How I went gluten free…

Most of you know that I choose to live my life gluten and dairy free.  You know that my diet is very important to me and my healing and that one of my favorite places to be is Whole Foods, but did you know that I didn’t always live here?  That getting to this whole foods diet and going gluten free and dairy free was very difficult for me?  Did you know that getting to a place of clean eating was a journey – and still is?  Did you also know that the big joke in my family is that I was a terrible cook most of my life and they preferred if I stayed out of the kitchen?

All of the above is true and as I prepared my food this week, enjoying the wonderful variety of fruits, vegetables and delicious receipes (which this week included butternut squash soup, sauteed curry eggplant, baked cod and carrot coconut ginger soup), I thought it would be fair to share with you how I got here.  I am not advising that you go gluten free or dairy free or follow my diet, but I AM endorsing trusting yourself and the process of getting to where you want to be with your diet if you aren’t fully there now:

1. Be Gentle – Going gluten free after my first surgery was difficult.  Even though I knew that I felt better off gluten, had more energy, felt less nausea, had less rashes on my arms, and the fog I lived in lifted, I kept eating those gluten grains.  It took months and months before I went fully gluten free.  Initially, I would beat myself up after every piece of bread or other slip, but when I started to let it go and forgive myself it became easier.  It was years before I was fully gluten free, but each month I got better at knowing what I could and couldn’t eat and it got much easier.  Now I rarely even think about it.  I went through the same process with dairy years later.  5 years ago I couldn’t imagine not having wine, cheese and crackers.  Now I have none of the 3.  Whatever diet change (or any change you are trying to make in your life now), just keep trying, keep forgiving.

2. Crowd it out – I used to enjoy sweets and bread and cereal – with milk.  When I first started to consider changing my diet, even though I knew it was much better for me and that I would feel much better, I had no idea how I could give up these items and still live a “fun” life, eating with my friends and family when I wanted to and enjoying food.  This sounds silly to me now.  I love my healthy food, I love sharing food with others and I have more fun.  To get rid of what I realized were cravings to these foods was to “crowd them out.”  I started eating more veggies and keeping them cut in my refrigerator so they were as easy to grab as the gluten/dairy items.  I ate veggies before anything else and found new, yummy ways to sauté, bake and steam veggies.  As I incorporated these new simple routines into my diet I crowded out the sweets, the breads, the gluten and realized that I felt much better and actually enjoyed the fresh food  much more.

3. Talk about it – I was embarrassed to tell people at first that I was gluten free or dairy free because what if I didn’t stick with it?  I would be such a fool.  (See above – for a long time I didn’t stick with it and people still liked me 🙂  I realized as I talked about it that people would ask me questions about what does that mean to be gluten free?  Can you have X or X?  I didn’t know, so I started to read more and learn more about what I could and couldn’t have and as I read, the effects of what gluten and dairy did to my body I knew I needed to stop. Talking about it helped and inspired me (and many others now) to keep learning about healthy diets.  Also talking about it gave me a new level of accountability that fueled me when I wanted to “cheat.”

Changing habits isn’t easy.  Changing diet habits, I find, is even more difficult.  There is so much tied in with food – community, friends, relaxation, family, fun – but you can change.  Your worth making the change.  I’m still (and believe I will always be) on a journey to change some of my habits now.  Our bodies and lifestyles are always changing and, I believe, that our diets will always be changing because of that.  The key for me is to appreciate where I am right now and the journey to get here……..and so I am.

Tell me, what are you working on changing in your diet right now?

In love and healing,

Sera

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