Getting Healthy by Becoming Sick

I remember when I first made my diet changes; NO gluten, NO processed foods, organic foods, limited sugar (I’d like to say none, but I need my few glasses of wine a week; a girl’s got her limits!). I GRIEVED and cried pretty much nonstop for 5 days. Yes. I cried. Over food. Sounds ridiculous to me now. In our culture, food equals celebration. We meet friends for happy hour, have cake at birthdays, and barbeque on 4th of July. I thought of all that I would miss out on, and it made me sad.

After I ended my little pity party, I had to start looking not at what I would miss out on, but what I could gain. Health. Feeling good. Do I want a piece of pizza or do I want to feel good enough to play sports with my son? That thought sealed the deal.

It’s amazing how your taste buds change when you eat whole, nutrient rich foods. It’s really true that you start to crave such foods. Food is fuel, not comfort. If I need comfort, that’s what I have so many good friends for! Is my diet “perfect”? No. I indulge occasionally on a little ice cream or dark chocolate, but it really isn’t that frequent.

People often ask me how I stay committed to this way of life. Buying organic IS more expensive. Making foods from scratch DOES take more time. I’ve learned how to shop smart for organics. I buy organic meat in bulk from Costco, and they also offer large bags of frozen organic produce that saves a ton of money when you compare it to what you would have paid for it fresh. We also eat out a lot less, which helps me justify the increase in our grocery bill. I cook several meals on Sunday to provide us with most of the week’s meals.

The hardest part of my new lifestyle is going to dinner at other people’s homes. With my family, it’s easy. My mom is Gluten free, and she makes sure I can eat what she’s serving. In other cases, I’ve asked the host (depending on the relationship) what he or she is serving to see in advance if I can make it work, and if not, I bring a dish to share that I know I can eat. It’s worked pretty seamlessly so far.

At the beginning of this all, I talked to one of my best friends who told me, “This will eventually become your new normal”. How right she was. It’s kind of ironic that I’ve become the healthiest I’ve ever been by getting sick.

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