It’s time to get personal. No, not the kind where I get all emotional and what not… the kind where I dish out a little bit of reality.
I’ve been gluten free for nearly three months now…actually it could be longer, I don’t count days. Lately they’ve been all blurring together like one big happy nightmare. I’ve been dairy and wheat free consistently for a year and keep my sugar intake as low as possible without going insane when eating out (there is no hateful look quite like the one a waiter gives you when you ask if it has gluten, dairy, or sugar in it), but it’s been a slow journey over the past three years.
So this is how it is from the point of view of a dairy needing, pasta munching, sugar craving, alcohol drinking human…until I moved to Hamilton.
I lived off pasta and cheese. Every time I was sick through my childhood, it’s what I ate. I loved pies, I loved take-a-ways, I loved every single kind of whipped cream, milk containing, glutenous product there was.
No, I never put on weight. I could eat anything! “You’re so lucky!” I was always told… because I could eat anything.
No, no I couldn’t eat anything. My whole life I have been dairy and wheat intolerant. I just had no idea.
So what’s it been like? FREAKING FANTASTIC!
Ok, so cutting gluten out isn’t the easiest thing in the world, yes, yes that pie you’re eating in front of me when I am very hungry because I have to walk an extra two km to get something gluten free does look freaking amazing… but you know what looks better? My insides.
Do I want a piece of my favourite type of cake you’ve just ordered for the office to eat…and then left it right in front of me while I eat my lunch? Yep. Yep I do.
Easy. No. There is nothing easy about doing something that most people don’t actually understand. But there is something fantastic about how I feel.
I have a major health condition pretty much completely under control. My skin is a million times better.
People almost always look at weight as a measure of ‘health’. This is just plain wrong. While I love the fact it is unlikely something I will have to worry about while on a gluten and dairy free diet, it is far from the reason I do it.
So, here is the world through my eyes since getting it together and deciding I want the best for myself.
The -it’s too hard-
One of the things I hear most often is ‘I’d die if I had to do that!’ No…no you wouldn’t. You might, doing what you’re doing. But no, you won’t die without cake. That sounds mean, but it’s true. And it’s very hard not to retaliate with it.
The -I can do what I want!-
Then there is the ‘I’m so glad I can eat whatever I want’…well yes, so can I. But that sluggish feeling you get? The headaches? The weight? Actually many things that you might not even know are going on with your body, are happening because you eat whatever you want. I can put whatever I want into my body, but I choose not to damage it that way. I choose to be healthier and happier. And I choose not to slowly kill myself with gluten.
The -but you don’t need to lose weight!-
This is often followed up by ‘But you’re so thin! Why would you need to be on a diet?’ When I google definition of diet it comes up with 1) the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
I am not on a diet where I plan to lose weight. I do this, because like I put the right fuel in my car to make it work, I want the right fuel to make my body work. It doesn’t always, like my car, but it works far better than if I were to put diesel in a car that takes unleaded 91 petrol.
The -makes me want to punch you in the face-
The moment someone says ‘you’re too healthy’ I actually want to hit them. There is no such thing! Sure, people can go waaaay over board with a diet, but then that would be unhealthy. Hence, no such thing. In this world, everyone wants to put a too infront of whatever you are ‘you’re too thin’ ‘you’re too fat’ ‘you’re too tall’ ‘you’re too small’ ‘you’re too healthy’ ‘you’re too unhealthy’. Whatever it is, you’re too much of it. I am not doing this to please men, nor am I doing it to please anyone other than my stomach. When I am writhing in pain because of what I ate, I am not very happy. So, why would I want to eat foods that make my mouth happy for two seconds, and the rest of me unhappy forever?
The -you have a lot of self control-
Yeah…I also have a great imagination…for the last half hour I’ve been picturing myself starting a food fight, covering you in whatever thing I used to love eating. Normally during these visions I have a very angry and wild look on my face.
The -BUT WHAT CAN YOU EAT?!-
A lot actually. Other than the bakery section of the supermarket, there is almost always a sugar free (and I don’t mean diet coke where it’s just replaced with a whole bunch of other chemicals, I mean actually free from sugar and it’s artificial substitutes), gluten free, dairy free way of doing it. You have to get creative. I have become a far better cook and LOVE eating now far more than I ever did.
So how is life now?
Fantastic! But there is still so much I am learning about my body and what it needs to make it function properly. People often start down the natural health track and expect results in weeks, or months. It takes years. Once you solve on problem, often another will surface and it can feel like you’re constantly putting out fires.
Yes. Eventually I will get to a place where I feel really happy with my body, and it feels happy with me. Most of the time it is like that. But I still need more sleep, more water, more greens, less meat, and it goes on. It always does. It’s about learning which steps to take when, and what’s right for you and your sanity.
What have I noticed physically?
My skin was the number one. Though it still has its moments, I am comfortable around people without makeup, I wear less of it in general, it is brighter and my eyes are happier. I was so unhappy with the awful blemishes I had, and the fact my eyebrows never grew. Now, I have eyebrows and my skin doesn’t break out to the extent I cry in front of the mirror.
My weight. Though I never put on huge amounts, it was always up and down. I would put on 5kgs in a week and then lose it randomly. My boobs were changing size all the time, my face would puff up randomly, my stomach was always bloated so I never knew how big it actually was. Now, the weight is spread evenly across my body and I have only fluctuated a kg or two at a time and never quickly. For me this is a huge relief… and I can shop for what I want and not freak out it won’t fit me the same in a week!
My hair grows! It would grow before, but always ratty and upset. I can style it with hot irons every day and go eight weeks between cuts now and still feel like it is full and healthy…and it grows at twice the rate!
For me it was changing how I thought about food. Rather than thinking about my taste buds all the time, I think about it as a fuel. What am I getting out of this? And it makes it worth spending money on it now! I am equipping my body for the day, and when it’s not performing, I look at my diet and find out why. How can I fix it? Rather than we have a problem, let’s just take a painkiller and hope it stops.
p.s after reducing alcohol to once a month for five months, I can now drink a couple of glasses of wine and not feel any adverse side effects (before I was in pain with half a glass and felt awful the next day). My body is detoxing better and it is able to handle it when I have a day where I eat more sugar or drink alcohol. By giving it a break, it was like a reset.
Anyway, that’s my health rant over for now.
Cheerio until next time.