Happy Valentine’s Day!
I thought I’d celebrate by talking about my heart. Er….my health. Whatever. All I’m really trying to do is segue into this post and it’s not working….
Remember the other day when I mentioned that scary, scary term: elimination diet? I want to talk about it. So here’s the deal.
<<warning: lots of words. Probably too many words.>>
I haven’t been feeling like myself for awhile. I’m not even sure when it happened….but it’s been quite some time. I think normally people would describe me as a calm and patient person…but those aren’t words I’d use to describe myself as-of-late. I am quick to get angry. Quick to lose my temper. I don’t have the patience I want to have with Abby (granted, I’m not sure any mother comes equipped with enough of that). I’m snappy.
“And I packed your angry eyes…just in case!” via
And I’m T.I.R.E.D. All. The. Time. And even though I’m tired, I can’t sleep. I toss and turn and toss and turn and sit there thinking about how tired I am.
As if that weren’t enough….the headaches I thought pregnancy had cured me of are back. Ugh.
And often my stomach hurts after meals.
AND….no just kidding. That’s it. That’s enough isn’t it?
So really, I get the sense that things aren’t going very well for me health-wise. Even though I DO exercise several times a week and weight-wise I am at one of my lowest points….these other issues seem to overshadow any progress I’m making there. And I know that if I were to stop exercising things would get even worse so really I think exercising has been my saving grace these past few months. I feel awesome after an Oula class. The opposite of angry.
But I know I don’t have to live like this. Angry and on-edge all the time. Tired. Grumpy. Achy. And the worst: trying to hide it.
So I decided it was time to do something about it. Time to OWN that anger and show it to the door. Politely of course.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I struggled with depression prior to getting pregnant. I finally got a prescription that seemed to help but I stopped taking it immediately when I got pregnant, not wanting to take anything questionable while growing my little critter (yes, that’s what we called her). I contemplated going back to my Primary Care physician again this time but knew I would walk away with a new prescription that would essentially cover up the symptoms. And I decided that I don’t want to cover them up. I want them to go away. I want someone to take the time to treat ME. Personally. Not just another “mom who needs Xanax and Ambien.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I just personally wanted to try and treat this without medication first).
So that’s how I ended up nearly passed out in a Naturopath’s office.
Turns out finger pricking is worse than needles for me now. Awesome.
Annnnyways. That first embarrassing visit was nearly 2 hours. Two hours! Isn’t that amazing? It felt like she was really listening to me, and asking lots of questions and actually wanting to hear my answers. I had never really experienced anything like that in a medical setting. It felt good. She asked that I get some blood work done and we also decided to do a food allergy test (hence the finger pricking….”ing” meaning plural. I got pricked twice because one finger started drying up. Ugh). My friends….you know I’m serious about something if I’m willing to get pricked and poked, right? I mean I may have given birth naturally but I’m still not a fan of needles of any sort.
Fast-forward two weeks. Results are in.
My blood work looks good all around except for Vitamin D. Which should really be NO surprise to anyone living in Missoula. We have no sun this time of year. In fact, she said my D levels were some of the lowest she’s seen. So you can bet I left with a big ‘ol bottle of liquid sunshine (to be clear, I left with a bottle of Vitamin D drops…don’t want anyone getting any ideas).
My food allergy test was a different story. An interesting story to say the least. Possible sensitivity to: eggs, almonds, dairy, barley, corn, gluten, rye, spelt, sunflower seeds and whole wheat. Must I go on? Because really….what’s left?
And that’s when she said it: “I’d like you to try an elimination diet where you eliminate all of those foods for 30 days.”
At that moment I thought, “Yes, of course. That is the most reasonable next step. I’LL DO IT (aftermyvacationthankyou)”
Then I went home and I started googling. Reading (articles, blogs, research). Pinning recipes. And I started to freak out a little bit. Truth be told it was a little overwhelming. I could try and eat Paleo…but paleo allows eggs and nuts. I can’t have eggs and nuts. I could go vegan….but I also need to eliminate gluten and wheat. And if I don’t allow myself to eat meat then I really have no food choices. I really will need to eat meat.
So I did what any other rational person would do and walked away from it all for a day or so. I just needed to give myself some space and rethink the whole thing.
I think the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around was that this whole elimination thing was in my own hands. There was no structure. The freedom of “making this my own journey” was too overwhelming. And that’s when I started seriously considering trying to do Whole30 – a program I had read about before that is even more restrictive than what my Doctor was asking me to do. In addition to all of my “no’s” I would be saying “no” to alcohol (gasp). Any type of sugar including honey and maple syrup (say what?). Legumes & white potatoes (whatever). But at least there was structure. There was a clear PLAN for what you CAN eat and what you CAN’T eat. And I don’t think anyone could argue that going without sugar or alcohol for a month is the worst idea ever. I mean, no one WANTS to do that. But is it possible? Sure.
In some ways this extreme version of elimination is more comforting to me than trying to piece things together on my own.
I just imagined me staring at my pantry each morning thinking: “my god I’m starving but I don’t know what to eat.” That, to me, is just asking for failure.
So after thinking about this for several days, and reading a LOT about it….and being about 90% sure that this was the direction I wanted to go, I came back to my research with a different approach. I contacted people I know who have done similar things (either an elimination diet, paleo, or dealt with food sensitivities). I got their advice. I asked for their favorite recipes and resources. And you know what? After hearing from them I felt much more confident in what I was doing and how I could make this work for 30 days (or more).
But I’m still scared shitless to be honest. And most definitely over-thinking it. Hey –it’s what I do best.
But it’s only 30 days. I mean I can do anything for 30 days really. After that I can start to reintroduce foods and see if they’re truly something I need to steer clear of, or if I can stuff my face with cheese all day again. If I can be super strict about this for 30 days I may get some much-needed answers about stomach aches, headaches, tiredness and general irritability. (Ok scratch that, I better damn well get some answers).
If after 30 days I can pack my angry eyes away for good….it will all be worth it. Until they’re really needed of course.
And since my Dr. has asked me to keep notes on how I’m doing…I plan to check in here on the blog once a week (now won’t that be a treat). I’ll tell you what I ate that was good…how I’m feeling and if you really CAN survive without beer or wine.
Hate to leave you with a cliffhanger like that…but this is long enough.
And if you have any advice or words of encouragement for me….I’d love to hear it! I’m seriously not starting until after my vacation (because my health can wait, right?)….so if you need me I’ll be taking a sugar bath.