It’s been a loooong time since my last post. So long that I almost decided to quit altogether. But then tonight, for the first time in months, I feel ready to share. On May 1, 2011 My nephew Matthew died unexpectedly at 25. It felt like a bomb went off in the middle of my life. And that’s nothing compared to what it has done to my sister, his sisters, my parents. What could this have to do with my foodventures, you ask?? Well, from about the second I heard this news, I began to put things in my mouth (shame be damned!). I felt that I couldn’t possibly have something useful to share about health, wellness, and food, when I myself was completely out of control! I have begun to realize just how untrue that is. There is much to learn in our struggles.
From the day that Matthew died, the house began to fill up with delivered treats, some homemade, some storebought, cold cuts and white fluffy rolls, pizzas streamed in, cookies and brownies galore. Not to mention all those bottles of wine. While several of my family members could barely force down enough to sustain them, I couldn’t be stopped. Every pass through the kitchen found me popping something else into my mouth. It seemed, well, petty to try to resist, to try to pay attention, to care at all. It seemed pointless. As the weeks passed, and a few more pounds crept in, junk food became routine, wine became a daily habit, I even picked up a martini habit. I let myself be okay with this. It’s important to let ourselves just be, without judgement, sometimes. What I have come to understand is that our bodies don’t really make mistakes. When our bodies send us cravings, they are clamoring to help us. My body wanted only to bring me into balance. My body knew that what I was going through was intolerable. It knew I needed the efficient delivery of some beta-endorphins, some serotonin, and some dopamine, STAT! So that’s what I gave it.
In the throes of this, beginning to worry about how I was ever going to get to the other end of this, I scheduled an appointment with the amazing nutritionist, Andrea Nakayama of Replenishpdx. Andrea is very popular, and I had to wait for my appointment. I decided I ought to just stay on the crazy train the several weeks until my appoinment and sort it out then. During this time, Andrea advertised her newest group detox experience: Sweet Victory! This was an online course with a two-week guided and supported detox geared specifically toward breaking sugar addiction. Something clicked into place, and I joined. This was the best decision I’d ever made. I learned how to pay meet my body’s needs in less destructive ways. I was validated in my knowing that jumping off the sugar train is not about will-power. I began to listen to my body as the wise friend that she is rather than the enemy I have so often treated her as during these times. I learned how to go get my endorphins at the gym, and from the sweet flavors of high protein stevia sweetened treats, for example.
Today marks one full month for me living cleaner than I ever have before. Even in my grief. I have been gluten free, dairy free, mostly processed food free, low grains, alcohol-free, free of all sweeteners except coconut sugar, a few dates, and stevia. The only time I have ever gone this long between drinks was when I was pregnant with my now nineteen year old daughter! And I have literally NEVER gone this long without eating sugar (not even in infancy, the docs were having bottle feeding moms feed us a corn syrup concoction every day!). I can not express emphatically enough how fantastic I feel. All the worry about what I might miss out on by not drinking or having cake is easily trumped by what I have gained. I have energy right through the day (as in, I can actually DO things after work)! I wake up refreshed, and fall asleep easily. and I’m ‘regular’! My thoughts are clearer, my memory is improving. it’s kind of amazing. All of this is a big part of the transformation. But there’s something more core than this. The biggest piece is that this doesn’t feel like a constant giving something up. I’m not yearning for my day off, or wishing for flex points, or negotiating loopholes with myself. I feel just really changed. reprioritized.
I have decided to run this experiment at least through November 3. Nov. 3 is Matthew’s birthday, and some part of this I owe to him. Sometimes we have to find our lowest lows in order to begin to find our way back out again. I guess Matt and I are transforming together….