about a meal at Cafe Nell and a couple weeks ago, I did a review on Park Kitchen (amazing experience there). You are more than welcome to pingback to any of these posts! Tonight, I’m eating around the corner from my house at Ox with my partner and a friend. I’m so excited!

  15. Brittany January 7, 2013 / 8:52 am

    I am whoaaa jazzed you followed my blog because I am LOVING yours!! Plus you live in Portland..I’m like three hours away! I LOVE Portland!!

    • paleoinpdx January 7, 2013 / 9:06 am

      Thanks Brittany, that’s so sweet of you to say! I didn’t see where you were from on your blog — are you in OR or WA? From what I’ve gathered so far, your blog seems like a lot of fun 😉

      • Brittany January 11, 2013 / 10:24 am

        I’m in WA. I live about an hour south of Seattle!

  16. paleoinpdx January 11, 2013 / 10:27 am

    Nice! We’re nearly neighbors 😉

  17. Amanda March 1, 2013 / 6:20 pm

    Fellow Alpenian! Love your blog!

    • paleoinpdx March 1, 2013 / 7:38 pm

      Heck yeah! High five to that, Amanda! Thanks for your kind words too 😉

  18. Jo June 21, 2013 / 10:19 am

    You are a beautiful bride Alisa! By the way your story changed my eating habits from vegetarian to pescatarian…don’t think I will ever go Paleo but who knows? 🙂

    • paleoinpdx June 21, 2013 / 12:20 pm

      Thank you, Jo! I’m so glad I could inspire you to reevaluate your eating habits and make some changes…that is so great! I hope you’ve noticed positive changes in your body and life by adding fish into your diet. Who knows is definitely right because I NEVER thought I’d be eating meat again when I was a vegetarian! Boy, was I wrong! Thanks again and take care 😉

  19. Sarah G May 19, 2015 / 10:21 am

    Hi! Do you have a post about your Portland recommendations? I’m visiting in a few weeks and would love to hear your favorite restaurants, things to do etc!

    • paleoinpdx May 20, 2015 / 10:55 am

      I don’t have a specific post about restaurant recommendations, but have mentioned some places in my posts over the years. Here are some favorites of mine that I highly recommend checking out: Cultured Caveman (recommend the restaurant over the carts, but carts are great too), Dick’s Kitchen, Daily Cafe (breakfast), Ox, Por que no, Verde Cocina, Cafe Nell, The Fireside, Laurelhurst Market, Meriwether’s, My Thai, Toro Bravo and Ned Ludd. There are tons of other great places to eat too, and Portland is very accommodating! There are fun neighborhoods to check out (Alberta Arts, Hawthorne, NW 23rd, Mississippi, Pearl District, downtown SW, etc.) and lots of great places to hike if you’re into that (even if you just check out Forest Park in town — so beautiful!). Renting bikes is always a fun idea and if you do, definitely ride along the waterfront! The Japanese and/or Chinese Gardens are worth checking out too. Driving through the Gorge and visiting Multnomah Falls is something else I recommend.

      Hope that helps! Enjoy your trip to Portland!

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