Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reality Bites

About a year and a half ago I cut back on the dairy and gluten in my diet at the recommendation of a naturopath.  She looked at my medical history and my list of symptoms and said that inflammation was at the root of all my problems and that both dairy and gluten could contribute to that.  

As a general rule in the south you have a biscuit with most meals.  Even if you already have potatoes, rice, pizza, etc on your plate you should also have a couple pieces of bread.  Since both my husband and I are from the south we have proudly continued this tradition.  My inner voice screamed no when I thought about given up all my favorites.  But I was desperate for relief and tired of traditional doctors telling me that I had a number of "syndromes" which may or may not be responsive to medication (in my case no medications have been useful to date).  So I jumped into the gluten and dairy free pool with both feet.  

I rarely do anything in moderation.  The moment I hear about a new fitness craze, shoe, diet book, fashion trend, artist I immediately sign up for or buy everything that I can.  My diet no different.  So I bring a box of food to the break room at work so that I don't have the temptation in my house.  I spend $250 at the whole foods store and create a binder of limited ingredient recipes that will keep my foodie heart happy.  

I didn't want it to work but it did.  I felt better.  I slept better.  My bathroom trips were better and less frequent.  All of my syndromes improved.  I was ecstatic.  I told everyone I knew that I was on a limited ingredient diet.  I started frequenting the restaurants that could accommodate my new lifestyle.  

After about 2 months I plateaued.  My syndromes were taking over again.  I was frustrated.  So I did what any irrational, overreacting person would do.  I started bringing all the crap back in my diet. 

I had never gone 100% gluten/dairy free.  I had settled on a place where about 60-75% of what I ate was on my diet.  But once I stopped feeling good I stopped monitoring what I ate.  I stopped trying.  Of course then I had to tell everyone that I had only had moderate success with my limited ingredient diet so I was going back to my old ways.  

A rational person would have visited their medical doctor and tried some of those prescriptions again to see if they worked better when combined with a limited ingredient diet.  Or maybe follow up with the naturopath to see if there were supplements or additional changes that she recommended.  Hell, maybe even checked out an online community and checked for tips from other folks suffering from the same problems.    

Fast forward to a few months later.  My husband and I went on a trip to a bed and breakfast in Vermont.  The trip was amazing.  It was a foodie's dream vacation.  Amazing dishes that felt indulgent and healthy at the same time.  The chef at the bed and breakfast made all of her food from locally sourced ingredients.  Most of the restaurants that we visited did the same.  I was eating gluten free without effort because it was everywhere.  There were no dairy free options in Vermont but there was an amazing selection of organic/raw options.  So of course you know what happened:  I felt better.  I slept better. My bathroom trips were better and less frequent.

So here I am again.  With a pantry full of selections from the whole foods store and my trusty recipe binder dusted off.  Just in time for Christmas and the New Year I am getting back on the wagon.  Not everyone quits smoking the first time but eventually it usually takes.  So here goes nothing.