Forgiveness Friday: My War, My Peace

(Song Dedication: My Body by the Young the Giant)

In an effort to better manage my symptoms, I have begun treatment with a Naturopath.  My Symptoms being (let’s run through them head to toe shall we) chronic migraines, chronic pain and inflammation, poor sleep, hormonal acne and hormone imbalance, heart palpitations, anxiety, digestion and malabsorption, and terrible PMS.  Fun.  I know!

Some of these things are a constant like an arm or a leg, others come and go with the ebb and flow of my cycle and dietary choices.  For example, if I choose to eat wheat for a few days in a row, I will feel like I have the flu.  If I have a night out with more than a few drinks, I will suffer from terrible intestinal cramps tying me to a toilet for the better part of a day.  Even taking my Zinc supplement to combat the breakouts brings on intense nausea.  What would you suggest with those last three examples?  Stop! (Or at the very least, reduce) Ingesting! Those! Things! would be the obvious response.  The body is telling you something!

This whole journey officially began back in October of last year when My Body was telling, no screaming, “NO!” with the vision loss, concentration difficulties and pounding and frequent migraines.  But like anything trying to communicate, the screaming usually doesn’t just come out of nowhere.  There is a considerable buildup to reach that point.  My Body was gently telling me no for years, no decades, about how things weren’t really working all that well, but at those various ages and stages of my life, I either wasn’t ready to listen or I just didn’t have the language to comprehend what it was trying to tell me.  Lost in translation.

Now with space and almost a fluent ability to speak my body’s language (that’s an overstatement, not fluent but passable) I can now accept the message.  With the above 9 symptoms mentioned, I feel it is time to consider more the fuel I am dumping into this body of mine.  I mean, we wouldn’t expect a diesel engine to run very well on gasoline. A Naturopath seemed to be the professional to help me with this, based on others testimony, so it began.

I asked for a Carrol Test to identify possible food intolerances.  With this simple, pain free test the ND was able to distinguish what my body will digest and what it will react to, sort of like a toxin.

The Carroll test is different from allergy tests that are used to determine which foods or substances may be overwhelming the immune system at a particular moment in time. The Carroll evaluation determines an innate imbalance in the genetic predisposition to digest particular foods or food groups. These results appear to be lifelong. Food intolerance is unchanging and needs to be determined only once.

I hoped beyond hope, that I would not test positive for intolerances to peanut butter, or potato or dairy.  But alas, it turns out I can not have my cake and eat it too.  There was a list of considerable food items that made up my regular dietary habits, and yes peanuts, potato and dairy were included as no no’s among other things that to me seemed innocuous like celery, tomato, peppers and lentils.  Other items, I wasn’t surprised at all like wheat (which I already had deciphered on my own because my husband was diagnosed as Celiac about 8 years ago), sugar, and xanthum (a binder found in many gluten-free products).  Soy and Eggs though, that’s a kicker indeed.  Found in so many food products and I had been in the habit of scrambling and poaching eggs for sometime now.

In only a week, I have worked to educate myself, with the package provided by the ND to support this diet.  It is a learning curve and won’t happen overnight, but I am diligently reading labels and more aware of the shit producers put in their products to improve palatability.  I mean, potato, it. is. everywhere. Even in our city’s drinking water (water softening salt)!? Huh!?

So you may think I just wrote all the sciency stuff and that is the hard part…the doing.  That’s what I thought, at least.

Turns out I was wrong (like so many other things in my life this is becoming a regular punchline and the joke is on me and my assumingness).

The past week’s largest challenge hasn’t been the awareness and implementation of a more suitable diet for my specific body chemistry.  It has been the response from my people.   Some people I have discussed my results and plan with have reacted as if I am going to Morgan Spurlock myself, eating only a steady diet of fake fast food for a month to see how that goes.  Like taking out things, some identified as unnecessary and unhealthy for anyone to ingest, that might give my body a chance to reset, recover and be at peace from the war of symptoms I have battled for so long, might instead kill me.

I have been on the other side of this too, calling people extreme and dismissing their dietary choices as going too far but in the end, I was like Sweet!  More Cake for me!  I am not even joking a little.  I love birthday parties for cake and nothing else.

But the thing is, if this dietary measure means possible health improvements…I would give an arm or a leg to be rid of my migraines.  I hate being relegated to my dark bedroom instead of being with my family at 3:00 in the afternoon, I hate not being able to invite friends over for dinner because a migraine might decide to drop by unannounced (oh wait, no one is going to want dinner at our place now anyway, lol).

But I’ve seen other friends who have made diet choices and live with them because they make them feel better.  They bring their own food to the BBQ, they cheat every now and then, they don’t expect everyone to eat exactly what they are.  They are very peaceful about the whole thing, and so it doesn’t become a whole thing.

I am not trying to start a dictatorship here and threaten your right to bare sugar and eggs. And if you like cake, your in luck because now there will be more for you, as I begrudgingly decline my slice. I am not judging you and don’t expect you to shave your “food head” in an act of solidarity just because I am trying to manage my “illness”.

At the end of the day, I guess what I hope for is encouragement instead of fear and naysaying. And isn’t that all anyone wants? So as usual in the wisdom of Disney animation, in the words of Thumper’s mom, suspend judgement and remember “if you have nothing nice to say…say nothing at all”.

It’s only food. But for me, it’s my quality of life at stake. (Mmmmmm…marinaded steak with a bake potato and ceasar salad…ah crap…dreaming of bygone days…)

Forgiveness Friday, please forgive me if my food choices bring you discomfort. I forgive my body for rejecting the Ceasar garnished with celery, and hope it forgives me for subjecting it to this delicious beverage of choice for so many years.

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