I am a Foodie. Big time. I love to cook. I’m addicted to food porn in any form…Food TV, cookbooks, blogs, magazines, food throughout my Facebook newsfeed…however I can get it. In what seems like a past life (or 5), I was co-owner of a restaurant and would spend evenings after the kids went to sleep cooking specials and baking desserts for upcoming events and catered gigs. People loved my food, and I loved preparing it for them. I really enjoyed what I was doing.
Then Autism hit us like a freight train. Not only was the restaurant out the window, but I never looked at food the same way again. Having kids with food sensitivities changes all your life. Ummmm…what do you mean they can’t have wheat and milk?? How can you live!!?? How will WE live?? Reading labels became a science. I hunted supermarkets for GFCF substitutes. We become “that” table when we went out to eat. The bread was hard, cookies sucked, and the pizza was atrocious. All of it was horrible. HORRIBLE. As a food lover, I was heartbroken. The kids and I couldn’t eat the same things. When I changed their diets, I would find myself hiding in the kitchen, shoving “real” food down my throat. I have my own food issues, and that crap was fake food. I hated that I had to do it, but I did because it was making them better.
Over the next 2 ½ years, I drowned myself in GFCF cooking. I would scour the web following allergy-friendly food blogs, sharing recipes with friends in the same boat. I started a Facebook group for parents like me who were looking for ideas about how to cook this stuff. All the while, never eating a morsel of it. Not.A.Bite. I told you I’ve got issues 😉
This past Ash Wednesday (Feb 22, 2012) I was sitting at the computer with my morning coffee and all through the feed were stories of friends giving up something for Lent. Some gave up caffeine. Others gave up alcohol. Some logged off from social media. All these people giving up something they enjoy. Although I was raised Roman Catholic, I am not a religious person. In an instant, I said to myself, “I’m going gluten free for Lent.” I realized I hadn’t had any so far that day, so I figured I would give it a shot. I didn’t give up casein because I am a dairy slave and will cut you for a really good brie or a bowl of homemade ice cream (kidding!). I am a big meat and veggie gal anyway, so this shouldn’t be too hard, right?? Forty days will be a piece of cake….so I thought…
I started to track what I was eating. It was all healthy and delicious. Meat, veggies, fruit, rice and nuts. First few days were no problem…..but then it started. I became an irritable disaster. I was crawling in my skin. My bones ached. My hair hurt. My cuticles became sore and bled. I wanted to scratch my eyes out of my head….literally. My stomach was a disaster. I couldn’t concentrate. I would find myself having to stop what I was doing just to pull my head together. I craved things that I never really ate before because it was gluten-laden garbage. I needed that chew of a good baguette…the sweet spoonful of the cold milk/crunch combo you get from a bowl of cereal. I would LITERALLY salivate at the sight or thought of food I couldn’t have. I was truly kicking junk. I realized this was a tiny glimpse of what people detoxing from drugs must feel like…..physically sick, withdrawing and craving. Then I thought about my boys feeling this way at the start. Knowing what I now know about the experience, I’m surprised it wasn’t worse. I think they dealt with it better than I did.
The saying “It gets worse before it gets better” really is true.
I could have caved, had a brownie and called it a day but I played through. I started tweaking my own supplement regimen. I got a prescription for MB12 shots, kept eating GF and really started monitoring the way I was feeling. And I was feeling good. REALLY good!! Better than I have in years. The cravings subsided. I didn’t have that 4pm crash I used to get. The aches went away. I dropped a few jean sizes. My skin is better. Easter came and went and I never looked back. I had a few cheats and really felt them. Lesson learned. No more for me, thanks. That stuff is garbage.
For the past three years, I have spent all my energy, time, and money on my boys and their health and recovery. We all do it. Kids first, of course! But I realized I needed to start taking better care of myself as I am no spring chicken. I was starting to feel old at 40. I need to be around for these guys….to help them become the best they can be.
I started walking the biomed walk, and it feels fantastic.
Try gluten free. Give it a shot….I dare you. I challenge you to go 30 days without any gluten. If you don’t feel better, go back. If you want to stop mid challenge and eat an Oreo…do it. This isn’t to prove anything to anyone but yourself. It WILL be rough….but anything that’s worth it usually is <3 ~ Poppy