Yesterday I woke up and decided today is the day to go gluten and dairy free. I decided to do this the rest of January and all of February. This is craziness coming from a French bread, ice cream, and milk chocolate covered pretzel kind-of-girl! Truth be told, I have known for a long time that I needed to at least try this, but emotionally I couldn’t bear the thought.
Sometimes when we are chronically ill, we grow accustom to using our favorite foods as comfort. Plus, the thought of managing one more thing is beyond overwhelming. We know that elimination diets mean reading ingredients until our heads are spinning and denying ourselves the one thing that makes everything feel just a little better – if only temporarily!
Not to mention all the dinner parties we will have to turn down, the invitations to our favorite restaurants, and simply feeling socially left out. Just the thought of driving the waiter crazy with special requests stresses me out (probably not nearly as much as it will stress my husband out…hehe).
I once read a book about chronic pain and the author’s conclusion was to just accept it as she continued to gorge herself with crappy foods to try and feel emotionally better. This is how her story ended and I imagine she is still very sick. As much as I can relate to her and am her to an extent, I cannot allow my story to end this way!
But to say this is going to be hard is an understatement! This is a highly personal decision and one must be in a pretty good emotional place to even try this. Sometimes this means getting rid of the people who cause you constant stress and replacing them with people who are supportive.
Other times this means moving positions; it could be a job that is too weighing or an environment that just isn’t working. Recently I moved from the beautiful city of Virginia Beach where it is sunny and my hubby and I could walk to the Oceanfront. The weather is fair, it is safe, the school districts are top-notch and people pay thousands of dollars to vacation where we lived; but I wasn’t happy.
I am Western PA girl; I just am! I have tried to fight it my whole life because the town I am from is rundown, murders happen quite often, the sun doesn’t shine often, the school districts are not so great, we are quite behind on the times when it comes to “the latest and greatest,” but we do get community in a way I have never seen anywhere else.
Family and friends is what matters and we don’t just get together here and there; we do life together everyday. This is what I needed to find the emotional strength to fight for my health. What do you need my friend? Are you in a relationship that weighs you down? Do you need to quit your job? Do you need to get a job? Do you need to get back in church? Do you need to start listening to your conscience? Figure out what it is you need and fight for it! Make the sacrifices to be happy and whole.
Let me tell you, freedom doesn’t come free and the minute we take one step towards it, something will come along and knock us five steps back. Yesterday I made the 40 minute drive to Trader Joes. I was pumped to prepare for my new journey! I spent two hours reading ingredients and grocery shopping. When I went to check out, I realized I left my money at home. I went out into my car and lost it. I cried and cried as if I had just lost a limb. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t the end of the world, but when we face chronic pain and we finally decide to move forward, any set back can feel devastating.
Thankfully my very supportive dad met me half way to allow me to borrow money and Trader Joe’s held all my groceries for me. It was a set-back, but it was worth it and it will continue to be worth it!
I don’t know if this is the answer to my chronic pain and migraines; but I do know it is worth a try not to have to depend on medication and deal with side effects for the rest of my life!
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