Fall has finally begun to show around here. Even if it is still high 80s and low 90s, the air is different and the "rain trees" are blooming that brilliant yellow/green. I love this time of year!
Happy Autumn to all!
I'll be back to posting now. It was a nice blog break, but I miss writing.
Most of you know I've been experimenting with the Whole30 food approach trying to find my new eating plan. Having been a complete vegetarian for the majority of my adulthood, eating other than that design has been challenging. To say the least.
I was of the school that whole wheat was best; no harm in cage free, organic dairy, as I wasn't consuming meat for protein; and soy was a fine substitute food for many things. Beans were my protein source, eating my fill of hummus and black beans daily. And now, my body put the brakes on that line of thinking, demanding a new approach to food. Humph! It's been a year since I had my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. A year since I had my carefully designed culinary world come to a screeching halt, and a year since my bulletproof shield was shattered. Funny how we think we are able to control every little thing. We just are not in control after all. Surprise!
This is my story.
In an effort to heal my poor gut, I found the Whole30 regimen this past March. It seemed scientifically sound, possible to endure and a great experiment to see if I could eat again. If you have UC, or any of the colitis based diseases, you know eating is a challenge. By the time I was diagnosed, I was eating mashed potato. Period. The initial medication I was put on was sulfur based and I was not aware I was allergic to it; I just wasn't able to shake the "brain fog". Investigating the brain fog led to an MRI, whereby they found a (now insignificant) brain tumor. Ok, they definitely had my attention! When my gastro doctor figured out my allergy and changed my medication to something that is highly effective, it was time to figure out how to live the rest of my life, including which foods to eat. New relationships and all that, exciting! Not. Gheesh!
So, In March I began the Whole30, which for me was the Whole65. It was a fantastic experience in my case. I felt terrific. Had energy. Began to find my days were once again colorful and filled with joy and happy outlooks. Finally. After a solid year of grey I was beginning to see in living color again! It made springtime so lovely!
As recommended, upon completing my whole30 regimen, I began adding things back into the diet to find out what, exactly, my trouble foods are. In July we went to the Competition in Chicago and were basically stuck in the convention center. So I ate what they had, which included more french fries than I've ever eaten, and some hard cider. Albeit delicious for a few days, after a week of that I really had to detox! But I've been casual about the occasional gluten and dairy over the past couple of months, and I am beginning to feel poorly again. The birthday cake at Tessa's birthday party, and an occasional bit of feta cheese on my salads are enough for my body to scream at me to get my attention! Not to mention the all out rebellion once in a while, with a piece of quiche filled with cheese and such.
(Tessa & her mommy at Tessa's 2nd birthday party)
My joints are swelling, my gut is swelling, I'm pretty tired and restless, not sleeping well and it is making a believer out of me. I have an outright allergy to barley, that showed up on a food allergy test. But also, those of us with Hashimoto's thyroiditis should not eat gluten, apparently. And according to the doc, being a red head is a triple celiac threat! It causes inflammation inside your body. And it makes your joints hurt and swell. And in my case, it makes my head shake (involuntary tremors). And my students think I'm telling them no, when I don't even know my head is moving - embarrassing! The dairy, well, it's a hormonal interrupter. Let's face it, none of us need that! I can be 13 different moods in less than 5 minutes. No bueno. I don't eat much dairy, but sometimes I have cream in my coffee instead of coconut milk ... and I've not been diligent about reading labels of late. Turns out that's a bad idea. It's what makes me lethargic, sad and slow.
So, the verdict for me? Back on the Whole30 for a reset. And back to what I found out now works.
For me: no gluten, no dairy, no beans FOR REAL, no soy and no sugar (which I don't eat any way). Oh, and no wine. Ouch. But, I'm looking so forward to having the amazing energy and spark again!! And dropping some not needed weight is always a bonus. I know I have ten pounds that goes away when I eat "properly" for my own body. And I love not having the swelling! No pain when I get out of bed and no protecting my aging hip joints! Teaching 16 classes per week is hard enough, having extra weight is not a bonus here! Guess I have some dietary restrictions but I get to keep eating those precious vegetables! And it makes me feel younger and more vibrant.
This has been a project that has been one whole year in the making! Not my normal style ... I'm not usually patient enough for that kind of research and documentation. But in this case, I'm very grateful I bit the bullet and did it. And if sharing this info will help even one of you, my friends, then it's worth telling my story! And gratitude to the folks who decided to devote their lives to share information that will help us regular folks overcome our food challenges. (Melissa Hartwig & Dallas Hartwig and their merry band of researchers, etc. for the Whole30) And to you who can eat anything, any time with no adverse reactions - kudos! Say grace! And enjoy your unrestrained culinary world!
Blessings to you all for the new season! Enjoy each moment. Each art show, each bowl of soup, each blue sky and each and every star. Life is a lovely thing worthy of celebration!