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This morning after dropping my son off at basketball camp I decided to take my laptop over to my favorite coffee shop which happens to be on the lake. Maybe it’s because I grew up near the ocean, or perhaps there’s something to the Aquarian sign thing, but I just love being near the water. I find it really calming; helps me catch my breath now and then and remember to slow down and savor life.
So as I sit here watching the turtles come up for air, and hearing the water lap against the docks, I’m reminded of how good life is. And that’s important to remember when you find yourself fighting health issues; it’s a challenge at times to refrain from feeling like a victim. From wondering why you are suffering through certain health struggles. Why you find yourself having to live more of a restricted life than others.
If you’re like me, when you found out you had food sensitivities you were so relieved to know there really was something ‘wrong’ with you, that the first though was of relief that you now know how to start feeling better. Once that passes though, you’re left with a feeling of despair that you can’t ever eat the foods you grew up with. Those which you found comfort in when you were feeling sick (which ironically are probably the ones which made you sick) having somehow been destroying your gut? How can it be that the foods I turned to so often were making me sick? Apparently the reason behind that is pretty simple; the body releases endorphins (when it’s faced with a food it considers to be attacking it) as part of the “fight or flight” adrenaline rush, so it’s common that the same foods which are actually causing you harm, are also causing a rush of endorphins creating a happy sensation. Ironic, right?
So as I was grabbing for the saltines, bread and soup for tummy aches, cookies for PMS and pasta for comfort; sound familiar? No surprise really since I grew up with the Italian side of my family as the strongest influence, and had a Nana who would make her own pasta. Our holiday dinners always consisted of a pasta dish alongside ham or turkey, and a salad just wasn’t worth eating without a piping hot roll to go with it. Sound familiar?
And as I sit here today, I’ve not only made peace with my new diet, but I can honestly say that I no longer crave those foods which I used to turn to. I no longer am grateful for the gluten-free baked goods I can find in my local coffee shop because I don’t eat any grains. I learned over the years that I just wasn’t able to eat any grains or dairy if I wanted to be truly healthy, and that without them in my life, I’m so much happier and healthier. So giving them up became just another transition in my life. It’s true what they say; once you eliminate foods which cause cravings (starchy carbs, sweets and allergic foods) your body stops craving them.
If you’ve recently found yourself diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity, or are raising an allergic child, there are many wonderful resources online, and I have quite a few listed on my pages here too. I know it seems daunting now, but I promise you, it will get better. And when you feel like you just can’t go on without that yummy little pastry, I assure you that you can.
This post is more of a higher level about remaining focused, steady and inspired. I will follow-up with more specific help on living allergy free and Paleo, but for now, I am reminded that inspiration lies within the little things in life. The lapping of the water against the docks. The crickets and birds chirping. The sweet smell of flowers in bloom. Whatever your idea of peace and inspiration is, be sure to stop and notice it as often as possible.
Being inspired to overcome life’s hurdles lies within each of us, and you are truly stronger than you think!
Jennifer Mansfield (300 Posts)
Hi, I'm Jen, and I launched InspiredEats after being diagnosed with several food allergies, and battling auto-immune conditions including Hashimotos, Adrenal Fatigue, Pyroluria and vitamin deficiencies. I have overcome most all conditions by following the Paleo Diet. My hope is to help so many others like me who are suffering and don't understand how to heal. That's the meaning behind my message: Eat.Heal.Thrive.
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